Whether or not you come to Rio for its world-renowned carnival, it’s a city where it always feels like there’s something to celebrate. From the samba rhythms and delicious caipirinhas of its nightclubs to its sun-drenched beaches, Rio is a place where visitors experience an energy felt nowhere else on Earth.
Even as visitors approach Rio de Janeiro from the air, they are struck by the panorama of colourful neighbourhoods bracketed by pristine beaches and azure waters on one side and wild, jungle-covered mountains on the other. The city’s vibrant nightlife and unique flavours help make a visit to Rio unforgettable at any time of year. Sights like the iconic Cristo Redentor statue overlooking the city and a cable car ride to Sugarloaf Mountain offer a birds-eye view of the city. In February, the city comes alive for Carnival, one of the largest celebrations in the world, where the city’s streets fill with over two million revellers each day.
Rio de Janeiro’s beaches are in a class of their own: Copacabana and Ipanema are famous throughout the world for the crowds of sun worshippers that flock to their sandy expanses, while the coastline of the city is home to beaches that run the gamut from windy water-sport meccas to isolated spots surrounded by jungle. Whether you’re looking to practice kitesurfing or work on your tan, it’s time to pack your swimsuit and sunblock and book your flight from Zurich to Rio de Janeiro with SWISS today.
- All timetable details may be subject to change. Insofar as is permitted by law, SWISS accepts no liability for the correctness and completeness of the details provided.
What is the best way to enjoy Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival?
Rio’s unparalleled Carnival celebrations are an incredible way to experience the city, though it pays to be prepared. First, consider which days to visit the Sambadrome, where the largest costume competition takes place, as tickets for the largest shows can be very expensive. Second, investigate the different blocos, or neighbourhood parties, which are set to take place. Some, like those held in Ipanema, Copacabana, or Cordão de Boca Preta, are massive affairs with attendance in the hundreds of thousands. The city’s Metro is the best option to move between blocos, as many streets are closed to traffic. Finally, remember that temperatures during the February extravaganza can creep over 40°C, so prepare accordingly and stay hydrated.
How safe is Rio de Janeiro?
While most visitors have no issues with crime when visiting Rio, its reputation as a risky destination is not entirely undeserved. Robberies and violent crime occur more frequently than in most tourist destinations, and care should be taken to avoid certain areas past nightfall, especially the city centre and beaches. When walking around the city, try to take as few possessions and as little cash as necessary so that you are not left without necessities in the event of a robbery.
Is a visa necessary to visit Rio de Janeiro?
Most EU citizens, as well as nationals of Switzerland and New Zealand, have been able to visit Brazil without a visa, while Canadians, Australians and US citizens have had to apply for a visa. However, visa requirements were loosened in early 2018 and again in 2019, so travellers should check with their country’s foreign ministry before travelling, as a visa may no longer be necessary.
Attractions of beautiful Rio de Janeiro
Home to samba, rugged mountains springing out of the sea, and a world-famous Carnival celebration, travellers to Rio are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding things to do. Enjoy the sound of samba and funk while enjoying a finely crafted caipirinha in one of the city’s bars, or take in a football match at the Maracanã Stadium, one of the world’s largest. Of course, if you can visit during Carnival, you’ll be able to put on your best dancing outfit and enjoy the festivities with over two million of your new best friends.
It goes without saying that no trip to Brazil’s beach capital would be complete without feeling the sun on your skin and your feet in the sand. It’s hard to say which of Rio’s beaches is the best – Copacabana has a jubilant and active scene, while chic Ipanema is the more stylish of the two. However, sun seekers and fans of water sports would be well advised to check out more of the beaches Rio has to offer, from kitesurfing on Barra de Tijuca to the jungle trails surrounding Vermelha Beach. Other options include:
- Leblon Beach
- Praihna Beach
- Praia do Recreo
Outside of its beaches and Carnival, Rio de Janeiro offers no shortage of sights to amaze visitors, such as the famous Cristo Redentor statue, which overlooks the city from its perch atop the Morro do Corcovado mountain. For extraordinary vistas of the city and its surrounding landscape, head up with the Sugarloaf Mountain Cable Car to the peaks just outside the city. With so many incredible experiences and natural beauty, Rio is a city that needs to be seen to be believed – book your ticket from Zurich to Rio de Janeiro today.
Get a taste for the finer things in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro has a rich cuisine to match its dramatic setting. Head to one of the city’s churrascarias for an indulgent all-you-can-eat experience featuring fine cuts of beef. Or try feijoada, a hearty bean stew cooked with pork and beef. The city’s beachside promenades are excellent places to try Rio street food, which ranges from deep-fried pastel pastries, filled with cheese or meat to pão de queijo cheese bread and coxinha, fried chicken dumplings.
Relax with a caipirinha or dance the night away
Nothing quite accompanies Brazil’s rich, meaty cuisine like its signature cocktail, the caipirinha. A simple mixture of limes, sugar and a sugarcane liquor called cachaça, its citrusy sweetness is the refreshment you need to get back to the beach or the dance floor. Speaking of dance floors, Rio is home to an unparalleled array of nightlife options, from the student- and tourist-friendly nightclubs of Lapa to the bohemian haunts and fun samba joints of Santa Teresa. The dancing can last until dawn here, so you’ll be sure to get your fill.
Come back from Rio looking – and feeling – your best
A trip to Rio’s beaches and nightclubs will be enough to convince you that the locals know how to dress well – head to the city’s malls and markets to find out how they do it. The stylish boutiques just off the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana are a good start, but you may also end up in the Mercado Uruguaiana, a favourite spot to pick up a Carnival outfit. The open-air Feira do Rio Antigo is an excellent place to find art and antiques, while the Feira de São Cristovão is ideal for food, drink and souvenirs.
Zurich - FrankfurtFlight duration: 01:05 hrs total, Frequency: 7 x daily
Departure ZurichTerminal: 1 / 3Counter opening time: 24 h prior to departure
Airbus A320-214Height: 11.80 mLength: 37.60 mSeats: 136-168
Crew:Pilots: 2Cabin crew: 4
Transit Frankfurt Main (FRA)Arrival: 20:05Transit time: 2h 10m
Frankfurt - Rio de JaneiroFlight duration: 11:35 hrs total, Frequency: 2 x daily
Arrival Rio de JaneiroDistance to city centre: 20 km