Rio de Janeiro is arguably one of the most exciting cities in the world! Spending 2 Days in Rio de Janeiro is a decent amount of time to get a taste of what this dynamic beachside city has to offer.
I spent one weekend in Rio and have put together this Rio de Janeiro Itinerary with the best things to see and do to help you craft together your own trip!
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WHERE IS RIO DE JANEIRO?
Rio de Janeiro is located on the southeast coast of Brazil and it is the second-largest city in the country with a population of 6.3 million people.
HOW TO GET HERE
The best and easiest way of reaching Rio de Janeiro is by plane. Daily flights operate in and out of Rio de Janeiro International Airport, connecting domestic and international travelers from around the world.
Rio de Janeiro city is a thirty-minute drive from the airport.
Search All → Flights to Rio de Janeiro
The iconic Rio de Janeiro – 2 days in Rio
BEST TOURS IN RIO
See below for a quick overview of this 2 Day Rio de Janeiro Itinerary:
- Copacabana Beach
- Ipanema beach
- Two Brothers Mountain
- Lapa Stairs
- Rio Walking Tour
- Christ The Redeemer
DAY 1 IN RIO
The first thing you’re going to want to do in Rio is hit the beach and taking a stroll down to Copacabana is a great place to start!
Copacabana is one of Rio’s best beaches that buzzes with energy and can be a lot of fun. The long stretch of white sand beach at Copacabana is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, beach umbrellas, and market stalls, offering something for everyone.
Join in on a game of beach volleyball or go for a body bash in the waves, all the while soaking in the terrific atmosphere.
Copacabana is a police patrolled beach and safe for tourists to visit at any time during the day though it’s always best to keep a close eye on your valuables, especially if you decide to go swimming.
Ipanema Beach was informally made popular by the hit song from the 60’s ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ and a visit to this iconic beach will give you a sense of life in Rio.
From the south end of Copacabana Beach, it’s a short fifteen to twenty-minute walk around the rocky headland till you reach Ipanema Beach.
The sand and sea on Ipanema Beach are seemingly cleaner than that of Copacabana’s and you can also find plenty of fun activities to do such as surfing, volleyball, racket tennis, and beach soccer along this stretch of sun-drenched shores.
What makes Ipanema a stand out location among most is the Two Brothers Mountains, also known as Morro Dois Irmãos, that tower dominantly above the southern end of Ipanema’s shoreline.
Grab a cold refreshment from one of the local beach sellers who roam up and down the sand or pop up to one of the many beach bars and restaurants for a quality meal with a side of people watching.
See All → Tours in Rio de Janeiro
TWO BROTHERS MOUNTAIN HIKE
Morro Dois Irmãos, is one of the best hikes in Rio de Janeiro, boasting incredible views of Ipanema beach and Rio’s cityscape from the summit. Be sure to add Dois Irmãos to your itinerary as it’s not to be missed!
Dois Irmaos in English translates to Two Brothers which refers to the two iconic mountain peaks located at the south end of Ipanema Beach.
The Dois Irmãos hike goes above and beyond and I guarantee when you reach the summit after a short 45-minutes of hiking, it will exceed your expectations!
At the summit, you’ll be greeted with one of the best 360-degree panoramic viewpoints you’ve ever seen! A large sloping rockface at the top of Dois Irmãos is where to take the best pictures from, though do be careful because it is a long way down, 533m to be exact.
Enjoy extensive views of Rio de Janeiro, its beaches, and the surrounding mountain ranges!
I have written a full blog post of the Two Brothers Mountain Hike with all the nitty-gritty details of how to get there and what to expect on the trail.
Click Here to give it a read.
Two Brothers Mountain – 2 Days in Rio
DAY 2 IN RIO
On day two, I recommend heading to one of the world’s most beautiful staircases in the Lapa neighborhood.
The Lapa Stairs, also known as Selaron Staircase, are the works of the Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claims it was his tribute to the Brazilian people.
Lapa Stairs are truly a magnificent piece of artwork boasting colorful ceramics on each step that connects two bohemian neighborhoods, Lapa and Santa Teresa.
You would have surely seen countless pictures of Lapa Stairs on Instagram which ultimately means it is one of the most popular points of interest in Rio.
I recommend getting to the Selaron Staircase before 9:00 am to beat the crowds if you want that perfect Instagram shot.
Looking for an awesome day trip from Rio? Check out this post of 12 wonderful things to do on Ilha Grande Island.
Colorful ceramics at Lapa Stairs
RIO DE JANEIRO WALKING TOUR
A walking tour in Rio is one of the best ways to really immerse yourself in the Brazilian culture and learn more about the history of the city. The tour guides are full of energy and bucket loads of information that will be more than willing to answer any questions you may have while strolling around Rio’s hot spots.
There are dozens of tour operators and offices dotted around the city to book walking tours in Rio, but in my experience, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which operator to book a tour without being ripped off.
Alternatively, you can book a Rio walking tour online in advance to avoid the hassle of having to organize a trip once you have arrived.
I recommend finding a tour that best suits you on the Get Your Guide website. They have a variety of walking tours in Rio that are affordable and reliable!
Rio Walking Tours – 2 days in Rio
CHRIST THE REDEEMER
Last but not least on this itinerary is Christ The Redeemer which is easily the most popular tourist attraction in Rio and perhaps the world.
Christ The Redeemer, or Cristo Redentor in Portuguese, is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ which stands a staggering 30m tall on the summit of Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. It has been listed as one of the New 7 Wonders Of The World and has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.
There are a few ways of reaching the summit of Mount Corcovado to visit Christ The Redeemer and they are by walking, bus, or funicular train.
If you decide to walk/hike to the summit you won’t have to pay an entrance fee for Christ The Redeemer, though bear in mind that it’s at least a one-hour hike each way in the blistering sun.
My personal recommendation is to take the funicular train from the train station at the bottom of Mount Corcovado and ride it to the very top which takes approximately twenty minutes. The cost is R$65 in the low season and R$79 in the high season.
Once you have finally reached the summit you can enjoy the most amazing panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro city! To avoid the crowds aim to go early in the morning or at sunset.
Find All → Hostels & Hotels in Rio de Janeiro
Christ The Redeemer
View from Christ The Redeemer
Christ The Redeemer
Christ The Redeemer
WHERE TO STAY IN RIO
Rio de Janeiro has thousands of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Ipanema
This luxury 5-star hotel is located right on the edge of Rio’s most famous beach, Ipanema. The Sofitel features an outdoor pool, sauna, spa, and gym, all with panoramic views of the ocean and Rio’s skyline. The rooms are spacious, stylish, and comfortable with free wifi, and breakfast is included.
Mid Range: Atlantis Copacabana Hotel
A 3-star hotel centrally located next to Copacabana beach and Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro. Atlantis features an outdoor terrace and a rooftop swimming pool. Free wifi is available at the hotel and a buffet breakfast is included. Each room offers cable TV, spacious living, air-conditioning, and private bathrooms. Perfect for couples and families.
Budget: Solar Hostel Beach Copacabana
Rated one of the best hostels in Rio, ideally located at Copacabana beach. This budget hostel offers dorm rooms and private rooms, perfect for solo backpackers, friends, and couples. There is a shared kitchen at this property and free wifi. For $8 a night, it’s pretty hard to beat!
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN RIO, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
Another option for accommodation is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals.
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MORE CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA TRAVEL GUIDES
If you are planning a trip to Central and South America, be sure to check out my other travel guides below that you might find useful while crafting together your itinerary:
- Mexico: 4 Week Mexico Itinerary
- Guatemala: 2 Week Guatemala Itinerary
- Cuba: 10 Day Cuba Itinerary
- Peru: Backpacking Peru – 3 Week Itinerary
- Bolivia: Things To Do In Bolivia
- Brazil: 2 Day Rio De Janeiro Itinerary
- Argentina: Things To Do In Argentina
- Chile: Things To Do In Chile
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Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions at all about this Rio de Janeiro Itinerary, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.