Rio de Janeiro is best known for its gorgeous beaches and vibrant nightlife ― but if you’re interested in hiking, climbing and exploring, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
Rio is home to one of the world’s largest urban forests ― the Tijuca National Park, which is filled with hiking trails and stunning views. All you really need are sturdy, comfortable shoes, water, and a good plan.
Here are 10 suggested hiking trails in Rio ― most of them are easily accessible and can be completed without the help of a guide.
Morro Dois Irmãos
This 40-minute trail may be one of the most cost-effective trails in town. By the end of it, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most beautiful views of Rio: On one side, you’ll see the entire coast, from the statue of Christ the Redeemer to Leblon Beach. On the other side, you’ll catch the Pedra da Gavea (Gavea Rock) and the São Conrado Beach.
You can catch a bus at Niemeyer Avenue to the entrance of the Vidigal Hill, where a van or taxi can take you to the starting point of the climb. Be sure to start early to beat the heat.
This light 30-minute hiking trail is easily accessible, well located and offers gorgeous views of Rio de Janeiro. It’s a very popular spot to watch the sun rise over the city.
To get there, you will need to go to São Conrado and follow the Estrada das Canoas. The route is well-marked, and signs will guide you right to the best views.
Pedra da Gávea
This mountain, located in Tijuca Forest on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, offers one of the city’s most challenging trails.
At an elevation of 800 meters, Pedra da Gávea is the Tijuca Forest’s highest point. A challenging three-hour hike would give you stunning views of Pedra do Navio, Barra da Tijuca, the Cabeça do Imperador, the beaches, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, and the Morro Dois Irmãos.
The Gavea Rock is located in the Barra da Tijuca district, but you need to access the trail through the São Conrado district, at the end of the Sorimã road.
Costão de Itacoatiara
Located in Itacoatiara, in the city of Niterói, the Costão trail is famous for offering a view of the local beach and of Rio de Janeiro city. It is a 30-minute smooth and well-marked climb.
You can access the trail through the Itacoatiara Beach, with the Costão Hill to the left.
Pedra do Telégrafo
At the end of this 40-minute hike, you’ll find a huge blue horizon, in which sea and sky merge, as well as stunning views of the Marambaia Sandbank.
You can access this trail through the Barra de Guaratiba, a district located on the west side of Rio.
This is a great 30-minute family trail. You can access it from the Praia Vermelha, through the entrance to the Cláudio Coutinho walking trail.
The Parque Lage needs no introduction. A guided two-hour trail through its luscious forest will take you to the Corcovado Hill. You’ll pass waterfalls as you move through the Atlantic forest ― you may even encounter monkeys and toucans on your way!
Bico do Papagaio
Known for its pointy shape, the Bico do Papagaio is the second highest mountain in the Tijuca National Park, and it gives you spectacular views over the west side of Rio.
Pico do Caeté
The Pico do Caeté will give you a completely different view of the city. The light 30-minute trail starts at the Prainha Park. At the top of the hill, you will get a broad view of the Pedra do Pontal, the Recreio dos Bandeirantes and the Barra da Tijuca.
The Perigoso Beach is very popular among surfers. On this light 30-minute trail, you can climb to the top of the Tartaruga Rock, which offers amazing views of the coastline.
To get to the trail, you need to go to the Parlon Siqueira street in Barra de Guaratiba.
This piece was originally published on HuffPost Brazil and has been translated into English.
For more Olympic coverage: