Last updated on May 18th, 2018 at 12:54 pm
The Perfect Trip to Rio!
Rio de Janeiro is a vast city to explore, meaning it can sometimes be a bit daunting to figure out where to start. Lucky for you, I’ve put together my ideal Rio de Janeiro 4 Day Itinerary full of local tours. This 4-day guide includes iconic sites such as Sugarloaf Mountain and Corcovado, as well as a touch of the past with a Historic Rio City Tour, and hidden gems including Brazilian wine tasting in Santa Tereza, monkey spotting in the Tijuca Forest and more! Follow along as I go over my ideal Rio de Janeiro sightseeing tour, packed with places, restaurants, and activities you don’t want to miss out on.
Note: The Rio de Janeiro tour packages discussed below include half day tours Rio de Janeiro, 2-day tours Rio de Janeiro, an abundance of things to do in Rio de Janeiro and more.
Let’s explore this dream Rio de Janeiro 4 Day Itinerary!
Day 1: Sugarloaf Mountain & Historic Rio
Sugarloaf Mountain Tour (combined with Historic Rio, 4 hours)
Sugarloaf Mountain is the perfect introduction to Rio de Janeiro. Make this the first stop of your Rio de Janeiro 4 Day Itinerary. In order to get to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, you will have to ride two cable cars. The first cable car will take you up the Urca Hill, featuring breathtaking views of the city and the bay. After a short ride up, arrive at the first viewpoint. Here you can find the model of the very first cable car used to transport people to Sugarloaf Mountain. Tourists love to take photos with the vintage cable car and the statue of the architect! There are also plenty of shops, where one can buy souvenirs, a cup of coffee or a refreshing bowl of acai. A restaurant/bar around the corner offers guests can enjoy panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro and ice cold, Brazilian beer!
Next up on the best Rio de Janeiro 4 Day Itinerary, board a different cable car to the very top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Here, enjoy amazing vistas of Rio de Janeiro and all that the city has to offer. Spot the lush Tijuca rainforest, steep mountains, sparkling bay, sprawling beaches and more!
Historic Rio City Tour
In the afternoon, travel along the winding cobblestone streets towards Santa Tereza, a charming hilltop district. While here, visit the Parque das Ruínas for a fantastic view of the city. Parque das Ruínas not only offers an incredible view of Rio, it also is host to an art gallery (that changes over time), built around the ruins of the mansion. You can also find events put on display here such as live outdoor concerts!
The cafe is a great place to stop after enjoying the view. Grab a refreshing Guanabara juice and check out the local art displayed on the walls of the mansion. Next, drive to the Escadaria Selaron stairs, a jaw-dropping masterpiece created and painted by the Chilean artist Jorge Selaron. Take photos, mingle with local vendors, stop in a nearby cafe or simply sit on the steps and watch people pass by. Later, transfer to the historic downtown area of Rio to see the Opera House and the government palace. Lastly, for a taste of modernity, head to the waterfront “Museum of Tomorrow”. Visit the exhibits revolved around sustainability and eco-tourism, or simply grab a drink and admire the modern architecture of the building.
Day 2: Corcovado Mountain & Tijuca Forest
Corcovado Mountain & Christ the Redeemer Tour (combined with the Tijuca Forest, 6 – 8 hours)
The Corcovado & Tijuca Forest Tour is a two-in-one tour of some of the most important highlights of Rio de Janeiro. It starts with a visit to the Christ the Redeemer Statue, one of the new seven wonders of the world. On this Corcovado Brazil Tour, admire sections of the green Tijuca Forest as the train travels up a steep vertical to the standing spot of Christ the Redeemer. Upon arrival, there are stairs, elevators or escalators guiding and transporting tourists to the base of the iconic, Christ the Redeemer statue. And if the Rio de Janeiro weather is at its best, enjoy breathtaking views of every region of the city. As locals say, the best views of Rio are from the top!
The Tijuca Forest National Park Tour
Rio de Janeiro 4 Day Itinerary, Day 2!
Today, From Corcovado, take Paineiras road through the Tijuca forest, considered to be the largest urban forest in the world. You can spot diverse species of birds, small mammals, and exotic plants along the way. This tour includes a complete route of exploring the forest trails with stops at Chinese View, Taunays Waterfalls, and the Visitor Center!
Day 3: Botanical Garden & Copacabana Beach
Botanical Garden Tour (4 hours)
On your 3rd day of your dream Rio de Janeiro 4 Day Itinerary, follow a professional, English-speaking guide around the exotic Botanical Garden park. The Botanical Gardens in Rio are one of the best places in the city to spend the afternoon. This is a place where locals come to have romantic dates, where tourists come to explore and where schools bring students to learn about the Brazilian ecosystem. Follow your guide throughout the park’s green landscape and observe the colorful flowers, fallen fruit, and roaming creatures. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to spot some monkeys!
Copacabana Beach (at leisure)
In the afternoon, head to Copacabana Beach! A must-visit place on any Rio de Janeiro 4 Day Itinerary. Because sometimes… you just need a day at the beach. Walk in the soft sand, read a book under an umbrella, or go for a dip in the Atlantic. There are plenty of activities to do at Copacabana. For a bit more activity, play a game of volleyball or partake in a watersport. When the fresh-air and sunshine have built up your appetite, grab a bite to eat at one of the many small restaurants that line the long, white-sand beach.
Day 4: Guanabara Bay Cruise & Brazilian Wine Tasting
Guanabara Bay Cruise (2 hours)
Brazilian Wine Tasting (3 hours)
After a day in the sun, head back to Santa Tereza for an afternoon of wine-tasting and cheese with EATRIO! This is the perfect way to end your perfect Rio de Janeiro 4 Day Itinerary. Sit atop an elegant, spacious veranda in a house perched in the hills of Santa Tereza and take in the amazing views! While enjoying the scenic atmosphere, learn from a professional sommelier about Brazilian wine and cheese. You will have the opportunity to sample 6 to 7 wines that are paired perfectly with locally sourced artisanal cheeses. After the event, you’ll have your favorite Brazilian brand wines picked out and ready to bring back home with you!
And, that’s it! This is our perfect Rio de Janeiro 4 Day Itinerary. There’s always more you can add on to Brazil Tours, such as the Amazon Rainforest, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, etc. But if you’re only in Rio for 4 days, you MUST incorporate these places and activities into your itinerary!