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5 days itinerary Rio de Janeiro

5 days itinerary Rio de Janeiro

5 days itinerary Rio de Janeiro: if you are coming to Rio for 5 days, we are sure you are wondering: what to do in Rio de Janeiro in 5 days?  with so many attractions in the city, it might be difficult to decide what to do. This is exactly why we carefully chose some place so you can enjoy the most of your 5 days in Rio de Janeiro.

Before presenting the 5 days itinerary in Rio de Janeiro, I would like to remind you that many activities in Rio can´t really be done during rainy days, so make you plans flexible according to the weather forecast. Therefore, we will leave some alternatives in case of bad weather. But don’t worry too much: Rio is a very sunny city, and there is a lot of amazing stuff to do on a rainy day as well! Check also our blog post of things to do in Rio when it rains

If you didn’t like some of the options on our list, have a look on our page with a selection of what to do in Rio de Janeiro.



FREE e-book of Rio de Janeiro

We answer the most asked questions about Rio de Janeiro in this FREE e-book to help those coming to the city!

Find out the best ways to go to Christ the Redeemer and the Sugar Loaf, as well as what to do in other interesting areas, such as the charming neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Get practical tips about customs, nightlife, restaurants and a lot more to make the most of your days in Rio!


Get answers to the 47 most asked questions about Rio for FREE!



Arrival date to Rio



Day 1 of 5 days itinerary Rio de Janeiro: Rio Free Walking Tour Centro e Lapa + Porto Maravilha

1. Rio Free Walking Tour Centro e Lapa: perfect for any weather (sunny or rainy)


Every time I arrive to a new city, I immediately participate on a Free Walking Tour. I love that in a entertaining and funny tour of only around 3 hours, I already get a general idea of the history and curiosities of the place, and also get the best tips on the city! For who isn’t familiar, in this model that was born in Europe, by the end of the tour the tourist is free to pay any amount that he thinks the tour was worth. There is no minimum or maximum value! If you have 5 days in Rio de Janeiro, the free walking tour is definatelly worth doing on your first day.

What are you going to see during the Rio Free Walking Tour of Downtown and Lapa:

Carioca Square: Rio´s busy city center where, in the middle of modern buildings, is located one of the oldest churches of Rio de Janeiro: The Convent of Saint Anthony.


Colombo Bakery: famous luxurious colonial bakery of Rio de Janeiro. This is the place where the politicians used to go to discuss about the future of Brazil on a period when Rio was still the capital of the country.


Travessa do Comércio: these narrow alleys still preserve the antique architecture of Rio.


XV Square: here was the residency of Royal Portuguese Family in Brazil (Imperial Palace), where events that changed the history of the country happened, such like “I Stay Day” and the abolition of slavery.

Tiradentes Palace (or ALERJ): the old base of the Brazilian congress, when Rio was still a capital.


Cinelândia: in my opinion, the most charming square of the Marvellous City. Home of the Municipal Theater, Fine Arts Museum, the National Library and the City Council.


The Lapa Arches: the biggest colonial construction of Brazil, and the symbol of urban neighborhood of Lapa.


Selaron Steps: the last stop of the tour is the famous Selaron Staircase. It´s considered the biggest open air piece of art in the world by National Geographic. That’s also where Snoop Dogg filmed his clip “Beautiful”.


Before going to Porto Maravilha: stop for a lunch (we recommend a lunch with Free Walker group by the end of the tour).

From city center to Porto Maravilha: the easiest way to get to Porto Maravilha is to walk until Cinelândia and get the VLT train. For who didn´t get tired in the morning tour, it’s also possible to walk there by the shore.

2. Porto Maravilha: a great option for any weather (sunny or rainy)

The whole portuarian zone of Rio was fully renovated for the Olympic Games 2016. The formerly completely abandoned area turned into one of the principal attractions of the city.

Museum of Tomorrow: the main symbol of revitalized area is this interactive science museum, where the themes discuss about the climate change, the environmental degradation and the social collapse. The architecture of the museum is super modern and different!


MAR (Art Museum of Rio): Old beautiful building! In temporary exhibitions of MAR, some consecrated artists such like Tomie Otake were presenting their art. Meanwhile, the permanent exhibition illuminates the transformation of Rio´s landscape during years.

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Murals: There are various murals full of street art in the port zone. The highlight is a mural painted for the Olympic Games, made by Eduardo Kobra. This painting represents 5 ethnicities of the different continents. This is the biggest graffiti in the world made by just one person!


AquaRio: the biggest marine aquarium of South America! If you want to enter, the aquarium is opened from 10AM until 6PM, the ticket office closes one hour earlier.

At the port zone you can also find historical places that formed the Brazilian cultural identity: the Valongo Wharf (old port of Rio and a UNESCO World Heritage site), Pedra do Sal (where samba was born), the Valongo Garden, between others! The port zone is characterized as one the most important places of the country when talking about African Heritage in Brazil, this was the point where majority of African slave ships arrived.

Learn more about the african heritage by participating on Rio Free Walking Tour African Heritage.


Day 2: Christ the Redeemer + Stroll on the Beach + the Sugarloaf

The classics can’t be missed for in your 5 days in Rio de Janeiro. After familiarizing yourself with city´s history, Free Walker´s recommendation is to do both of the big attractions in one day!

It is important to emphasize that many people prefer to do Rio’s classics with a travel agency because of its facility, comfort and cost-benefit. There are a lot of companies in Rio, so it’s possible to get great prices! I recommend you to always look at the comments on tripadvisor and facebook.

S2RIO for example, besides having excellent reviews on Tripadvisor and Facebook, gave us a special discount (R$20,00 per person) to a lot of different tours, including Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf! You just need to talk to them on whatsapp and inform the discount voucher or click here and talk directly to them on whatsapp

1. Christ the Redeemer Rio de Janeiro: only sunny days


Start the day from Christ the Redeemer, which frequently gets so crowded that it´s difficult to enjoy the experience during the peak hours. The Christ opens at 8AM, and I can guarantee: start the day around 6:30AM to visit the monument on the first hour, is worth every minute of peace and calmness up there! Discover the details how to get to Christ the Redeemer Rio de Janeiro and the curiosities of Christ the Redeemer Rio de Janeiro

2. Walk on Copacabana: great for any weather (sunny or rainy)


Of course that our 5 days itinerary Rio de Janeiro includes the most famous beach in the world. Begin at of Copacabana Palace, and after taking a photo in front of the most famous hotel of Rio, walk on the world famous sidewalk until arriving to Copacabana Fort (towards Ipanema). The walk takes approximately 40 minutes, and on the way you will pass the famous statue of Carlos Drummond de Andrade!

Inside of Copacabana Fort, there is an army museum, a breathtaking view of the beach and a bakery called Colombo. The entrance costs R$8,00 and the sweets of Colombo are amazing! The fortress lays by the end of Copacabana, only 10min walk from Ipanema. If it´s not too late, there´s still time to walk until Ipanema and enjoy the post card view of Two Brothers mountain!

And the heat? During summer months, walking on the beach might be really uncomfortable (around 40 degrees). In that case, I recommend you to enjoy the beach under an umbrella and swimming! When it´s hot, the best time to walk by the sidewalk is by night, when the sun has already set.

Tip 1: on Sundays, the roads at Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon are closed for the traffic, and a lot of people go there to walk, ride a bike, skate, rollerblades…it´s a very chill vibe there!

Tip 2: who likes to discover more in less time, it´s possible to rent a bike or registration of Itaú Bike (website in Portuguese) and experience Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon all in on day- in this case you will need a Brazilian SIM card.! Bike in Rio rents bicycles for R$15,00 per hour in Copacabana (Rua Carvalho de Mendonça, 24)

Tip 3: Walk by the beaches and discover the history, hidden secrets and curiosities on our Free Walking Tour Rio de Janeiro of Copacabana and Ipanema

3. Sugarloaf: only sunny days


Probably this will be the highlight of your 5 days itinerary in Rio de Janeiro. The best time to visit Sugarloaf is by the end of the day, as the sunset there is incredible! During winter the sunsets is around 5PM and during summer around 7:30PM.

How does the cable car work? There are two parts: the first connects Praia Vermelha and Urca Hill, and the second one Urca Hill and Sugarloaf. You have to take two cable cars to get to the top, so I recommend you to arrive in advance!

How long before the sunset should I arrive? It´s difficult to calculate the queuing time, it really depends on the day. In my experience, during high season (especially carnaval, new years and other special events) lining can take a long time, so it´s better to arrive 3 hours earlier. For low season 1 hour in advance is enough. Don´t wanna stay on a line? You can purchase a golden ticket! (attention: it´s bought online and has a specific date. If it rains, you still have to do the tour on that day!)

Prices (it’s cheaper if you buy in advance, on the website):

Normal: R$110,00 or R$99,00 on the website

Kids and adolescents (06 to 21 years): R$55,00 or R$49,00 on the official website

Kids under 06 years: free

Golden ticket: R$205,00 or R$185,00 on Sugar Loaf cable car official website.

Changing the order? The ones who prefer to go to Sugarloaf directly after the Christ, another option to see a beautiful sunset is Arpoador (located between Copacabana and Ipanema). A big benefit to invert the order is to be able to stay the rest of the day more relaxed, without the “stress” to arrive to Sugarloaf on time for sunset.

Like hiking? Read a bit more about Urca Hill Hike


FREE e-book of Rio de Janeiro

We answer the most asked questions about Rio de Janeiro in this FREE e-book to help those coming to the city!

Find out the best ways to go to Christ the Redeemer and the Sugar Loaf, as well as what to do in other interesting areas, such as the charming neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Get practical tips about customs, nightlife, restaurants and a lot more to make the most of your days in Rio!


Get answers to the 47 most asked questions about Rio for FREE!



Arrival date to Rio



Day 3: Beach + Pub Crawl in Lapa

After waking up very early to go to the Christ, time for a very relaxing day, enjoying the beach, a must for your 5 days in Rio de Janeiro.

1. Beach: sunny days only


After the two first days full of activities, we prepared a relaxing and entertaining day! Copacabana and Ipanema are famous worldwide, but we recommend to have a day to explore a less-known beach.

See here the 5 best beaches of Rio de Janeiro capital

2. Pub Crawl: works with any weather (sunny or rainy)

After a relaxing day on the beach, we can’t forget about Rio’s nightlife in our 5 days itineraty Rio de Janeiro.The diversity of Rio´s nightlife is unique! And to visit several places in one night, save money and guarantee the entertainment the answer is our Pub Crawl Rio de Janeiro Lapa (every Thursday, Friday and Saturday) or Pub Crawl Ipanema (every Tuesday)

Pub Crawl is a tour of different bars with super cheered up people wanting to make new friends. The route between bars is made by foot, and ends at a famous night club!


Day 4: Barra Da Tijuca


Barra da Tijuca is one of the newest neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro. When I go there I feel like I just travelled to another city. The neighborhood is well known as “Brazilian Miami”, because of the amount of shopping malls, huge condominiums and wide roads. It became the gastronomical and leisure center of Rio’s capital, with luxury buildings where brazilian celebrities and football players live.

Since the metro was inaugurated in Barra da Tijuca, it’s much more accessible nowadays. Barra has one station (Jardim Oceânico).

What to do in Barra?

1 Barra Beach: sunny days only

Barra Beach is the longest beach of Rio de Janeiro, with 18km of extension it has white sand, clean and greenish water and lots of waves. The whole beach itself is an attraction. The spot called Praia do Pepê is popular with young crowds.

2 Shopping malls: great with any weather (sunny or rainy)

There are many options for shopping malls in the neighborhood. For who wants a great variety of shops, head to Barra Shopping (biggest of the region), or something different/luxury go to Village Mall.


Botanical Garden + Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas + Santa Teresa

1 Botanical Garden: great with any weather (sunny or rainy)

Last day of 5 days itinerary Rio de Janeiro. The Botanical Garden is the oldest in the country and one the 10 most important of the world. It is National Historic and Artistic Heritage for its historical and cultural importance. It is considered by UNESCO as an Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve.

The most significant part of the stroll are the imperial palm trees, the symbol of the garden! Also, make sure to check the orchid and bromeliad houses!

Visitation hours: Tuesday to Sunday (from 8Am until 5PM) and Mondays (from 12PM until 5PM)

The ticket costs R$15,00

2. Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas: only sunny days

Located just next to the Botanical Garden,this is for sure one of the most beautiful view of Rio de Janeiro. How about refreshing with a coconut water?

3. Santa Teresa: wonderful for any weather (sunny or rainy)


The grand finale of the 5 days itinerary in Rio de Janeiro. Santa Teresa is very unique and you can’t miss it on your 5 days in Rio de Janeiro. Santa Teresa was one of the richest neighborhoods of the city, boasting several colonial mansions.

The best of Santa? It offers a marvellous view of the city! Because it is home to many artists, it also has several atelies.

Read more about Santa Teresa Rio de Janeiro

Hope our recommendations of 5 days itinerary in Rio de Janeiro help you to plan your trip and enjoy the most of your time. Let us know if you still have questions about what to do in Rio de Janeiro in 5 days.

Some other options to spend a rainy day in Rio, if it rains during your 5 days in Rio de Janeiro

  • In Cinelândia: visit the Nacional Library and Municipal Theater
  • In Porto Maravilha: visit the Museum of Tomorrow and MAR (Rio Art Museum)
  • Rio Sul Shopping Center or Shopping do Leblon
  • In Centro: Cultural Center Bank of Brasil, Candelária Church e Monastery of São Bento

Extra tip: accommodation on a good location and with good cost-benefit

If you are looking for an accommodation with a great cost-benefit to spend your five days in Rio: Mango Tree Hostel – located one block from Ipanema beach and the metro – is a great option! Mango Tree offers the comfort of a Guest House (comfy mattresses, cotton sheets, delicious breakfast) and a wonderful atmosphere for anyone willing to meet new people!

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