Rio de Janeiro Carnival

Rio de Janeiro Carnival

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What is Carnival?

Carnival was traditionally a food festival celebrated before the 40 days of Lent, with the first carnival occurring in 1723. The festival is held every year before Lent and is largely considered the biggest carnival in the world. On average, there are around 2 million people per day on the streets of Rio during Carnival. Drawing people from all over the world, the festival is a vibrant and eclectic mix of steel drum music, colourful outfits and sensational samba dancing. 

When is Carnival in Brazil? 

This year’s Carnival in Rio de Janeiro will begin on Friday 21st February 2020 and will end on Wednesday 26th February.

Do I need a Visa to visit Brazil from UK?

British nationals can normally enter Brazil without a visa as a tourist.

Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro?


  • The most well-known area of Rio, famous for its glitz and glamour days of the past. Copacabana offers a wealth of great restaurants and bars, as well as plenty of accommodation for tourists, and is a very popular beach destination amongst tourists. Head to the standing-only coffee counter ‘Café e Charutaria Lolló’ that serves authentic Brazilian coffee and order yourself a ‘cafezinho’ (small cup of black coffee). 


  • Centro is the business and financial hub. It used to be the heart of the city where there are a great variety of museums, historic and cultural centres. Although there are no beaches, here you can find Rio’s oldest streets and buildings. Visit the Museu Histórico Nacional which houses relics relating to the history of Brazil from its founding to its early days as a republic. 

Santa Teresa: 

  • Santa Teresa is just outside of Centro and is an artsy, Bohemian-esque hilltop neighbourhood. Here is where some of the best Carnival ‘blocos’ (street parade and band) are. If you’re after the quintessentially Brazilian experience, Santa Teresa provides with winding narrow streets and colourful historical buildings. Get a tram from Rio’s city centre to Santa Teresa and Museu do Bonde. Built in 1877, the Santa Teresa Tram is the oldest electric railway in Latin America.


  • Fashionable and a place to be seen, Ipanema is known for its iconic namesake beach. Slowly stealing the spotlight from Copacabana, Ipanema offers great sunbathing, surfing, fashion boutiques, bars and fine-dining. Watch the sunset from Ponta do Arpoador, where the rocky point juts out into the water and serves as a great viewpoint in Ipanema. 


  • Botafogo is an up-and-coming area of Rio with bistros, malls, alternative bars and nightclubs. Its namesake half-moon bay, with sandy beach, gives incredible views of Sugarloaf Mountain. Visit the Museu do Índio and find out more about the economic, religious and social life of Brazil’s indigenous people.

What to do in Rio de Janeiro

  • Visit Christ the Redeemer, the iconic statue of Christ atop a mountain

  • Get the cable to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for panoramic views

  • Copacabana beach and art deco palace

  • Visit Ipanema for the beach fashion boutiques

  • Take the iconic mosaic tile stairway that is Escadaria Selarón

  • Explore Rio’s rainforest at Tijuca National Park

  • View the art galleries in Santa Teresa

  • Upscale shopping and the chic beach in Leblon

  • Be sure to try their local cuisine! 

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The information above was accurate at the time of publication. moneycorp and its affiliates expressly disclaim any liability for the completeness or accuracy of the information contained on this page which may be subject to change.


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