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Exploring Rio’s Cultural Attractions

Heading to Rio for a major sporting event such as the World Cup or Summer Games is such a great reason to visit, but there is just so much to this beautiful city that surprises visitors and makes them want to go back again and again. Rio is nicknamed “Cidade Maravilhosa,” which translates into The Marvelous City, and once you get there it is easy to understand why the name is so well deserved.

Yes, there are fabulous beaches, many spectacular natural attractions, exceptional restaurants, and legions of beautiful sexy people to admire, but there is also a rich history and interesting culture (or rather many cultures) that is easy to explore. Several truly excellent new museums have opened in Rio that add greatly to the mix of architectural styles in the city, and offer exciting experiences for visitors. Here’s a round-up of some of Rio’s cultural attractions that you might want to add to your Summer Games itinerary.

Museu do Amanhã is a brand new but already iconic piece of architecture at Pier Mauá in the Port Region of Rio. The name translates as Museum of Tomorrow, and this science museum showcases ideas that shape the past, present, and future. Besides many exciting exhibits, and of course that breathtaking design, the museum also has an observatory, cafeteria, and beautiful gardens.

Museu de Arte do Rio (also known as The Mar) opened in 2013 and is another very cool building (actually three interconnected buildings each with a different architectural style). Here you’ll find a mix of historical art and exciting contemporary exhibits, with more than 3000 works on display. A visit to the rooftop restaurant is a must, for the views and the excellent food. 

Museu da Imagem e do Som (The MIS) moves to a fantastic new building in Copacabana in 2016, and again this building is going to be  an architectural icon. At this museum of audio and visual works you can learn everything about Rio, from the Samba and Bossa Nova, to Carnival and its most famous and legendary citizens, and see some excellent art exhibits too.

Museu da República is a beautifully restored stately home that served as Brazil’s presidential palace from 1894 until 1960. Here you’ll find all manner of artifacts relating to Brazil’s modern history, displayed in a gorgeous setting. The gardens of the museum are quite lovely and well worth exploring.

Museu Nacional De Belas Artes is the place to head if you adore classical sculpture and artworks, as this museum (styled after Paris’ The Louvre) has more than 20,000 pieces dating from the Middle Ages to more contemporary works. The museum mostly holds Brazilian works, although there are some impressive international pieces to be found there too.

Museu Nacional (The National Museum of Brazil) is considered one of the most important museums in the country, with a huge array of artifacts from the Americas, as well as Egyptian mummies, dinosaur fossils, and lots of other impressive historical items.

These are many more museums in Rio, where you can learn about everything from the Civil Police to Carmen Miranda. When booking with us to get to the Summer Games, we can recommend whatever cultural attractions best suit your interests and build a customized itinerary that allows you to explore this side of Rio (or whatever else it is you want to see while in the city). Contact us to find out how we can build you the trip of your dreams. 

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Just returned from our 18 day tour and wanted to thank you for all of your help in London and 2012 Olympics with our group. Job well done!
— Bob Sharp, 2012 Summer Games in London