21 Interesting And Fun Rio de Janeiro Facts [Explained]

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Samba, beautiful beaches, Carnival, delicious meats, these are all the things that Rio de Janeiro is known for. Everything from the lifestyle of the locals to the architecture, nature, and location is unique and lively. Anyone that wants to know what it means to be alive should visit Rio de Janeiro at least once. 

The locals are fun and will make you rethink what it means to live a joyous life. But the city is also known to be dangerous with its societal challenges and crime. Here are some Rio de Janeiro facts that offer a glimpse of the different facets of this famous Brazilian city.

Historical Rio de Janeiro Facts 

Human settlements started growing in Rio de Janeiro during the 16th century. Ever since then, the city has been one of the liveliest places on Earth. Here are some facts about Rio de Janeiro that will shed some light on its history.

It Used To Be A European Capital 


Brazil gained independence in the 19th century, but before that, Rio de Janeiro was actually kind of a European capital. At the beginning of this century, the troops of Napoleon were getting closer to Portugal for invasion. So, Dom Joao VI decided it was time to pack bags and move the entire Portuguese kingdom to Rio. 

1960 Was A Sad Year For The Brazilians 


It is no hidden fact about Brazil that the people are passionate about soccer, and very skillful at the sport as well.

16th July 1960 was a sad day for the nation because Brazil was playing against Uruguay in the World Cup. Everyone thought that Brazil would win the World Cup, but unfortunately, that did not happen. All the Brazilians went silent when this happened, and they don’t look back fondly on this memory. 

The Statue Of Christ Was Inaugurated During 1931


The appearance of Rio is directly associated with the Statue of Christ, which stands tall. It was even made to be one of the seven new wonders of the world. 

Most people don’t know this, but the statue is struck by lightning annually, and it is incredibly strong. This is easily one of the most famous landmarks in Brazil. 

Cultural Rio de Janeiro Facts 

Rio is all about dancing, singing, partying, outdoor sports, and much more. You will notice this when you visit the city and see the locals indulging in various activities. Here are some of the most fun facts about Rio de Janeiro and its culture.

Favelas Are An Important Part Of The City 


Rio has more than a thousand slums, and almost 1/4th of the locals live here since the 19th century. These are some of the most affordable housing options, but there is another dimension to these slums. 

Former African slaves created samba here, which is why they are an important part of Rio’s creative culture. 

However, it is also essential to know that some favelas as not safe for tourists to visit, and you should always double-check where you are going when wandering around Rio. It is perhaps not the best city to roam around randomly and aimlessly.

People Love Working Out Outside


You will notice locals playing sports at the beach, hiking and climbing the mountains, or just exercising outdoors. Even the main avenues in the city are closed on Sundays so that everyone can enjoy these spaces for such activities. It is when you will see people walking dogs, rollerblading, cycling, and even running.  

Feijoada Is The Most Beloved Local Dish 


What is Brazil famous for, you ask? Well, the top thing you shouldn’t miss in the local cuisine is the Feijoada. It is a stew created from black beans and various beef and pork cuts, which you must try out if you are looking for a hearty Brazilian meal. 

Traditional Brazilian food is a real treat for the taste buds and you should definitely spend some time exploring the food scene, from the tasty street snacks to indulgent desserts.

Interesting Rio de Janeiro Facts For Kids 

Rio is one of the most prominent Latin American cities and kids will no doubt hear about it. Here are some simple facts about Rio de Janeiro that can interest them to learn more.

The Locals Are Called Cariocas 


Cariocas comes from karai oca (white house), which were houses that the Portuguese built when they settled in Rio. Not long after this, the locals began referring to themselves as Cariocas. Even now, this is what locals are called in Rio. 

Floresta da Tijuca Is The Biggest Urban Forest 

Floresta de Tijuca is a conservation area that spans more than thirty-three square kilometers. It became an urban forest because of the reforestation measures implemented by the government. You can visit some of the best parts of this forest, which include Corcovado Mountain, Parque Lage, Botanical Gardens, and more. 

The National Library Has More Than 15 Million Items

It also comes at number seven as one of the largest libraries in the world. Anyone that loves to read should visit this library and find the hidden gems that will open your mind and perspective. The library is huge, and the architecture might also inspire you to write. 

Useful Rio de Janeiro Facts For Travelers

Rio de Janeiro is a city that never sleeps, and it can charm you with its incredible aliveness. It is vital to know some things before you travel, which include the following Rio de Janeiro fun facts.

The City’s Coastline Has More Than A Hundred Islands 


Guanabara Bay is what surrounds the city, and there are a lot of islands that you can explore. Here you will find some amazing beaches and key highlights in Rio de Janeiro such as the Sugarloaf mountain. Be sure to check out some of the different activities you can do, and plan your time accordingly because you probably can’t cover them all in a day.

>Check Christ The Redeemer And SugarLoaf Tour

Go During The Largest Party On Earth


The biggest party on Earth is the Rio Carnival, which will provide you with the perfect opportunity to get your dancing shoes on. Grand parades take place even throughout the city, and people wear costumes while dancing to samba music and enjoying delicious Brazilian cuisine. 

If you visit during the festival, get creative with your costume and dance like there is no tomorrow. Also, note that this is one of the peak travel periods, so it is recommended to book your accommodation and stuff beforehand if you intend to visit then.

The Sky Is The Bluest You Will Find Anywhere


Scientists at the British National Physical Laboratory created a spectrometer to determine which place in the world has the bluest sky. Turns out that Rio de Janeiro has the bluest skies, and you will understand what we are talking about when you travel. When the weather is great, you can even soar through the vast skies on a helicopter tour.

There Are QR Codes On The Sidewalks 

One of the intriguing things you will notice in the city are the mosaics on the sidewalks. But what is most interesting about them is the pattern of QR codes built into these mosaics. Tourists can scan the codes and get navigation information to guide them around the city.

Common Facts About Rio de Janeiro 

Many people have heard of this lively city because it is famous for the Carnival and many other things. Here are some general Rio de Janeiro facts to know about.

The City Has Its Official Song 

Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) is the official song of the city, which you will hear all around during the Carnival. Andre Filho composed and wrote the song in the 20th century for the city. Since then, you can think of this song as the national anthem of this region. 

Ronaldo Was Born Here 

Ronaldo Luis Nazario was born in the suburbs of Rio, and he began playing football at an early age. He played for his neighborhood clubs until he got a chance to play in the big leagues. Brazil has produced many exceptional footballers with time. 

Street Art Decorates Many Of The City’s Buildings


Not only is Rio lively, but it is also very colorful. Street art is rampant, and locals use this medium to express themselves. As you stroll through neighborhoods, keep your eyes peeled for these artistic creatives and maybe take exceptional pictures. 

King Momo Is A Mythical Figure 

The King of Carnival is King Momo, and you can trace his origins back to Ancient Greece. He is the symbol of freedom and partying; you will always find him around Carnival. Usually, a chubby man cosplays this role with a cape and crown to represent Momo. 

Other Interesting Facts About Rio de Janeiro 

There are endless Rio de Janeiro facts that are impossible to list, but here are a few more that provide a better understanding of the city.

Rolling Stones Had Their Largest Concert Here 

In 2006, Rolling Stones played at Copacabana Beach, and more than a million people came out to see them. It has been deemed to be one of the largest rock shows in history. No words can explain the buzzing energy of that day. 

The Most Cost-Effective Way To Get Around The City Is A Bus 


Not everyone travels in luxury, as some people have a budget to adhere to. If you want to stretch your money while traveling, then take the bus. It is a great way to travel around, and it will get you where you need to go. However, the metro will likely be the most convenient method to get you to specific districts.  

You Can Take A 45 Minute Flight To Visit Sao Paulo 


Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are only 300 miles apart, so if you are pressed for time but want to visit this metropolis, you can hop on a short flight. It will allow you to check out another major Brazilian city, and make some comparisons between them.

Torcida Javern da Flamengo Was Found In 1967 

The soccer fan club has more than thirty-two million fans. It has been an important part of the city for soccer fans for a long time now. 

Discovering More Fun Facts About Rio de Janeiro 

The Brazilian party town is a city that boasts diversity, energy, and culture. These are just some of the amazing Rio de Janeiro facts to know about. From its iconic landmarks such as the Statue of Christ to its flavorful cuisine like Feijoada, the city has so much waiting to be discovered. 

Although you should keep in mind the city’s safety concerns and be careful about which neighborhood to explore, don’t let it stop you from visiting. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and beautiful scenery, Rio de Janeiro is undoubtedly one of the world’s most extraordinary cities.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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