Walking tours in Rio, like in many countries, are also a trend and a great way to visit and discover the city. But, different from other cities, in Rio, we have different styles of walking tours that can deliver the true culture and also the nature of this beautiful destination.

free walking tour in rio

Let’s start with the classic walking tour in Downtown area that will give you a good idea of the city, a bit of history and the ‘feeling’ of Rio. This walking tour starts from a meeting point near a metro station and it’s tip based. The tour guide don’t officially charges for the service but you can (and you should) give them a tip based on their performance and the hability to make the tour fun and interesting. It’s a good introduction to the City Center of Rio, and you’ll get confidence to walk around by yourself and maybe come back alone to the museums and art places you pass by to make a longer visit, discovering the inside of these places. We recommend the Free Walker Rio (https://freewalkertours.com/). On their website you’ll see different options, some paid versions, like a pub crawl or the food tour, but the one we describe up here is the Free Walking tour Downtown and Lapa.

the bossa nova walking tour in rio

Another nice walking tour in Rio is our own, the The Bossa Nova Walking Tour from Rio Bossa Experience (https://riobossaexperience.com.br/). The Bossa Nova music style is like the soundtrack of Rio. You must be asking yourself “What about the Samba?”. Well, Samba is strong in Rio but also São Paulo and some other places. Samba is for Brazil as Bossa Nova is for Rio.

Rio’s “official” music style is Bossa Nova. And on this Bossa Nova walking tour in Rio you’ll visit 10 different spots related to the history and somehow connected to the main composers, performers and also the ‘subjects’ of the songs, like the Girl from Ipanema. Yes, she’s real. The muse exists and she was (and still is) beautiful. Helô Pinheiro is her name and she was not a creation of Vinícius de Moraes and Tom Jobim’s mind.

This is a musical walking tour and the tour guide, in addition to the history and information, he’ll also sing and play the songs on the guitar as you walk on the circuit that goes by scenic spots at Ipanema and Copacabana area.

rainforest walking tour

The next recommendation is nature related as coming to Rio and not visiting the tropical rainforest it’s loosing a great opportunity. In Rio, we have one of the largest urban rainforests in the world, Tijuca National Park.

Jungle Me (https://jungleme.com.br) performs amazing hiking tours in Rio at Tijuca Forest with different difficulty levels and you certainly find one that fits your profile, assuming you like nature. The tours give you the ‘jungle’ and also spectacular views from the mountains to the city. They keep the groups small (usually maximum 6 participants) and the tour guides are very knowledgeable, talking about the biome, the rainforest,  some history and curiosities about the flora and fauna.

And yes, it’s possible to see some wildlife like monkeys, toucans or coatis. If hiking in trails is not your thing, a good suggestion is to visit and walk at the Botanical Garden and this is something you can do by yourself. It will be very pleasant activity with a nature touch.

favela walking tour

Going deeper in the culture and if you want to understand the Brazilian society and not just visit the nice, pretty and touristic spots, a favela walking tour it’s a great way. You probably will now think about if it’s safe to go and visit a favela and the answer is YES. There’s a proper way to do it, so.

Despite the things you see on TV, 99% of the people living  in favelas are workers and nice folks. Living their lives and struggling with the system, like anybody else, but from a different perspective. Brazilian society has a big gap between rich and poor and the favelas are the greatest example of that. The lack of opportunies, education, is probably the root of this issue. Even though, there’s a lot to see and to learn when visiting a favela, especially if you go with the locals as your tour conductors.

We recommend Zezinho and Favela Adventures (www.favelatour.org). And yes, there’s crime, mainly drug dealing, but tours are clever to know WHERE and WHEN to go. With the local tour conductors you will walk inside the favela, get to know the people, the local school, some NGO initiatives and by doing so, you’re supporting and helping local projects and the local community.

architecture walking tour in rio de janeiro

If you like architecture, there’s also a walking tour in Rio focused on that. The tour guides are also architects and will be able to give you the expert perspective. Rio has very interesting architecture because it was the capital of Portugal from 1808 to 1821 (yes, that’s exactly what you read).

The Portuguese Royal family moved to Rio during the Napoleonic Wars, they were based in Rio and during these times many interesting things happened here, in terms of art and architecture. Later on, when Brazil became a Republic, and Rio had an engineer as a mayor (Pereira Passos), we had another ‘wave’ of constructiona and transformation of the architecture in Downtown area.

Anyway, a lot of amazing information to get and the Rio Arq Tours team (http://www.rioarqtours.com.br) will enlight you with it.

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