Rio De Janeiro is one of the top cities to visit. Beautiful beaches, landmarks attractions and a lively cultural life, la Cidade Maravilhosa got them all. If you are planning a 4 or 5 days stay my advice is to go for our Best things to do in Rio De Janeiro itinerary. Although If you have more time you should visit the treasures of Rio De Janeiro architecture. Here is your guide to the top spots you can’t miss If you love architecture.
Museum of Tomorrow, Neo-Futuristic
Start your architecture immersion from the Museum of Tomorrow. If you’re here you’re probably an architecture lover. That’s why I don’t need to tell you who’s the brilliant mind behind the skeleton (isn’t the bell ringing?), that hosts the visionary museum of Tomorrow.
Santiago Calatrava designed this amazing structure for the port area renewal before the Olympic Games. The building was opened in December 2015. Its main focus is on sustainability and an ecological world. Entrance fee is around 5€.
Mosteiro de Sao Bento, Exterior : Early Colonial, Interior : Baroque
The Sao Bento monastery was founded in 1590 and its construction was completed in 1755. It’s situated on a hill that has a nice view on Rio’s bay. By the way, the Museum of Tomorrow picture above was taken from Sao Bento’s hill. The building has been built in an early colonial style. Although the exteriors are very clean and minimalist, the interiors have been decorated in Baroque.
Nowadays the abbey is still operational. When visiting remember to be respectful. The entrance is free.
Confeitaria Colombo, Art Nouveau
Following our steps it’s launch time! What better place than the historical Confeitaria Colombo?! The Cafe is one of the oldest restaurant in Rio de Janeiro. Founded in 1894 it offers an immersion in the Belle Epoque. The glasses and mirrors were added during its renovation between 1912 and 1918.
The place is always very packed and touristy but honestly it’s worth the hype. The food is excellent. We chose the buffet formula and the choice was very large. Our extra tip : visit on a weekday, It’s usually less crowded and you can enjoy some shopping in the area.
Theatro Municipal and Cinelandia, Art Nouveau
When wandering in the city center there’s a square you must stop by, Praça Floriano Pleixoto. Better known locally as Cinelandia this area showcases some of the most impressive buildings in Rio De Janeiro. The area was completely rebuilt during the early decades of the 20th century. As for Confeitaria Colombo it was inspired by Art Nouveau and especially from Paris.
Metropolitana Cathedral, Modernist
Last stop of our walk is the very original Metropolitana Cathedral. The structure is inspired by Mayan pyramids and was completed in 1979. The building is 75 meters high and has a capacity of 20.000 people.
The interior is decorated with 4 rectilinear stained glass. Each colour has a different meaning. Green, represents the elements of unity of the church. Holy, in red, concerns two qualities of the Church: it is sanctified and sanctifying. Catholic, in blue, refers to the Church’s mission to save men. Apostolic, in yellow, alludes to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
Our itinerary in the city center is over but… Before to go you should about two more attractions that you should visit as an architecture lover. Let’s see them.
Rio De Janeiro architecture, honorable mentions :
Museum of Contemporary Art, Modern Architecture
The MAC is situated in Niteroi and has an unique structure that reminds an UFO. Architect Oscar Niemeyer built it between 1991 and 1996. The Museum hosts a very large contemporary art collection.
The Museum is situated in Niteroi which is quite far from other attractions. Our advice is to enjoy also the Boa Viagem beach which is very close by the Museum entrance.
Christ The Redeemer, Art Deco
Did you know that the Christ the Redeemer is the world’s largest art deco statue? This impressive statue was built between 1926 and 1931 and was elected as one of the new wonders of the world in 2007. It’s situated on the Corcovado mountain.
You can visit it by taking the Corcovado Train which brings you to the top in 20 minutes. I took it both times I’ve visited and It’s an unique ride with a beautiful view over the city.
Which signature building would you like to visit the most? Let me know in comments. Form more travel inspirations continue your reading here.