Brazil on a budget: Experience Rio for free

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in one of the wealthiest countries of South America: Brazil. It is difficult to imagine that it is possible to explore this culturally and economically rich place without having to pay a cent. Here is how:



Although many places in the world charge a fee to view landscapes, there are places of natural beauty available for your viewing pleasure. Whether you kick back and soak up the sun on Copacabana beach or stroll through the famous national park of Parque Nacional da Tijuca and take in the views of the city from there, you can take in the beautiful scenery free. Additional to this is Parque Lage; an Italian-inspired mansion with lavish gardens



Culture and Religion

Rio de Janeiro hosts a diversity of religions and beliefs. This gives rise to extravagant and varying demonstrations and displays of spirituality, especially in the form of architecture. A site for sore eyes from the outside, but drenched in gold on the interior is the Mosteiro do São Bento that was founded by monks in 1590. Similarly so, Santa Teresa is a charming little place set up by two nuns in 1750. Unlike these two modest places of faith, Catedral Metropolitana is a spectacle to marvel at with its stained glass windows and giant statue of Jesus.

Culturally, Rio has a lot to offer. Pedra do Sal is a melting pot of Portuguese and African influence, dating back to slavery. It is also where Samba originates; a testament to its roots in African origins. To experience a more modern take on the cultural practices of the area, the local markets and downtown Rio offer a blend of the old and new in a contemporary, cosmopolitan culture rooted in tradition.

Sítio Roberto Burle Marx



Ever-evolving public art are on display in Lapa and landscape art in Sítio Roberto Burle Marx provides the viewer with aesthetic and monumental tributes to Brazil. To add a further dimension to the area’s art, why not visit the former chocolate factory-turned art studio: Fabrica Bhering. This building offers new artists a space in which they can explore and express their creativity. For a variety of art forms, head to Instituto Moreira Salles free concerts and performances.

Biblioteca Nacional



With a history as rich and vast as that of Brazil, it is difficult to avoid brushes with the past in Rio de Janeiro. And why would you want to avoid it? There is so much to learn! The obvious starting point would be the national library, Biblioteca Nacional, where you can browse through its wealth of knowledge. Then move on to the recently restored Paço Imperial, a palace built in the 1800s and home to old books and music. After which, a visit to Rui Barbosa Museum is in order. It opened in 1849, and both present 19th century architecture in the city and preserve the memory of public figure, Rui Barbosa. Finally, a trip to Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil offers a view of more recent history.

Parque Lage to Corcovado



There are not too many free activities in Rio, other than those that only require you to watch, walk, hike, jog, run, or climb. There are hiking and walking trails through the Tijuca forest, from Parque Lage to Corcovado, and along beaches such as Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. If the weather does not hold up or if you are not feeling up for physical activities, why not head down to the racetrack, the Jockey Club, and watch the races.


It is not easy travelling to and around any place on a budget, let alone for free. There are five categories of things you can do for free while in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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