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The city of Rio de Janeiro lies on the Atlantic coast of Brazil and has a population of around 6 million. It was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century and still has the largest Portuguese population outside of Lisbon. The influence of these early settlers is seen in the city's architecture, with buildings ranging from the 16th to 19th centuries blending with more modern structures. Rio is well known for its fabulous beaches, including Copacabana and Ipanema. The statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain is probably the city's most famous sight and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. If you're visiting Rio you can take a cable car ride up Sugarloaf Mountain or watch a football match at Maracana Stadium, one of the largest in the world.
Rio has a wide choice of accommodation for tourists. Some of the most popular and expensive hotels can be found by Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. However, there are some good quality and cheaper alternatives in the Flamengo and Catete areas. The busiest times to visit are during New Year and the Carnival period, when hotels book up well in advance. The Carnival is held before Lent and features elaborate parades and samba schools.
The main airport for the city is Galeao-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, which provides domestic and international flights. Once you arrive the main form of public transport is the numerous bus routes, as well as two Metro lines. The city has the oldest working electric tramway in South America and you can catch a ferry across Guanabara Bay to Niterói.