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View of sunny Flamengo beach in Rio de Janeiro

Compare the best flights to Rio de Janeiro

Jet off to Rio de Janeiro and you'll land in a vibrant and exuberant city with beautiful beaches, iconic landmarks and a rich history. Towering mountains provide the backdrop for your holiday, while passionate samba beats deliver the soundtrack.

Why go?

Whether soaking up the sun on a famous beach or enjoying the city's thriving nightlife, a Rio holiday won't disappoint...

After landing in colourful and exciting Rio de Janeiro, the only problem is deciding what to do first.

Head to one of the city's world-class beaches, such as Copacabana or Ipanema, to top up your tan.

If you're more of a culture vulture, take a trip to Cinelandia Square to explore old Rio, with its historic buildings such as the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Municipal Theatre.

Other iconic landmarks in the city include the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue, towering above Rio atop Corcovado Mountain, and one of the world's largest football stadiums, the Maracana. A cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain rewards with panoramic views of the city, while a jeep safari through Tijuca Rainforest will thrill you with exotic plants, birds and wildlife.

Synonymous with Rio of course, is Carnival: every year pulsating Latin beats fill the streets, along with parades and dancing. If you are visiting Rio at this time, Sambadrome stadium is a top spot for enjoying this unforgettable celebration.

How to get there?

Getting to Rio from the UK is relatively straightforward. Find out your flight options to start your holiday smoothly...

Direct flights to Rio de Janeiro from the UK take between 11 and 13 hours with airlines including British Airways and the Brazilian TAM Airlines, although the flight time will be longer with a US or European stopover.

There are good European flight connections via Paris, Frankfurt and Lisbon. American Airlines, United, US Airways and Delta fly to Rio via New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami.

Most international flights land at Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (GIG), which is around 12.5 miles from central Rio. Some domestic flights land at Santos Dumont Airport, in the city's downtown.

Flights to Rio should be secured in good time - especially if you are planning to travel during carnival time, when they will be more expensive.  Use the TravelSupermarket tool to find cheap flights to Rio de Janeiro.

Getting to and from the airport

Once you've landed, you'll be raring to get out and explore Rio and Brazil. But first you need to get to your accommodation...

The international airport is located outside of town. A taxi from the taxi rank will cost around £20 for a trip into central Rio. For safety's sake, it's very important to use only licensed cabs and not take a lift with someone offering a taxi service from a private car.

Several companies run shuttle buses that take you directly to your hotel. A transfer to Copacabana would cost around £10 per person, one way. Counters in the arrivals hall sell tickets. There are also local buses running to various parts of Rio.

If hiring a car, you can pick up your vehicle on arrival at the airport. You're advised to pre-book your rental before leaving the UK to ensure you get the best price and are guaranteed a car on arrival.

Where to stay?

Whether you want a hotel with luxury and glamour or somewhere more moderate to suit your budget, picking the right part of Rio is key...

As a city with an edgy reputation, it's important to choose a safe part of Rio to stay in - follow local police advice for safety. Pickpocketing targeting foreigners is rife, and you should always keep an eye on your personal belongings.

Ipanema and Copacabana, in Zona Sul, are the main tourist areas to stay in, and both are lined with big hotels along the beach front. Rooms facing the bay have tremendous views, and you'll be well located in this upmarket area for the beach action on the famous strip, as well as for eating out, shopping and sightseeing on Corcovado and Sugar Loaf Mountains. Renting an apartment is another option in this lively area.

The Centro district also has a good stock of hotels, although they tend to be more business-oriented. This part of town is also close to the city's museums and theatres, as well as the Cathedral of St Sebastian.  It can be very quiet at night, except for the Santa Teresa district, but you may feel safer than in the beach areas.

As building work for the 2016 Olympics continues, many hotels will be popping up in the Zona Oeste area close to the sporting venues and many beaches. Transport links, including  the metro, easily get you into town from here.