9. Rio de Janeiro
Known as the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City), this glimmering Brazilian metropolis has certainly earned its title. Lined with white-sand beaches, lush rainforests, and staggered green mountains, Rio de Janeiro boasts dramatic views from nearly every angle. From the slopes of Corcovado Mountain, you’ll admire the striking 125-foot tall Christ the Redeemer who overlooks Rio’s pristine beaches overflowing with sun-seekers. From Rio’s sun-drenched shores along Copacabana and Ipanema, you’ll admire the picture-perfect backdrop that has attracted native Brazilians and visitors alike for over 500 years. There’s so much more to Rio than scenic vistas and tropical rainforests. Glitz, high fashion, and a laid-back attitude dominate the city’s character (not to mention soccer!) Stroll along Avenida Atlântica in Copa, and you’ll find a city brimming with bikini-clad beachgoers. At night you’ll hear the soothing sounds of samba pulsating through the city streets in Lapa. If you visit in February in time for Carnival, you’ll experience Brazil’s vibrant Portuguese masquerade that draws revelers from across the globe.