Ilha Fiscal#12 in Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro
Set apart from the bustling sights and sounds of central Rio, this remote neo-Gothic castle rests on a tucked away island in the Guanabara Bay. Completed in 1889 and once a prime location for Brazilian Custom Service, Ilha Fiscal now serves as an illuminated city gem. Inside the castle, you'll find hardwood mosaic floors, elaborate stained glass, as well as the transformed Ceremonial Room that's now used for Navy formal events.
Guided tours of Ilha Fiscal are offered Thursday through Sunday at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. from the Cultural Center of the Navy, near Praça XV. The island is accessed by schooner and bus from the Naval Museum. Adult admission is $25 reais with discounts offered for seniors, teachers and students. For more information, visit the Ilha Fiscal website (written in Portuguese).
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#1 Christ the Redeemer
This iconic landmark is a must-see attraction in Rio. Recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, this statue of Jesus Christ stands with arms outstretched to the city from above Corcovado Mountain's staggering 2,330-foot elevation.
Started in 1922 and completed in 1931, the monument — made of concrete and covered in soapstone mosaic tiles — stands 125 feet tall as a religious and cultural symbol of the Brazilian people's warm and welcoming culture. The monument rests atop Corcovado Mountain in Tijuca National Park and is the most famous attraction in Rio de Janeiro, visited by nearly 2 million people each year. Recent travelers recommend visiting on a day with clear skies since the vantage point is the best in the city.