Centro Rio Tour

4.32 out of 5 based on 34 customer ratings
(34 customer reviews)

Theatro Municipal (Municipal Theatre)

Lapa Arches

Old Cathedral


Graffiti in Centro Rio

Metropolitan Cathedral

One of our tour groups

Centro Tour Highlights:

Lapa Arches – the aqueducts were built in the XVIII century and over 850 feet long, and connect Santa Teresa and Lapa.
Metropolitan Cathedral – this architectural landmark is over 250 feet high, and holds over 20,000 people.
Santana Park – lush park downtown, where Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca first declared Brazil’s independence from Portugal.
Municipal Theater – the premier theater in Rio, it first opened in 1909 and still hosts Rio’s symphony and ballet company.
Praça XV – the beautifully preserved former home of the ruling family, the square is surrounded by historical churches and monuments.

Walking Tour of Rio de Janeiro
Travel like a local on your walking tour of Rio. At Real Rio Tours, we are committed to minimizing our impact on the environment and exploring Rio like a true carioca. That’s why our tours utilize Rio’s efficient public transportation whenever possible. Note: Transportation fees not included.

Centro Tour Details:

Duration:4 hours
Time:11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Meeting point:Praça XV (Map)
Type:Group tour
Group size:Up to 10 people
Languages spoken:English, Portuguese
Included:Local expert guide
Not included:Incidentals, transportation, entry fees
Cancellation:72 hours

Join us on our fascinating walking tour of Centro, the very heart of Rio de Janeiro. While the district is dominated by businesses, bars and restaurants, you’ll learn about its rich history as the political center of Brazil before the capital was moved to Brasilia. Your Centro Tour begins in Praça XV, the historical epicenter of Rio. The Paço Imperial (Royal Palace) hugs the plaza. After exploring the palace, you’ll head to the famed alleyway, Rua do Comércio, and visit the childhood home of Hollywood legend Carmen Miranda.

After touring that, you’ll visit Rua Primeiro de Marco and head to the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (the CCBB). The CCBB is one of the cultural highlights of Rio, and home to countless interesting exhibits and performances through the year, and if you are lucky you will get to see something cutting edge, while also exploring its striking interior.

Once you’ve explored the CCBB, you’ll head to see the oldest church in all of Rio, São Bento, which dates back to the 16th century. This world heritage site is decorated with ornate gold details that give it an unforgettable profound radiance. You’ll continue your exploration of Rio’s monuments with a stop at the Catedral Metropolitana, one of Rio’s most inspired churches. You’ll admire its tremendous stained glass and incredible pyramid ceiling while visiting one of Brazil’s most interesting architectural highlights.

Next up on your tour of Centro Rio, is a stop by Cinelândia one of Rio’s most famous squares. The square’s highlights include the legendary Teatro Municipial, one of the world’s most ornate and still home to Rio’s national ballet, and the Odeon, Rio’s oldest theater.

In between architectural highlights, you’ll also explore local spots like Saara, the area’s Lebanese shopping district, complete with a flea market full of every trinket and treasure you can think of. You’ll finish up your tour with a sample of local epicurean favorites with a coffee and pastry break at Rio’s most famous café.

Don’t delay! Book your tour of Rio’s Centro neighborhood today!

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Tour FAQs

Where does your El Centro Tour meet?

Your tour's meeting point will be sent over to you via email as soon as you book your tour. Your meeting point email will include detailed directions to your tour's starting point, including a map and photo of where your guide will be waiting to begin your tour.

What time does the El Centro Tour begin?

It begins at 11:00 AM to ensure that you will get to see all of El Centro's most famous sites.

What should I bring with me on my El Centro Tour?

You should bring comfortable shoes, cool clothes, and a few reis to purchase lunch and any souvenirs you may want to bring back with you.

What if I have more questions about my tour of El Centro?

Simply send us an email at info@realriotours.com or head to our contact page and we'll be happy to help.

34 reviews for Centro Rio Tour

  1. 5 out of 5

    We were glad we decided to take a tour of downtown because there’s more to see than meets the eye. The guide showed us places that weren’t in our guide book and we had never heard of. I’ll be recommending this tour in the future.

  2. 4 out of 5

    If you like history, you’ll like this tour. You see some more modern day sights like the park but mainly it’s a tour of old Rio. Our guide kept us well entertained.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Our guide knew when to go where so we never waited in line once. Highly recommend this tour. It was one of our favorite memories of Rio.

  4. 4 out of 5

    This was a fun day! Our guide led us through the streets with ease and talked the entire time. The Sa’ara flea market was a nice break from sightseeing, we picked up football shirts for our boys that they love.

  5. 3 out of 5

    We might have liked the Full Day tour to see more of Rio. This one only shows you the downtown area. Our guide was very good though, his ongoing talk about Rio was the best part of the tour.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wonderful walking tour of downtown. There were times I felt like we were in a European city. The guide was charismatic, friendly, and knowledgeable.

  7. 2 out of 5

    It was hard to understand our guide at times. Regardless, it was an authentic and enjoyable experience.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Our other plans fell through so we booked this tour at the last minute. It worked out well. We met the guide close to our hotel and there were only two other people on the tour. Lunch was at a nice out of the way cafe with great salgados.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Smallest group tour I took while in Rio. 3 people including myself. The guide was great. He struck a good balance between sightseeing, speaking, and letting us experience the sites on our own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    We booked this tour on a Saturday after a recommendation from our hotel. We were glad we did because the downtown was less busy. The guide was excellent and informative.

  11. 4 out of 5

    A good tour. Picked up a bit late, but didn’t really affect the day. The guide kept it interesting with his chatter (good English) and he checked in to make sure we were all keeping up pace. Recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    We felt very safe during our stay in Rio. Still it was nice that our guide gave us a “safety talk” and reminded us to keep our cameras away, bags closed, and so on during the tour. The tour was interesting and informative.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Despite the rain the tour was great. Our guide came prepared with umbrellas when we needed them and we made the best of it. He really knew his stuff, his account of the history of Rio was fascinating and really made the tour.

  14. 4 out of 5

    A great way to see central Rio. The pit stop in the park broke up the tour nicely.

  15. 5 out of 5

    From her first greeting to goodbye, our guide was just fantastic. We wished we could have spent more time with her. Rio is a lovely city but we couldn’t have experienced it on our own like this. Thanks Marianne!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Thanks for the good guide and service on your tour.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thank you Marianne!! I had such a nice time on this tour, I wish it lasted twice as long! Santana Park was just beautiful. Our guide took a picture of us with the swans that was a perfect memento of the day. Take this tour if you can!

  18. 5 out of 5

    We were quite fortunate, our group was only the two of us and another couple who spoke English. The walk was just under 4 hours and at a good pace. The guide talked the entire time and we learned much more about the city than we could have on our own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Small group and friendly guide named Michael who spoke both English and Portuguese to the group. His English was perfect and having a bilingual group made the tour a bit more interesting. I would definitely recommend this tour to others, especially if you get this guide.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Our guide was fantastic. He knew which places had admission and the best times to visit each one. He took us into the CCBB to see an exhibition of currency from Brazil and around the world. Unique experience and even better free admission!

  21. 3 out of 5

    The tour itself was as we expected. It’s a good way to spend an afternoon. Our guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Our guide was extremely knowledgeable. He obviously knew about the history but also how tied it in to current events and politics, which was really interesting. We felt that we learned a lot in four hours and it was very good value.

  23. 4 out of 5

    The day of our tour the Praca (our meeting point) was extremely crowded. We were 10 minutes late just looking for our group. At least they didn’t leave without us. The guide was apologetic and extended the tour which was nice.

  24. 5 out of 5

    This is a good tour for architecture buffs. Of course, it’s Rio, you have Niemeyer, Afonso Reidy, etc. But the colonial downtown was a pleasure that I was not expecting. Casa Franca Brasil was exquisite, worth the trek down Vargas Avenue on a hot day. The guide was quite knowledgeable as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    I was in charge of selecting tours for group of us visiting Rio. We took the El Centro and Santa Teresa tours with this company. The El Centro tour was by far everyone’s favorite. Wonderful guide and we spent enough time at each place without feeling rushed. An excellent way to see downtown if you’re not familiar with the area.

  26. 5 out of 5

    The whole day was great and the guide was amazing. We heard him speak probably five languages (though the tour itself was in English). Really enjoyed it.

  27. 3 out of 5

    Ok tour, pretty good guide. But we spent way too long at lunch (1 1/4 hr) that really could have been spent seeing more of downtown.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tour could have been longer but for the price it’s a value. Our guide was an expert, basically a walking book of Rio. He knew a lot about Rio and when we asked questions he knew the answers. I would recommend this tour to others.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Delightful tour! We saw all the popular sights (mostly churches) and some lesser known ones as well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Luis our guide was great. I would take this again.

  31. 5 out of 5

    This was my favorite tour of Rio. Our guide was fantastic, on time and full of info about the neighborhood. We got to really ‘know’ a neighborhood we would have never visited on our own.

  32. 4 out of 5

    Excellent tour given by Marianne. She was energetic, knowledgeable, helpful and kind.

  33. 5 out of 5

    Found this tour after asking for recommendations on Facebook. I wouldn’t have found this company otherwise but I’m glad I did. We took the El Centro and Santa Teresa tours so I’ll leave this review on both. We had the same guide for both. He was excellent, extremely well prepared. We were able to see a lot and have time to wander in between sights.

  34. 5 out of 5

    Good day tour to take in Rio. The definite highlights were the cafe Colombo and flea market – apparently this is the market where everyone goes. We saw the exact same souvenirs in Leblon for 3x the price!

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