Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Rio Famous Museums Walk (Self Guided), Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is the perfect spot for visitors interested in cultural activities. As well as many great theaters and other cultural venues, Rio is home to more than 50 different museums. Take this tour to see the most important art museums in the city.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Rio Famous Museums Walk Map

Guide Name: Rio Famous Museums Walk
Guide Location: Brazil » Rio de Janeiro (See other walking tours in Rio de Janeiro)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.0 Km or 4.3 Miles
Author: gene
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Ilha Fiscal Castle
  • Casa França Brasil
  • Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB)
  • National History Museum
  • National Fine Arts Museum
  • Modern Art Museum (MAM)
  • Museum of the Estate of Heaven
Ilha Fiscal Castle

1) Ilha Fiscal Castle (must see)

This green neo-gothic 19th-century castle, which sits on its own miniature island in the city, was the site of the Last Ball of the Monarchy held in 1889 by the last Emperor of Brazil, Pierre II (a painting in the inside room shows the jet set of that time). Nowadays, the castle forms part of the Cultural Complex of the Brazilian Navy in Rio de Janeiro and has a museum open to the public. Among its attractions, there are permanent and temporary exhibitions that reveal the history of the island and the Navy. You need to plan on around two hours for your visit.

Why You Should Visit:
The island commands an impressive view of the Bay, the Sugarloaf, the Corcovado Mountain with Christ the Redeemer on top, and the downtown area.
The fact you get there by boat, through the Guanabara Bay, makes the tour even more magical, because of the impressive scenery. A true win for all ages!

Purchase your ticket at the Museu Naval on the waterfront (a couple of blocks north of Praça XV), which is above average and well worth a visit in itself.
If you don't speak Portuguese, either a separate guide or a booklet to help will be provided at Ilha Fiscal (make sure to be around at the beginning of the visit so you get yours).
Casa França Brasil

2) Casa França Brasil

Built in 1820, the Casa França Brasil is the country's first neo-classical building. Today a French cultural center, it hosts visual arts, photography, print and sculpture exhibitions that reflect the cultural relationship between France and Brazil. It's made all the more attractive to visit by its lack of cover charge and its excellent on-site restaurant.
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB)

3) Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB) (must see)

This center boasts beautiful architecture with its original lines dating from the start of the 20th century. It hosts the main cultural exhibitions that take place in the city while also offering local art and photography exhibitions, theater performances, dance and music events, and plenty more. In one of the rare moments when no exhibition is available you can enjoy the architecture of the building, especially the elevator and the views from the second floor. The main foyer is a lovely place to sit with a coffee and there is also a small bookshop.

Why You Should Visit:
To witness the transformation of a classical style bank into a hub of cultural magnificence – simply stunning, and you can choose what to do inside.
Besides permanent & temporary exhibitions (usually free of charge), this is a great stopover to drink some water, grab a snack, and use clean bathrooms.
The permanent collection is a must-see, and their gallery dedicated to the history of currency is amazing, with bills and coins from different times and countries.

If you have time, visit the nearby Candelária Church, as well as the building behind the CCBB – the "Casa da França" (House of France).
There's also a very cool music store close by, on the same street just a couple of blocks away, in one corner.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 9am-9pm
National History Museum

4) National History Museum (must see)

Established in 1922, the Museu Histórico Nacional is truly a must-see museum with some 300,000 items on display. This includes the largest collection of old coins and notes in all of Latin America. The complex that houses the museum is from Fort Santiago in Ponta Dungeon, which was one of the strategic points for defending the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Why You Should Visit:
To get a very comprehensive overview of the country's rich culture from colonial to modern times. Spacious, well-lit building with clean restrooms and interesting exhibits in every room.
There is also a small but adequate gift shop, plus a very above-average cafe that completes the experience with a good/affordable set menu plus drinks in a lovely setting.

Combine your visit with the Colombo Bakery, Paço Imperial, Cinelândia and other central locations.
An audio guide is offered next to the ticket desk but entirely not necessary if you can read English.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 10am-5:30pm; Sat, Sun & Holidays: 1-5pm
Admission is free on Sundays; temporary exhibitions may have specific times and ticket values.
National Fine Arts Museum

5) National Fine Arts Museum (must see)

Open since 1937, the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes (MNBA) boasts a collection of works by Brazilian and international artists dating back as far as the 1700s. Its exhibitions include sculptures, engravings, paintings and illustrations as well as decorative artworks such as furniture, medals, folk handicrafts and even some pieces of African Art. You can easily spend a day here.

Why You Should Visit:
To see the wealth of Rio when it was the capital of Brasil for centuries, getting a sense of the country's art history in a very relaxed manner.
Besides, admission to this old and well-preserved building is very inexpensive and seniors (even foreign) can get in for free.
If there is one building or one activity in Rio de Janeiro that proves the city isn't just beaches and cocktails, it's this.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 10am-6pm; Sat, Sun & Holidays: 1-6pm
Admission is free on Sundays
Modern Art Museum (MAM)

6) Modern Art Museum (MAM) (must see)

The exhibitions of the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro are made up of significant works by 20th-century artists. The museum's collection represents a comprehensive and sophisticated display of the artistic evolution of the last century, both inside and outside Brazil. Home to some 4,000 photographs by Brazilian photographers as well, the museum's building is all glass walls, so everywhere you look you'll also get a stunning view of the beach.

Why You Should Visit:
To experience experimental art exhibits, together with exciting beautiful jewelry and home accessories by the top artisans and designers working in Brazil today, which are sold in the shop.
The setting is lovely due to the museum being located on the waterfront in Flamengo Park which is lovely to walk through and has views of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Don't miss the exhibits outside which you can see for free even if you are just passing by. Worthwhile to get a first impression.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 12am-6pm; Sat, Sun & Holidays: 11am-6pm
Museum of the Estate of Heaven

7) Museum of the Estate of Heaven

The Museum of the Estate of Heaven (Museu da Chácara do Céu) brings together a number of paintings, drawings and prints by famous international artists such as Matisse, Modigliani and Degas. It also houses a great collection of Brazilian art, including maps and paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries as well as plenty of great works from the modern era.
Hours: Wed-Mon: 12:00-17:00.

Walking Tours in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Create Your Own Walk in Rio de Janeiro

Create Your Own Walk in Rio de Janeiro

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rio de Janeiro is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Lapa Walk

Lapa Walk

Rio de Janeiro is rightly proud of its many impressive landmarks. This great city, rich in culture and history, has many fantastic sights for even the most experienced traveler. Take this tour of Lapa neighborhood - home to some fine examples in architecture and impressive historic landmarks.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Center Walk

Center Walk

Within the busy metropolis of Rio, you can find many places that will take you back to colonial times. Each of these exquisite buildings typifies a different architectural era, be it colonial, gothic, or neo-classic and so on. Today home to various cultural events, the following sights are a must-see for all visitors to Rio. This tour combines both Rio's bohemian downtown area and the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Rio de Janeiro without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Rio de Janeiro, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles
Rio de Janeiro Classic Architecture Walk

Rio de Janeiro Classic Architecture Walk

Rio is home to many places where you can feel the colonial times. Each of these exquisite buildings has its own architectural style, whether it be Colonial, Gothic or Neo-Classic and so on. Nowadays often home to cultural events, the classic buildings on this tour are a must-see for every visitor to Rio de Janeiro.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.8 Km or 4.2 Miles
Rio de Janeiro Beach Walk

Rio de Janeiro Beach Walk

The Ipanema and Copacabana beaches are two of the main reasons Rio is so famous around the world. Take our self guided walking tour to discover these and more picturesque beaches and golden waterfront strips that will make for an unforgettable experience.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.0 Km or 5.6 Miles
Rio Landmarks Walking Tour

Rio Landmarks Walking Tour

Rio de Janeiro can proudly boast of a number of landmarks that will impress even the most well-travelled visitor. This huge city, rich in culture and history, offers marvelous scope for sightseeing. Here's our rundown of spots you should definitely visit during your time in Rio.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 Km or 3.6 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

16 Uniquely Brazilian Souvenirs to Bring Home from Rio de Janeiro

16 Uniquely Brazilian Souvenirs to Bring Home from Rio de Janeiro

Other than the sun, passion and football, for which Brazil is renowned and which cannot be fitted into one's luggage, picking a memorable gift from Rio is a tough job. And this is not because of the lack of suitable things to choose from, but because of their abundance. Indeed, there're...