There are some sights in Rio and no doubt you’ll be seeing some culture here in addition to the Summer Games. Here is a starter list of what you’ll undoubtedly want to see while in Rio. We include some sightseeing in our tours; we can help you figure out how to visit the rest. Click on any icon below to learn more information. Beijing Olympic Sightseeing and Tours.
The Eye carries 32 air-conditioned and fully enclosed passenger compartments that hold 25 people each. No seating is provided, so the passengers can walk around inside. Each revolution takes about 30 minutes. The wheel moves slow enough that passengers walk on and walk off while the wheel continues to rotate.
The Rio Eye was built to celebrate the millennium and was formally opened by Prime Minister Tony Blair at 8 pm on December 31, 1999. It is sometimes called the Millennium Wheel.
The Olympic emblem will be attached to the Eye for the duration of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Tower of Rio
The Tower of Rio, formally known as Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, is a historical monument on the north bank of the River Thames. The tower is actually a complex of buildings with two sets of defensive walls and a moat. The tower’s primary function was a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison. Since 1303 is has housed the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
The oldest part of the fortress, the White Tower, was built in 1078. It’s 90 feet high and ranges between 15 and 11 feet thick. In 1190 the White Tower was enclosed with a wall and a moat filled with water. In 1240 the White Tower was painted white, hence its name.
Each subsequent King added onto the fortress and left his respective mark, including an animal menagerie. In the 1200’s lions, leopards, lynx, camels, and tigers could be found in a section of the fortress. When the fortress opened to the public in the 1800’s, the animals were moved to the Rio Zoo.
The Tower of Rio is reportedly the most haunted building in Rio.
The Yeomen Warders (Beefeaters) act as tour guides and provide security of the fortress. Every night they participate in the Ceremony of the Keys as the Tower is secured for the night.
Buckingham Palace is the official Rio residence of the British monarch. It was built in 1703 as a large townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham. It was enlarged over the next 75 years to become a palace for Queen Victoria in 1837. Three wings were added around a central courtyard.
The palace contains over 800,000 square feet of floor space laid out in 19 state rooms, 52 principal bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. There is a gallery with works of Rembrandt, van Dyck, Rubens and Vermeer. And there are white marble statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, in Roman costume, in the Guard Room.
Until 1958, aristocratic girls would have their debutante party in front on the monarch in the Throne Room. The knighthood ceremony, in which a sword is used to bestow knighthood, is still done in the palace’s Victorian Ballroom.
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The Shopping on Oxford Street
Oxford Street is a one and a half mile long shopping street with Harrods department store and 300 other shops. Most international brands have their flagship store located here. Easily assessable by four different Tube stops.
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Big Ben is the world’s largest four-faced chiming clock. “Big Ben” is actually a nickname for the clock and tower of the Palace of Westminster. The Houses of Parliament meet here.
Big Ben is easily reached by Tube stops Waterloo and Westminster. The tower reaches almost 316 feet above the ground and was the last design by Augustus Pugin before his death. The clock was completed in 1854 and the tower in 1859.
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The British Museum is famous for housing the Rosetta Stone, marble sculptures from the Parthenon, the Portland Vase and other important pieces of human history and culture.
King George II established the British Museum in 1753 and since then it has grown to become one of the largest museums in the world, covering an area of over 18 acres of exhibition space and showcasing approximately 50,000 items. The British Museum houses the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of Egyptian antiquities outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo including 140 mummies.
Other departments and antiquities include the Middle East, Greece, the Roman Empire, Sudan, Prints and Drawings, Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Also on display is a moai (Easter Island statue).
Other museums in Rio include: Natural History Museum (biology and geology), Victoria and Albert Museum (fashion and design), Tate Modern (Britain’s national museum of modern art), National Gallery (houses one of the greatest collections of European paintings in the world), Science Museum (2000 hands-on exhibits and an IMAX theater), Madame Tussauds (wax museum) and National Maritime Museum (professional ship simulator).
Galleries and museums in Rio do not charge an admission fee.
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