• Major improvements to the city make Rio a top destination to visit 
  • The Olympic Games will attract thousands of tourists this summer
  • Be prepared for your trip to former Brazilian capital   

This year, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is hosting the 31st Olympic Games. In addition to all the international athletes, thousands of fans from around the world will be heading to Rio this summer to be spectators of the competition.

Rio has been preparing for the Olympic Games since 2009. The downtown and port areas have been re-developed, as well as some of the more suburban areas like Barra da Tijuca, where most of the games will occur. 

Beautiful new buildings are springing up – notably the stunning Museum of Tomorrow, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, as well as a number of arenas, a velodrome and even a new Olympic golf course. The legendary Maracanã stadium was also modernised in 2014 for the World Cup, and will be the stage for opening and closing ceremonies. 

To help people to get around the city, a new line has been added to the Metro system, making it easier for visitors to get to the site of the games.

To the inexperienced traveller, Brazil may seem like a daunting place to visit – but it really needn't be. In preparation for a trip to the former Brazilian capital, we've put together a list of things to think about before you book a flight.

  • Travel and accommodation – Book your tickets and accommodation as far in advance as possible to guarantee you've got somewhere decent to stay, and try to use authorised sellers where possible. 
  • Travel insurance – Having a comprehensive travel insurance policy will give you peace of mind for your trip to Brazil. It's worth checking if your insurer offers a policy that provides a high level of cover for medical expenses cover, delays and cancellations, as well as loss or theft of baggage and personal possessions.
  • Passport – The UK government website states that your passport must be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Brazil. Check when your passport expires and if necessary, renew it. The Passport Office offers a fast track service.
  • Vaccinations – Check which vaccinations and medication you need especially if you plan to travel to more remote parts of the country – Malaria, Typhoid and Yellow Fever are common vaccinations for visits to Brazil. See the NHS Fit for Travel site for more information.
  • Language –English may not be as widely spoken as you expect in Brazil, so it’s helpful to learn a few key phrases in Brazilian Portuguese. Download an app for your smartphone, like Duolingo, to help you master the language in no time.
  • Travel alerts – It might be a good idea to sign up to receive email alerts from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) before you go. That way, you'll be prepared if there are any incidents like industrial strikes, protests or reports of illness in the country you're visiting.