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Few world cities have a setting to rival Rio de Janeiro. The playground of the rich and famous for many years, Rio is a glamorous destination with a glitzy international feel.

The long sandy beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are always a hive of activity; people playing beach volleyball, sipping fresh coconut juice or just soaking up the sun. Casting a watchful gaze over the city, the 30 metre high Christ the Redeemer statue is Rio’s best known landmark; completed in 1931, the views from the base are breathtaking. The city centre comprises mainly of modern buildings, but travel by tram to the barrio of Santa Teresa and you go back to an age of cobbled streets, grand mansion houses and leafy courtyard squares.

Rio really comes alive in February during the 24-hour non-stop carnival celebrations. Crowds fill the streets and the city is a riot of colour and noise.