If you've only seen one photo of Rio de Janeiro you'll still probably recognise Sugarloaf Mountain. One of Rio De Janeiro's most iconic attractions, the granite and quartz peak rises straight from the water's edge to 396 metres in height and makes a sight quite like no other. Seeing it alone isn't nearly enough though. If you've come all the way to Rio of-course you'll need to get to the top of Sugarloaf so you can take in the expansive 360-degree views over Rio's beaches, downtown Rio and the Rio-Niteroi Bridge.
Having carted almost 40 million visitors up the 1400-metre route since it opened, the glass-walled cable car is the most popular way to ascend. The ride itself is divided into two jaw-dropping stages. Starting at Red Beach, the Swiss-imported cars then travel to Morro da Urca before continuing at speeds up to 31 kilometres per hour up to the Sugarloaf Mountain station.
Though a significantly longer journey than the 20-minute cable car route, what most people don't know is that there are other ways to reach the top. Sure local company Helisight offer helicopter trips to the Morro da Urca station for people willing to spare more than a few Reais, but better for your health and wallet is to conquer Sugarloaf on foot. The easy walk to the top takes about three hours, while for the even more adventurous (and physically fit) you can take a more direct route climbing the mountain via a steel cable. A guide is definitely recommended if that's your choice!
Once you've reached the top you're greeted by sweeping views right across Guanabara Bay and well beyond on a clear day. History buffs will be interested in checking out the small museum to learn about the history of Sugarloaf and the cable cars. A not-so-fun fact about the mountain is that a scene from Bond film Moonraker featuring Roger Moore was filmed atop two cable cars. The scene was so daring that stunt man Richard Graydon slipped and narrowly avoided death during the sequence.