Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Famous for its colourful carnival and fabulous beaches, as well as the dramatic entry to its cruise port, Rio de Janeiro in the south-eastern corner of Brazil has much more to offer than sun and sand. You can enjoy breathtaking views from the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain (the cable car journey up is even more spectacular!), or take a taxi up Corcovado Mountain in the Parque Nacional de Tijuca to view the city's most famous landmark, the 30 metre-high statue of Christ the Redeemer. Make time, too, to visit Praca Floriano, the vast square at the heart of the city which is home to its exquisite Teatro Municipal opera house and close to the city's best art gallery, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Floriana Square is also the place to catch Rio's social life at its best - grab a beer at a pavement caf and tap your feet to the rhythms of the Samba before exploring the shops along the 19th century Rua da Carioca.