Simply the world’s greatest party, the annual carnival in Rio de Janeiro is one of the wildest extravaganzas on the planet. The main carnival parade in the huge, purpose-built Sambódromo comes alive with a riot of colour, outlandish floats, throngs of gyrating dancers and pounding drummers, all shaking to intoxicating samba rhythms.
Rio’s carnival starts on Saturday and ends on Ash Wednesday. Escolas de Samba (‘Samba Schools’) from each city neighbourhood compete to see which can parade the best, loudest, and most creatively decorated floats, carrying samba bands and accompanied by dancers and other performers. Before, during and after the main parades (held on Sunday and Monday), there are many other events across the city, including music shows, carnival balls and separate parades for the lesser samba schools.
Sambódromo and throughout the city.
Cidade Nova, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Free in the street during the day (7am to 7pm), at night (8pm to 6am) from US$150 upwards. Sambódromo ticket prices vary.