All you need to know about the Rio Carnival
3 min read

Rio’s fabulous, famous carnival is about to get underway. Held from 9 to 14 February, it’s packed full of fabulous events and parties. Baroque Travel finds out about the highlights of this much-anticipated event


Every year millions of people flock to Brazil’s beautiful capital city from all over the world to enjoy a festive event like no other, the Rio Carnival. The Rio Carnival starts the week before Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent). It’s about to get underway and we have details out about all the major events that you won’t want to miss.

So what is the carnival all about? Parties already began to celebrate the Rio Carnival last December. The samba dance has been part of Brazilian tradition since the 19th Century and this is very much part of the festival and its vibrant party spirit. There are around 200 samba schools that attend the Rio Carnival each year to showcase their parades in Rio’s Sambadrome. There are also numerous street parties for carnival-goers to attend outside the Sambadrome. The largest organized street dance of all is in Rio’s Centro, in Cinelândia Square.

Another major highlight of Rio Carnival are the carnival balls held on the beach; there’s also the most famous one of all, which is a black tie affair, held in the luxurious Copacabana Palace Hotel. Other balls also take place in Scala in the city center. The best balls have bands that play all night long, changing music genres from old carnival marches to sambas. There are also numerous street festivals, called ‘bandas’ or ‘blocos’ that take place all over the city in its neighborhoods. In fact, more than 300 can take place on any given day. The most famous of all is the Banda de Ipanema, which has been a popular event since 1965 and is by far the most vibrant and noisy. If you wish, you too can dress up at carnival time.

We have included a list of the main events of the Rio Carnival to help you choose what to do when you’re there…


Friday, 9 February

1pm Opening Ceremony: The King of Carnival (King Momo) is crowned by the city mayor and receives the city keys.

9pm Preliminary Schools’ Parades in Sambodromo

Saturday, 10 February
9.30am Street Band Cordão do Bola Preta (Downtown) 
4pm  Ipanema’s Band, meeting point at General Osório square, Ipanema
8pm Street Bands’ Contest at Av. Rio Branco, Centro
9pm PreliminarySchools’  Parades in Sambodromo
11pm Magic Ball at Copacabana Palace Hotel

Sunday 11 February
9pm Main Schools’ Parade in Sambodromo

Monday 12 February
9pm Main Schools’ Parade in Sambodromo

Tuesday, 13 February
4pm Ipanema’s Band (last Carnival presentation)
9pm Children’s Samba Schools Parades
11pm Gay Ball at Scala Rio


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