The Rio de Janeiro Carnival, one of the biggest and most colourful in the world, has kicked off with thousands of visitors flocking to the Brazilian city.

The main attraction of the festival is at the Sambadrome where Samba groups strut their stuff.

Marvellous parades to the beat of samba drums are among the highlights of the carnival which concludes on 4 March. Besides, hundreds of parties are held throughout the city.

Scroll down to take a look at the carnival photos.

The official mascot of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, Fuleco the Armadillo, is seen in a float of Leandro de Itaquera samba school during the first night of the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome February 28, 2014.
The official mascot of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, Fuleco the Armadillo, is seen in a float of Leandro de Itaquera samba school during the first night of the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome February 28, 2014.Reuters
Revellers from the Leandro de Itaquera samba school take part in the first night of the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome February 28, 2014.
Revellers from the Leandro de Itaquera samba school take part in the first night of the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome February 28, 2014.Reuters
Revellers from the Leandro de Itaquera samba school take part in the first night of the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome February 28, 2014.
Revellers from the Leandro de Itaquera samba school take part in the first night of the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome February 28, 2014.Reuters
Revellers from the Leandoro de Itaquera samba school take part in the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome February 28, 2014.
Revellers from the Leandoro de Itaquera samba school take part in the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome February 28, 2014.Reuters
Revellers from the Leandro de Itaquera samba school take part in the first night of the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome February 28, 2014.
Revellers from the Leandro de Itaquera samba school take part in the first night of the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome February 28, 2014.Reuters
A reveller from the Dragoes da Real samba school takes part in the first night of the Special Group category of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.
A reveller from the Dragoes da Real samba school takes part in the first night of the Special Group category of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.Reuters
Revellers from the Dragoes da Real samba school take part in the first night of the Special Group category of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.
Revellers from the Dragoes da Real samba school take part in the first night of the Special Group category of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.Reuters
A reveller from the Tom Maios samba school takes part in the first night of the Special Group category of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.
A reveller from the Tom Maios samba school takes part in the first night of the Special Group category of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.Reuters
Revellers from the Vai Vai samba school take part in the first night of the Special Group category of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.
Revellers from the Vai Vai samba school take part in the first night of the Special Group category of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.Reuters
A reveller from the Dragoes da Real samba school takes part in the first night of the Special Group category of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.
A reveller from the Dragoes da Real samba school takes part in the first night of the Special Group category of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.Reuters
A reveller from the X9 samba school takes part in the first night of the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.
A reveller from the X9 samba school takes part in the first night of the Special Group of the annual Carnival parade in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome March 1, 2014.Reuters