The music, the dancing, the glamourous women, the over-the-top floats all make Rio, but it's the costumes that really take the breath away.

More than 2.5 million people, including 850,000 tourists have flooded the streets of Rio for the 2012 for a riot of colour and sound.

Everywhere they look in Brazil's party capital they will catch sight of dazzling costumes and frenzied dancers.

The parades in Rio's hallowed 70,000-capacity Sambadrome mark the high point of the Carnival, and showcase the best costumes of the year.