Rio de Janeiro

When in Rio, don't be afraid to follow the tourist trail—the major attractions really are "must-sees." Contrary to tourist-board images, the sun doesn't always shine on the city, so when it does, make the most of it. If the skies are clear, waste no time in heading for Cosme Velho to visit the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado mountain, or to Urca to make the cable car ascent to the peak of Sugar Loaf. Time-pressed travelers will find that whistle-stop city tours are a good way to see many attractions in one day, while those lucky enough to spend a week or more here can afford to take a more leisurely approach. Cloudy days are a good time to visit the attractions of leafy Lagoa and Jardim Botânico and the breezily bohemian hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa. The historic buildings, museums, and cultural centers of Centro, Catete, Glória, and Lapa are ideal rainy-day options.

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  • 1. Praia de Copacabana

    Copacabana | Beach

    Maddening traffic, noise, packed apartment blocks, and a world-famous beach—this is Copacabana, or, Manhattan with bikinis. Walk along the...Read More

  • 2. Praia de Grumari

    Grumari | Beach

    A bit beyond Prainha, off Estrada de Guaratiba, is Grumari, a beach that seems a preview of paradise. What it lacks in amenities—it has only...Read More

  • 3. Praia de Ipanema

    Ipanema | Beach

    As you stroll this world-famous beach you'll encounter a cross section of the city's residents, each favoring a particular stretch. Families...Read More

  • 4. Praia da Barra

    Barra da Tijuca | Beach

    Some cariocas consider the beach at Barra da Tijuca to be Rio's best, and the 18-km-long (11-mile-long) sweep of sand and jostling waves certainly...Read More

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  • 5. Praia de São Conrado

    São Conrado | Beach

    West of Leblon, Praia de São Conrado sits empty during the week but is often packed on weekends and holidays. The strand of soft sand attracts...Read More

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  • 6. Praia do Arpoador

    Arpoador | Beach

    At the point where Ipanema Beach meets Copacabana, Praia do Arpoador has great waves for surfing. They're so great that nonsurfers tend to avoid...Read More

  • 7. Praia do Botafogo

    Botafogo | Beach

    Though it's pretty, Botafogo Beach doesn't attract swimmers and sunbathers. Locals joke that the fish here come ready-coated in oil for frying...Read More

  • 8. Praia do Diabo

    Copacabana | Beach

    A barely noticeable stretch of sand tucked away between Arpoador and a natural rock wall that extends to Copacabana's fort, Praia do Diabo is...Read More

  • 9. Praia do Flamengo

    Flamengo | Beach

    This small curved beach with a terrific view of Sugar Loaf is much busier earlier in the morning than on a sunny afternoon. That's because Flamengo...Read More

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  • 10. Praia do Leblon

    Leblon | Beach

    At the far end of Ipanema lies Praia do Leblon, a stretch of beach usually occupied by families and generally less lively as far as beach sports...Read More

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  • 11. Praia do Leme

    Leme | Beach

    Leme Beach is a natural extension of Copacabana Beach to the northeast, toward Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf). A rock formation juts into the water...Read More

  • 12. Praia do Vidigal

    Vidigal | Beach

    Quiet Vidigal Beach is next to the Sheraton Grand Rio hotel. The small stretch of sand was the playground of residents of the nearby Vidigal...Read More

  • 13. Praia Vermelha

    Urca | Beach

    Right at the foot of Sugar Loaf, this sheltered, rough-sand beach (the name means "red beach," a reference to the distinctive coarse sand here...Read More

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  • 14. Prainha

    Grumari | Beach

    The length of two football fields, Prainha ("Little Beach") is a vest-pocket beach favored by surfers, who take charge of it on weekends. The...Read More

  • 15. Recreio dos Bandeirantes

    Recreio dos Bandeirantes | Beach

    At the far end of Barra's beachfront avenue—the name of the street was changed a few years back to Avenida Lúcio Costa, but locals still call...Read More

  • 16. São Conrado


    The juxtaposition of the "haves" and "have nots" couldn't be more stark, or more startling, than it is in São Conrado, where mansions and expensive...Read More

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