Photo Spots in Rio de Janeiro
Squeezed between the Tijuca Forest, dramatic rock formations, and Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Everyone knows Rio boasts famous coastlines with great views, like Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beach. Still, there’s also a lively cultural side to the city, which is best represented by the contagious beats of carnival or the rhythms of samba and bossa nova. Landmarks? Rio has plenty of them, like the Christ the Redeemer on the top of the Corcovado mountain, one of the new wonders of the world, and the iconic Sugarloaf mountain. From favelas on steep hillsides to colonial neighbourhoods, Rio’s views are unmatched anywhere in the world. That’s why we bring you this blog listing the best places to take photos in Rio de Janeiro. 🇧🇷
Here at Flytographer, we easily connect people with trusted photographers for fun photo shoots and have captured over three million memories worldwide. Today, we asked our local photographers in Rio de Janeiro to show us around the best spots for taking pictures.
Are you ready to fall in love with Brazil’s so-called “Marvelous City?” 😍
(A little sneak peek just for you 😊)
- one of the most : in the world and Rio’s post-card par excellence.
- : a secluded urban beach just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Vermelha Beach .
- : a surfer’s refuge with clear waters where applauding the sunset is a daily ritual. Rocks
- : a traditional neighbourhood where the tranquil streets are lined with gorgeous villas, houses, and colonial buildings.
- Kobra Grafitti: Rio’s most instagrammable spot and the largest mural in the world painted by one single artist.
1. Copacabana Beach
When you visit Rio, your first stop will probably be the city’s most famous coastline: Copacabana Beach. The scenery doesn’t only feature golden sand, blue–green waters, palm trees, and the majestic Pão de Açucar (aka Sugarloaf Mountain). There’s also the Copacabana sidewalk: a modern promenade consisting of black and white Portuguese stones that form a vast mosaic representing the ocean waves. 🌊
The city’s most famous hotel: Copacabana Palace, lies at the centre of the promenade facing the shore. Make sure to swing by to admire its elegant white facade in the Art Deco style. Another great photo spot is the Copacabana Fort, where you’ll find panoramic views of everything. Copacabana Beach is also an excellent place to watch Rio’s inhabitants (the laid-back Cariocas) in their favourite backyard: the beach. They love to show off their soccer skills on the sand or simply bask in the sun with a cold caipirinha in hand. The beach vendors, who sell all kinds of stuff while shouting creative jingles, will complete the picture — and oh what a picture! 😉
2. Praia Vermelha Beach
Even though it’s still an urban beach, Praia Vermelha (or the Red Beach) feels like a secluded and peaceful spot and is one of Rio de Janeiro’s best places for taking pictures. At the feet of the impressive Urca Hill and Sugarloaf Mountain, this idyllic tropical haven lies in the charming neighbourhood of Urca. The gorgeous backdrop is composed of the ocean’s blue–green waters, a short strip of golden sand, and the city’s spectacular rock formations. It’s a perfect site for grabbing a coconut water at one of the local kiosks and soaking in the atmosphere of Rio.🌴
A stone’s throw from the beach is the Sugarloaf Cable Car. This attraction is a must-see if you want to find some of the best views in town. The ride is split into two parts: first, it takes you from Praia Vermelha to the top of Urca Hill at an altitude of 220 meters, then to the 528-meter-high peak of Sugarloaf Mountain. The vistas are nothing less than spectacular. You can spot downtown Rio, the Rio–Niteroi Bridge (South America’s second largest) and, of course, the Corcovado mountain with its legendary Christ the Redeemer statue towering even higher above everything and, as Cariocas believe, blessing the Marvelous City. ✨
3. Arpoador Rock & Beach
Rio’s beaches are wonderful melting pots where you can observe the beautiful diversity of its people and the livelihoods of Cariocas from all walks of life. Arpoador Beach is an excellent example: a favourite spot for surfers because of the rolling waves and clear waters and – for anyone else – because of its breathtaking panoramic views of Ipanema and Leblon. The rocky peninsula known as Arpoador Rock is the best place in Rio to watch the sunset. Depending on the time of year, the sun can set right behind Morro Dois Irmãos (or Two Brothers Hill) – another symbol of the city that dominates the coastline, which resembles two siblings lying next to each other. Speaking of sunsets, don’t be surprised if you see Cariocas applauding the natural spectacle. It’s a local tradition: a way to thank the universe for providing them with a city full of beautiful places. 👏
While you’re in the area, you can’t skip a stroll through the beachside neighbourhood of Ipanema. Immortalized by the song The Girl from Ipanema by Vinicius de Moraes, 🎶 this trendy area is filled with charming boutiques, restaurants, and “botecos”: the small traditional bars of Brazil.
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This lovely small and traditional neighbourhood, which is perched on a promontory facing Guanabara Bay, is full of Instagrammable places. Urca has several gorgeous villas, houses, and old buildings lining its tranquil and lush streets. Their styles vary from Art Deco to Portuguese Colonial and embody the historical periods the city has seen come and go. A favourite spot of locals is the waterfront facing the bay (known as Mureta da Urca [or Urca Wall]). For viewing the glorious vistas of Corcovado and the sailboat-filled bay, the site is a standout. ⛵ And what’s the perfect way to take a break from sightseeing at Urca? Gather with the locals at Bar da Urca’s low wall with a cold beer in one hand and a codfish ball in the other. Cheers!
In Urca, jumping inside a yellow taxi to go explore Rio’s other unmissable spots is easy. You can head to Jardim Botânico’s neighbourhood to check out the Botanical Garden, which is home to majestic imperial palm trees and Parque Lage – a wonderfully atmospheric park at the foot of the Corcovado. Moreover, just a short taxi ride away, another must-see area can be found: the beloved Santa Teresa hilltop district, which is one of the best areas to experience Rio’s vibrant culture and social scene. Santa Teresa enjoys beautiful architecture, charming bars and restaurants, and some of the city’s best views. Nearby, you can also check out Mirante Dona Marta: a viewpoint that offers a chance to marvel at the city’s unique geography and soak up more views of the ever-present Christ the Redeemer statue.
5. Kobra Graffiti
Rio is a wonderfully creative city full of colourful murals. Perhaps its most famous one is Eduardo Kobra’s Etnias (or The Ethnicities), which depicts five larger-than-life images of indigenous people from different parts of the world. Painted by the artist as part of the city’s port area revitalization project for the Olympics, the mural was listed in Guinness World Records as the world’s largest mural made by a single artist. Now, it’s Rio’s trendiest Instagram photo spot. Besides bringing life to a once run-down district, the mural will brighten your photos and social media feeds. 👍
The revitalization project also included more fantastic spots in the port district, like the Museu de Arte do Rio and the Museu do Amanhã (or the Tomorrow Museum) – a structure that projects itself over a reflecting pool and faces Rio’s wonderful bay built by celebrated architect Santiago Calatrava. Downtown Rio is just around the corner, as well as the bohemian neighbourhood of Lapa, which is famous for its nightlife and Arcos da Lapa: a picturesque Roman-style aqueduct that dominates the area.
For more vibrant, artsy backgrounds, head to Escadaria Selarón (or the Selarón Steps) –Chilean artist Jorge Selarón’s homage to the inhabitants of Rio. Also, check out the Metropolitan Cathedral, which is an exquisite example of modernist architecture and resembles a Mayan temple. 😮
Capturing Memories in Rio de Janeiro
Rio has so many more incredible places for you to visit. For more pristine shorelines, check out the chilled vibes of Barra Beach and Recreio Beach. Adventure buffs will love the hike to Pedra da Gávea, where more unbelievable vistas await them, or through the Tijuca National Park: the biggest urban forest in the world, where you can spot monkeys and admire the exuberant tropical vegetation. For more architectural wonders, visit the Maracanã Stadium, and if you have the chance, take in a soccer match. ⚽ The most popular thing to do in town? Take the toy train to the top of the Corcovado and feel like you’re at the top of the world by the feet of the Christ the Redeemer statue.
There you go: you’re a true Carioca! To make your visit to the Marvelous City even more memorable, connect with some of our local Flytographers and let them capture all your happy moments at this Brazilian gem. 💚💛
“Amazing is the best word to describe our photos from our family vacation to Rio De Janeiro! Ana was awesome and gave great direction for the best photos! She even managed to get the kids to cooperate, which is no easy task. The photos capture our time in Rio perfectly!! We LOVE them! Thanks Ana!!”
“Claudia is a very talented photographer who went above and beyond to capture our memories in Brazil. Although we did our research to find cool spots, she surprised us with her recommendations, which seriously blew our minds! The photos were AMAZING, you can see the mixture of talent, location, and colors come to live.”