Rio de Janeiro is a city of contrasts and great diversity. Squashed in between imposing mountains, the ocean and a massive bay, the Rio enjoys one of the most spectacular settings in the world. There’s no denying that the city has a lot of issues – poverty, inadequate infrastructure, high prices and crime to name a few – but there’s just something magical (dare I say sexy) about the city that keeps drawing me back like an excited kid to a candy store. It’s hard to explain but I’m going to try anyway… with the help of some of my favourite photos of Rio de Janeiro.

The iconic views

Rio de Janeiro boasts some of the most breathtaking vistas of any city in the world. The panoramic views from the Corcovado mountain (on which the Christ statue stands) and from the Sugarloaf mountain are just mind-blowing! Read about my favourite Rio de Janeiro viewpoint.

The view of Rio from the Corcovado mountain, with the Sugarloaf Mountain in the centre-right.
The Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado mountain.
The view from the Sugarloaf mountain, with the sands of Copacabana beach on the left. The Christ statue stands atop the Corcovado mountain (the highest peak in the top right corner).
The panoramic view from Sugarloaf mountain.

The beaches

The beaches in Rio like Copacabana and Ipanema are famous the world over. Any city that has such gorgeous beaches at its doorstep has a big plus in my book! And Rio is absolutely blessed in this respect. The beaches are fabulous and the people-watching is unparalleled. That perhaps explains part of Rio’s magnetic appeal.

The glorious sands of Ipanema beach.
The world-famous Copacabana beach.
The “wild beaches of Rio” are stretches of fine white sand lapped by crystal-clear turquoise water to the west of Rio de Janeiro.

Read about my experiences while exploring Rio de Janeiro with locals.

The colours

Rio is a colourful city… a very colourful city! From samba costumes to the amazing street art, there’s colour around every corner!

Colourful samba costumes at this store in Centro (downtown Rio).
“A life with more love” – street art in Lapa.

See more photos of street art in Rio de Janeiro.

Loved these two colourful houses in Santa Teresa!
The colourful tiles of the Selaron steps in Santa Teresa.
More street art in Lapa.
The mural by Kobra at the Rio Olympic Boulevard.
Even the drinks are colourful! A trio of caipirinhas – passion fruit, lime (regular) and strawberry – at Barzin in Ipanema.

Stunning sunsets

The sunsets in Rio are special. The fabulous light combined with the surrounding mountains and the ocean make for some of the most breathtaking sunsets I’ve ever seen. It’s not hard to guess why I have so many beach sunset photos of Rio!

Playing football on Ipanema beach at sunset.
Strolling on the golden sands of Barra da Tijuca beach at sunset.
Barra da Tijuca sunset photo
Another stunning sunset in Barra da Tijuca.

Gorgeous architecture

Rio has many architectural gems. Famous Brazilian architects like Oscar Niemeyer have left a significant mark in the city’s modern landscape but my favourites are the old, often delapidated, Art Deco, colonial and neo-classical buildings that can be found scattered around downtown Rio (Centro), Lapa and Santa Teresa.

Loved this building in Centro.
This beautiful blue building can be found in Lapa.
A gorgeous junction in Santa Teresa.
I discovered, quite by chance, this stunning staircase in a hospital in Lapa.

The lifestyle

Cariocas (as the people of Rio are called) are famous for their laid-back lifestyle. They love a good party, hearty food and lounging, playing or strolling on the beach – my kind of lifestyle!

Life’s a beach at Copacabana.
Barra da Tijuca surfer photo
Surfing is part of the Rio lifestyle.
Gorgeous food at Aprazivel in Santa Teresa.
Hanging with friends in Urca on a Sunday afternoon.
Enjoying a meal and drinks with friends at the beach.

There it is! Some of the reasons why I LOVE RIO and why I think this city is just absolutely magical. I hope you enjoyed my photos of Rio de Janeiro!


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