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Rio de Janeiro is a city of contrasts and great diversity. Squashed in between imposing mountains, the ocean and a massive bay, the city 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 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!

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The view of Rio from the Corcovado mountain, with the Sugarloaf Mountain in the centre-right.
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The Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado mountain.
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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).
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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.

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The glorious sands of Ipanema beach.
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The world-famous Copacabana beach.
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The beaches at Barra da Tijuca are favourites for surfers and kite-surfers.

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!

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Colourful samba costumes at this store in Centro (downtown Rio).
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“A life with more love” – street art in Lapa.
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Loved these two colourful houses in Santa Teresa!
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The colourful tiles of the Selaron steps in Santa Teresa.
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More street art in Lapa.
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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!

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

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Loved this building in Centro.
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This beautiful blue building can be found in Lapa.
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A gorgeous junction in Santa Teresa.
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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!

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Life’s a beach at Copacabana.
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Gorgeous food at Aprazivel in Santa Teresa.
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Hanging with friends in Urca on a Sunday afternoon.

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!

Note: my trip to Rio de Janeiro was made possible in cooperation with Lufthansa.

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12 Responses

  • Just lovely photos here of Rio. I really want to visit there and seeing images from the World Cup started that desire. Your post has rekindled my need to see that beach you posted and the Christ Redeemer. Seriously, great post. I loved reading and flipping through the photos.

  • Just love the mist that the surf puts up in the air in Rio … I want to try my hand at surfing when I get down to Brazil!

  • Awesome pictures, they really inspire me to visit this spectacular city. Thank you for sharing these great memories. It looks like a magical place to visit. When is the best time to go?

  • […] It’s not hard to be inspired by Rio de Janeiro. I recently published a photo essay about the magic of Rio. In the video below, I describe why I’m such a big fan of Rio. Check it […]

  • Beautiful! The vibrancy of colours all over the place is great, and the beaches look so inviting – no wonder Brazilians are a happy bunch! Thanks for sharing – enjoy your time there – it surely must be about to go crazy with the world cup!

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