With its jutting, jungle-clad mountains, crashing waves and seemingly endless stretches of sand, Rio de Janeiro’s cityscape is arguably the most impressive in the world. And, happily for the visitor, there are plenty of opportunities to take in sweeping vistas of the city from every imaginable angle. And more happily still for the cash-strapped traveler, many of these views can be enjoyed for free. From the unmissable tourist viewpoints to off-the-beaten track vantage points, here’s our guide to the top 10 Rio de Janeiro views. Just don’t forget your camera.
1.Corcovado and the Christ Statue. Forget any snobbery about doing ‘touristy’ things – to come to Rio without taking in the views from the feet of the ‘big guy’ would be a crying shame.
2.Sugar Loaf mountain. You’ll need a bit of head for heights to make the dizzying cable car ascent up to the top of Rio’s second most famous peak, and the views will leave you feeling even more lightheaded.
3.Parque da Catacumba. Few tourists trouble this little-visted park near to Lagoa, Rio’s city lake, but it’s well worth seeking out. Along with interesting sculptures in the park itself, uphill trails reward walkers with stunning views over Lagoa and out to the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon.
4.Bonde de Santa Teresa. The tram ride up to the historic district of Santa Teresa is great fun, and there are great views to be enjoyed as the antique street car rattles over the Arcos da Lapa (Lapa Arches)
5.Casa 579. Way up high in the hills of Santa Teresa, this welcoming guesthouse and hostel has amazing rooftop views that take in both Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf.
6.Pedra da Gavea. It’s a drive into the woods followed by a steep climb to get here, but vistitors are well compensated for their efforts with views right across the city and out to the suburbs.
7.Tandem hang glinding flight. Soaring above the city, those with a head for heights and a stomach for adventure can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Rio de Janeiro.
8.Arpoador. A giant rock juts out to see at Arpoador, the section of beach between Ipanema and Copacabana, providing wonderful sunset views.
9.Niteroi. Rio locals like to joke that the best thing about Niteroi (Rio’s less glamorous sister city across the bay) is its views of Rio. And while that’s a little harsh, the city, and the boat ride back, does indeed offer some stunning skyline views.
. It’s free to enter this park in Santa Teresa, and the 360 degree city views from the top floor of the ruined mansion house (also free to enter) are breathtaking.