Snap-happy visitors will want to have their cameras about them at all times in preparation for the next killer view (although do be sensible and keep them out of sight), although even the best photographers will find it hard to do justice to Rio de Janeiro’s beauty.
Travelers on a budget in Rio can take heart in the fact that, while living expenses in the city can be high, most of the city’s best views can be enjoyed for free. With so many views to take in, you won’t want to waste a minute of your time in Rio, so here’s our quick guide to Rio’s best views.
1. Christ the Redeemer statue. Ok, this one’s not free, but if you’re going to spend money on one Rio viewpoint, make it this one. At the foot of possibly the world’s most iconic statue, you’ll be treated to sweeping views that take in every point of what is arguably the most beautiful cityscape in the world.
2.Santa Teresa. With its lofty hillside location, this historic neighborhood is awash with dramatic views. Head down to Parque das Ruinas for wonderful (free) views from the top floor of a ruined Belle Epoque mansion house.
3. Arpoador Rock. Located slap bang in the middle of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, this rock jutting out to sea offers views over the beaches and neighborhoods, and is one of the best places in Rio to catch the sunset.
4. Niteroi. Rio’s less celebrated sister city across Guanabara Bay is often mocked by Rio’s residents, who say that the best thing about Niteroi is the view of Rio. And while Niteroi does have some charms of its own (notably, some fantastic beaches and the space age contemporary art museum), the views across the sea to Rio are something else.
5. Tandem hang gliding flight. If you have a head for heights (and a spare R$250), taking a tandem hang gliding flight over the Cidade Maravilhosa is the most exhilarating way to see the city. Taking off from Pedra da Gavea (another worthy viewpoint in itself), you’ll fly high over the city before sweeping down to land on Sao Conrado
Photos: Lucy Bryson