With its mountain peaks, favelas perched on hills, wide beaches, and turquoise waters of the South Atlantic, it’s not difficult to find inspiration for the most Instagrammable places in Rio de Janeiro.
Rio is the city where you can take a lot of beautiful and creative photos. The former capital of Portugal, at the beginning of the 19th century, in Rio we also find Portuguese-inspired buildings, buildings that add to the already beautiful streets.
The wonderful city in Brazil is full of color and joy, breathtaking scenery, and warm, cheerful people, so taking photos here is a real pleasure here.
15 most Instagrammable places in Rio de Janeiro
1. Escadaria Selarón
The famous stairs in Centro are so colorful, and they have the power to change your mood instantly. The one who did all the work and transformed the area into a more beautiful one is Jorge Selarón.
He decorated 215 steps, on a length of 125 meters, using thousands of pieces of mosaic, ceramics, and mirrors, of different shapes and sizes.
The material was brought from 60 countries from all over the world, so you can think of these stairs as some kind of worldwide souvenirs exposition. Therefore, the place quickly became one of the most Instagrammable places in Rio de Janeiro.
Address: R. Joaquim Silva, S/N – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20241-110, Brazil
2. San Sebastian Metropolitan Cathedral
Before I got here, I used to see this cathedral in Brazilian movies and series, and I always wondered what it could be, given its unusual shape.
Before arriving in Rio, I researched and found out that it is the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastian, built in 1979 by architect Edgar de Oliveira da Fonseca, inspired by the Mayan pyramids.
The building is 75 meters high and is one of the most Instagrammable places in Rio, in and out. Its strange shape and the stained glass windows arranged on the four sides of the pyramid turned it into a real attraction of the city.
Address: Av. Chile, 245 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20031-170, Brazil
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3. Arcos do Lapa
The next super Instagrammable place in Rio de Janeiro is the 42 white vaults that form the Carioca Aqueduct. The colonial architecture of the building and the famous yellow tram that passes here on its way to the Santa Teresa neighborhood form a beautiful and iconic image of the city.
Although the initial goal was to bring the inhabitants of the city as close and fast as possible to the Carioca River, the only source of water at that time, it’s currently used for transport and, why not, for Instagram photos of Rio.
It’s not the safest area of the city; there are a lot of homeless people who roam there, but the police always make their presence felt. So, if you go and see it at a reasonable time and you have a friend with you, you should be safe.
Address: Av. República do Paraguai, 395 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20031-180, Brazil
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4. Jardim Botanico
Botanical gardens are generally an inexhaustible source of beautiful places for pictures, but the Royal Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro is even more than that.
Here is a famous alley with imperial palm trees, 750 meters long. The place looks great in pictures, but in reality, it will overwhelm you with its beauty. It’s definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Rio. I came across something similar in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Besides, there are several Instagrammable corners in the Garden. Here you will find over 6,500 species of plants and trees, but also statuettes, fountains, lakes, streams, etc. I recommend you go to the Central Fountain, built in England and later brought to Rio.
Address: R. Jardim Botânico, 1008 – Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22460-030, Brazil
5. Sugarloaf Mountain
The place where you can admire the most beautiful panorama of Rio de Janeiro is Sugarloaf Mountain, at 396 meters above the Gulf of Guanabara. You can get here with the cable car, opened since 1912.
You can choose to go up to Morro da Urca or further to Sugarloaf Mountain. I totally recommend the second option. You will have here a complete panorama of the Gulf, but you can also see Corcovado Mountain, Tijuca Forest, and even the most famous beaches in the city, Copacabana and Ipanema.
Maybe I should have put it at the top of the most Instagramable places in Rio de Janeiro. But this top, although numbered, does not necessarily have an order; each place is special in its way and none deserves less attention than the others.
Address: Av. Pasteur, 520 – Urca, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22290-240, Brazil
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6. Teatro Municipal
I was saying at the beginning of the article that many of the city’s buildings were inspired by the Portuguese Manueline style. Well, here we have Parisian inspiration. The Municipal Theater, started in 1905 and inaugurated in 1909, is a kind of replica of the Paris Opera.
The similarities are striking, especially if we refer to the eclectic style of the buildings and the turquoise roof with golden accents. Teatro Municipal is rightly considered the most beautiful building in the city.
The Rio Opera, Orchestra and Ballet are hosted here, so it plays a very important role when it comes to the arts. The interior is at least as luxurious and attractive as the facade. Most likely it’s also a perfect place for Instagrammable photos in Rio.
Address: Praça Floriano, S/N – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20031-050, Brazil
7. Royal Portuguese Reading Room
I don’t know about you, but I’m fascinated by libraries. I find very graceful the combination of a beautiful interior decorated with the old and mysterious covers of the books.
An obvious example of a splendid library is the Royal Portuguese Reading Room, with its façade inspired by the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal, and its impressive collection of over 350,000 volumes.
The library was founded in 1837 by a group of Portuguese immigrants. The building proudly represents the neo-Manueline style, highlighted by the architect Rafael da Silva.
Although the exterior it’s pleasing to the eye, the interior is the one that really impresses with its wooden ornaments, carefully decorated, accentuated by the light that penetrates the stained glass dome.
The Royal Portuguese Reading Room is one of the most beautiful places in Rio de Janeiro, but also the most beautiful library in the world, according to Time magazine.
Address: R. Luís de Camões, 30 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20051-020, Brazil
8. Statue of Christ the Redeemer
By far the most emblematic image of Rio de Janeiro is the one with the statue of Jesus in the foreground. Perched right on top of Mount Corcovado, at 700 meters altitude, Christ seems to be watching over and embracing the city.
It’s one of the most visited places in Rio and is one of the 7 wonders of the world, so it makes no sense to try to convince you to get there. I’m sure you’ll do it anyway.
The statue was built between 1922 and 1931 and is the largest Art Deco statue in the world. From here, you can see Guanabara Bay, the famous beaches, the Maracana Stadium, and even the neighboring town of Niteroi.
At the base of Mount Corcovado is the largest urban forest in the world, the Tijuca Forest, which is also worth exploring. So, either get on the tram to get to the statue of Jesus, or walk through the woods.
Address: Parque Nacional da Tijuca – Alto da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, Brazil
9. The old town
Like all big cities with a long history behind it, Rio also has a very interesting historical center full of old buildings, in pastel shades, scorched by the sun, and lined up on narrow and cobbled streets.
The center is called Centro and has a reputation of a dangerous neighborhood. I can’t be sure of that, but in my case, I didn’t feel even the slightest danger.
However, pay attention to where you go and at what time, try to visit during the day and not after dark, even if there is a lot of police in this area of the city.
If you are looking for the most colorful streets with the most beautiful architecture, then go on Rua da Lapa and Avenida Mem de Sá.
10. Parque Lage
The School of Visual Arts today and the residence of Enrique Lage in the past, Parque Lage is an ensemble consisting of a building with beautiful architecture and a huge park, located in the vicinity of the Botanical Garden.
Parque Lage is one of the most Instagrammable places in Rio de Janeiro because it has that pool with blue water, surrounded by the vaults inside the building, and with Mount Corcovado in the background. A photogenic harmony, if you ask me.
Besides the opportunity to take beautiful pictures, you can relax with a cold drink inside the cafe by the pool, or you can take a walk in the park.
Address: R. Jardim Botânico, 414 – Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22461-000, Brazil
11. Praia da Macumba
Rio de Janeiro can compete in many ways with a lot of big cities around the world, but no other city can compete with Rio when it comes to beaches.
Ciudad Maravillosa has the most beautiful beaches in the world; or at least the most beautiful beaches near a big city, and not located somewhere on an exotic island.
One of them is Praia da Macumba, at a distance of about 40-50 minutes from Copacabana and about an hour from Centro.
So, it’s not a crowded beach in Rio, but it is a very Instagrammable one because you can see the mountains in the background and the two rocks: Pedra do Pontal and Pedra da Macumba.
Address: Av. AW, 17-341 – Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, Brazil
12. Mirante Do Penhasco
In Portuguese Mirante means belvedere or, more popularly, panoramic point. So, if you are in Portugal or Brazil, every time you see a sign that says Mirante or mirador, it means that there is a wonderful view that you must see.
The same happens with Mirante Do Penhasco, a place where the beach in Leblon is beautifully framed, as in an exotic painting of flowers and palm trees. And the steps here will help you have one of the most Instagramable pictures in Rio.
If you want a view from above, don’t stop to think and climb to the top of Dois Irmãos. In Rio, there are many such mountain peaks that you can climb to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Address: Unnamed Road – Leblon, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22610-095, Brazil
I don’t intend to discriminate, but my intuition tells me that boys are much more interested in point 13. However, whether or not you are interested in the king’s sport doesn’t matter when you visit Brazil.
Here, football is a real culture, and I am convinced that you have heard about Pelé and Ronaldinho. But also about the famous Maracana stadium, opened in 1950, with a capacity of 80,000 spectators.
This size brought it directly to the 1st place in the top of the biggest stadiums in Brazil and on the 2nd in South America, after the Estadio Monumental in Peru.
Maracana is a stadium legend, so you have to put it on the list of most Instagrammable places in Rio. Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Prince, George Michael, The Rolling Stones, and many others sang in the famous arena.
Address: Av. Pres. Castelo Branco, Portão 3 – Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20271-130, Brazil
14. Pedra do Telegrafo
Even if an optical illusion is created through which the rock seems to stand in the air, the reality is not very far either. The rock is located on a mountain near the ocean and could fall into the valley at any time.
However, the place has become very popular for the pictures you can take here and for the incredible view.
To reach the rock, you have to travel a path through an exotic forest where you will see many monkeys. The degree of difficulty is very low and should not cause problems.
You will spend at least half a day at Pedra do Telegrafo because it is located about an hour and a half from Rio, and you will have to wait in line to take pictures. The best time of day is in the morning.
Address: Estr. do Grumari – Barra de Guaratiba, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, Brazil
15. Santa Teresa
The Santa Teresa neighborhood offers the most beautiful views of the city because from here you can see at the same time Sugarloaf, Mount Corcovado, and Guanabara Bay.
But the neighborhood itself is worth visiting because it has some very Instagramable winding streets, the famous yellow tram, and white fairytale villas, with ivy-covered fences, and infinity pools.
We stayed 5 nights in The Villa, and the view took our breath away each morning. But there are a lot of hotels that offer such panoramas, and I will put here a shortlist of those with the most beautiful views of Rio.
- Casa 48 Guesthouse
- Santa Teresa Hotel RJ – MGallery
- Gerthrudes Bed & Breakfast
- Casa Geranio
- Villa Paranaguá Hotel & Spa
- Rio Panoramic
- Prestige Property – Da Costa
Address: R. Dr. Júlio Otoní, 254 – Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20241-400, Brazil