Rio's Most Beautiful Beaches

  • 01 of 08

    Rio's 7 Best Beaches

    Surfers on Prainha beach, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, South America
    ••• Alex Robinson/Getty Images

    Rio de Janeiro has a little of everything for a traveler: luxury hotels, nightlife, samba, soccer, forests, and much more. But perhaps the city's greatest attraction is its beaches. The beaches of Rio de Janeiro are not just beautiful; they're also a place to soak in Brazilian beach culture. This is where Cariocas love to relax with friends and family, sunbathing, playing futvolei, and enjoying an ice cold beer or coconut water. Expect crowds on the weekends, but look for some of the city's lesser known beaches on weekdays when you just might find few visitors despite being in a city of 7 million. 

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  • 02 of 08

    Ipanema

    Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    ••• Cultura Exclusive/Aziz Ary Neto/Getty Images

    One of the city's best known beaches is Ipanema, made famous worldwide with the Bossa Nova classic "Girl from Ipanema." Located along the luxury apartment buildings of the neighborhood of the same name, Ipanema beach is perhaps the most chic beach in the city. Both safer and cleaner than its neighbor, Copacabana, Ipanema beach is a great place to catch the sunset but not for swimming due to the undertow and large waves here.

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  • 03 of 08

    Copacabana

    Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    ••• Cultura Exclusive/Aziz Ary Neto/Getty Images

    Praia da Copacabana (Copacabana Beach) is where the action is. This long stretch of beach runs along the Copacabana neighborhood of high rise apartment buildings and hotels. This is where locals and tourists alike come to play. Come here to watch Cariocas relaxing and playing beach sports both in the day and evening (the beach is lit and has a police presence, making it a relatively safe option).

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  • 04 of 08

    Prainha

    Most beautiful beaches of Rio de Janeiro
    ••• Yacine Petitprez on Flickr

    This crescent-shaped beach is located just a short drive past Barra da Tijuca southwest of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Come here for the clean sand and water, natural beauty and tranquility, especially on weekdays. The nearby fish restaurants are a great choice for lunch.

    One way to get to Prainha and a series of nearby beaches is on the Surf Bus, which runs on weekends and holidays and costs about $10 each way. 

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  • 05 of 08

    Barra da Tijuca

    ••• SambaPhoto/Cassio Vasconcellos/Getty Images

    This long stretch of white sandy beach spans about 8 miles, and thanks to its sheer size, it's less crowded and cleaner than some of the city's better known beaches. Check out kiosk number 1, where a young, in-the-know crowd tends to gather. Despite its location outside the city center, Barra da Tijuca will be at the center of the action in 2016 when many Olympic events will take place here. 

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  • 06 of 08

    Praia Vermelha

    Praia Vermelha with Sugar Loaf Mountain in background, Urca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, South America
    ••• Ian Trower / robertharding/Getty Images

    This small beach in the city of Rio de Janeiro sits under Morro da Urca, one of the granite slabs next to Sugarloaf Mountain. Due to the fact that the beach is protected by the hills, the water here is generally calm, but it's the views of the surrounding hills that are this beach's main attraction.

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  • 07 of 08

    Grumari

    Grumari beach, RJ, Brazil
    ••• SambaPhoto/Cassio Vasconcellos/Getty Images

    Praia de Grumari (Grumari Beach) is located about 20 kilometers west of the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. Thanks to this beach's location outside the city and inside a nature reserve, you'll find a rustic beach, one that's cleaner and more peaceful beach than those inside the city (except on weekends when locals pack this beach in an effort to get away from the city).

    To get here, you can take a public bus from the city to the nearby Recreio dos Bandeirantes. If you drive, you'll need to take a small winding road past the beach of Prainha. 

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  • 08 of 08

    Leme

    Leme Beach
    ••• Ruy Barbosa Pinto/Getty Images

    Leme is actually a section of Copacabana Beach, located along the easternmost kilometer of Copacabana. This section is a bit calmer than the rest of Copacabana, meaning that you'll see families relaxing here along with the more fashionable locals and tourists. Grab a beach snack or coconut water at one of the beach kiosks and settle in to soak in the views of the nearby morros (granite hills that bookend the beaches) and locals playing soccer.