Top 5 Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro

I spent the last year living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and have had the opportunity to experience many beautiful beaches in and around the city.

The beach culture in Rio is awesome and it is transparent in all facets of life here, especially on Sundays! That is the day that many locals head down to their favorites beaches to meet friends and enjoy a relaxing day in the sun.

Thanks to the Barracas (beachside shops), you don’t need to bring anything with you besides a little cash and some sun screen. You can rent chairs and umbrellas right there as well as buy beers, coconut water and Brazilian food from the vendors along the beach.

Check out my Brazilian Beach Etiquette Guide for more information.

With all the time I spent discovering and enjoying the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, I decided to put together a list of my favorite spots…

Here are my Top 5 Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

5.) Flamengo Beach (Praia do Flamengo)

Flamengo Beach - Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Flamengo Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Right next to Botafogo Beach, is one of the Best Beaches in Rio for exercise and fitness.

From Flamengo Beach, you can get a great view across the bay at Niteroi and Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar).

It’s much more of a local spot for sunbathers and fishermen, but it’s great for sports and activities (especially after the sun goes down) like soccer, volleyball and futevolei.

4.) Red Beach (Praia Vermelha)

Praia Vermelha - Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Praia Vermelha in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Tucked into the quiet neighborhood of Urca, below Sugarloaf Mountain, Praia Vermelha is a great place to unwind and escape the crowds at some of the other beaches in Rio.

3.) Copacabana Beach (Praia de Copacabana)

Copacabana Beach - Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Copacabana beach is one of the most famous stretches of sand in the world and for very good reason. It’s the most popular spot for tourists in Rio and is a great place to enjoy the sun and do some people watching.

2.) Joatinga Beach (Praia da Joatinga) 

Joatinga Beach - Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Joatinga Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

It’s a bit of a journey to go to Barra de Tujica, but there you will find some of the best beaches in all of Brazil. Usually there are a lot less tourists and a different vibe than what you’ll find in Copa or Ipanema.

From all the beaches of “Barra (Baha),” my selection is the secluded local favorite, Joatinga beach.

1.) Ipanema Beach (Praia de Ipanema)

Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Every day is hump day at Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema Beach

My absolute favorite place in all of Rio de Janeiro, the incredible, bustling beauty that is Ipanema Beach.

Ipanema has the size of Copacabana with the most beautiful crowd. It’s big and busy and awesome! With views of Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountain), tiny bikinis and refreshing water. To me, Ipanema Beach is the absolute best beach in Rio de Janeiro.

For the best view of sunset in Rio de Janeiro, head down to the end of Ipanema Beach to the rocks of Arpoador where you can join the crowd in applauding when the sun drops into the sea.

Which one would you choose?

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My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!


  1. Brazil is on our list of places to visit and we will touch it for just three days in March this year as we cruise up the coast. As for the beaches of the world these look like some of the best.

    Brazil keeps popping up on my radar lots of late, be it after the world cup or before the Olympics, what ever the reason it’s front and centre right now.

  2. I visited Rio de Janeiro 2015/2016 its really amazing , beaches and the transport system is on top. when it comes to food South Africa is still the best but I fell in love with the way they prepare their sea food.

  3. I am Carioca. This means in Portuguese that I was born in Rio de Janeiro. I can tell that Praia do Flamendo beside the view , is the worse beach you can go in my city. It is inside guanabara Bay and its waters are very polluted. Stay away from the waters and sand of Flamengo and Botafogo. The Urca beach its the best waters of the Zona Sul neighborhood. It is place outside the bay between the Sugar Loaf and Copacabana. Sometimes there are floating debris bring from the wind, but according to the Rio public water and climate control bureau, it’s waters are the best . There is also at the left side a trail that get around the Morro da Urca and Sugar Loaf, it’s a magnificent view. And you can easily climb the Morro da Urca in 30 minutes, and enjoy the view without paying anything in the cable car.

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