What to see in Brazil

Copacabana Beach

Tourist attractions Copacabana Beach

One of the most famous beaches in the world, Copacabana has been immortalised in movies, songs and literature and is, undoubtedly, an icon of Rio de Janeiro. Lapped by the waters of the Atlantic, the beach extends for 4-kilometres and is the vibrant, beating heart of the city. Its famous promenade, with its iconic black and white Portuguese-style pavement, is instantly recognisable. No matter the time of year, the entire stretch of beautiful golden sand is a hive of activity. Local kids, practising their football skills, tourists soaking up the Brazilian sunshine and beach vendors flogging ice-cold caipirinhas are the usual scenes you can expect to find if you visit Copacabana beach!

Originally an undeveloped fishermen’s neighbourhood in the 19th-century, this area in the south of Rio became increasingly popular in the early 20th-century, following the extension of the city’s tram line. Today, not only is Copacabana the central attraction for many who travel to Rio de Janeiro, but it’s also the backdrop of one of the world’s largest New Year’s Eve celebrations and has acted as the location for a number of important sporting events, such as the 2016 Summer Olympics and the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Spending a day soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of Copacabana Beach is one of the most unmissable things to do if you visit Rio de Janeiro. Whether you’re people-watching along the promenade, taking a dip in the warm waters of the bay or enjoying some sundown drinks at one of the many beach bars, a trip to Copacabana is the best way to understand local life in Rio de Janeiro.

 

Things to do at Copacabana Beach

If you’ve had your fill of lounging on the beach, there are plenty of things to do in and around Copacabana Beach. At the far eastern end of the promenade, you’ll find Morro do Leme, a forest-covered hill and popular hiking spot. A short but heart-pumping uphill climb will lead you to the Duke of Caxias Fort, from where you can enjoy captivating views of Copacabana Beach, Rio city and Corcovado Mountain in the distance. 

At the opposite end of the beach, you’ll find another fort: Forte de Copacabana, one of the best places to visit for great views and to enjoy a bite to eat at one of Rio’s most iconic cafes: Confeitaria Colombo. A working naval base, you’ll also find a small military museum within the fort. 

Found along the length of the Copacabana promenade, one of the best things to do at Copacabana beach is to go shopping in one of the many feiras livres, or open-air markets. The perfect place to shop for local products, admire an array of tropical produce and get a feel for everyday life in Copacabana. Several markets can be found along the promenade, but the most famous is the weekday night market between the streets of Miguel Lemos and Almirante Gonçalves.

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