Rio de Janeiro is framed by rocky peaks that provide wonderful viewpoints high enough to grant wide snapshots of spectacular sunsets. Yet even from ground level, there are several fantastic spots to watch the sun go down on Brazil. We round up ten of the most spellbinding places to see the sunset in Rio.
Arpoador rock is tucked in at the end of Ipanema beach. During the day, it’s the hotspot in Zona Sul (south zone of Rio) for surfing, yet as the day draws to a close, it attracts another type of crowd – those looking to witness a stunning sunset.
Looking across the ocean, the sun goes down beside the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers peaks) and throws its deep orange hues across the sky and over the water. When the last slice of sun goes behind the horizon, join in with the clapping, a long-standing tradition in appreciation of this natural wonder.
The Dois Irmãos are the two peaks that can be seen from Ipanema beach next to Vidigal favela (a safe favela that attracts many tourists, especially on the weekends for its parties). To get to the base of the hike, take a mototaxi through the favela until the top. From there, the hike up is about 30 minutes, and it grants a wonderful view of the sunset over Ipanema, Sao Conrado, Pedra da Gavea and the expansive ocean.
Anywhere around the lake (known as Lagoa) will offer a wonderful view of the sunset, which fills the sky with a wash of warm colours. Head to the bar and restaurant Palaphita Kitch to watch the sun go down. Its low, cushioned outdoor seating, candlelit tables and soft music create an ambience that perfectly complements the natural surroundings.
Niteroi is just over the other side of Guanabara Bay, and every day, hundreds of commuters take the ferry across the waters or bravely tackle the heaving traffic over the bridge that connects it to Rio. Niteroi is filled with its own charms and wonders, such as Parque da Cidade Niteroi. Head up to the top and watch the sun go down over the bay, creating a mesmerising display of colours.
Vista Chinesa is a Chinese-style gazebo that overlooks Lagoa and Ipanema. The trail up to it can be done by walking, bike or car and goes right through the Tijuca forest, offering opportunities to see exotic plants, large jack fruits and the occasional monkey and butterfly. Get there just before the evening draws to a close to see the gorgeous sunset.
To get here, go to the top of Santa Marta favela using the elevator that runs to the highest point, and begin the 40-minute hike from there. It’s one of the most rewarding trails there is, with spectacular views of Guanabara Bay, the Sugarloaf Mountain and across Botafogo. As the sun goes down, the sky is filled with deep reds and oranges, and the houses below twinkle as the lights inside come on for the evening.
Vidigal is one of the safest favelas in Rio de Janeiro, having been pacified several years ago. Nowadays, it’s a hub of tourist activity, thanks to its location at the base of the Two Brothers peaks and the presence of the famous hostel Alto Vidigal, which runs weekly parties on Fridays or Saturdays. So head up to Alto Vidigal and enjoy a drink or some nibbles. Then enjoy a wonderful, wide view over the ocean and Ipanema, with a glorious sunset as the day ends.
One of the most challenging yet rewarding hikes in Rio de Janeiro, Pedra da Gavea offers a unique viewpoint that overlooks Sao Conrado and the Two Brothers peaks and over to Barra da Tijuca on the other side. From the peak’s highest point comes one of the best viewpoints for the sunset. Just take care when going back down, as there is a tricky climbing part that should be approached with a guide, especially after dark.
Commonly called Sugarloaf Mountain by visitors, the Pão de Açúcar offers a prime spot to see the sunset, with views from its peak over Guanabara Bay, Urca, Botafogo and out over to Copacabana.
This charming bar in Urca is popular for its understated and casual approach to nights out. Order what you want from the bar, before taking it out across the street and sitting on the wall that overlooks Guanabara Bay for the ultimate outdoor evening. Arrive just before the sun goes down to watch the beautiful sunset over the bay, while surrounded by peaceful settings and a chattering crowd.