Rio de Janeiro is home to forest-covered mountains, a vibrant metropolitan, picture-perfect beaches and a constant musical drift of samba. Relax and soak in this atmosphere while savoring a picnic in Rio’s great outdoors. The city’s outdoor living culture and constantly sunny, warm weather afford it unbeatable picnic spots. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite locations for a picnic to remember.
One of the most picturesque areas in the city, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (usually just known as Lagoa) is a natural lake in the south zone of the city, encircled by a 7km (4mi) cycle path with large patches of picnic-perfect grass. On weekends, Lagoa becomes a picnic hotspot, with large groups of friends and families settling down for an afternoon of food, drinks and conversation, often decorating their chosen area with delicate chains and colorful cushions. One of the best spots in Lagoa for a picnic is near Palaphita Kitch, where there are large spaces of grass and the chance to spot wild capybaras. Prepare by going to the supermarket or bakery beforehand to get provisions. There is a Zona Sul supermarket nearby that sells various types of fresh bread, fruits, cheeses, wines, cakes, biscuits and hams. It is one of the best supermarkets in Rio and also sells plastic cups, plates and other picnic essentials.
Each weekend, the public wall in front of Bar Urca attracts hordes of people who buy drinks and snacks from the bar before taking them over to the wall that overlooks Guanabara Bay. Just around the corner from Bar Urca is a padaria (Brazilian bakery) that serves simple cakes, breads, cheeses and hams. Stock up on some snacks here before heading over to the wall next to Bar Urca to enjoy the chilled atmosphere and lively chatter from the casual crowd that gathers there. Keep the beers flowing with trips to Bar Urca, and be sure to take away a few of their famous handful-sized pies; the prawn or cheese ones come highly recommended.
The quieter neighbor to Copacabana, Leme is the preferred beach for families and older Rio residents, making it a calmer place for a picnic spot. The waves are much stronger at this end of the beach and provide a dramatic visual and audio backdrop for a light lunch on the sandy shores. Get beers, caipirinhas, water or chilled coconuts from beach vendors or from the makeshift kiosks on the sand that sell chairs and beach umbrellas too. Stock up on food at the nearby Pão de Açúcar supermarket that sells various breads, cheeses, fruits, meats and picnic essentials such as cups and plates.
One of the best places in Rio de Janeiro is Arpoador, a rocky point that juts out into the sea at the far end of Ipanema. During the day, it’s a surfer’s paradise thanks to the crystal-clear waters and the small yet perfectly formed waves that come in. During the evening, fishermen come out to round up the day’s catch as the sun sets across the ocean. This is the best time to go for a picnic. Head to the nearby Zona Sul supermarket to stock up on food and wine for a classic sunset picnic.
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