Ipanema Hippie Market
First thing every Sunday morning, dozens of stalls are rigged up and owners carefully lay out their products for a busy day ahead at the famous Hippie Market in Ipanema. Located in tourist central, it is one of the best places to buy souvenirs, being as convenient as it is varied. Souvenirs range from ornaments and artisanal jewellery to leather bags and incredible artworks. One artist who has a stall there produces vibrantly coloured paintings of favelas on a long material canvas, perfect for rolling up and popping into your suitcase.
Besides the famous Brazilian bikini, no other fashion item says Rio de Janeiro quite like the legendary Havaianas flip-flops. Responsible for protecting a good majority of the local feet, they are also great souvenirs to take home to bring back memories of those beach days. There are plenty of Havaianas stores across the city, each one stocking a huge variety of styles, colours, and patterns. Some of the stores stock the glam style of Havaianas, decorated with jewels and gems, for those looking for something fancier.
Havaianas, R. Xavier da Silveira, 19, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, +55 (21) 2267 2418
Saara Market, otherwise known as Uruguiana Market, is a sprawling fair of makeshift stands selling everything and anything. It’s ideally located next to the metro Uruguiana, yet it’s maze-like corridors and indistinct stalls can leave you walking around in circles. Yet that’s not a bad thing – it just gives you more of a chance to see what’s on offer and browse through all the products on sale. The options are wide and varied – expect to see stalls of phone cases, fancy-dress costumes, camera equipment, and sports clothes, among many other things. There are stalls with great cheap bikinis, ornaments, and holiday souvenirs. It’s best to go during the week, as the market gets very crowded at weekends.
Feira do Rio Antigo
Held on the first Saturday of every month, the Feira do Rio Antigo is a beloved monthly fair in Lapa. It’s famous for selling an array of antiques, vintage items, and retro clothes. The real joy at this fair is browsing through the troves of antiques to discover some true gems among the rough. There are also several stalls of artisanal crafts such as leather shoes, handmade bags, and ornaments, all of which make great souvenirs of Rio.
Feira Nordestina São Cristóvão
Rio de Janeiro’s largest market has heaps of great souvenirs for you to choose from. The market is centred around products from the northeast of the country, with typical items including bottles of melted butter, preserved chilies, ornaments of Bahian women, hammocks, and artisanal bags. Spend the day browsing through the many fascinating stalls at Feira Nordestina São Cristóvão, picking up wonderfully exotic items to remember your trip. Later, head to the food court to eat typical Bahian food and enjoy the live music and dancing to forró, a type of music that defines the northeast of Brazil.
Feira de São Cristóvão, Campo de São Cristóvão, s/n, São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro, +55 (21) 2580 6946
Cadeg is a warren of stalls, restaurants, and bars, and a great place to pick up unique souvenirs. The market opens in the early hours of the morning for flower-sellers who start their business of selling their thousands of blooms before the sun comes up. Later on in the day, the other stalls open, selling clothes, ornaments, artisanal items, food, and religious artifacts. In addition to being a great place to pick up interesting souvenirs, the market is known for being a gastronomic hub, with traditional Portuguese food and cheap yet delicious green wines.
Cadeg, R. Cap. Félix, 110, Benfica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 3890 0202
Copacabana and Ipanema beach provide a great locations to pick up souvenirs. During the day, beach vendors wander up and down the sands, selling items such as patterned beach towels, colourful bikinis, and homemade jewelry. In the evenings, sellers lay their products out on the promenade to catch the early evening crowd who are passing by. Here, you can pick up unique items such as ornaments made from woven palm leaves, homemade jewelry, and one-of-a-kind beach attire.