Inspire

Is This The Most Photogenic City In The World?

You'll find a 'grammable moment in every direction.

With crystal clear waves crashing into white sand beaches and placid lakes surrounded by jungle-covered mountains, Rio is without a doubt one of the most photogenic cities in the world. You’ll be hard pressed to even know where to start your #Rio feed.

To make the job a little easier, here is a list of the seven of the most snappable spots in the city, from the sky-high and secluded to the not-so-secret and sandy.

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DRI Cafe

DRI Cafe was made famous by Snoop Dogg and Pharrell’s ‘Beautiful’ film clip back in 2002 but you’re unlikely to see a bunch of bikini-clad dancers here these days. Instead, you’ll find a former mansion which has been transformed into a bustling arts space with a cute cafe and tables dotted around its central pool. Located at the foot of the mountain upon which the famous Christ the Redeemer statue looms, DRI usually has a line spilling outside its doors on weekends. To snag the best photo arrive on a weekday at 9am when it opens.

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The sunset from Arpoador

A visit to Rio de Janeiro isn’t complete without capturing a sea-side sunset while putting down some ice cold Caipirinhas (the local cocktail) at Arpoador Rock. Locals and travellers flock to the rock daily so arrive an hour or two before sunset and make your way to the end of the rock to secure a prime position overlooking the ocean. As the sun creeps behind the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) mountains you can capture the crazy colours cast into the night’s sky #nofilterneeded.

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The Botanical Gardens

Almost every major city in the world has a botanical garden but Rio’s 54 hectare sanctuary, only a stone’s throw from the city’s concrete jungle, is a cut above the rest. Founded back in 1808, many of its leafy trees are now well over 100-years-old. Case in point, the gigantic palm trees and bamboo plants lining almost one kilometre of the parks footpaths provide the perfect frame for a photo.

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The colourful favelas

Favelas are lively urban areas, heavily-populated with the city’s working class, and they offer a realistic look of day-to-day life for much of Rio’s population. The compact, colourful homes which are stacked on top of one another trickle down many of the city’s mountains. They also boast some of the best views of the city and are full of little alleyways with photo opportunities at every twist and turn.

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Corte do Cantagalo Lookout

Well-known landmarks like Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain (accessible by cable car) are hot spots for visitors. This means your photos are usually tainted with a million bum-bag donning tourists. Instead, trek through the Corte do Cantagalo favela and take a right hand turn at the school onto the bush track. Once you get to the top, you’ll be met with sweeping views of the Ipanema Beach and Rodrigo de Freitas lake below; the perfect backdrop for your snaps.

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Copacabana Beach

Going to the beach is a way of life in Rio and there’s no better place to see that in action than the famous Copacabana Beach. Sun-hungry tourists and locals in their barely-there bikinis and Speedos all come together on the beach to eat, drink, pump music and play the local hands-free take on volley ball, foot-volley, all day long. From the turquoise water to the colourful umbrellas and roaming retailers, there is a ‘grammable moment in every direction.

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Ipanema Beach sidewalk

Around the corner from Copacabana, you’ll find Rio’s über-trendy Ipanema Beach which is home to the city’s hipster scene. The sidewalk along its sandy shores is made from traditional Portuguese tiles pieced together to create picture-perfect patterns. Its also action-packed all day long with a constant stream of cyclists, surfers strolling in and out of the waves and people enjoying the pint-sized cocktail bars which are always overflowing with fresh coconuts from the nearby palm trees. 

(All photos: Hannah Lewis/Tales & Trails)