Looking for some great photo spots when in Rio de Janeiro?
I’ve got you covered. In this post I’ll show you some of the best spots for taking photos that are well known but also some hidden gems that you won’t want to miss.
The moment you land in Rio de Janeiro you will feel the beat of Brazil’s addictive and colorful culture. It’s a city of contrasts, modern cityscapes backing onto historic Portuguese districts, vibrant jungle-clad mountains, white sand beaches and sprawling colorful favela districts right next door to glamorous hotels. Its an addictive, chaotic, stunningly beautiful place that I can without a doubt say is one of my favorite places on earth. Rio has so much to offer when it comes to sights, food, and activities that it will impress even the most jaded of travelers. Grab a Caipirinha and follow the drums in one of South America’s top cities to visit. This photo spot guide for Rio de Janerio will make sure you see the best angles of this incredible destination.
What are the Best Viewpoint Photo Spots in Rio de Janerio?
Rio de Janeiro is blessed with countless viewpoints that provide unique angles of this beautiful city. Finding them is not always easy and for a photographer knowing the right spot in Rio is important! Here is a list of my favorite photography viewpoints in Rio de Janerio.
SugarLoaf Mountain -- Pão de Açúcar
This is an obvious one, but many do not realize that there are several different stops along the cable car up to the summit that all give a different view. I recommend heading up to the first viewpoint a couple of hours before sunset and leaving the summit for the last thirty minutes before sunset.
Mirante Dona Marta
Adjacent to Corcovado this much quieter mountain viewpoint is perfect for those wanting to get stellar views of Sugarloaf Mountain with Rio de Janeiro. This was, in fact, my favorite sunset spot in the entire city. There are two viewpoints here, one from the helicopter pad and the other that lead through an overgrown jungle set of stairs to the main point called Mirante Dona Marta.
Set amidst a forested rocky point that separates Copacabana and Ipanema giving phenomenal viewpoints over Copacabana Bay. It’s also a historical area packed full of museums and a beautiful café to chill out in. A huge insiders tip is to visit on a Thursday as it’s free to enter on this day!
Christ the Redeemer
This is an obvious one, but what is not obvious is that the area is packed full of unique angles over the city. What I recommend is to push your way through the crowds to see the sight’s main viewpoint, but then head to one of the quieter corners where at sunset you often have it all to yourself!
Top Instagram Photo Spots in Rio de Janerio
Rio de Janerio is easily one of the most Instagrammable places on the planet. It has plenty of artistic districts, white sand beaches, jungle-clad mountains and off the beaten track places to discover. Here are some of the coolest places I found in Rio.
A wonderful historic part of Rio, Santa Teresa ticks off all the boxes for the Rio de Janeiro bound photographer. Artsy alleyways, fantastic street art, Portuguese colonial buildings and a cute tram that slowly makes its way up the hillside. This is a great place in Rio to simply get lost, grab a beer and look for unique angles of Rio for photos.
Honestly, Ipanema is probably my favorite place in Rio de Janerio. The beach is massive and stretches along a beautiful section of the city. The backdrop is some of Rio’s most stunning mountains which have favela’s clinging to the sides of them, it truly makes for an epic photo in Rio. Every day I would grab a Caipirinha and watch the sunset over Rio from here, there also happens to be some pretty cool snap opportunities of surfers at sunset!
Rio de Janerio Olympic Park
For all those art lovers this is where to come for art photo spots in Rio de Janeiro! The largest street mural in the world can be found here, it is of the different tribes of the world each painted over an abandoned warehouse. It truly is outstanding to see the artistic scale of this piece. Explore the area and you will find other cool Instagram worth spots, like the Museu de Amanha.
Listen up! This spot is incredibly cool, but also super SUPER popular. If you come here during the busy time of day, (10:00 am – 4:00 pm) I can promise you, you will be frustrated and quite simply annoyed by the place. Wake up early and you can enjoy one of Rio de Janeiro’s most popular Instagram photo spots! These colorful stairs have been a cult classic forever and can be found at the bottom of Santa Teresa district making it easy to combine both places in one day.
Rio de Janerio Botanical Gardens
I love Rio’s Botanical Gardens! They give a break from the city and transport you to all the different regions of Brazil giving an insight into what the flora and fauna look like! Stick around and you’re likely to see monkeys and possibly even a toucan!
Café du Lage
I am not going to lie; I was very frustrated at this spot. The café has now decided to make an “Instagram” Line up where you can get your selfie in front of the café… oh and wait there is more! You are not allowed to use a camera of any kind, only a cellphone to take photos. So, if you’re into getting a cheesy selfie that everyone has, this is your place, otherwise, avoid this awful experience and opt for just having lunch here.
Library of Portuguese Literature
All I can say is wow! This is one of the most beautiful libraries I have ever been to, it also happens to be not so busy with the Instagram crowds! The Library of Portuguese Literature in Rio will make you feel as if you were in a Hogwarts library! This is an absolute must for all those seeking the best photo spots in Rio de Janerio.
Top Hidden Gem Photo Spots in Rio de Janerio
Did I already say Rio de Janerio is huge? Yes! This city is full of non-tourist photo spots!
For the best non-touristy photo spots in Rio de Janerio, you must look up into the hills where the cities Favela districts are located. This is where you will find the REAL Rio de Janerio. Here is my list for the best photo spots in Rio de Janerio.
Santa Marta Favela Photo Spot
This place is my secret and I highly recommend it, but you must join a tour as exploring the are by yourself is not the safest idea…. I know this from experience. However, on a tour it is perfectly safe and a great way to see Rio’s most famous and beautiful favela! This is where Michael Jackson filmed his music video “They Don’t Care About us” which you can see below. Because of this you will find Michael Jackson art all over the favela!! On the Tour, you get to ride the old rusty cable lift as well!
So, if you’re looking for my top recommendation of non-touristy photo spots in Rio, then head over to the Santa Marta Favela!
Favela Tour Photo Spots
If you would like to get an in-depth look into how the Favelas work and how life inside them is then I recommend you join Marcelo’s Favela Tour. They visit the beautiful Rocinha Favela located on the opposite side of Ipanema Beach. Rocinha has some of the best views for photo spots in Rio de Janerio. The Favela Tour, in my opinion, is the best thing to do in all of Rio and a must for all those who visit the city. Marcelo’s tour was the original favela tour and to this day the highest quality. Each tour also takes part of the fee and distributes it to local schools and community projects!
Check out the Favela Tours HERE
Largo do Boticario
Located at the foot of Christ the Redeemer, these abandoned colonial buildings are tucked away in a place where absolutely no one ever visits! It’s easy to find and be found on Atlas Obscura Rio de Janerio.