One of the awesome things of Rio de Janeiro is that you can do a lot of stuff for free. Since Rio has a lot of nature in and outside the city, you easily can think of things to do that will cost you zero money. One of the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro is assist a sunset. Since Rio de Janeiro is built in between the mountains, there are a lot of awesome view points. But at sea level you will find some good spots as well. This article will get you to the best places to assist the sunset in Rio de Janeiro.
The most traditional spot to assist the sunset in Rio. The rock of Arpoador is beloved by all cariocas (as the locals are called). Especially in the summer you will find hundreds of people there that come to enjoy the natural spectacle. In these summer months the sun really disappears in the ocean, while the rest of the year the sun sets behind the mountains. That makes the months January to March extra special. Arrive early to get a good spot and you will be able to buy drinks from vendors that walk around.
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
The lake in Rio is located next to the beach neighborhoods Ipanema and Leblon, in the touristic South Zone. With its green surrounding it counts as one of the best parks in the city. It offers spectacular views and some great activities to get through the day like a bicycle ride around the lake. And when the sun goes down this is also one of our favorite spots to go to. A perfect place to assist a sunset is the bar Palaphita Kitch, with a view you can see in the photo above. It is not cheap, but they have some great caipirinhas, the typical Brazilian drink, and you should try the traditional queijo coalho. A real treat for anyone that loves cheese.
Are you traveling on a budget? Don’t worry! It’s also possible to just sit in the grass in front of the bar and enjoy the same incredible view for free.
The Sugarloaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro, or Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese, is the second most famous peak in the city. The top of the hill is almost 400 meters above sea level and is known is the best place to assist the sunset in Rio. The trip to the top is done with a cable car that was inaugurated in 1912. It has brought millions of people to this beautiful spot and made worldwide fame in the James Bond movie Moonraker when James Bond fought Jaws on top of one of the cabins.
The trip to the top is perfect for sunsets where you can see Rio light up in the early evening. Something that is a lot harder from the Christ Statue since clouds many times gather there in the afternoon. A good tip is to bring a book and spend a few hours up there. They have shops on both hills – the first stop with the cable car is at Morro da Urca at 200 meters above sea level – where you can buy sandwiches as well as drinks. A sweater is a good idea since it can get pretty chilly.
Mureta da Urca
Urca is not as full with bars and restaurants as some other parts of Rio, but it is home to one of the best places to have a beer on the street. That place is the Mureta da Urca: a low wall along the waterside. This wall covers the whole neighborhood and is around two kilometers long. At the end of the afternoon, especially from Thursday till Sunday people gather at the wall to have a drink with friends. Go here to enjoy the sunset, the awesome views of the bay and the Christ Statue. You will find yourself meeting new people and staying a lot longer then you expected.
You can buy drinks at a bar or from street vendors, who are walking around since there are hundreds of people enjoying the place – especially when the weather is nice. A local favorite is Bar Urca, at the end of the wall close to Forte São João map. It’s the oldest bar in the neighborhood Urca and they have great salgados here. Salgados are typical Brazilian fried snacks with for example cheese, chicken or shrimps inside. A must try!
A insider tip; the part of the wall at the beginning of the neighborhood is called Pobreta da Urca, because it is supposedly less fancy than the part with Bar Urca. But you will have the best views exactly from the Pobreta.
Parque da Cidade Niterói
Cariocas sometimes joke that the best thing in neighboring city Niterói is the view of Rio. You can argue about that, but the view you get from Parque da Cidade in Niteroi is truly breathtaking. And it is easily the best sunset in Rio, or maybe of Rio. It is located on top of Viração hill (map). During the day here is a take-of point with ramps for hanggliders, but when the sun starts going down people go up and gather on the hill. Groups of friends, families and couples in love sit down on the ramp to see the day turn into night with the skyline of The Marvelous city on the other side of the bay if front of them. A poster card image that gets stuck in your head and will even awake romantic feelings in the most coldhearted persons.
The easiest way to go to Niterói is by getting the ferry across the bay that leaves from Praça XV in the center of Rio. From there you can get an Uber of taxi to the top of the hill. Be aware though that after sunset it can be difficult to quickly get an Uber back down. It can be a good deal to try to make an appointment with the driver that took you up.
Sunset from the water
Imagine yourself sitting on a boat with a gentle ocean breeze going through your hair. You have a cold beer in your hand and you are watching the sun set over the Marvelous City after a great day of sailing with friends. The sky and the ocean turn yellow to orange to purple. At the beach and in the buildings the lights turn on and mark the start of another vibrant Carioca night. Sounds good right?