Looking for the most Instagrammable places in Rio de Janeiro? Read on for all my top recommendations!
Rio de Janeiro was a city that really, really surprised me with its beauty. The beaches, the buildings, and the stunning natural beauty combined to create wonderful vista after wonderful vista.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in, but I was absolutely delighted with all the unique sights in and around the city. I want to share some of my favorite places in Rio de Janerio to get that perfect Instagrammable photo.
However, I want to start this list by saying very clearly: I am not a professional photographer. I am NOWHERE CLOSE to a pro – it’s actually hilarious to even think of myself anywhere close to that level.
However, we love capturing beautiful moments when we travel, we have a great camera on my cell phone (not even a real camera LOL), and we have some pretty good tenacity to keep trying for *the shot*. So I’m pretty dang happy with how our pictures from Rio turned out, and they’re definitely ones you can capture, too!
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17 Gorgeous Instagrammable Places in Rio de Janeiro
After spending six wonderful days in the Marvelous City, I can definitively say that these are my top favorite Instagrammable places in Rio de Janerio.
1. Christ the Redeemer
We can’t talk about Instagram spots in Rio without first starting with one of the 7 wonders of the world! Since this is a pretty obvious photo spot, I want to highlight a couple ways to get a nice shot without crowds of people.
First, come here right away in the morning. There will still be people, but it will be much more manageable.
Second, this railing on the right hand side of the statue actually made for a really great photo spot. I love the leading lines, and the fact that it gives a nice view of the statue and blocks out all the people.
Third, take a photo from the back! This is actually a really fun view and one that most people walk right by, so it’s not hard to get a good picture without the crowds.
2. Café Plage at Parque Lage
This café at Parque Lage is a gorgeous Instagrammable spot in Rio de Janeiro. The fancy old mansion with umbrella tables, the basin in the middle, and of course, Corcovado Mountain and Christ the Redeemer in the background. There is a line for this spot, but it’s worth it.
You’ll be expected to actually eat here to get access to the courtyard, but the food is on point, too. Also, consider paying a little more to head to the roof for more great sights!
3. The Caves at Parque Lage
Most people who come to Parque Lage come just for the café, or stay near the front of the grounds. But, if you wander around the paths behind the mansion, you can explore this fun little cave system! There are also towers, pools, and pathways to enjoy. It’s a unique but cool photo spot in Rio.
4. Metropolitan Cathedral
One of THE most unique churches I have ever seen, the Metropolitan cathedral is a mix between ultra modern and ancient Mayan temple. It was funky, but I was really into it and think it’s a great Instagrammable spot in Rio.
The inside of the cathedral also makes for a really interesting and unique picture too!
5. Selaron Steps
The colorful Selaron Steps are incredibly popular, so if you want your Instagrammable shot without people, come early! There are over 200 steps, and most people congregate at the bottom, so head up the steps to find a clearer spot. You’ll find no shortage of amazing spots for a Rio photo here.
6. Teatro Municipal
This gooooooorgeous building was modeled off the Paris Opera, and is a really stunning building inside and out. Honestly, I could believe I was in Paris just based off of this building.
7. Sugar Loaf Mountain
Sugar Loaf Mountain is one of the most distinctive features on the Rio de Janeiro skyline, and heading to the top of the mountain via cable car is a must-do in Rio. You can get a great Instagrammable shot of Sugarloaf with the cable cars running from Urca Hill (your first stop up the mountain on the cable cars).
And of course the views from the top are absolutely breathtaking! I would highly recommend coming up at sunset and then watching as the city lights come on. The way that the lights of the city just mold around the dark hills and mountains and winding coastline was stunning.
This was for sure one of my favorite moments and photo spots in Rio de Janeiro.
8. Jardim Botanico
The botanical gardens require a small entrance fee, which is actually kind of nice, as I think it deters many visitors and keeps the gardens pretty quiet and peaceful. This palm-tree lined lane is a great Instagrammable spot in the gardens!
9. Royal Portuguese Reading Room
Ahhh the Royal Portuguese Reading Room. Be still, my heart. This is THE Instagrammable place in Rio de Janeiro if you love reading, books, or libraries at all (or even just pretty architecture). Giving equal parts Harry Potter and Beauty and the Beast library vibes, this is a photo spot in Rio not to be missed.
10. Copacabana Beach Sidewalk
The iconic, undulating pattern of the sidewalk along the famous Copacabana beach is, well, iconic. Before you hit the beach, take some time to walk along this path and get some photos at this Instagrammable spot in Rio de Janerio!
11. Candelaria Church
The tall spires of the stately Candelaria church make this a great place for an Instagram photo in Rio de Janeiro. If it’s open, take a look around the interior for some amazing architecture.
12. Boulevard Olimpico
On Avenue Rodriguez Alves, near the Musem of Tomorrow, is the Mural das Etnias. It was created ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and features people from 5 different ethnic groups from the 5 biggest continents of the world.
It’s actually the biggest graffiti in the world, and is symbolic of how we are all one in the world. Although the colors have already faded somewhat from their original vibrancy, this is still a great photo spot in Rio.
13. Mirante Dona Marta
Nestled in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, the Mirante Dona Marta gives you some of the most Instagrammable views in Rio! I particularly like how you get the great view of Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf Mountain in the background.
14. Vista Chinesa Viewpoint
The Vista Chinesa is one of the most Instagrammable places in Rio de Janeiro! I mean – look at the view! This viewpoint really highlights one of the things I liked most about Rio – all the hills and mountains that are scattered among the city. You can see so many hills in the distance, including Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer, as well as Sugarloaf!
16. Confeitaria Colombo Café
This Instagram worthy spot in the heart of Centro is a beautiful place to grab a bite to eat, and a photo.
As you walk in, you can admire the many desserts on display in the pastry cases, and there are more options available in the menu. You can get a full meal, or just sample the desserts (like we did!) and enjoy the pretty floors, mirrors, and décor.
17. Beaches at Arraial do Cabo
One really fun thing to do when visiting Rio de Janeiro is take a day trip (or longer, if you have the time!) out to Arraial do Cabo, a little beach town about 2 hours away from downtown Rio. These beaches here are known as the “Caribbean of Brazil,” with crystal clear, blue water and pretty beaches to relax on.
Here, we are on Ponto do Atalia which has the very Instagrammable stairway down to the sand.
Alternatively, you can visit the nearby Praia Brava beach in Arraial do Cabo, which actually may have been our favorite! It had this bomb view at sunset and a gorgeous and wide beach to relax on.
What to Wear for a Great Picture in Rio
Look, I’m not here to say you *have* to wear any of these options. Wear what makes you feel comfortable! However, I wore these outfits throughout our time in Rio, and they both kept me cool in the heat and looked great in photos.
People in Rio de Janeiro dress pretty casually – you’ll see a lot of guys in cargo shorts and no shirts walking around, and a lot of girls in a basic tank and pair of shorts. But you’ll also see girls in dresses and skirts walking around too (and even jeans – although I can’t imagine wearing jeans in the heat and humidity of Rio!).
This FLORAL MAXI DRESS, this BLUE DRESS, and this RED DRESS were all MVPs in Rio – breezy and easy to wear in the hot Brazilian weather, and looked really great in photos, too. I brought and wore two different prints of this same dress in Rio.
These are my favorite pair of COMFY TRAVEL SANDALS – they are unobtrusive in photos, but are very comfortable and cushy, have great arch support, and felt amazing right out of the box. I wear these all the time in warm weather destinations.
These WHITE SNEAKERS are another great shoe choice for long walking days. I wear these all the time (even with dresses) when we travel and they are super comfortable and supportive.
Final Thoughts on the Most Instagrammable Places in Rio de Janeiro
There’s so much to see and experience in Rio de Janerio. You’ll love meeting the people, tasting the delicious food, and taking in the sights. When you’re ready to snap some amazing photos, I hope these Instagrammable places in Rio give you some inspiration for where to visit during your trip!
Enjoy your vacation in Rio – you’re going to love it!
Check out my other Rio articles!
- A Rio de Janeiro Travel Budget: What Does a Trip to Rio Cost?
- A Review of a Favela Tour in Rio de Janeiro
- 13 Rio de Janeiro Travel Tips