Your Ultimate Guide to the Must-see Attractions in
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana is among the most recognized neighborhoods in Brazil and the main reason why so many travelers book a stay in Rio de Janeiro. In addition to an incredible beach, Copacabana has a range of attractions to explore. You can visit parks during the day and bars at night. Check out this ultimate guide for the must-see attractions in Copacabana.

 

Facts about Copacabana

Copacabana is in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, near Ipanema. The neighborhood name—Copacabana—has a curious origin. It refers to an ancient city located on Lake Titicaca, meaning “Blue Viewpoint”. The connection between Copacabana and Bolivia is due to a saint. Bolivian fishermen built a chapel on the shores of Copacabana beach as a tribute to the saint, Our Lady of Copacabana. 

Best bars and restaurants in Copacabana

Restaurants

 

Along Atlântica Avenue, you can find some of the best restaurants in Rio de Janeiro, such as Emile. This Michelin-starred French restaurant was voted the best in the city by the local magazine, Veja Rio. In addition to an excellent menu, you will also be amazed by the vertical garden that beautifully decorates this place. 

 

If you prefer casual dining, book a table at Marius Degustare. This restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine; we highly recommend you to try its delicious seafood plates. The colorful lamps create a pleasant atmosphere.

 

The Italian restaurant La Mole is well-known by locals. It serves a range of Italian plates carefully prepared with fresh ingredients. There are several La Mole restaurants spread across the city. In Copacabana, it’s located on Dias da Rocha Street.

Bars

 

Pavão Azul is among the favorite bars in Copacabana, a Cultural Heritage Site in Rio. This bar from 1957 serves snacks in a casual environment. To feel like a local, order a cold beer and the salt codfish fritters as this is the most popular dish in Pavão Azul. The bar is on Hilário de Gouvêia Street, only three blocks away from Posto 3 on the beach.

 

Near Posto 4, you can find Boteco Belmonte, a well-known bar chain in Rio de Janeiro. The first unit is from 1952 in the Flamengo neighborhood. Nowadays, Boteco Belmonte is where many locals go to have a beer with friends. 

Listen to a Bossa Nova concert at Beco das Garrafas

Beco das Garrafas, an alley near Duvivier Street, is a classic bohemian area in Copacabana. The first concerts of Bossa Nova music happened here in the ’60s. Beco das Garrafas is a place to visit to find out more about Brazilian culture. 

 

Beco das Garrafas means “Bottle’s Alley.” It has this name because the neighbors of these bars used to throw bottles on people to reduce the noise when the music was too loud.  

 

Notorious Brazilian artists had performed here, such as the singer, Elis Regina, and the pianist, Sérgio Mendes. Little Club and Bottle’s Bar are among the traditional establishments that keep organizing live music concerts in cozy and intimate spaces. 

Celebrate the Carioca lifestyle

You haven’t experienced the authentic Rio de Janeiro until you try some traditional Carioca snacks on the beach. The iconic Biscoito Globo is a must. This classic cookie recipe is made of fine tapioca powder and is available as savoury or sweet. 

 

This 1953 recipe became so popular among locals that it entered Rio’s Cultural Heritage List in 2012! However, to become a real Carioca you must combine your Biscoito Globo with a cold tea named Mate Leão. This beverage of yerba mate is a type of tea that is very common in South America.

 

Best attractions to visit in Copacabana

Discover the Carioca lifestyle while exploring one of the best neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro. You will find attractions for all types of travelers in Copacabana. Check out our suggestions to include on your bucket list: 

Copacabana_Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra

Explore the beaches in Copacabana

The famous beach of Copacabana should definitely feature on your bucket list! But first, you need to understand how the beaches work in Rio de Janeiro. These beaches are divided into stops called “Postos.” These Postos are numbered from 1 to 12 as a strategy to facilitate getting around in the South Zone of the city.

 

The beaches in the Copacabana neighborhood start on Posto 2 and finish on Posto 6. They are between Leme beach on Posto 1 and Arpoador beach on Posto 7. Each stop also has a distinct atmosphere. 

 

Posto 2 is the vibrant trendiest stop where you will find most of the international tourists. You will see Copacabana Palace here, a grand hotel where most international celebrities stay when visiting Rio. 


Postos 3, 4, and 5 are in the middle of the beach. Here you’ll find a more relaxing vibe than in Posto 2. The last stop in Copacabana is Posto 6, a place full of must-see attractions, such as Carlos Drummond de Andrade Statue and the Copacabana Fort.

Copacabana_Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra
Copacabana_Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra

Walk around the iconic promenade in Copacabana

Rio has a unique way of showing you when you are entering a new neighborhood. Keep an eye on the sidewalk to find out. The promenade by the beach—calçadão as Cariocas call it—has a different pattern for every neighborhood. Copacabana displays drawings that resemble a wave; and in Ipanema, it has a squared format. 

 

This promenade from 1906 is composed of white calcite stones and black basalt stones from Portugal. Interesting fact: the wave pattern was not inspired by the ocean views of Copacabana beach, but by Rossio Square in Lisbon. 

 

The drawings represent the confluence between the Tejo River and the Atlantic Ocean in the Portuguese capital. Take your time to carefully explore all the history behind this 2,5 miles (4 km) long calçadão during your walk or bike tour in Copacabana. 

Take a selfie with Drummond’s statue in Copacabana

If you’re a book lover or just a curious traveler, you must visit this famous character on Copacabana beach. The statue of the writer Carlos Drummond de Andrade is one of the most visited attractions in Posto 6. 

 

Drummond is an important poet of the Modernist Movement in Brazil. The monument is a tribute to this notorious resident of Copacabana. There are many statues like this to visit along Rio’s promenades. 

 

We recommend checking the monument to Clarice Lispector, one of the most influential writers in Brazilian Literature. This statue is located at Leme beach as she had lived many years in this neighborhood. At Ipanema, you can find the statue of Tom Jobim, the composer of the iconic song, “Girl from Ipanema.”

Praia do Leme_Rio de Janeiro
Praia do Leme_Rio de Janeiro

Leme viewpoint

For iconic views of Copacabana, hit the nearby Leme. Close to Posto 1, you can find a panoramic viewpoint by the hill. You’ll be able to see Copacabana beach, Sugarloaf Mountain, Corcovado—where the Christ statue is located—and Pedra da Gávea from there.


Arriving at the viewpoint is easy: follow the promenade path called Caminho dos Pescadores. It’s called “Fishermen Path” because this area is used for fishing activities. The statue of Clarice Lispector is nearby. Local tip: visit the viewpoint at sunset for breathtaking ocean views.

Discover the story behind Copacabana Fort

Copacabana Fort is a place where you can find both locals and tourists. This military fort aims to protect the Brazilian capital—until 1960, Rio was the capital city; now it is Brasília. This fort had also witnessed one of the most important events of Brazilian history when 18 men faced 3,000 soldiers in an attempt to establish a new government. 

 

This movement is known as Levante dos 18 do Forte. You can find all the details about it in the fort’s museum. You will also be able to visit several spaces in this well-preserved fort during your visit. 

 

But take some time to enjoy the views too. From Copacabana Fort, you can see the beach and also Sugarloaf Mountain. Local tip: visit Confeitaria Colombo, a traditional cafe in Rio that has a store located inside the fort. You can appreciate the views while drinking a Brazilian caipirinha.

Go hiking at Chacrinha State Park

Many travelers think that Copacabana is only the beach, but this neighborhood has several attractions to visit. For example, Chacrinha State Park, a 32 acres park only a few blocks away from the beach. 

 

This park has leisure facilities, including a playground for kids, a football field, and barbecue grills. If you love outdoor activities, we highly recommend trying some of the trail paths in Chacrinha. Keep in mind that hiring a local guide is a safer option to walk around Rio’s jungle. 

More attractions to explore in Copacabana

In Copacabana, you will also find theaters, art galleries, and great museums that are worth visiting. Espaço Sesc Copacabana, for example, organizes art exhibitions and several cultural events, including plays and dance performances.

 

Teatro Brigitte Blair is one of the oldest theaters in Rio, part of the vibrant art scene of the ’60s and ’70s. Nowadays, the theater is known for promoting plays and events for kids.

 

Copacabana is home to Rio’s version of the prestigious Image and Sound Museum (MIS). The building is under construction, but you can already admire the modern facade inspired by the waves of Copacabana’s promenade. 

 

If you like flea markets, you should visit the Antique Fair organized every Sunday at the Shopping Cassino Atlântico. This sophisticated mall is on Posto 6. You can check the home decor stores or book a table in one of the restaurants nearby.

Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra

How to get around in Copacabana

Walking and cycling are the best way to get around a city as beautiful as Rio. Enjoy a bike tour by the calçadão while admiring the scenic views. We highly recommend calling an Uber or a 99 instead of walking at night. That is a safer option—even for short distances. 

Where to stay in Copacabana

Elza Paradise Escape

 

Enjoy a comfortable stay at this spacious apartment. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a fully-equipped kitchen. Take advantage of its prime location during your stay—you’ll be only four blocks away from Copacabana beach, in the vibrant Posto 2 area.

Gal Sunny Flat

 

Book your sophisticated stay in Copacabana. A luxury apartment with two bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, high-speed WiFi, and smart-home technology awaits you.