Sunsets in Rio de Janeiro are truly beautiful as you watch the sky turn into bright oranges and reds. The sea glistens in the last light of the day and the mountains form an impressive dark backdrop to the city.
With your Rio vacation never having to be too far away, watching the Rio de Janeiro sunset is perhaps one of the best moments to witness. The sun-kissed city of Rio converts into a lively and rhythmic nighttime destination.
We have compiled a list of the top unique places to watch the sunset in Rio, away from the usual spots in the marvelous city.
Before we get started, remember that our tours in Rio de Janeiro are a private service. So we can arrange for your tours to take place during sunrise or sunset, allowing you to soak up the natural beauty of Rio.
1. Vista Chinesa
The Vista Chinesa is an oriental-style pavilion, perched 1,246ft. in the verdant Tijuca Forest at the ascent of the Alto da Boa Vista. Offering stunning views of the city of Rio de Janeiro, the monument was erected in 1903 to honor the Chinese immigrant population of Rio de Janeiro.
As one of South America’s grandest Chinese monuments, the award-winning gazebo is one of the best places to watch the sunset away from the crowds in Rio. The tranquility of the Chinese viewpoint allows you to really appreciate the unrestricted view of the lagoon below. You’ll also look over Zona Sul, Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer and the surrounding Tijuca Forest as the sun sets over the Marvelous City.
2. Pedra do Arpoador
Located on the border between Ipanema and Copacabana, is Arpoador Rock which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean giving you unrestricted 360-degree views to enjoy. As one of Rio’s most romantic spots to watch the sunset, there’s no better place to be.
On one side, you’ll be able to see the glistening, golden sands of Arpoador, Ipanema and Leblon beaches. As well as Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Hill), Corcovado Mountain and Pedra da Gávea (Gávea Rock) behind it. To the other side of Arpoador Rock, you’ll see Copacabana Beach, Copacabana Fort, Leme, and Sugarloaf Mountain.
At rare times during the midsummer months, you’ll be able to see the sun setting into the sea, something which is near impossible in most places in Rio. Arpoador Rock is one of the most impressive sites. It’s not uncommon for the locals to applaud the sunset spectacle during this time of the year. Arpoador sunset in Rio de Janeiro is one of the most magnificent sights you’ll ever witness.
3. Urca Neighborhood
As you make your way to Sugarloaf Mountain, you will more than likely pass through the traditional and affluent neighborhood of Urca. This beautiful neighborhood with some of Rio’s oldest streets is a hidden gem when it comes to watching the Rio sunset.
As the city lights turn on around you, and you watch the oranges and reds of the sunset over the harbor, take a relaxing walk along Urca’s promenade. A great place to stop-off along the way is Bar Urca, which has an incredible setting near Urca’s bayside waterfront.
Soak up the atmosphere and beauty of Rio’s sunset by taking a seat on the seaside wall opposite the understated Bar Urca. Waiters will bring you drinks and appetizers adding to your sunset in Rio experience. This is by far one of the most romantic places in Rio de Janeiro. The perfect place to catch a sunset in Brazil.
4. Guanabara Bay
Rio’s beauty can be marveled at from all directions. A unique way to appreciate the splendor and magnificence of Rio de Janeiro during sunset is gazing at its skyline and diverse landscape from the calm waters of Guanabara Bay.
You’ll have plenty of time in Rio de Janeiro to admire the expansive views from high above the city at Sugarloaf Mountain or Corcovado Mountain. As well as from Rio’s hidden beaches. Seeing Rio from the water is an experience like no other.
Going on a boat ride in Guanabara Bay, you’ll be able to see the city’s lights turn on, as well as seeing the colors of the sunset hit Rio’s buildings. You’ll have an infinite view of Rio’s incredible landscape and beachfront.
Enjoy one of the most beautiful and dramatic settings of any city in the world. You’ll be able to take spectacular photos of Rio’s cityscape backed by Sugarloaf and Corcovado Mountain.
5. Porto Bay Hotel
The Porto Bay Hotel in Rio de Janeiro is one of our favorite hotels in the city. Not only does its Copacabana beachfront location mean that you can step out onto one of the world’s most famous beaches, but it also offers some of the best sunset in Rio views.
The new rooftop pool gives panoramic views of Rio’s famous bay. With Copacabana Beach in the foreground and Christ the Redeemer in the background. It is from this exclusive location on top of the Porto Bay Hotel that many argue has the best seat in the city to watch the city’s world-famous New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Whether you’re watching the sunset from sea view deluxe rooms and suites, after a thrilling day exploring the sights and sounds of Rio or relaxing on the golden sands on the hotel’s doorstep it’s sure to be a treat. You can even watch the sunset from the comfort of your room as you get ready for Rio’s nightlife and samba beats once the sun has gone down.
This is one of the most magnificent sunsets near Copacabana.
6. Dois Irmãos
If you’re looking to see a spectacular Ipanema beach sunset, there’s only one place to go – Dois Irmaos. This is one of the two peaks that can be seen from the beach. It’s fairly easy to get to but it does require a short hike, so be sure to set aside 30 minutes to make the trek before the sun sets.
You’ll need to take a moto-taxi through the favela to the base of the hike. The hike is well-marked and it’ll be a breeze making your way to the top (although it is rather steep at times).
From the top of the Dois Irmaos peak, the Rio de Janeiro beach sunset is exquisite. Be sure to have your camera aimed and ready to capture the moment the sun sets. It’s not an image you’ll want to forget.
7. Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon
The Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon is surrounded by a neighborhood known as Lagoa. Around the lake, you’ll find parks with running and cycling paths snaking their way through the landscape. And along the water’s edge, you’ll find a multitude of restaurants and snack bars that make for the perfect sunset-watching spots.
On the lagoon itself, you can hire swan-shaped pedal boats that allow you to pedal yourself over the water as you watch the sun dip behind the horizon. The red and orange reflections on the water as the sky lights up in vibrant hues are a picturesque scene.
8. Mirante Dona Marta
If you’re looking for one of the most rewarding sights in Rio, you’re going to have to work for it a little bit. But trust us, the views are so worth it. From the top of Mirante Dona Marta, you’ll enjoy stunning views across Sugarloaf Mountain, Botafogo, and Guanabara Bay.
To get there, make your way to the top of Santa Marta favela. From there, take the elevator to the highest point, where you’ll begin your 40-minute hike to the top. You might be huffing and puffing by the time you get there, but you’ll be so thankful that you made the effort.
Because of its incredible elevation, it’s one of the best places in Rio to watch the sunset. You’ll also get to look down on the city lights as they twinkle below you.
9. Pão de Açúcar
Pão de Açúcar, known adoringly by tourists as Sugarloaf Mountain, this viewing point is about as high as you can get without having to make a climb. It provides wonderful views over Copacabana, Botafogo, Urca, as well as Guanabara Bay.
The easiest way to get to the top is by taking a cable car from Urca. You’ll travel 1400 meters via cable car to a beautiful viewing point that allows you to see an incredible portion of Rio. You’ll also get to see the Christ the Redeemer statue that’s an absolutely iconic landmark.
Visiting this 600-million-year-old peak in Rio is a must on any Brazil itinerary, so why not visit at the best time of day. While the sun sets over this sun-kissed city.
10. Pedra da Gavea
Pedra da Gavea is easily one of the most challenging sunset spots in Rio to get to. Pedra da Gavea is the largest coastal monolith and rises to an impressive 844 meters up from the ocean. Despite the hike’s short distance of fust 3.2 miles (round trip), it takes at least 4.5 hours to complete. This is because of its sheer steepness and overall challenge.
During many parts of this hike, you’ll have to engage in climbing and scrambling, for this reason it’s best to go with a guide. Especially if you plan to visit for sunset, as you’ll be making your way back in the dark.
But with great challenge, comes great reward, and those words couldn’t be truer of the spectacular sunset views you’ll appreciate from the top.
Best Places in Rio de Janeiro for Sunset
Now that you know 10 of the very best places in Rio de Janeiro to watch the sunset, you can be sure you’ll take in some epic views during your time in the city. Be sure to have your camera ready at all times during the golden hour, and you’re sure to capture picturesque views that you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Thanks for visiting our Central & South America Travel Blog! Feel free to contact one of our Travel Specialists via email, phone or chat to plan your unique Brazil Christmas & New Year’s Eve itinerary.