When I was seeing my friends’ carnival pictures from Brasil this week, I could’t help myself but open my old folder and browse through all these photos. Rio de Janeiro seems like a rapper to me: love it or hate it. And I love it. So in this post I would love to share with you my favorite places in the sexiest city on this planet:
1. COPACABANAThis world famous beach doesn’t have a good fame at all in Rio. Cariocas (Rio’s inhabitans) say it’s for old people. Are you kidding? I wished our beaches for old people would look like that. What they actually want to say: Not all of the girls are wearing string bikinis. Which is an absolut no go on the beaches of Rio.So I guess this is before marriage……and this afterI did it all wrong. Had my tiniest bikini on and still looked like a scuba diver compared to the other girls. On the picture above with my beloved Guaraná lemonade at least.How do you know you are in Copacabana? There are two landmarks: Copacabana Palace, the most expensive hotel of Rio, and the Copacabana beach sidewalk designed with black and white basalt and limestone. 2. ESCADARIA SELARÓN You will probably recognize these colorful steps from the “Beautiful” video, where Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dog were sitting on them singing “Beautiful, I just want you to know you’re my favorite girl”. There is a sad story behind these steps though: The Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón started putting tiles on them when he was unhappily in love. He was waiting there for years and tourists from all over the world brought him new tiles – so the 215 stairs finally enden up covered by more than 2000 tiles from 60 different countries. Two years ago Jorge Selarón was found dead on his stairs. Today it’s a place where musicians meet but nobody brings tiles any more.3. LAPA Lapa is a neighborhood in the centre of Rio, famous for it’s impressive aqueduct (Arcos da Lapa) from the the mid-18th century but most of all for it’s nightlife. Some people say it’s dangerous but did you ever have an epic party in a save place? 4. FAVELA ROCINHARocinha is the largest favela in Brazil built on a steep hillside overlooking Rio de Janeiro. So people who live here actually have the best view. What surprised me the most: Villas of rich people were built side to side to the houses of the favela which is nothing usual in South America. And there were even schools located so close on the both sides, that children had a common play yard. 5. IPANEMAIpanema is the sexiest beach in Rio de Janeiro with a perfect view to some beautiful hills haha. For us, it was a perfect place to have a rest before the carnival parades at Sambódromo started. You can watch the Brazilians here playing soccer, eating shrimps or just looking good for hours. Not too many swimmers though, 80 percent of people living here can’t swim.6. SUGARLOAF MOUNTAINRising 396 meters above the harbor, Pão de Açúcar is a perfect place to watch the sunset which covers the entire bay in a shiny gold.7. CORCOVADOWell, what shall I say about this most visited place in Rio? Corcovado is stunning, no doubt, but it’s even more stunning if you go up in a little train. Therefore you have to arrive really early. Otherwise there are only tickets left for busses with no stunning views at all on their way up. 8. BOTANICAL GARDEN140 hectare of peace, palm trees and waterfalls. The Botanical Garden could be such a rehab place, if we wouldn’t find all kinds of caipirinhas everywhere in the neighborhood.9. SAMBÓDROMOOn the friday before the first league parades start at Sambódromo there is a super cute kids parade. The whole family comes together to support these young ladies on their way to the big samba careers.10. LEBLONIf you didn’t get a ticket for Sambódromo so called blocos (street parties with music and drinks) in Ipanema and Leblon are the best alternative to celebrate carnival. Just put some glitter, feathers or ears on and your costume is ready. The Brazilians are not so strict in this aspect. They look good anyway.11. CHURRASCARIAEverybody who knows me will understand why THIS is my favorite place in Rio de Janeiro. The Churrascaria Porcão is the most famous grill restaurant in town and they even let me take a picture in the kitchen (no women allowed normally). Other food I loved in Rio: Grilled octopus with veggetables and of course Feijoada, a traditional sunday dish with beans and again lots of meat.12. HOTELLet’s be honest: More expensive than hotels in Rio are only hotels in Rio during the carnival. After we stayed five days in a tiny room without proper windows for nearly 200 euros a night, for the last night we moved to a suite at Othon Palace, a first row hotel at Copacabana. It only cost us 70 euros more but what a difference! Almost stayed for the whole evening on our terrace staring at the sea. And the mountains. And the lighs.There are flights to Rio de Janeiro with Air France via Paris and with KLM via Amsterdam.