The Cool Girl’s Guide to Rio de Janeiro

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As legions of spectators descend upon Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics, so do plenty of non-enthusiasts who got roped into the trip by the promise of adventure. For those of you in this fascinating city and not interested in watching the athletes face off, this all-inclusive guide is for you. Discover Savoir Flair’s expert edit of what to see, what to do, where to shop, and where to relax while in Brazil’s most happening metropolis.

What to See

Christ the Redeemer
Let’s start with the most iconic landmark in all of Rio de Janeiro – the enormous statue of Christ. To see it in person, you’ll have to visit Corcovado Mountain, which is situated in a lush national park. If you’re looking to experience Rio to the fullest, this is one sightseeing adventure you simply can’t miss.

Ipanema Beach
A great place to spend the day soaking up the Brazilian sun, this world-famous beach is conveniently located a few minutes away from Rio’s hottest clubs. You can walk to a local establishment for some dancing and cocktails afterwards.

Prainha Beach
It might be hard to get some quiet time in the party capital of the world, so we suggest heading down to a small surfer beach called Prainha to get away from the hustle and bustle. Watch local surfers “hang ten” from the safety of the shore and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of this private location.

Sugarloaf Mountain
Take a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain (or Pão de Açúcar to the locals), and you’ll be greeted by the most spectacular view in all of Rio de Janeiro.

Sugarloaf Mountain rio
Sugarloaf Mountain | Photo: Courtesy of Thousand Wonders

Where to Eat

Espírito Santa
If you’ve ever wanted to dine in a beautifully restored Brazilian mansion, this restaurant is your best bet. Try the signature river fish with a side of fresh juice made using fruits plucked directly from the Amazon.

Rua Almirante Alexandrino, 264 Santa Teresa
Tel: (+55) 21 2507 4840

Photo: Courtesy of Espírito Santa

Reputed to be the best Italian restaurant in Rio, this sophisticated spot is great for people watching as its high-end setting tends to attract the city’s media, film, and celebrity elite.

Rua Anibal de Mendonça 157, Ipanema
Tel: (+55) 21 2239 8158

Although small in size, this contemporary restaurant within the Jardim Botanico neighbourhood is actually quite sophisticated. The menu offers some of the most innovative food in the region, like a beautifully crafted lamb-shoulder cannelloni with black-truffle consommé.

Rua Custódio Serrão 62, Lagoa
Tel: (+55) 21 2539 4542

Sushi Leblon
This cosmopolitan dining spot, one of Rio’s best Japanese restaurants, offers its own (fantastic) take on sushi, with salmon sashimi, tuna, and foie gras as stand-out items on the menu.

Rua Dias Ferreira 256, Leblon
Tel: (+55) 21 2512 7830

Attached to the exquisite hillside Santa Teresa Hotel, this elegant eatery serves contemporary cuisine. With views of Guanabara Bay and plenty of tropical flora and fauna on the terrace, it’s the perfect place to while away the hours.

Rua Almirante Alexandrino 660, Santa Teresa
Tel: (+55) 21 3380 0259

Terez Brazil
Photo: Courtesy of Térez

Yumê Kin
This traditional Japanese restaurant is one of Rio’s top spots for celebrity spotting, but it still manages to offer an inclusive dining experience. The setting is gorgeous; candlelit rooms and a transparent floor over protected pools of koi await.

Rua Pacheco Leão 758, Jardim Botânico
Tel: (+55) 21 3205 7321

Beautifully crafted European fare and lively surroundings make for loyal patrons at this restaurant in the fashionable Leblon neighborhood. Fans of seafood will especially enjoy the rare tuna tartare and fresh ceviche.

Rua Dias Ferreira 233, Leblon
Tel: (+55) 21 3205 7154

Where to Shop

Agua de Coco
What started in 1985 as a solo labor of love by designer Liana Thomaz has evolved into an internationally renowned swimwear line that has helped define the sensual Brazilian beach aesthetic.

Avenida das Américas 7777, Barra da Tijuca
Tel: (+55) 21 3326 4399

The local fashion set loves this beautifully curated boutique – and for good reason. It caters to high-fashion lovers with slinky dresses, architectural accessories, and much more.

Avenida Afrânio de Melo Franco 290, Leblon
Tel: (+55) 21 99805 4903

Casa de Alessa
Stocking all manner of upscale lingerie and underthings, this boutique is a place to see and be seen in Rio de Janeiro. It is also home to installation art and operates as a party venue for an atmosphere that is enthralling and one of a kind.

Rua Nascimento Silva 399, Ipanema
Tel: (+55) 21 2287 9939

Photo: Courtesy of Casa de Alessa


Barra Shopping
It’s easy to get swallowed up by this enormous mall, but seeking out high-street basics and great Brazilian brands like Totem and Osklen will maximize your shopping adventure.

Avenida das Américas 4666, Barra da Tijuca
Tel:(+55) 21 4003 4131

Blue Man
If you want to capture the essence of Brazilian fashion, you must embrace the Carioca lifestyle. Enter: Blue Man, a brand with a stylish line of colorful, casual beachwear that will make you feel like a native in no time.

Rua Visconde de Pirajá 351, Ipanema
Tel: (+55) 21 2247 4905

H. Stern
Brazil is one of the world’s leading exporters of rare gemstones, with Hans Stern creating a veritable jewelry empire based on the quality and range available in the country. The largest of the brand’s 170 stores worldwide is located in Ipanema.

Rua Garcia d’Avila 113, Ipanema
Tel: (+55) 21 2259 7442

For a more traditional approach to shopping in Rio de Janeiro, there are dozens of street markets worthy of your time. They are the best place to score artisanal crafts and handmade accessories, clothing, and household goods. Major markets in the city include Fiera do Rio Antigo, Copacabana Fair, and Hippie Fair.

Photo: Courtesy of Like a Local

The world’s top-selling sandal and flip-flop brand is famously from (and manufactured in) Brazil. Grab the freshest styles at the Praça Maua location.

Avenida Rodrigues Alves 135, Centro
Tel: (+55) 21 2263 0860

Lenny Niemeyer
If you’re in the market for sophisticated beachwear, look to the luxe pieces by this talented designer. Her bathing suits and cover-ups are so elegant, you could wear them out in public without feeling out of place.

Rua Visconde de Pirajá 351, Ipanema
Tel: (+55) 21 2523 3796

This dynamic brand is known far beyond the shores of Rio for its cool, sporty attire. It stocks a fantastic line of sneakers, outerwear, and clothing, including products made with salmon skin.

Rua Maria Quitéria 85, Ipanema
Tel.: (+55) 21 2227 2911

When top models like Gisele Bündchen, Adriana Lima, and Christy Turlington visit Brazil for photo shoots, they make it a point to stop by this store for colorful, sexy bikinis.

Avenida das Américas 4666, Barra da Tijuca
Tel: (+55) 21 2431 9111

Shopping Leblon
With dozens of high-end international brands, like Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana, and Brazilian designers, like Carlos Miele, this glittering shopping center is one of Rio’s top retail destinations.

Avenida Afrânio de Melo Franco 290, Leblon
Tel: (+55) 21 2430 5122

Shopping Village Mall
For high-end shopping, this is one of Rio’s best locations. It stocks a wide range of designer boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, and Valentino.

Avenida das Américas 3900, Barra da Tijuca
Tel: (+55) 21 3003 4177

Where to Relax

Caesar Park Spa
Head to the Caesar Park Hotel for a day of sheer bliss, where you’ll be able to enjoy an invigorating spa treatment and sweeping views of the Ipanema shore.

Avenida Vieira Souto 460, Ipanema
Tel: (+55) 21 2525 2525

Copacabana Palace Spa
Think of this spa as a one-stop shop for all your relaxation needs. Located in the Belmond Copacabana Palace, it features seven treatment rooms, a sauna, a fitness center, a hair salon, steam baths, and a spacious relaxation area.

Avenida Atlântica 1702, Copacabana
Tel: (+55) 21 2548 7070

Le Spa
The spa at Santa Teresa Hotel is considered one of the best locations in Rio de Janeiro for massages and beauty treatments. Try the fantastic Natura beauty therapy or an anti-stress massage surrounded by lush tropical décor.

Rua Almirante Alexandrino 660, Santa Teresa
Tel: (+55) 21 98488 3124

santa teresa hotel rio
Santa Teresa Hotel I Photo: Courtesy of Audley Travel

Mirante Health Club
Slough off dull skin with a cleansing facial treatment or relax with a massage at this health club located inside the JW Marriott Hotel in Copacabana.

Avenida Atlantica 2600, Copacabana
Tel: (+55) 21 2545 6530

Spa Fasano Renata de Abreu
On the first floor of Fasano Hotel, this spa offers relaxing beauty and hair treatments. Pay a visit to the extension on the eighth floor to enjoy a unique and rejuvenating hydrotherapy treatment.

Avenida Vieira Souto 80, Ipanema
Tel: (+55) 21 3202 4044

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