Leblon and Ipanema beach
Ipanema piqued interest with the release of The Girl of Ipanema by Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim in the 1960s. It’s now one of Rio’s most popular neighbourhoods. The younger crowd and collection of superb bars and restaurants add to its appeal both locally and for tourists. Leblon and Ipanema share the same coastline – a 4-kilometre crescent of white sand bordered by the rolling ocean and adorned with rocky peaks in the background. Leblon is the wealthiest neighbourhood in Rio with prices often on par to London and New York. As the favourite hangout spot among the rich, famous and beautiful, its the place to see and be seen.

Ipanema and Leblon beaches are divided by Postos – lifeguard points placed along the coastline – and have come to informally distinguish the different hangout spots down the shore. Head to Posto 8 for the LGBT area, easily identified by the large rainbow flags rigged up at the beach stalls. It is packed with beautiful, friendly people and the odd spontaneous after-hours electronic music party.

To get unique souvenirs, hand-made clothes, and artisanal jewellery, head to the Hippie Market at Praça General Osório in Ipanema. Each week, dozens of stalls gather together and showcase a wide range of wonderful products. It’s open every Sunday from around 8 am until 8 pm.

You don’t always need to hike up to the tops of peaks to see glorious sunsets. Just head to Arpoador in Ipanema and take a seat on the rock that juts out into the ocean. The sun sets near to the Dois Irmãos peaks, casting its orange and red glow over the water as it goes down.

Go to Rua Dias Ferreira in Leblon to be spoiled for choice when it comes to chic bars and luxurious restaurants. The tree-lined avenue has become recognised as one of the best places to eat out in Rio de Janeiro. Just be prepared to pay above average Rio prices there.