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Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro? Neighbourhoods + Hotels

Looking for the best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro? ?

Follow the guide, I’ve tested, listed and detailed for you the best places to stay in Rio de Jane iro as well as the best hotels.

Thanks to the Rio carnival and its amazing landscapes, Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in South America! This cosmopolitan city has everything to attract foodies, party-goers, museum-goers and beach-goers alike. That’s why I don’t know a single person who won’t have a good time in Rio de Janeiro!

It’s very important to decide where to stay in Rio de Janeiro as there are many dangerous areas in the city. In this blog post, I’ll show you the 6 best neighbourhoods with the activities you can do in each of them and their best hotels, which I’ve hand-picked for you.

Don’t forget to book in advance. Most hotels offer free cancellation, so don’t worry if you change your mind!

⏰ Don’t have time to read it all?

Here are the best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro with hotels ranging from luxury to cheap. They all have excellent reviews and are in great locations!

🚨 Note : These hotels are among the most popular so don’t delay booking. Plus, they offer free cancellation, so don’t worry if you change your mind

🌃 F ind other accommodation at the best price 👈

Where to sleep in Rio de Janeiro for the first time: Copacabana

Copacabana is one of the most popular and probably one of the coolest neighbourhoods to stay in Rio de Janeiro. It’s the area where you’ll best feel the soul of this wonderful city, so my pick for where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for the first time is definitely Copacabana!

In Copacabana, you’ll fall in love at first sight with the famous Copacabana beach surrounded by the Sugar Loaf, which will remind you of Machu Picchu. Not only does this area offer spectacular scenery, but also incredible Brazilian restaurants, colourful bars and beautiful boutiques.

If you’ve already got the Copacabana song stuck in your head, you’re on the right track. This area is as much fun as the musical!

There’s so much to do in Rio de Janeiro, so wake up early and start your day at Copacabana beach. After a good time relaxing on the sand, you can escape to see the city’s main sights. In the evening, it’s time to dine on mouth-watering Brazilian dishes in the great local restaurants and party the night away!

Convinced? Great, now it’s time to find the best place to stay in Copacabana Beach. I don’t want you to miss out on these wonderful hotels I’ve selected for you, so don’t forget to make your reservation in advance!

Top-of-the-range hotel

Copacabana Palace 5-star hotel: If you want the celebrity treatment during your stay in Rio de Janeiro, you won’t regret choosing the Copacabana Palace! The Copacabana Palace is one of the best 5-star hotels in Rio de Janeiro, offering luxurious rooms and spacious suites with panoramic ocean views, a fitness centre, wellness centre, outdoor pool and on-site bar where you can enjoy amazing cocktails. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Best value for money

Ritz Copacabana Hotel ❤️: The Ritz enjoys a prime beachfront location and offers a rooftop pool, spacious rooms and a rooftop bar. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Inexpensive

Suites Domingos Ferreira: This hotel is one of the best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro for budget travellers. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Flat

Modern and beautiful: This flat offers an air-conditioned room with modern decor and free wifi and is also within walking distance of the beach. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

As this is the most popular area to stay in Rio de Janeiro and the hotels I’ve given you above are the best of the best, they can rent out quickly, so don’t hang around to make your booking!

What to do in Copabacana

  • Spend some time on the famous Copacabana beach.
  • Visit the Museu Histórico do Exército e Forte de Copacabana.
  • Discover the shops and bars of Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana.
  • See the Copacabana Fort
  • Take a stroll through Parque Lage, in Lagoa.
  • Listen to live music at the Bip Bip Bar.
  • Go surfing on Arpoador beach
  • Join a bike tour to discover the neighbourhoods of Rio de Janeiro
  • Take a sunset hot-air balloon ride in Barra da Tijuca.
  • Take the cable car up to the famous Sugarloaf mountain to see Christ the Redeemer.

Cheap accommodation in Rio de Janeiro: Centro & Lapa

Located in the north of Rio de Janeiro, Centro is Rio’s city centre and although it offers many great attractions, you’ll be able to find relatively cheaper accommodation in this lively area.

Centro is Rio’s business and historical centre, offering a charming mix of modern and nostalgic parts of the city. You’ll find many great museums, beautiful colonial buildings and a lively nightlife. The best way to discover the Centro is to lose yourself in the streets on foot, discover the beautiful cafés and boutiques and, at nightfall, head to the Lapa district to enjoy the nightlife!

Lapa is the most colourful part of the Centro. Not only does it offer the best restaurants and trendy bars, but also plenty of must-see landmarks, such as the iconic Escadaria Selarón steps (your Instagram feed will love them!) and the Lapa arches. Make sure you spend enough time exploring the streets of the beautiful Lapa district and try as much local food in the cool restaurants as you can!

I’ve always been a fan of neighbourhoods like Centro that offer a bit of everything. If you also like that kind of place and don’t want to spend a lot of money on accommodation, Cento is one of the best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro.

Before we move on to the best hotels in Centro, I’d like to remind you that to guarantee your place and get the best deals, don’t forget to make a reservation in advance. And if you’re planning a trip to Argentina, you’d better book one of the hotels in Buenos Aires too, as it’s another very popular city!

Top-of-the-range hotels

Villa Paranaguá Hotel: This 5-star hotel boasts a beautiful swimming pool, luxurious rooms and a chic on-site restaurant. After a long day, you can pamper yourself in their glamorous spa and have a few drinks in the hotel bar while looking out over the stunning views. The city centre and beach are within walking distance of this excellent hotel, making it an ideal base for a relaxing holiday. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Best value for money

Vila Galé ❤️: Conveniently located in the city centre, this hotel offers an on-site restaurant, wellness centre, free Wi-Fi and outdoor swimming pool. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Inexpensive

Sugar Loft Apartments: This centrally located hotel features a rooftop terrace, air conditioning, free wifi and is just a short walk from the beach. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Flat

Apartamento Santa Teresa: This Airbnb offers spacious and beautifully decorated rooms, free wifi, and the metro station is just a few minutes’ walk away. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Things to do in Centro

  • Take in a ballet or opera performance at the Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro
  • Visit the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes.
  • Watch a football match at the famous Maracanã stadium.
  • Visit the Museum of the Future to learn about environmental science.
  • Take a stroll through Rio de Janeiro’s zoological gardens and the Quinta da Boa Vista park.
  • Discover history at the National Historical Museum
  • Visit San Sebastian Metropolitan Cathedral and Candelaria Church.
  • Enjoy samba dancing to live music at the Rio Scenarium.
  • Take a boat trip to discover Rio de Janeiro.
  • See the impressive Lapa Arches and discover the colourful nightlife and street parties of the Lapa district.

Where to stay in Rio’s bohemian district: Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is located 3km north-west of Centro and has a bohemian atmosphere with its beautiful historic buildings and colourful trams. Here you’ll find cool cafés, art galleries, museums and a lively nightlife. It’s a hilly area, but that just means you can take the nostalgic trams and admire the beautiful views of the city from the viewpoints at the top.

Even though Santa Teresa is a tourist area, it’s one of the best neighbourhoods to try local experiences. Start your day by walking the cobbled streets, having a coffee in the trendy cafés, and spending time in the art galleries and designer boutiques. You’ll love the atmosphere of Santa Teresa!

For those looking to stay in a bohemian neighbourhood, here are my top picks for where to stay in Rio de Janeiro:

Upmarket hotel

Vila Santa Teresa ❤️: The Vila Santa Teresa offers a unique stay in Rio de Janeiro with its incredible pool overlooking the ocean, luxurious air-conditioned rooms and superb sun terrace. You can even enjoy gourmet dishes in the hotel restaurant while admiring the breathtaking views! If I were staying at this hotel, I would spend all my time admiring the panoramic views from the outdoor swimming pool. This is without doubt the best luxury hotel in Santa Teresa! See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Best value for money

Rio Boutique Suites: This boutique hotel offers a swimming pool, air conditioning and buffet breakfast. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Best value

Casa Vermelha: This affordable hotel is within walking distance of the metro station and offers air conditioning. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Flat

Most charming home: Centrally located Airbnb with a pool, fully furnished rooms and an incredible terrace. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

What to do in Santa Teresa

  • Take the oldest tram in Latin America to get around Santa Teresa.
  • Visit the Museu da Chácara do Céu.
  • Have a drink and a snack at the Armazém São Thiago.
  • Visit an old manor house and cultural centre, the Centro Cultural Municipal Parque das Ruínas.
  • Admire the street art and see the colourful Escadaria Selarón (Lapa staircase), with tiles from all over the world.
  • Visit the Museu do Bonde
  • Attend a samba show in the streets of Mercado das Pulgas, which takes place every first and third Saturday of the month, from 8pm to midnight.

Where to stay in Rio near the best beaches: Ipanema beach

Situated in the southern part of the city and just 3 km (1 mi) south of Copacabana, the world-famous Ipanema beach will blow you away! If you want to stay close to one of the best beaches in Rio de Janeiro and enjoy a glamorous, trendy atmosphere, Ipanema is the solution I suggest for your stay in Rio de Janeiro.

If you’re a beach-goer, you’ll enjoy spending lots of time on Ipanema beach, feeling the Brazilian atmosphere and admiring the epic scenery. If you manage to leave the sand behind, it’s time to take a stroll through the glamorous streets of Ipanema.

Choose a good Brazilian restaurant and, after an excellent dinner, check out Ipanema’s nightlife. I have no doubt you’ll have a great time staying here, so let me tell you about the best places to stay in this posh neighbourhood.

Upscale hotel

Fasano Hotel: The Fasano Hotel is located on the famous Ipanema beach and no other hotel offers such spectacular ocean views. This 5-star hotel has an epic infinity pool with a sun terrace, a fully equipped fitness centre where you can work out in front of the beach view, an excellent buffet breakfast and an upscale on-site restaurant. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Best value for money

Hotel Arpoador ❤️: Hotel Arpoador is just a short walk from the beach and offers ocean-view rooms and a fitness centre. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Inexpensive

Injoy Lofts: This hotel offers comfortable rooms with views, free wifi, an airport shuttle and is within walking distance of the beach. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Flat

Artistic Apartment: This stylish flat offers fully furnished rooms, free Wi-Fi and easy access to the beach and restaurants. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Things to do in Ipanema

  • Relax, sunbathe and people-watch on beautiful Ipanema beach.
  • Watch the sunset at Pedra do Arpoador.
  • Visit the Casa de Cultura Laura Alvim
  • Go to the hippy market on Praça General Osório on Sundays.
  • Enjoy a good Brazilian meal at Casa da Feijoada.
  • Visit Oi Futuro (the communications museum)
  • Taste delicious Brazilian wines and snacks at the Canastra Bar
  • Take a jiu-jitsu lesson at the Brazilian Belt Academy
  • Take a guided tour to see Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf.

Botafogo – one of the best places to stay for local experiences

Located between Copacabana and Centro, Botafogo is a great beachside neighbourhood with incredible views of Sugarloaf. Staying here you can experience local life, find great Brazilian restaurants, cool cafés and museums. For shoppers, there are also plenty of good shopping centres and boutiques in the area. It’s perfect for everyone!

Start your day in Botafogo with a visit to the must-see Sugarloaf Mountain. Once you’ve had enough of the spectacular views of Rio de Janeiro, head to the beach to relax and watch the sunset. As night falls, it’s time to discover the area’s unique cafés and restaurants. Treat yourself to a good local dish and a fine Brazilian wine. This area is one of the best for it!

If you stay in Botafogo, you’ll have the chance to enjoy more local experiences while still being close to Rio de Janeiro’s main tourist attractions. For those who want to feel a real local Brazilian vibe, here are the cool places to stay in Botafogo.

Best value for money

O Veleiro BB ❤️: This hotel offers a swimming pool, a pretty garden, rooms with free wifi and is just a short walk from the metro station. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Inexpensive

Injoy Suítes: This centrally located hotel offers affordable rooms with air conditioning, free wifi, and an airport shuttle. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Flat

Alto Laranjeiras: Centrally located Airbnb offering fully furnished rooms, free wifi and a lovely balcony. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

What to do in Botafogo

  • Take a hike to Morro Dona Marta and admire the breathtaking views.
  • Take a guided tour to see Sugarloaf by cable car.
  • Go to Mount Corcovado
  • Go shopping at Rio Sul, one of Rio de Janeiro’s most famous shopping centres.
  • Admire the breathtaking views from Mirante do Morro do Pasmado and Morro do Pasmado.
  • See the Basílica Imaculada Conceição
  • Visit the Villa Lobos Museum and discover Brazilian culture.
  • Spend some time on Botafogo beach
  • Visit the Parque Lage in nearby Lagoa, to see the amazing swimming pool surrounded by a mansion and the view of the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro to relax: Barra da Tijuca

Barra da Tijuca is located in the south-western part of Rio de Janeiro, half an hour’s drive from the centre. It’s a very safe and relaxed neighbourhood with beautiful beaches. I also recommend Barra da Tijuca for families because of its safe atmosphere and less crowded beaches.

Rio de Janeiro’s famous beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana still tend to be very crowded. So, if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, Barra da Tijuca beach is the perfect place to stay in Rio de Janeiro and enjoy charming beaches without the crowds. You’ll also find a wide selection of gourmet restaurants and boutiques to complete your relaxing holiday.

Barra da Tijuca is an affluent neighbourhood favoured by the wealthy residents of Rio de Janeiro, but on the contrary, you can also find many affordable accommodation options here with easy access to the beach.

Upmarket hotels

The Chateaux Joá ❤️: The Chateau Joá is one of the best boutique hotels in Rio de Janeiro. This 5-star hotel boasts a gourmet restaurant, spacious rooms, an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and a large bar. You’ll never know time has passed as you sunbathe on the glamorous terrace and admire the panoramic views! See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Best value for money

KS Residence: This hotel offers rooms with large balconies, a fitness centre and free parking. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Inexpensive

Casa do Sergio: This centrally located hotel offers affordable rooms, free wifi and free parking. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

Flat

Sensacional Boutique Apt: This Airbnb offers spacious rooms with views, free wifi and a swimming pool. See availability and prices on Booking.com.

What to do in Barra da Tijuca

  • Take a helicopter tour and see the whole city from above.
  • Take a hike up Pedra Da Gávea.
  • Discover the luxury boutiques of the Village Mall
  • Have fun in Tivoli Park
  • Go hiking at Pedra da Gávea
  • Spend some time on the beautiful beach of Praia da Barra da Tijuca.
  • Visit Ilha da Gigóia
  • Soak up the sun at Reserve Beach
  • Take a sunset stroll at Praia do Pepê

And let us know in the comments if you have any other hotels to recommend. In the meantime, enjoy your trip!

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