Botafogo and Flamengo may lack the fame of Ipanema and Copacabana, but these neighboring middle class area are home to lively nightlife, some fabulous restaurants and are within easy reach of Rio's famous beaches thanks to their metro stations. Sugar Loaf mountain is close by, and there's a huge mall.
Botafogo and Flamengo both have their own strips of sand, and both of which are ideal for sunbathing with a view of Sugar Loaf, although the water is too dirty for swimming. Nearby, Praia Vermelha is a pleasant, family-friendly beach right at the foot of Sugar Loaf, and generally overlooked by tourists.
Botafogo and Flamengo have some of the best Brazilian meat restaurants in the city (churrascarias). A meat lovers dream and a real experience, eat until you drop at on of these top notch eateries.
UPDATE - CLOSED! A famous and hugely popular restaurant in Rio was shut down until further notice in October 2015. In case you've been recommended to it elsewhere, it's good to know don't waste your time heading over there.
Top quality upscale Brazilian chain for all-you-can-eat meat churrascaria, carved tableside, plus an extensive salad bar. One of the best meat places in the city.
Another great meat place, Churrascaria Majórica.
Some of Rio de Janeiro's most interesting nightlife can be found in Botafogo and Flamengo. Here we tell you where it's all happening.
A group of bars and restaurants - our favourite being Joaquina. Always a buzzing and vibrant place to be, the Cobal offers a selection of bars serving some great local food, a real social hang out. The area around the back has a big outside seating area, normally full of people enjoying cold jugs of beer. You'll also find Mexican, American and Japanese resaturants here.
Close to the Botafogo metro station you'll find a continuous strip of thriving bars, small hip restaurants and cafes, popular with students and locals who work in the area, leading from one neighborhood to the next.
if you like your nightlife with an alternative, leftfield edge, Casa da Matriz should be your first port of call. DJs spin an eclectic mix of tunes that takes in everything from 1960s Tropicalia to 1990s hip hop, punk, funk and soul, and the place throngs with students and other hip young things at weekends.
Botafogo and Flamengo are great bets for budget travelers, as hotels here generally cost a good deal less than in Ipanema, Copacabana or Leblon. Hotels such as Novo Mundo in Flamengo are good for families and business travelers, and there's a lively hostel scene in Botafogo.
There's plenty of opportunity for some serious retail therapy at Shopping Rio Sul - one of the largest malls in the city. As well as being home to everything from chic boutiques to high street chain stores, the mall here has some surprisingly good eating options in its food court.
We strongly advise not to walk - even on the sidewalk - along Flamengo beach at night time as we've heard various reports of muggings.