Surely one of the most famous beaches in the world, Copacabana summons images of sun, sea and scantily clad beach beauties. The 4km arc of white sand and its backdrop of crashing waves and the sugarloaf mountains are truly an awe-inspiring sight. The magnificent stretch of land and sea always has a flurry of activity stretching its length: the beat of samba, cariocas and tourists lining up for caipirinhas at kiosks, favela kids showing off their football skills, and beach vendors navigating their way through the mass of bronzed bodies.
The sidewalk along the beach on Avenida Atlântica is made with many black and white stones, forming an attractive mosaic in the shape of waves and which has become a symbol of the city.
You'll find a wide range of sports activities going on every day at the beach, football of course, volleyball, futvolei (foot volleyball) and a whole host of others. Rio really is a city that loves its fitness, the main road parallel with the beach is closed in one direction on a Sunday, you'll find it full of people walking, talking, skating, rollerblading, running and enjoying the beautiful beach promenade.
Copacabana's main attraction is undoubtedly its beach, where the women favour the tiniest of bikinis and the men like to flaunt the sunga (tight speedo style swimming shorts), so there's plenty to take in, whatever your orientation. You'll find a slightly different crowd in Copacabana than neighbouring Ipanema and Leblon, there's a large community of retirees and that coupled with it being a slightly less affluent area gives it a noticably different vibe.
The famous beach front of Copacabana was built in 1906. The most famous hotel along the strip is the Copacabana Palace, inaugrated in 1923 it was the first important building in Copacabana. The luxurious hotel was used as a casino until gambling was outlawed in Brazil in 1946. (Gambling is still illegal in Brazil to this day)
Sun, sea and scantily clad beach beauties all spring to mind when one thinks of Copacabana. The 4km arc of white sand and its backdrop of crashing waves and jungle-clad mountains are an awe-inspiring sight. One of the most famous beaches in the world, the magnificent stretch of land and sea always has a flurry of activity stretching its length: the beat of samba, cariocas and tourists lining up for caipirinhas at kiosks, favela kids showing off their football skills, and beach vendors picking their way through the mass of bronzed bodies. Check out our beaches section to find out more
You'll never struggle to find a place for a bite to eat or drink in in Copacabana. The many beachfront kiosks offer everything from pizzas to seafood and bets of all, you won't even have to change out of your swimwear to drink and dine here. Relaxing and enjoying dinner and drinks at a Copacabana beach restaurant is what a holiday is Rio is all about.
Small French bistrot with lovely food. The crepes here are amazing and portions are large.
You'll find this little restaurant in a hotel (Miramar by Windsor - at the end of copacabana towards ipanema). Excellent quality, extremely well served and you'll find a very warm and elegant environment. Prices that you would expect for a Michellin restaurant but excellent food, especially the seafood..
The beachfront bars are a good place to start a night out but if it's a standard bar or club you're after, read on.
This is where the cariocas go to eat, good food and good portions, if you're a meat lover, try the picanha.
A good, usually busy, place with a wide selection of good food. Good place to stop for a couple of social beers at night as well.
A must if you are around Copacabana Post 3 area. Just a couple of streets up from the beach you will find one of the most famous botecos in Rio. The food is really good. Portions can be quite big, maybe worth sharing! It gets crowded with young people in the evenings and it can be packed at lunch time during the weekends.
A cool little bar offering great snacks and a wide selection of nice beers and cachaças. Also a good place to watch big football matches, if you can get a table!
This boteco is a very informal place where locals go for a drink and tapas and hang out, the food is excellent. The place is normally packed with Cariocas but they are very friendly to foreigners and make you feel welcome.
Sports bar with live bands on Thursday nights. Unusual for Rio, they don't let you in with flip flops so where trainers / shoes to get in. Good cocktails and atmosphere for a night out.
Not the cheapest place and not bursting with Irishness either but it's still a pub and can be good fun, sometimes offering live music.
At the far end of Copacabana, towards Ipanema, you'll see the Coapcabana Fort. Inside here you'll find the Café 18 do Forte with great views of Copacabana beach.
Check out the best of Rio's live music... clubs and much more in our Party section by clicking the button below
In the heart of Copacabana, next to Siqueira Campos metro station, Fosfobox attracts hipsters and musically-minded types of all social demographics to shake their collective stuff on the sticky dancefloor. The musical action takes place downstairs, where DJs play a mix of underground electronica, vintage rock and roll, hip hop and a dash of pop, with the occasional samba, live music or forro-based night keeping the musical menu eclectic. Things get cramped and hectic on the dancefloor after around 1am, but the upstairs bar and balcony provide a chance to sip a cocktail and chat, away from the pumping basslines.
A club in Copacabana that plays a mixture of music - from local songs to hip hop, depending on which night you go. Nothing amazing but if you're in the area looking for a night out that's not too expensive...
Less expensive than neighbouring Ipanema and with much more selection, Copacabana is the neighborhood of choice for those looking for beachfront accommodation that won't blow the budget away - although some are still far from cheap. The hotels on the backstreets are often troubled by traffic noise and congestion, it's wise to check reviews on sites such as booking.com before booking. For those with an ample budget, Copacabana Palace is the most famous place to stay in Rio. After many years, it the remains a glitteringly glamorous jewel on Rio's hotel scene and a top destination for celebrities and A listers.
Again you'll need a healthy budget, but we absolutely recommend staying a the Miramar Hotel, in Copacabana. Impeccable staff, nice sized rooms with huge marbled bathrooms, get a sea view room to look straight out to Copacabana beach, breathtaking. The pool area on the roof is wonderfully set up, dor breakfast you get a great selection - even a glass of champagne each morning if that takes your fancy! There are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby. Some of the Rio Vibe family recently stayed here and were blown away by it all. Top marks.
Those on a budget have no fear! You can find many very well priced hostels in and around Copacabana.
If it's tourist souvenirs you're after then Copacabana is the place to go. It's also the place where you'll find vendors selling everything from selfie sticks to Brazil shirts and Christ statues.
Copacabana is beautiful in the evening as well, sit at one of the many kiosks, take in some live music and watch the world go by.
Start your day in the best way. Wake up for sunset and take a stroll along the beach or go for a run. It's a different kind of vibe at this time of the day, revel in it's beauty without the crowds. What better way to start your morning?
Stop for a nice refreshing, fresh coconut at anyone of the kiosks as you take a walk down the wavey mosaic path.
The main road parallel with the beach is closed in one direction on a Sunday, you'll find it full of people walking, talking, running and enjoying the great outdoors. Check it out!
The beach is lit at night and there are police in the area, but it’s still not wise to walk on the sand after dark – stay near the liveliest beach kiosks when venturing out. Always stick to busier areas.
With the official name Historic Military Museum, Copacabana Fort is one of the icons of the city, situated on the extreme edge of the beach of the same name. Entrance to the fort is only R$ 6,00.
According to the IBGE, 160,000 people live in Copacabana and 44,000 or 27.5% of them are 60 years old or older.
It's estimated that every News Years Eve around 2 MILLION people go to Copacabana to enjoy the live music and spectacular firework show, check out our New Years Eve in Copacabana page for all the information you need.
Considered a national monument the Copacabana Palace hotel has hosted stars including Madonna, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Marilyn Monroe, Walt Disney and Princess Diana.
In August 2014, Usain Bolt thrilled crowds on a specially-built track on the famous beach with a time of 10.06, dancing samba after his win.