Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro: best areas and neighborhoodsOpen Index
With over 6 million inhabitants, Rio de Janeiro presents very different scenarios, from the wonderful beaches to the central financial district, from residential districts to favelas. We could call it the city of contrasts! And, precisely for this reason, when planning a trip to Rio the choice of where to stay becomes essential. Above all, focus your research on the safest neighbourhoods and the ones closest to major attractions.
So let's find out everything you need to know about where to sleep in Rio de Janeiro, the best neighbourhoods to stay and which ones you should avoid.
Useful tips: the best neighbourhoods to stay in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is a very large city and where you choose to stay depends a lot on the type of holiday you want to experience. The most desirable areas are definitely Copacabana and Ipanema. Copacabana is the kingdom of the beach and nightlife, so if you are travelling with your family, we recommend that you opt for the eastern part of the district, where the Leme district develops. Ipanema is quieter than Copacabana, very safe and full of things to do. Here, the area recommended mainly for families is the western one, where Leblon is located.
If you want to stay on the beach but are looking for a cheaper area then choose Botafogo. This district is near the Sugar Loaf, it has all amenities and from here you can easily reach both Copacabana and the centre.
Finally, another excellent area to stay is the Centre, more precisely the neighbourhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa. The first is the hub of nightlife, a small bohemian neighbourhood, full of clubs and shops. Santa Teresa, on the other hand, is a quieter and more romantic area.
- Recommended areas to stay on a budget: Centro (Lapa), Botafogo
- Recommended areas for families with children: Leme, Leblon, Centro (Santa Teresa)
- Recommended areas for young people: Copacabana, Botafogo, Centro (Lapa)
- Best accommodation: we have selected the best hotels, B&Bs and hostels in Rio de Janeiro. Check out our recommendations and make your reservation on Booking
If you are in Rio de Janeiro for business or as a one-day stopover to other destinations, consider sleeping near the airport. Find the best solutions and selected hotels on booking.com
Guide to the areas of Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, with an area of 1,197.46 sq km and over 6 million inhabitants! Understanding how the city develops is essential to travelling with peace of mind. From an administrative point of view, the municipality of Rio de Janeiro is divided into 33 administrative regions (Regiões Administrativas), grouped into 7 sub-prefectures (Subprefeituras).
From a geographical point of view, the city is divided into neighbourhoods, called Barrios, while culturally and historically speaking, Rio can be divided into 4 large areas:
- Centre: or Centro Histórico, the oldest area of Rio, where the neighbourhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa are located
- South Zone: or Zona Sul, the richest and most touristic one, which includes Copacabana, Ipanema, Botafogo and many other small residential and tourist districts
- North Zone: or Zona Norte, residential area, but not recommended for tourist stays
- West Zone: or Zona Oeste, one of the least recommended to stay in, except for the districts of Joá, Barra da Tijuca and Recreio dos Bandeirantes
Not recommended areas: all the neighbourhoods in the north and west (except Joá, Barra da Tijuca and Recreio dos Bandeirantes). The favelas, located in different parts of the city, are also to be avoided. In the evening, you have to be vigilant, even in the most touristic areas.
Zona Sul / Copacabana
Cobacabana is certainly the most famous beach in Rio de Janeiro and is one of the most desirable neighbourhoods to stay, along with Ipanema. The beach is approximately 3.4 km long, from Forte di Copacabana to Avenida Princesa Isabel, full of shops, restaurants and nightclubs, as well as some of the most famous hotels in Rio, such as the Belmond Copacabana Hotel. But despite being one of the busiest areas, you still need to remain vigilant, especially in the evening, so it's better to stay in the most touristic and popular areas.
This neighbourhood is suitable for every type of traveller: for young and old in search of the unbridled carioca nightlife, those who want to relax all day on the beach, and families with children. In the latter case, it is better to stay on the eastern side, towards the residential area of Leme.
As for transport, Copacabana is served by the metro, specifically by orange lines L1 and L4 and by green line L2.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €10,00 for low-cost accommoation to €500,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Apartamento Copacabana Mar
|Entire apartment for up to 8 people facing the beach. Sea views, equipped kitchen, washing machine, pets allowed. Ideal for groups
|Bamboo Rio Hostel
|Hostel 300m from the beach, with swimming pool and bar. WiFi. Private rooms or dorms for up to 12 people, female dorms available. Ideal for young people
|Hotel Astoria Copacabana
|4-star beachfront hotel with rooftop pool with panoramic ocean views, à la carte Brazilian dishes for lunch and dinner, free WiFi and bar with exotic drinks. Ideal for couples
|Belmond Copacabana Palace
|5-star beachfront hotel with swimming pool, spa and wellness centre, gym. Ocean View Suite. Ideal for couples and families
Zona Sul / Leme
Leme is a small, quiet residential neighbourhood east of Copacabana. Surrounded by greenery and with a beautiful beach, it is ideal for strolls and reaching the viewpoint with the colonial fortress Duque de Caxias. Plus, by staying here you will be really close to the famous Sugar Loaf (Pão de Açúcar) and the Botafogo neighbourhood.
This is an area recommended for families, who perhaps want to stay close to the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema but without being in the middle of the nightlife. On the seafront here, you will find small informal and quiet bars, traditional bakeries and restaurants.
The location is also really great, between Copacabana and Botafogo. The metro station of reference is Cardeal Arcoverde, where the orange lines L1 and L4, and the green line L2 pass.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €40,00 for low-cost accommodation to €500,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Quiet beachfront hotel in the Leme district. Pool, gym and restaurant, family rooms available. Ideal for couples and families
|Eco Pousada Estrelas da Babilonia
|House completely surrounded by greenery, 1.8 km from the beach. Rooms with sea or mountain views, WiFi, pets allowed. Ideal for couples
|Aquarela do Leme
|Hostel 600 m from the beach. 24-hour reception, airport transfers, shared kitchen and free WiFi. Private rooms or dorms. Ideal for young people
|Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana
|5-star hotel located on the border between Copacabana and Leme. Beachfront, two swimming pools, spa and wellness centre, gym and bar. Ideal for couples and families
Zona Sul / Ipanema
The second most famous beach in Rio de Janerio, after Copacabana, is definitely Ipanema. A chic and trendy area! But above all, one of the safest areas in Rio. Being a more touristic and exclusive neighbourhood, the prices are higher than in Copacabana and other areas. There is no shortage of clubs, restaurants and shops either, as well as wonderful sea view accommodations.
Ipanema is recommended for those who want to enjoy the beach, sea and tranquillity. Because, even if the day is very crowded, the evening is quieter than in Copacabana. Here, too, you can immerse yourself in the traditional Carioca lifestyle. If you are traveling with your family, it is better to concentrate on the eastern area, near the residential area of Leblon.
As for transport, Ipanema is served by the metro, more precisely by orange lines L1 and L4 and by green line L2.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €60,00 for low-cost accommodation to €400,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Injoy Lofts Ipanema
|Apartment residence, 700 m from the beach. Pets Allowed. Choose from suites, lofts or studios, with bathroom, one or two bedrooms and equipped kitchen. Ideal for families and couples
|El Misti Hostel Ipanema
|Hostel with 24-hour reception, bicycle rental, bar and WiFi. Private rooms with bathrooms or dorms for up to 12 people. Ideal for young people
|Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro
|5-star beachfront hotel with rooftop pool overlooking the sea, spa and wellness centre, gym, restaurant. Rooms with sea or courtyard views. Ideal for couples
Zona Sul / Leblon
Leblon is a wonderful luxurious neighbourhood just west of Ipanema. Exclusive and very quiet, here you can stroll among high fashion boutiques, have lunch in french bistros and enjoy haute cuisine, or watch some shows at the famous Leblon Theatre. You will also be within walking distance of the famous Ipanema beach.
This is an exclusive area recommended for families and those travelling on a high budget. The neighbourhood is much quieter than Ipanema and the services are excellent. Here, you will find mainly luxury hotels and accommodation equipped with all comforts, ideal for a journey of relaxation and opulence.
The location is the least convenient between Ipanema, Copacabana and Leme, as it is the most distant district from the centre. But it is still well connected to the rest of the city by public transport: the reference stop is Jardim de Alah, where orange lines L1 and L4 pass, ideal for moving between the beaches.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €60,00 for low-cost accommodation to €400,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on Booking
|Leblon apartment - Two bedroom
|Two-bedroom apartment for 4 to 6 people. 24-hour reception, equipped kitchen, children's play area. Ideal for families and groups
|Leblon The best of Brazil
|Apartment complex near the beach. Air-conditioned rooms with minibar, pay-per-view TV channels, full kitchen with microwave and oven, and private bathroom. Ideal for couples
|4-star hotel 400 m from the beach. Choice between rooms and suites (with living room and kitchenette). Swimming pool, gym and restaurant. Ideal for couples and families
|4-star hotel 200m from the beach, 4m from the metro. Pool, spa, wellness centre and gym. Some rooms with ocean views. Ideal for couples
Zona Sul / Botafogo
If you want to stay near the beach but save a bit of money, the best solution is the Botafogo district, and the neighbouring district of Flamengo. It develops around the half-moon bay of the same name, where Praia de Botafogo is located, with a wonderful view of the Sugar Loaf, and easily accessible! From here you can also easily travel to Copacabana and the Centre of Rio.
It is an ideal neighbourhood for those who want to save money without giving up the sea. The prices here are cheaper than in Copacabana and Ipanema, and there is no shortage of hotels, services, shops and, above all, a good nightlife, so it is also popular with young people!
Botafogo is also in an excellent location: overlooking the sea, between Copacabana and Santa Teresa, crossed by the orange metro lines L1 and L4 and the green L2 line (reference Botafogo station). The only area to avoid is that of the Favela Santa Marta, which is located in the north western part of the neighbourhood.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €20,00 for low-cost accommodation to €100,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Do Samba Hostel
|Hostel with bar, shared lounge, garden, barbecue area and free WiFi. Private rooms or dorms for up to 8 people. Ideal for young people
|B&B / Hostel with only private rooms for two people, private bathroom. 600 m from the beach, shared barbecue area and terrace. Ideal for young people and couples
|Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro by Intercity
|5-star beachfront hotel with wonderful views of the Sugar Loaf and the Cordovado. Swimming pool, spa and wellness centre, gym, restaurant. Ideal for couples and families (triple rooms available)
Centro / Lapa
After seeing three areas by the sea, it's time to move to the historic centre of Rio de Janeiro. Here the best areas to sleep are Lapa and Santa Teresa. Lapa is one of the most central and evocative districts of the city, once inhabited by the bourgeoisie. Today it is an area with a bohemian soul, where the main attraction is the Aqueduto da Carioca. Completely renovated, Lapa has become the hub of the nightlife in the centre, with numerous clubs and discos.
If during the day the neighbourhood is quiet and tranquil, in the evening it becomes the hub of nightlife, thus making Lapa the best area in the centre for young people and those who want to have fun. The party goes on until the next morning, so we advise against it if you want to sleep at night or if you are travelling with your family.
The area is served by the metro, more precisely orange lines L1 and L4 and the green L2 line (reference stop Cinelândia), which leads to Copacabana and Ipanema. Towards Santa Teresa, however, you will have to use the historic tram.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €20,00 for low-cost accommodation to €180,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|3-star hotel with swimming pool, gym and restaurant. Double, triple and quadruple rooms. Ideal for couples and young people
|Hostel in the heart of Lapa, with barbecue area, shared kitchen, bar and 24-hour reception. Private rooms and dormitories available for up to 10 people. Ideal for young people
|Sweet Studio Lapa
|30 sqm apartment for up to 3 people. 24-hour reception, equipped kitchen,WiFi. Ideal for couples
|Days Inn by Wyndham Rio de Janeiro Lapa
|4-star hotel in the heart of Lapa, a few steps from the Aqueduct. 24-hour reception, parking and restaurant. Double and triple rooms. Ideal for couples and families
Centro / Santa Teresa
The second recommended area to stay in the centre is Santa Teresa, a residential neighbourhood which, after its foundation in 1750, became a very chic area of Rio. It is nicknamed the Montmatre di Rio and, among the main attractions here, is the wonderful Selaròn Staircase.
It is a very quiet neighbourhood, where there are numerous museums, therefore ideal for families and those seeking tranquillity. Obviously, as with all of Rio's neighbourhoods, it is still recommended that you are vigilant in the evening and stay in the most touristy streets, avoiding dark alleys.
As for transport, Santa Teresa is only served by the historic tram, so it could be a bit uncomfortable. To reach the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana you must travel to Lapa by tram, and then move from there by metro.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €20,00 for low-cost accommodation to €200,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|B&B overlooking the city with jacuzzi and rooftop terrace. Rooms with balcony. Shared kitchen and dining area. Ideal for couples
|Arosa Rio Hotel
|4-star hotel with swimming pool, gym and restaurant. 24-hour reception and shuttle service. Ideal for couples and families
|Santa Teresa Hotel RJ - MGallery
|Tropical-style 5-star hotel with panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro Bay. Free WiFi. Swimming pool, spa and wellness centre, restaurant. Ideal for couples and families
Places to stay near Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is a very large city. The best solution is to stay in the aforementioned neighbourhoods, full of accommodation and services and also among the safest. In Rio itself, many areas are not recommended. For example, it is better to avoid the northernmost neighbourhoods and those in the western part.
Therefore, since a large part of the city is already not recommended, it is even more inadvisable to choose to stay in nearby towns or cities, both for safety and for logistical reasons. Travelling would take too long, and it is definitely not worth it.