TheAltitude Report

4 Ways to Enjoy the Views in Rio de Janeiro

We present the best spots to take in the city’s spectacular landscapes.

La Suite

Photo courtesy of La Suite

La Suite

The view: Morro Dois Irmãos and the ocean
Best time to go: Sunrise

Enjoy the morning sun and an early breakfast on this hotel patio offering the most spectacular views of São Conrado Beach, Morro Dois Irmãos and the ocean. (Make sure to call ahead to book a table.) Located on the edge of Joá’s cliffs and just a 20-minute walk from Praia da Joatinga (a secluded beach that’s usually empty on weekdays), this exclusive seven-room hotel is where photographer Mario Testino shot images for his Taschen book MaRIO DE JANEIRO. For 180-degree views of the city, ask for the Black Suite, a 16,000-square-foot palace with its own private deck.

Hang-gliding from Pedra Bonita

Hang-gliding from Pedra Bonita

The view: Rio from the sky
Best time to go: Morning

Carioca Ricardo Hamond, who has taken over 12,000 people on tandem flights since 1987, will send a transfer to your hotel and drive you to the top of Pedra Bonita, a 517-metre cliff located in Floresta da Tijuca National Park, right next to the ocean. After a lesson covering the basics of hang-gliding, you’ll jump together and fly for about 10 minutes. If the winds allow it, you can reach an altitude of well over 700 metres (that’s higher than the Corcovado) and view Pedra da Gávea, Sugarloaf Mountain, Tijuca Forest and the beaches of Ipanema, Leblon and São Conrado – all with a bird’s eye.

Mauá Restaurant

Photo by Thales Late, courtesy of la Museu de Arte do Rio

Mauá Restaurant

The view: Guanabara Bay, Rio-Niterói Bridge, downtown and port area
Best time to go: Lunchtime

The Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR), opened last year in Praça Mauá, is one of the best places to witness the transformation of this up-and-coming area. Sit on the terrace at Mauá, the museum restaurant, where you can order from chef Marcones Deus’ Bahia-inspired menu (think shrimp in passion-fruit sauce and tapioca crisp with creamy queijo coalho rice) and take in the downtown mix of skyscrapers and heritage homes. Don’t forget to look left: The Museum of Tomorrow, designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava, looks like a spaceship that’s about to fly over Guanabara Bay with the Rio-Niterói Bridge as its launching pad.

Bar dos Descasados

Photo courtesy of Santa Teresa Hotel

Bar dos Descasados

The view: Carioca hills
Best time to go: Sunset

Kick back on a sofa bed at the rooftop terrace of Relais & Châteaux member Hotel Santa Teresa, and you might rub shoulders with Alanis Morissette, Jack Johnson and other music stars who call this place home when they play in Rio. Get here early on Fridays and Saturdays – happy hour starts at 7 p.m. – to enjoy sunset views of the Carioca hills’ flower trees and colourful 19th-century houses. Try one of mixologist Caroline Ramos’ concoctions, like the Zacapito (Zacapa rum, pineapple juice and mint) and top it off with Parma ham croquettes dipped in chimichurri sauce.