Lucia is only too happy to share her city with you.
If the Rio Olympic Games makes you want to jump on a plane to Brazil, you may want to read on, as local resident Lucia França shares her favourite parts of the city.
If you are in the city centre (cidade) you should visit Confeitaria Colombo, a very traditional and antique building that serves you a good coffee and lots of traditional Brazilian savouries and sweets. If you’re travelling by Metro, the nearest station is Carioca and is just a three-minute walk to the street, Rua Gonçalves Dias. Everybody knows where Colombo is!
A real carioca loves to go to the Beach Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon at 6pm to watch the sunset and drink a refreshing água de coco (coconut water), a chopp (mild beer) or a caipirinha (traditional Brazilian drink with lemon and cachaça or vodka). But be aware, any more than two caipirinhas and you will see several sunsets! They are delicious and very easy to drink so you will not notice the effect!
I would go to the Confeitaria Colombo at the end of Copacabana Beach (in Posto 6 – where the Forte de Copacabana is located). You will have a wonderful view to enjoy your breakfast – Colonial or American, as you choose.
A sophisticated but expensive option for brunch (R$210,00 or US$80 each) on Sundays is the Copacabana Palace Hotel, my favourite hotel in Brazil on Copacabana Beach.
If you go to the hotel for lunch on a Saturday, you will taste the best feijoada carioca (a traditional dish of Rio de Janeiro) at the Pergula, in front of the swimming pool where famous celebrities, such as Robert de Niro or Julia Roberts, are often seen stretching out in the sun.
If you decide to stay for dinner, you’ll have two options. For an excellent Italian restaurant, go to Cipriani; if you like Asian cuisine, head to MEE, which opened in 2014 and has already received a Michelin star.
Another cheaper but excellent Italian restaurant, where locals go, is Luigi´s in Rua Senador Correa, in Praça São Salvador.
Best local views
You’ll find lots of beautiful views in Rio. One of my favourites is Corcovado, in Cosme Velho – close to Laranjeiras, where I live. In Corcovado, you have a 360-degree view of the city, the bay and surroundings. But only go up the Corcovado if it is a cloudless day so you can see the scenery.
Another great spot is Santa Tereza, a very interesting district close to the city centre, where you will find a different view of Rio. See a photo below (taken by my friend Cristina Leão).
If you stay for lunch or dinner, try Aprazivel. I strongly recommend you make a reservation from your hotel first and make sure in advance that the taxi driver knows how to get there, although this place is now famous. It is only about 20 minutes ride from Copacabana or Ipanema.
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