There are very attractive places to visit in Copacabana. In the first place, certainly, it comes the beach where you can sunbath during the day and go for a walk along the sidewalk/pavement in the evening or in the night.
According to one of the most famous guide book on earth, Copacabana is described as following:
"Copacabana is undoubtedely the capital of Brazilian tourism. It is possible to spend an entire Brazilian vacation without leaving it, and some people do just that. The majority of Rio´s mid-range and top-end hotels are here, and they are accompanied by plenty of restaurants, shops and bars. For pure city excitement, Copacabana is Rio´s liveliest theater."
The world most famous beach is about 6km long. From the curved beach you can see the Sugar Loaf and Morro do Leme (Leme Hill), both of them slabs of granite. The last kilometer of the east end of the beach, between Princesa Isabel Av and Morro do Leme is called Praia do Leme.
There is always something happening on the beach during the day and on the side-walks of Atlantica Av during day and night such as drinking, eating, singing, and people checking out the scene.
You will see people strolling or jogging, tourists and brazilians, even the poor, middle-class and rich people. Its a melting pot of Rio. When you go to the beach or for a walk it is usual to put on casual clothes, and take only the essentials.
Sometimes concerts, exhibitions, fair, outdoor movies, and other events take place in Copacabana. The FIFA Beach Soccer Worl Cup took place in Copabana Beach in November 2007.
The Rolling Stones performed in Copacabana during the 2006 World Tour. The big gig in front of the Copacabana Palace Hotel, tooke place in Feb 18 at 21h45. It lasted 2 hours and It is estimated that 1.3 milion people watched the show. Lenny Kravitz and Rod Steward has already performed in Copacabana Beach.
Avenida Atlantica (Atlantica Av) runs along the ocean with lots of upscale/upmarket buildings and hotels such as Copacabana Palace, Othon Hotel, Marriot.
The opening of Copacabana Palace Hotel in 1923 contributed to make Copacabana district an exotic and popular place for tourism and nightlife.
Copacabana Palace Hotel is a beautiful building that reflects the cultural influences of Europe style. It is the most traditional and luxurious hotel in Rio and favored by royalt, chief of states and rich rock stars. Actualy it is a wonderful splurge and very expensive. It was one of the first hotels in Rio to be built on the seashore.
It became a symbol of Rio for welcoming lots of famous artists and performers, politicians, executives and international celebrities such as Lady Di, Marlene Dietrich, Maurice Chevalier, Ava Gardner, King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth II), Brigitte Bardot, Johny Weissmuller, Theodore Roosevelt and many others. Former President Bill Clinton, The members of Rolling Stones and The Police rock bands stayed there recently.
Its history includes many fascinating episodes. It was the setting for the movie “ Flying Down to Rio”, where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced together for the first time.
The Copacabana Palace hotel has had two owners in its history; the Guinle family of Rio de Janeiro and Orient-Express Hotels since 1989.
From Copacabana Fort you will get a fantastic view of Copacabana and the sea cost. There is bar, restaurant and a museum available there. Copacabana Fort is a former milatary stronghold and facilities that lies between the end of Copabana Beach and Arpoador.
Besides the worderful view of Copacabana, If you are interested in history and old technology, you have another reason to visit it. This Fort was completed in 1914 and its original features are preserved. It is was part of the defensive system of the former Brazil´s capital city. It was a stronghold that was able to be completely sheltered from the outside world in case of war. It is a huge bunker with 12 meters thick walls facing the sea and thick ceiling, made out of stones and concrete, with a power station, accomodations for soldiers and officials, control center rooms, and huge Krupp cannons that was able to shot warships at long distance to protect the coast against invasion in bygone days. The facilities has also a themathic museum that display weapons, costumes, historic pictures and some historic figures made of wax.
Leme is the name given to the part of Copacabana Beach and Neighbourhood that is located at one of Copacabana Beach ends.
Morro do Leme (Leme Hill) is a almost pristine jungled mountain. On the top of Leme Hill, there is Leme Fort that is another former Military Stronghold.
You can get to top of the Hill, via the picturesque and winding Leme Fort road. It takes you about 30 minutes to get there on foot. The track is opened only on week-ends and holidays.
You have to buy a ticket to get there. It a good idea to carry with you a bottle of water, because on the top of the hill there is no bar. The best time to visit it is during daytime, preferably in the morning or early in the afeternoon. It is not allowed to visit it late in the afeternoom.
The road is picturesque. Part of It is surrounded on both sides by woods and other parts are surrounded by woods on one side and ravines on another side with beautiful views of the sea and landscape.
Once you get to the top, you can visit Leme Fort, and you get as well beautiful views of Copacabana and other parts of Rio Landscap, including sight of the entrance Guanabara Bay, Sugarloaf, the fortresses of Rio de Janeiro City and Niteroi City, the ocean islands, the Tijuca mountains, Corcovado and Christ Redeemer Statue, and the more distant Gavea Rock.
To the ones who are interested in history and old technology, you have another reason to visit Leme Fort.
It is was part of the defensive system of the former Brazil´s capital city. It was a stronghold strategicaly located, parts of it in the form of bunker, with thick walls and thick ceiling. You can walk through the fort, and see the rooms of the bunkers, including control center rooms, rooms to store ammuniatian, a power station, and huge (280mm) Krupp cannons that was able to shot the surrounding areas and warships at long distance to protect the coast against invasion in bygone days.
It is preserved as it was in the 20´s.
It was originaly built between 1776 and 1779 at the order of the Viceroy the Marquês do Lavradio, when Brazil was part of the Portuguese Empire. It was known as Forte do Vigia (Lookout Fort). It lies at at 210 meters above sea level.
The mission of the Forte do Vigia was to warn other fortifications of the approach of enemy vessels. A stone gateway would end this line of defense, and it can still be seen at the top of Ladeira do Leme street.
It was renovated in 1895 and renamed as Forte do Leme. In 1918 It was armed with the huge Germans Krupp cannons. In 1935 it was renamed after Duque de Caxias, a important brazilian general. It is not an active Fort anymore. The moderm part of the facilities that are at level of the sea, in the beggning of Atlantica Av. is a Brazilian Army Staff Studies Center.
National Independence hero Tiradentes (Joaquim José da Silva Xavier), served here in 1789.