Located on an inlet of the bay and overlooking the larger Botafogo and Flamengo districts, Urca has managed to maintain its quiet setting despite the rapid urbanization throughout the rest of Rio de Janeiro. Other than it’s fun nightlife, laidback beach setting, and culinary experiences, the neighborhood's biggest draw is the 16th-century fort, Fortaleza de São João. Built in 1565 by King Sebastian of Portugal, the fort houses an extensive collection of 17th-century Portuguese art, and offers special beach access to Praia de Fora.
Things to Know Before You Go
- While it is still an active base, Fortaleza de São João is open to the public on weekday afternoons.
- Hang out at Praia da Urca—a local favorite—for a family-friendly visit to the beach or check out the neighboring Praia Vermelha.
- For a quiet stroll surrounded by lush environs go for an easy walk around the Pista Claudio Coutinho, a walking path that wraps around the base of Morro da Urca.
How to Get There
The easiest way to get to Urca is by taxi depending on where in Rio de Janeiro you’re visiting. You can also reach the neighborhood by bus.
When to Get There
If you are visiting Morro da Urca or Sugar Loaf Mountain, consider an early morning or late afternoon excursion, stopping in Urca either before or after your sightseeing adventure. For optimal beach weather consider planning your trip during December through March.
Sugar Loaf Mountain No trip to Rio is complete without ascending Sugar Loaf Mountain via cable car. After a pit stop on Morro da Urca, take in the incredible panoramic vistas from the top of the famed mountain being sure to Christ Redeemer a wave before exploring the rest of Rio.
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- Red Beach (Praia Vermelha)
- Morro da Urca
- Sao Joao Fort (Fortaleza de Sao Joao)
- Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Açúcar)
- Leme Beach (Praia do Leme)
- Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art (Museu de Arte Moderna)
- Catete Palace (Palácio do Catete)
- Santa Marta Favela
- Corcovado Train (Trem do Corcovado)
- Copacabana Beach (Praia de Copacabana)
- Cosme Velho
- Flamengo Park (Aterro do Flamengo)
- Glória Marina (Marina da Glória)