The most beautiful views in Rio are from there!
By Carolina Baker
Translated by Loretta Murphy
Tourists visiting Rio de Janeiro can enjoy an unforgettable walking tour of the famous beaches of Copacabana and Leme. The six kilometers of white sand covering the great arch of beaches contrasts with the blue sea and the green of the forest that hedges the city. No wonder this beautiful setting was designated by UNESCO in 2012 as an Urban Cultural Landscape Heritage site.
The Portuguese stone mosaic of the Copacabana sidewalk, restored by Burle Marx in 1970, represents the sinuous waves of the beach and, some also say, the charming history of Rio. The symbolic movement of the famous boardwalk’s waves adds to the relaxed mingling of the kiosk patrons, the excited cries of volleyball players and the peacefulness of swimmers enjoying the beach.
At the southern tip, the famous Fort Copacabana is sought out by both tourists and locals. The view of the Atlantic beaches is the main attraction and in the summer, from the top of the great cupola with its guns from the twentieth century, you can enjoy a distinctive sunset. A visit to the Historical Brazilian Army Museum is completed with tasty snacks from the Colombo Confectionery and Café 18 do Forte. Musical performances, art exhibitions, photography shows, and theatre and dance groups participate in a busy cultural agenda, where locals and visitors can find fun all year.
But it is at the opposite end of this arch of beaches that there is something new. On top of the Morro do Leme, 124 meters above sea level and hidden by the green of the Atlantic Forest vegetation, is the little known Fort of Duque de Caxias – also called Fort Leme. Open to the public since 2012, this rustic fort offers a nearly 360 degree view, overlooking the Guanabara Bay, the Atlantic coast and the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi. The visit begins with the Green Path, a slope of about 600 meters, with a smooth, paved sidewalk that is largely shaded. Bromeliads, orchids, butterflies, birds and marmosets enrich the direct contact with nature at this site.
At the top, at the historic military site, four large howitzers guns, now out of commission, compete with the city’s landscape for visitors’ attention. Three viewpoints offer spectacular views and present the outlines of Rio de Janeiro from new angles. The highlights are the Christ the Redeemer statue, the entire extension of Copacabana beach, Guanabara Bay and the almost hidden face of the Sugarloaf Mountain.
Now you know! In Rio de Janeiro on a beautiful sunny day, walking around Fort Leme is a must! Fort Leme is located at the Almirante Júlio de Noronha Plaza, in the Leme district. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. On rainy or very cloudy days, it does not open.
Seniors over 60, children under 10 and armed forces personnel and their direct dependents enter free of charge, valid for the Green Path only.
- Visits are free on Tuesdays.
- No swimsuits are allowed and shirts must be worn on the trail or when visiting the Historic Site.
- Driving or consuming alcohol are not permitted on the trail or when visiting the Historic Site.
- During the summer time, the Duque de Caxias Fort is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
- Their website is http://www.cep.ensino.eb.br/forte/visitacao