Copacabana Beach

Copacabana, called Leme at its northern end, epitomises picture-book Rio: a splendid broad sweeping crescent of fine sand stretching for almost 8km, washed by a bottle-green Atlantic and watched over by the forested hill Morro do Leme. Until a decade ago, Copacabana and Leme were tawdry, but new beach cafés, paving, and targeted policing have made the beach far safer. Although the water can be dirty when the currents wash shoreward, the beach is a pleasant place to relax in the sun.