9 Best Things to Do in Vidigal (Rio de Janeiro)

rio panorama

If you’re planning a trip to Rio de Janeiro, don’t miss out on visiting Vidigal, a picturesque favela located between Leblon and São Conrado.

Despite its reputation, Vidigal is relatively safe to visit and has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the best things to do in Vidigal, Rio, from enjoying the stunning views to experiencing the vibrant culture of this unique neighbourhood.

1. Beaches in Vidigal

beaches in vidigal
Beaches in Vidigal by Jose Guertzenstein/Pixabay

One of the best things to do in Vidigal is to visit its beautiful beaches.

The most popular beach in Vidigal is Praia do Vidigal, a small, secluded beach with soft golden sand, calm waters and stunning views. The beach is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. 

2. Hiking in Vidigal

morro dois irmãos
Morro Dois Irmãos by Arne Müseler/CC-by-SA-3.0

Vidigal is a great place for hiking, with several trails that offer breathtaking views of the city.

One of the most popular hikes is the trail to Morro Dois Irmãos, which takes about three hours round trip and offers panoramic breathtaking views of the city.

3. Panoramic Views from Mirante do Arvrão

mirante do arvrão
Mirante do Arvrão by Jose Guertzenstein/Pixabay

If you don’t feel fit enough to walk for hours into the rainforest, climbing steep mountain trails, there are more leisurely ways to enjoy the beautiful view of Rio de Janeiro.

You can visit Mirante do Arvrão, a lookout point that offers panoramic views of the city and the ocean.

You can get there by taking a motorcycle taxi or hiking up the hill. Once you’re there, you can enjoy a cold drink and take in the stunning scenery.

4. Vidigal’s Art 

vidigal's art
Vidigal’s Art by Eva Bronzini/Pexels

Ironically, most of the museums and galleries where you can learn more about Vidigal, are scattered in other areas of Rio de janeiro. 

Among the most popular are Galeria Movimento, which features contemporary art from Brazil and around the world, as well as the Museu Favela, which showcases the history and culture of Vidigal through art and artefacts.

If you want to experience the authentic spirit of Vidigal, however, many of the street artists who live and work in Vidigal have turned the walls of the favela into a vibrant outdoor gallery, with colourful murals and graffiti adorning many of the buildings.

It’s worth noting that Vidigal is a community that has historically faced issues with violence and social inequality. While the art scene in Vidigal is an important part of the community’s cultural life and has helped to promote the neighbourhood’s positive aspects, it’s important to be respectful and aware of the challenges that the community faces.

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5. Vidigal’s Nightlife

voodoohop in vidigal
Voodoohop in Vidigal by Ariel Martini/Flickr

Vidigal is known for its vibrant nightlife, with several bars and nightclubs that offer live music and dancing.

One of the most popular venues is Bar da Laje, a rooftop bar that offers stunning views of the city and the ocean. 

Another popular venue is Baile do Vidigal, a weekly party that takes place in a different location each week and features a mix of Brazilian and international music.

6. Vidigal’s Food

When in Vidigal, make sure to find a good place to try some traditional Brazilian food. There are several restaurants and food stalls in the neighbourhood that offer delicious and affordable local cuisine. 

One popular dish is feijoada, a hearty stew made with black beans and various types of meat. Another popular dish is churrasco, a type of barbecue that’s popular throughout Brazil.

It’s a little-known fact, but Brazilian cuisine is considered one of the tastiest in the world.

7. Vidigal’s History and Culture

palácio pedro ernesto - fundação da cidade
Palácio Pedro Ernesto – Fundação da Cidade by Halley Pacheco de Oliveira/CC BY-SA 3.0

Vidigal is much more than an ordinary neighbourhood. It actually has a very rich history that’s worth exploring. The neighbourhood was originally founded by freed slaves in the late 19th century and has since become one of the most vibrant communities in Rio de Janeiro. 

If you want to dive deep into the culture and history of Vidigal, you can learn more about it by visiting the cultural centre called “Casa do Vidigal” which features exhibitions, art shows, workshops, and cultural events. 

“Casa do Vidigal” is not exactly a museum in the traditional sense, as it is primarily focused on promoting the local arts and culture of the Vidigal community. 

“Casa do Vidigal” is located in the Vidigal favela and is a popular destination for tourists and locals interested in experiencing the unique culture of this vibrant community. Another very good way to explore the neighbourhood is by taking a guided tour. 

8. Make New Friendships

local people
Local people by Bayu jefri/Pexels

One of the best things about visiting Vidigal is getting to meet the locals. Despite its reputation, Vidigal is a relatively safe neighbourhood with friendly and welcoming residents. You can meet locals by visiting community centres and attending local cultural events.

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If you want to explore the neighbourhood, it is recommended to take a guided tour with a reputable company, as they will be able to provide insight into the community and ensure that you, as a visitor, are behaving appropriately.

9. Learn More About Projeto Capoeira Vidigal

projeto capoeira vidigal
Projeto Capoeira Vidigal

Projeto Capoeira Vidigal is a social project that aims to promote and preserve the cultural heritage of capoeira in the Vidigal favela in Rio de Janeiro. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music.

The project was founded by Mestre Paulão Ceará, a renowned capoeira master who grew up in Vidigal and has dedicated his life to teaching capoeira to children and young people in the community. 

The project provides free capoeira classes to children and young people from the community, with the goal of promoting physical fitness, discipline, and self-confidence, as well as preserving the cultural heritage of capoeira.

The project is open to anyone who wants to learn capoeira, regardless of their background or nationality. However, it’s important to note that the classes are taught in Portuguese, so it may be helpful to have some knowledge of the language or bring a translator with you. 

Additionally, as with any community-based organisation, it’s always a good idea to be respectful of the community and follow any guidelines or rules set forth by the project or its teachers.

If you’re interested in visiting capoeira classes at Projeto Capoeira Vidigal, it’s recommended to contact the project ahead of time to inquire about class schedules and availability.

FAQs

Is Vidigal Safe to Visit?

Vidigal is the safest favela in Rio de Janeiro and is considered to be a relatively safe place to visit, as long as you take the necessary precautions. You should avoid wandering around alone at night. Also, you should avoid wearing expensive or luxury items.  

What’s the Best Way to Get to Vidigal?

To get to Vidigal, you can take a taxi or an Uber from anywhere in Rio de Janeiro. The favela is located between Leblon and São Conrado, so it’s easily accessible from the southern neighbourhoods of the city. If you prefer to take public transportation, you can take a bus to the Vidigal stop and then walk up to the favela. 

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What are the Best Things to Do in Vidigal?

Some of the best things to do in Vidigal include visiting the popular beaches in the area, walking around the neighbourhood, enjoying the views from Mirante do Arvrão, and experiencing the local nightlife.

What’s the Best Time to Visit Vidigal?

The best time to visit Vidigal is during the summer months from December to March, when the weather is warm and sunny. However, the neighbourhood can be visited year-round. 

Don’t forget, however, that the weather in winter can be a bit chilly or cloudy, especially in the morning and in the late afternoon, which is not surprising considering the altitude above sea level. 

Can I Stay in Vidigal Overnight?

Yes, there are several hostels and guesthouses in Vidigal that offer affordable accommodation options for travellers. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and meet other travellers.

What’s the Best Way to Explore Vidigal?

The best way to explore Vidigal is on foot or by bike. There are several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the city, and renting a bike is a great way to explore the neighbourhood at your own pace.

Is There Any Danger of Crime in Vidigal?

While Vidigal has a reputation for being a favela, it’s generally safe for tourists. However, it’s important to take the necessary precautions and avoid wandering around alone at night.

Can I Visit Vidigal With Kids?

Yes, Vidigal is a family-friendly neighbourhood with plenty of activities for kids. The beaches and parks are great places to go with your children, and there are several cultural events that are suitable for all ages.

What’s the Dress Code for Visiting Vidigal?

There’s no strict dress code for visiting Vidigal, but it’s important to dress modestly and respectfully. Avoid wearing revealing clothing or flashy jewellery, and dress comfortably for the hot and humid weather.

Are There Any Guided Tours of Vidigal Available?

Yes, there are several companies that offer guided tours of Vidigal, including walking, biking and favela tours. They offer a unique insight into the neighbourhood’s history and culture, and are a great way to learn more about Vidigal.