Brazil has its fair share of beaches – we’re talking kilometres-long swathes of sand – each with varying degrees of glamorous influences, history and activity, including one that became famous because of a song written about a girl walking across it!
Undoubtedly, the country’s most famous stretches of beach can be found on the southeast coast in Rio de Janeiro, where Copacabana and Ipanema provide the iconic landmarks so beloved of photographers, visitors and locals alike. Lapped by the Atlantic Ocean, both beaches have their own sparkling attributes. The four-kilometre-long Copacabana Beach became a magnet for glitz and glamour when the Copacabana Palace Hotel opened its doors in 1923, attracting the Hollywood glitterati and elevating the status of Rio de Janeiro. Today, it is popular for sunbathing and beach sports, future football megastars honing their considerable skills on the soft sand, while its annual New Year fireworks display attracts a congregation of around two-million people. Ipanema, meanwhile, is the trend-setting home of Bossa Nova and its clean, sandy beach – the setting for the eponymous song, The Girl From Ipanema – has, over time, organically divided into areas preferred by families, sports-lovers and body-conscious locals, amongst others.
Further north, Bahia’s charming little village, Trancoso, offers an entirely different proposition, with near-deserted, powder-white beaches, cosseted by palm trees, serving as a rather lovely backdrop to an ambience of laid-back rustic chic; effortlessly glamorous without the need for ostentation, which is seriously underplayed here. It is, perhaps, why discerning Hollywood stars, international supermodels and wealthy Rio and Sao Paulo residents choose to holiday here, in relative privacy, without giving up on the trappings of their luxury lifestyles, including access to designer boutiques and some of the finest cuisine available outside of the nearby cities. Cool beach bars and opportunities to enjoy water and beach-based leisure activities just heighten the appeal of this lesser-known gem.