10 of the world's best city beaches…and #1 is….Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro!

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10 of the world’s best city beaches

Strip away the suit and indulge your tropical fantasies at these cities by the sea

By Duncan Forgan 23 May, 2012

When you hear the word “city,” what do you think of?

Skyscrapers? Traffic jams? Great restaurants? Bad service?

How about beaches?

There are some cities where the working class can strip off the suit and tie, jump into the swimming shorts or bikini and enjoy a day with their toes in the sand without having to leave the urban perimieter.

By talking with our well-traveled friends and colleagues, collating data from tourism authorities and using our own experiences, we’ve put together a list of what we think make up 10 of the best city beaches in the world.

No doubt you’ve got your own. We’d love to hear about them in the comments.


1. Ipanema Beach, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Ipanema Beach, Rio De Janiero

A beautiful beach, but take care in the currents.

Ipanema was famed long before Vinícius de Moraes and Tom Jobim composed their 1962 ode to one of the “tall and tanned and young and lovely” females that still throng the beach.

“The Girl From Ipanema,” however, perfectly encapsulates the eternal allure of the 1,600-meter-long, 90-meter deep stretch of white sand. Majestic granite peaks create a spectacular backdrop while the Cagarras Islands in the distance offer a counterpoint to the brilliant blue of the Atlantic.

This is the place where the dental-floss bikini and the crocheted G-string for men made their debuts, however, and it’s the sight of the beautiful people of the Cidade Maravilhosa strutting their scantily clad stuff that makes for arguably the most compelling spectacle.

Lowdown (marks out of 5)

Cleanliness: 4 — Ipanema is regarded by Cariocas (Rio natives) as the city’s cleanest beach.

Visual stimulus: 5 — Need we explain?

Food/drink options: 5 — Hawkers ply the sand selling everything from cold beer and caipirinhas to grilled sticks of halloumi cheese, while the streets that back the beach host some of the Rio’s best restaurants.

Safe swimming: 2 — The word Ipanema translates from native Indian as “bad, dangerous waters” and the undertow and the crashing waves should not be underestimated.

Party factor: 5 — Rio’s inland districts have the edge when it comes to partying down but Ipanema’s clubs are no slouches either.

CNN ranks the coolest nationalities….and the winner is…..Brazilians?

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The world’s coolest nationalities: Where do you rank?

We know, we’re lame for ranking the world’s coolest people — which is why we can only wish we were on the list

By Barry Neild 21 January, 2011

s it possible to call an entire nation cool? Is it fair to say one nation is more cool than another?

Given that most countries have their own share of murderers, tyrants and reality TV stars, the answer is unequivocally — yes.

To help sort the cool from the less fortunate, we’ve compiled this list of the hippest peoples on the planet. No easy task when faced with almost 250 possible candidates.

The main problem is, of course, every nationality in the world believes it is the coolest — with the exception of Canadians, who are far too self-deprecating for that sort of thing.

Ask a man from Kyrgyzstan which people cut the biggest dash and he will say, “the Kyrgyz.” Who knows (seriously, who would know?) he might be right.

Ask a Norwegian and he will carefully finish chewing his mouthful of Thai green curry, take a swig of Thai Singha beer, gaze wistfully across the Thai resort of Phuket at the sunshine that eludes his country for 10 months of the year, then mumble softly, with a semi-suicidal lack of conviction: “Norwegians.”

Equally perplexing is how to define cool. Are Italians cool because some wear tightly fitting designer suits? Are the Russians uncool because some favor outmoded sportswear and pro-wrestling hairstyles?

Are the Swiss too neutral to be cool or uncool?

Before you start punching your computer screen in nationalistic indignation at your own country’s omission from our cool list — or the lazy stereotypes it inevitably falls back on for cheap laughs — remember, if you care that much about being cool then you, valued reader, simply ain’t cool.


1. Brazilians


Celebrating their number-one ranking at Copacabana Beach is way cooler than reading this article.

Without Brazilians we wouldn’t have samba and Rio carnival; we wouldn’t have the soccer beauty of Pele and Ronaldo; we wouldn’t have the minuscule swimwear and toned bodies of Copacabana beach; and we wouldn’t have certain eye-watering procedures performed with wax.

Unless they’re using their sexy, laid-back, party-loving reputation as a cover for exterminating dolphins or invading Poland, then we have no choice but to name Brazilians as the coolest people on the planet.

So, if you’re Brazilian and reading this, congratulations — although, since you’re sitting at a computer instead of showing off your six-pack on the shoreline, you probably aren’t that cool yourself.

Icon of cool: Seu Jorge. The favela-raised performer’s soulful Portuguese-language Bowie covers make you wish Ziggy Stardust was from Brazil, not space.

Not so cool: Mmmmm, Brazilian meat and cocoa — so delicious, but farming’s destruction of vast tracts of rainforest leaves a bitter aftertaste.