1. Praia de Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
One of Rio’s most celebrated beaches, Copacabana stretches from the Morro do Leme hill in the northeast to the Arpoador rocks in the southwest. It is a year-round tourist hub, famed for its incredible New Year’s Eve celebrations. Until the construction of a tunnel connecting the area with Botafogo in 1892, Copacabana was an unspoilt bay with picturesque dunes. The introduction of trams in the early 20th century made the area fashionable, and by the time the Copacabana Palace was built, the neighbourhood had more than 30,000 residents. Today, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.