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World's Top Waterfront Cities

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Stuart Westmorland/Corbis

Rio de Janeiro

What PPS Says: Grand and expansive, Rio’s beachfront is an awe-inspiring spectacle where the well-dressed meet the nearly undressed. Its intricately designed promenade of black-and-white cobblestones, studded with cafés and vendors, is a ceremonial place where those who want to look can bond with those who want to be looked at.

What We Like: Rio, of course, is all about the beach. The paved waterfront promenades teem with bikes, runners, and strolling couples. Groups of teenage boys call out to passing girls, while vendors hawk beer and coconut water. Spend just one day at the beach (and try to head back down at dusk, when the Cariocas who worked show up to unwind), and you’ll understand why the very words Ipanema and Copacabana have become the stuff of legend.

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