Escadaria Selarón | Selaron Steps

Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón) : A Tragic Love Story

Selarón Steps
Selarón Steps cc licensed photo by Rogério Zgiet

The steps of Selarón situated on Rua Joaquim Silvia Selarón Lapa are to Rio what the Spanish steps are to Rome. Beautifully tiled with mosaic tiles and mirror, these 250 steps, measuring 125 metres long, are a true artistic feat requiring years of hard work and dedication.

In order to complete the work of art as it now stands more than 2,000 tiles collected from more than 60 countries were used. Despite its immense beauty the Escadaria Selarón is about more than just an artistic feat. It is a love story that ended in tragedy very befitting the Latin culture of love and tragedy. These steps truly are a must see when visiting Rio.

The story of Escadaria Selarón starts with a Chilean artist named Jorge Selarón who settled in Rio in 1983. After travelling the world and visiting 57 countries, he decided to call Rio home. This artist decided to begin with renovating the steps close to where he lived on a whim as the area was extremely run down and the grey steps an empty canvas for someone with an artistic eye. In the year 1990 Jorge began work on the steps, not having the funds to begin such a project he began to collect old tiles from construction sites and many other places in the area. As he soon ran out of tiles he funded his project by selling his paintings and sculptures. As he continued his work he accepted donations from passers-by and foreigners in order to complete his work. Many times his friends who travelled would bring back tiles that they collected for him from different countries.

Though he was first mocked by the people in the area for his use of greens, blues and yellows, the colours of the Brazilian flag he kept working on his solitary art piece which he called his tribute to the Brazilian people. What started out as an idea turned out to be an all-consuming passion, a labour of love for the country he had come to call home.

The steps soon became a tourist attraction as people came to see the artist working day and night on these steps. The work lasted more than 20 years before his dead body was found on the very steps named after him. Although an official cause of death has not been established it is speculated that he committed suicide brought on by depression.

Take a moment to look at the steps and speculate on Jorge's passion for the Brazilian people.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Escadaria Selarón | Selaron Steps Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: Open 24 hours
  • Tuesday: Open 24 hours
  • Wednesday: Open 24 hours
  • Thursday: Open 24 hours
  • Friday: Open 24 hours
  • Saturday: Open 24 hours
  • Sunday: Open 24 hours

Address: R. Manuel Carneiro - Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20241-120, Brazil

Official Website: Escadaria Selarón | Selaron Steps

Escadaria Selarón | Selaron Steps Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating Lovely place to visit! No entry fee. Restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops all along the stairs. Beautiful steps and art. Local shops selling their wares. Great photo-op! Be sure to buy a caipirinha on your way down. They’re bigger than anywhere else in the city!
Beth S - a week ago

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5 Star Rating A feast for the eyes!! Touristic but / and cool to visit. Didn’t stand in line for any of the shots (some spots are more popular than others) but got incredible pics non the less.
Buyisiwe Shongwe - in the last week

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5 Star Rating It is a very beautiful space to visit in Rio. We went on an overcast and rainy day, which kept the crowds down, but I can imagine this spot would get very busy, especially at the bottom where a lot of people are stopping to take their photos. Take your time going up to admire all the different tiles all around you. You can easily spend 30 minutes if you're taking it all in.
Adrian Hirsh - 3 weeks ago

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4 Star Rating We were there at about lunchtime. The weather was extremely hot, and there were a lot of people in the different stages of these steps. However, it is a place that should be visited. There are a lot of incredible tiles on it. And it's worth it to take some time to look for the different ones that are pretty interesting. Also, there's a little bit of shopping opportunity there with art pieces being in offer!
Noelle Marozeau - 2 months ago

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5 Star Rating Amazing space and art in the heart of Rio. We went on a Saturday night when it was pouring rain so we’re basically alone. Great spot to spend a bit of time. Tons of hip bars nearby, check them out for a cheap drink after.
Taylor Diem - 3 months ago

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Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 1 - Orange or Line 2 - GreenGloria10 Minutes

How to get to Escadaria Selarón | Selaron Steps by Metro

Exit Gloria Station and walk north along Rua da Gloria which becomes Rua da Lapa. When you get to Rua Teotonio Regadas go left and follow it straight to the Selarón Steps which you should now see at end of the road.

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