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

Regular 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


Rated 4.6 out of 5Escadaria Selarón Star Rating

5 Star Rating Absolutely beautiful to see and explore. The staircase goes up quite a while so there is plenty to see in the art. Word of advice is to go early before it gets hot and crowded. There are a lot of people seeing a photo opportunity and it is hard to actually look at and appreciate the art of the staircase once it gets busy.

Eden Theron - 10 days ago

4 Star Rating Cool place to take colorful pics. It will be a very short visit since to go all the way up won’t take more than 20 min. Is better to go with day light, otherwise the pics are not so great with the street lights. An small negative point might be that the surrounding streets don’t feel very safe at night, specially if you’re on your own.

Ana Dz - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating If you already booked a your for one day in Rio, do not worry, they will bring you there! This escaderia is over 200+ stairs and you can take lots of pictures with beautiful backgrounds. There is a common photo you'd like to take, but there is usually a long queue (at the beginning), my recommendation is to go up and you'll find better spots for pictures

David Robles - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Iconic place in the neighbourhood of Santa Tereza in Rio de Janeiro. Stairs is a masterpiece created by a Chilean artist Jorge Selarón and still being building or renovated. Very nice to go through the stairs, check the pieces, find your country, soccer team or any other piece that might be related to you or something that you are related to among many many pieces of history. Totally worth and it is for free.

André Lemos - 11 days ago

5 Star Rating Extremely busy because it's so popular. You would need to get there fabulously early to avoid the crowds. Free. Lots of souvenirs, drinks and snacks available. Lots of street art too.

Lewis Mindy - 1 month 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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Taking a close look at the famous Selarón Steps in Rio de Janeiro
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