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 Some friends and I took a taxi here it was a Sunday afternoon. I felt perfectly safe walking the stairs lots of activity and lots of people. All in all I would recommend it just to do it but you're going to be done with the stairs and 20 minutes tops and if you want there's a few restaurants there as well as vendors with souvenirs.
Steve Dempsey - a week ago

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5 Star Rating 2023 Nov. I had the best visit here. My pictures speak volumes. I was fortunate enough not to have many people around in this busy tourist spot of town. Great weather and time here. Any island I got to locals, to me are always welcoming. When I visited Escadaria Selarón I was amazed by the beauty and creativity of this place. The stairs are decorated with thousands of colorful tiles from different countries, creating a stunning mosaic that reflects the diversity and vibrancy of Brazil. The artist, Jorge Selarón, was a Chilean who dedicated his life to this project as a tribute to the Brazilian people. He transformed a simple staircase into a masterpiece of urban art and such beauty. The drinks and food on the way to the top were cheaper than downstairs. I love the Rio de Janeiro sign, The view from the top was breathtaking and I felt like I was part of a living painting. Escadaria Selarón is a must-see attraction in Rio de Janeiro. It is not just a staircase, but a symbol of passion, culture, and creativity. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves art and wants to experience the true spirit of Rio.
Spiral Tote - 2 weeks ago

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4 Star Rating Busy, touristy, bustling with charm, smiles and atmosphere you simply couldn’t find elsewhere. Hold on to your bags and valuables. We were warned about pickpockets. I didn’t see any, but I can imagine with it being so busy, it’s a prime spot. Common sense should be used. Would I go again? Absolutely I would. My son needs another pair of £9 raybans, and while he’s buying them, I can admire the beautiful street art that I’ve never been able to find better anywhere
Amanda Wilson - a month ago

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5 Star Rating I loved it because it feels different and special. It’s free to visit! I was amazed by how many people are there during the day. The area of Lapa is supposed to be a little dangerous but I found it perfectly nice and I spent the afternoon and early evening hanging out in a bar close by.
Andy Newbold - 2 weeks ago

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4 Star Rating I recommend going early in the morning so it isn't to crowded. Also if you climb the stairs to the top there usually are less tourist there and you can get better photos
Jose Gonzalez - a week 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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