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Salaron Steps

Exlusive Experience

The most beautiful staircase in the world

No wonder we selected this place to go on our Free Walking Tour Rio de Janeiro do Centro and Lapa! The most beautiful staircase in the world, Escadaria Selarón is one of the most important and visited tourist spots in Rio de Janeiro. Located in the fantastic and famous bohemian neighborhood of Lapa, it is easily accessible and is definitely a must visit place in the Marvelous City.


Jorge Selarón is a Chilean born in 1947 who built the staircase. He was a world traveler, painter and ceramic artist. He traveled all over the world and visited more than 50 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia. When he arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1983 he fell in love with the city and decided to stay. The place he chose to live was at the top of a staircase, which connects two neighborhoods in Rio, Lapa and Santa Teresa. To pay his bills here in Brazil, Selarón sold his paintings.


When Selarón moved into his house, he realized that the staircase was in terrible condition. Nobody took care of her. In 1990 he started to renovate some of the steps in his house. In the beginning he added blue, yellow and green tiles (colors of our flag). This became a tribute to Brazilians and to the Brazilian football team at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The project started as a hobby, but little by little, Selarón became addicted to continuing the project. Every time he ran out of money to buy more tiles, he would sell more paintings.

When you visit the site, you will notice that in addition to the blue, yellow and green, the red color is also very present on both sides of the Selarón Staircase. The project started with red tiles after finishing the steps in 200. Red was his favorite color and also one of the main colors of the Chilean flag.

As Selarón’s work became more famous, he began to receive ceramic tiles as a gift from travelers who were in Rio de Janeiro, which he considered a gift to be able to place tiles from tourists from all over the world on the staircase. This is also a great way to keep him on the project, as Selarón has always had financial problems.


So I mentioned that Escadaria Selarón is one of the main attractions in Rio, right? There are actually some facts that made the attraction famous. Do you know artists or bands like U2 and Snoop Dogg? Yes, both recorded a video at Escadaria Selarón! After the international advertising, this place has become a place that everyone who visits Rio must visit!


Jorge Selarón started coloring the stairs in 1990. At that time he said that the project will only end on the day of his death. That day happened 23 years after he started the project. Can you imagine that? He made this mosaic outdoors in a public space for 23 years of his life! Tile by tile, until his dying day…

Selarón’s story ended in a very sad way. It was in 2013, when the police found him dead in front of the stairs. His body is full of burn marks, and to this day we don’t know the real cause of his death. There is speculation that it was a homicide, and others say that Selarón committed suicide.

Some people say that Selarón was in a deep depression for the last few months of his life, and barely left his house. That’s where speculation comes from. On the other hand, long before the police found the body, people heard someone screaming and dogs barking loudly. This is a mystery, which will probably never be discovered.

But Selarón’s artwork remains alive and people from all over the world visit it every day. Before his death, Selarón was recognized for his work: he became an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro – an important title for a man who devoted 23 years of his life to making the Escadaria Selarón.

  • Duration

    1-2 hours

  • Availablity


  • Tour Type

    Private Tour

  • Languages



Lunch or Breakfast (optional)

Credential guide in English, Spanish or Portugues

Private transfer to and from your hotel

Covid-19 biosafety protocol



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