For stunning garden elegance, a visit to Parque Lage in the heart of Rio de Janeiro is a must. While it is not one of the first attractions that catch the eye—the Christ the Redeemer statue has that distinction—it is nevertheless a charming green space that is a wonderful place to rest and relax in comfort, against the backdrop of the Brazilian rainforest.
Parque Lage is located close to the Botanical Gardens, and is a 52-hectare area of landscaped English gardens. It was owned by industrialist tycoon Enrique Lage, who had the beautiful mansion on the grounds renovated and expanded as a labor of love for his wife, the Italian singer Gabriela Bezanzoni. Today the lovely Italianate palace houses a charming café and the School of Visual Arts, which often hosts art exhibitions and other cultural events. There are several pleasant walks through the park, as well as trails leading into the surrounding tropical forest. The stone paths and moss-covered bridges lead to ancient trees, a few caves, and even an aquarium, making this a great day trip for both adults and children.
If you wish to make the climb up Corcovado Mountain to the Christ the Redeemer Statue, several trails run from Parque Lage up to the peak. However, the climb is strenuous, and for your first time it is recommended to go with a guide (or take the easy way up via railway and escalator). Even if you decide not to attempt the challenging climb, Parque Lage is situated right at the foot of Corcovado, and gives you an excellent view of the mountain and the Christ Statue at its peak.