When the sun beats down on Rio, visitors looking for a little shade and respite from the crowded beaches and the sticky streets of Centro often head for Jardim Botanico, the city´s lush botanical gardens. But while a visit to the gardens should certainly be on the itinerary of any first-time visitor to Rio, few people realise that an even more spectacular attraction lies just around the corner.
Parque Lage is a public park featuring one of the most spectacular mansion buildings in the city, set against the unforgettable backdrop of Corcovado mountain and the Christ statue. And, while there´s a charge of a few reais to enter the botanical gardens, entrance to Parque Lage is free, making it a wise choice for budget travelers looking for a little rest and relaxation in the shade.
Parque Lage is home to one of the most beautiful buildings in the city — Photo courtesy of Pajuaba.com.br
The mansion building serves as a home for one of Rio´s premier art colleges, and there are regular exhibitions here. While the pool here is too shallow for swimming, the poolside coffee shop and bistro is one of the best places in the city to enjoy a leisurely Sunday brunch.
A stroll through the park takes in some picturesque fountains and, somewhat oddly, man-made caverns that are home to some small and less-than-spectacular aquariums. Make like the locals and bring a picnic (coolbox essential) for a romantic afternoon in the park or a fun family lunch.
Parque Lage is located at Rua Jardim Botanico 14, Jardim Botanico, and is open daily from 8am to 6pm.