A breathtaking view of Rio de Janeiro from Christ the Redeemer

Symbol of the "Cidade maravilhosa", or "marvellous city" in French, Christ the Redeemer has been watching over Rio de Janeiro for over 90 years.** From the top of the Corcovado hill, the view is breathtaking: forests, hills, lagoons, oceans, mountains, beaches... A typically Brazilian landscape rich in colour. From the most beautiful vantage point in the world, try to find the historic sites of this world capital of celebration. The Maracana stadium and the Sambodrome blend perfectly with the city's lush natural surroundings.

To get there, cross the mythical Tijuca forest. Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, this is a must-see when visiting the city of Carioca.

Christ the Redeemer

- © marchello74 / Shutterstock

The story of Christ the Redeemer

This extraordinary project was completed in 1931, after five years of construction. The result of a desire for unity on the part of the Church and the genius of two men, the statue now stands 38 metres high. Its wide-open arms bless the inhabitants and tourists who come to visit it.

Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa was responsible for the designs. He entrusted the construction mission to the Franco-Polish sculptor Paul Landowski, who brought his vision to life. The hands and head were made in France, transported across the Atlantic Ocean and finally shipped by train.

Christ the Redeemer

- © marchello74 / Shutterstock
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The secrets of Christ

This protector of the city, as it was nicknamed by Cardinal Sebastiao Leme during his inauguration speech, is full of secrets.

The hands of Christ were sculpted after those of a woman. Her identity remains a mystery, but some believe they are those of a famous Brazilian pianist, who denied this until her death.

Buried inside its solid shell are thousands of inscriptions of names and verses of poetry written by Carioca women. It was the women of Rio who carved each tile, one by one. Some of them even took the opportunity to inscribe these sweet words. Inspired by French fountains, Heitor Da Silva created a mosaic that is perfectly resistant to bad weather and changes in temperature.

This holy place, for many Christians, also has a small chapel hidden beneath the feet of the statue. The chapel, named Nossa Senhora Aparecida, patron saint of Brazil, is open for baptisms and weddings. What a class!

View of Rio from Christ the Redeemer

- © vitormarigo / Shutterstock

How do we get to Christ?

There are several ways to get there. You can take the train, a minibus or simply walk.

The train is the preferred means of transport for Christ's 800,000 annual visitors. And with good reason: the breathtaking views of Rio through the Tijuca forest make it an activity in its own right. Sit back with your family and friends and watch Guanabara Bay sparkle with a thousand lights. Accessible to all, this train ride is a great activity for all the family. You can also catch a glimpse of Sugarloaf, Rio de Janeiro's other fabulous mountain.

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The train to Christ the Redeemer

- © 232323Ni / Shutterstock

Those who want to enjoy the view a little longer can take a stroll along the surrounding paths. It's a 700-metre climb from Cristo Redentor to the starting point, but it's well worth the effort: the forest is home to some absolutely incredible flora and fauna. There are numerous waterfalls along the way, providing a welcome moment of coolness. During this break, you may be lucky enough to spot mikos (or micos, small marmoset monkeys) or beija-flor (hummingbirds).

The walk takes aroundtwo hours and temperatures rise rapidly during the day: for a pleasant hike, a morning start is recommended.

Little monkeys in the Tijuca forest

- © Cassandra Cury / Shutterstock

Waterfall in the Tijuca forest

- © JS Neto Fotografia / Shutterstock

And if you like sleeping in, the minibus option is for you. You can take it to Catete, Barra da Tijuca, Santa Teresa or Copacabana. It arrives at the foot of Christ and there's nothing to stop you taking the train back to enjoy the view at your leisure.

Parque Lage, at the foot of Corcovado

- © Catarina Belova / Shutterstock

On the way back down, take the time to refresh yourself and eat a bowl of açai. This Brazilian dessert, made with crushed açai berries, red fruit, cereals and sometimes bananas, is sweet, fresh and crunchy all at once. It's the icing on the cake!

View of Copacabana and Christ the Redeemer

- © Skreidzeleu / Shutterstock

If you decide to set off from Copacabana, take the time to stroll along the beach. The mosaics of the promenade that line this crescent-shaped beach and the Art Deco architecture of the buildings make it a favourite spot for Brazilians. Numerous "postos" (small bars) are scattered along the avenue. We recommend a mate-limao, an extremely refreshing lemon tea.

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Practical info

The morning is the ideal time to enjoy the view. The soft light and fresh morning air make this a unique moment. Before midday, Christ faces south, which guarantees photos exposed to the sun.

The cheapest option is to go up on foot. The total cost of a ticket to visit Christ the Redeemer is around €27. The tour starts in Lage Park, but be warned: thefts have been reported on this walk, so it's best to avoid leaving too late and to carry valuables with you.

Train fares vary according to the season, so it's best to book in advance.

The fare in low season is R$65, rising to R$79 in high season. A train leaves Trem do Corcovado station every 30 minutes from 8am to 7pm.

The minibus costs the same as the train, depending on the season. If you are leaving from Catete, the meeting point is at Largo do Machado, opposite the metro station. For Santa Teresa, the meeting point is Estrada das Paineiras and for Copacabana, Praça do Lido. Finally, from Barra da Tijuca, minibuses will be waiting for you at the Citta América Shopping Centre on Avenida das Américas.

by Val HANCOCK
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