The Roberto Burle Marx-designed space offers a shady green refuge from the chaos of the city
Otherwise known as the Aterro (literally translated as landfill), Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes Park, to give it its full title, is almost 300 acres of wonderfully green, urban parkland. The wealthy carioca Lota Macedo Soares came up with the initial plan, destroying Santo Antonio hill in Centro and using the rubble to fill in the edge of the bay and create the new highway and park, re-drawing the city's geography in the process. Well tendered for by legions of council workers every morning, famous carioca landscape designer Burle Marx dreamt up the undulating curves and banks, planting 11,600 trees throughout the area including rare species and a huge variety of palms.
Running all the way from Botafogo beach up to Glória Marina and the Santos Dumont airport (also built on landfill), there are two public tennis courts, countless football and basketball pitches, an outdoor theatre and even a designated area for remote control aeroplane enthusiasts to get on with their hobby without terrorising the rest of the park users. Weekends become packed with families and the sporting masses, with beach volleyball, frescoball and futvolei the favourite ways to build up and appetite for the all-important barbecue. Best avoided at night, the early mornings are a hive of energy as runners and cyclists take advantage of the cool breeze to get their training on.