Set between the Atlantic Ocean, rivers and mountains, the state of São Paulo entices visitors with its idyllic beaches, forest reserves and busy urban centers. Home to over 40 million inhabitants, São Paulo state is Brazil’s most populated state and one of its wealthiest. Experience fast-paced cities and escape to hill towns framed by wild countryside. Soak up the sun along São Paulo’s 400-mile (644-kilometer) long coastline.
The capital of the state is São Paulo, a megacity of galleries, museums and impressive religious landmarks that spreads from a slick center into the framing hills. Dive into an acclaimed gastronomy scene inspired by the flavors of Italian, Japanese, Lebanese and Spanish communities. Find dining and entertainment attractions in the Bela Vista Italian neighborhood and an authentic taste of Asia in Liberdade. Parque do Ibirapuera, Paulista Avenue and São Paulo Museum of Art are major city attractions.
South of the city, the Portuguese port town of Santos is a doorway to the state’s coast. It boasts glorious strips of soft sand, perfect-blue waters and abundant watersports. Try Guarujá and Praia Grande and then head east to Maresias, Caraguatatuba and Ilhabela. Ubatuba is a paradise for scuba diving and surfing.
Travel west from Santos to Mongaguá and Peruíbe, where you can encounter an alluring blend of surf culture and typical Brazilian seaside lifestyles. The pretty streets of Cananéia transport you back to the arrival of the earliest European settlers. Catch a boat from here and go dolphin spotting at Parque Estadual da Ilha do Cardoso.
Hilltop retreats, such as Campos do Jordão, showcase a quieter side to the state and its beautiful mountainous countryside. Paranapiacaba has a wealth of Victorian-style buildings and Iporanga sits nestled within the Atlantic Forest. Visit Brotas to tour coffee plantations and go rafting and zip lining. Go trekking in the Mantiqueira Mountains.
Flights from international cities arrive regularly at São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport. Use the large network of buses to connect with the state’s many cities, towns and villages. Continue your adventures on the Costa Verde, in the neighboring state of Rio de Janeiro.