One of the business and economic centres of Brazil, Sao Paulo is a lot more industrial and built up as compared to many cities in the country. The largest city in Brazil, Sao Paulo is best known for its food, architecture, markets and museums.
What to see and do
The most notable out of all the excellent museums in Sao Paulo are the MASP (Museo de Arte de Sao Paulo), which houses an extensive collection of Western art as well as fantastic temporary exhibitions.
The Museu Afro Brasil is another wonderful museum that exhibits the history of African culture in Brazil. For something with a more Brazilian flair, head to the Pinacoteca do Estado, a museum that houses a massive collection of Brazilian art that tell the story of Brazil’s history and cultural evolution.
Last but not least, visit the Football Museum or Museu do Futebol located in Estadio Pacaembu, one of the city’s largest stadiums. Enjoy the displays and interactive exhibits, and learn about world cup history and the Brazilian soccer stars both past and present – a must see for any football fan!
As you take in the history and culture in these various museums, be sure to note the beautiful architecture, especially that of one of the 20th century’s greatest architects, Oscar Niemeyer.There are several places where you can see his work in São Paulo including the aforementioned Museu Afro Brasil.
Other places include the Copan, an apartment building for the wealthy, and the Latin American Memorial, which includes a library, research centre and displays of Latin American folk art. The most striking features of his work are the curved lines (which he likened to a woman’s body) and creating the effect of defying gravity.
These interesting buildings are a nice break from the seemingly endless white apartmenttowers so typical of São Paulo, but besides modern architecture, the city has some nice, though run down, examples of colonial and historic architecture.
For a slight break from all the sightseeing and buildings, make your way to the Parque Ibirapuera, one of the largest green spaces and parks in the city. Have a look at the Niemeyer designed auditorium, walk along the lake, or rent a bicycle and cycle around the park. Alternatively, you could head slightly out of the city centre to the Cantareira State Park and hike up the trail to the Pedra Grande or Big Stone to see breathtaking views of the city of Sao Paulo.
Before you leave, be sure to check out the many markets such as the Benedito Calixto market, the Municipal market, or the Republica market. Do take note that most markets are only open on certain days, so it is best to do your research before you head down to avoid disappointment!
How to get there
Check Skyscanner for your preferred flight from major cities in New Zealand to GRU Airport, also known as Sao Paulo International Airport. From there, its about 28km from the city centre and there are metered or fixed price taxis, airport bus services, public buses and also car rental options like Hertz available to get you from the airport to the city. There is also the much smaller Congonhas International Airport, which is mainly for domestic flights.
How to get around
Sao Paulo is a relatively small city, so it is alright to go around the city on foot in the day. At night, for safety reasons, it is probably better to take public transport to get you to where you need to go. There is an extensive public transport network that includes the metro, buses, and taxis. Do note that not all the metro lines connect and are interchangeable, so be sure to get a metro and bus map and plan your route beforehand!