Yes, I know what you are thinking: “São Paulo is huge! How much can you really see in 24 hours?”
Indeed, São Paulo is an endless jungle made of concrete, asphalt and human beings, but with a good planning you can carve your way through it and discover the beauties hidden in the tangle.
I spent 3 days in Sampa (as locals call it), but I was there for a fair, so the time I could dedicate to exploring was rather limited. But I was lucky enough to have my “personal guide” for the first two days: a local friend and ex-university colleague, whom I was really happy to hang out with!
So if you happen to visit this beautiful city but you are in a rush, here is an itinerary that can help you make the most of your time.
1Start from Beco do Batman. If you visit it in the morning, chances are there won’t be many people around and you will be able to get a nice view and nice shots of the main graffitis. This place gets lively at night, since there are many bars and pubs around but, from what I heard, it can get rather crowded. Spend 1 – 1.5 hours here.
2Ibirapuera Park. A beautiful green oasis in the middle of a huge metropolis! This is an amazing place to go for a walk, relax and enjoy both nature and the urban skyline. It’s not far from Beco do Batman and you can either take a bus or Uber (which is pretty affordable in Brazil) to get there. I’d suggest you spent 2-3 hours here. The Afro Brazil Museum is located inside the park. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit it so if you get a chance to go there I’d be happy to know what you think about it.
3Praça da Sé and Downtown São Paulo. Visit the cathedral and the beautiful plaza in front of it. From there you can walk to the main attractions the downtown area has to offer: São Francisco and São Bento Monasteries, Pátio do Colégio, República, Liberdade (the Japanese district). Be aware of your surroundings, especially when you take your phone or camera out to take pictures and try not to go there at night. But don’t get paranoid about safety! Three hours should be enough to visit the downtown area.
4AVENIDA PAULISTA. You can’t miss this one. Enjoy a stroll along one of the most iconic boulevards in South America. If you want to get a really nice view of the avenue and the surrounding area go to SESC Building’s last floor (for free!). I suggest going there late afternoon so you can get both a daytime and nighttime view of São Paulo. Your Instagram followers will thank you!
There is much more to São Paulo than just the places listed above, no doubt about it! Yet you don’t need that much time to visit the main attractions.
If you want to know more about my impressions on São Paulo click here. In my next post I will address a very important topic when it comes to visiting Sampa: safety!