Countryside of São Paulo
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Countryside of São Paulo

São Paulo, the most populous city in Brazil and one of the largest populate city in the world, is not consider the hot tourist destination in Brazil, but Why not?

Well, lot’s of people consider São Paulo for business purposes only, however what they don’t know is that São Paulo is rich in culture, famous for the night life, with great and unique restaurants offering international and local Brazilian cuisine and amazing shopping malls with current a great exchange rate.

We call tell you, that being one of the biggest metropolis in the world, São Paulo can be scarred to visit and you should take proper precautions going around, but for this we have great tips how you can visit the city in a safe way by checking our Blog “Free Walking tour São Paulo”. Additionally, like any other large metropolis it's a matter of being alert while travelling. Here you just need to step it up a little more than say Santiago, Paris, Dublin (to name a few).

The most IMPORTANT thing, which in fact most people don’t know, is that São Paulo offers several alternatives to travel around the State, where you can find places on the Countryside of São Paulo sometimes one hour way from São Paulo downtown area, where you enjoy wonderful nature, pure air and many ecological activities to enjoy this unique and surprising State!

In this post we are sharing some of the places we have visited in the Countryside of São Paulo in the past years where you will be surprised and we hope you will be also excited to consider when you have opportunity to visit Brazil!

Following our 10 picks for you, from Countryside places of São Paulo that you can visit in a Day trip or even stay few days relaxing and enjoying Nature!


1. COTIA & Templo Zu Lai

Located 40 minutes driving distance from São Paulo downtown.

Cotia is a small city, still part of the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo, however with countryside style.

The main reason that we are excited to talk about Cotia is because we love to visit the “Temple Zu Lai”, that is a Buddhist temple considered the largest in South America according Wikipedia, where you can spend the day enjoying the peaceful environment and enjoying the Nature around.

Check their OFFICIAL WEBSITE for further information.


2. São Roque & Rota do Vinho (Wine route)

Located 1h10 minutes driving distance from São Paulo downtown.

São Roque is small city, part of the Metropolitan region of Sorocaba, Countryside of São Paulo, which is very famous for its “Wine Route” and for offering a touristic complex where you can find a “Ski Mountain” … YES that’s right! A Ski Mountain, of course totally adapted to the heat in a kind of plastic structure, where you can try to practice this winter sport in a warm 40oC during summer time!

Sounds kind of crazy, but it’s not, the Ski Mountain receives lots of tourists, who love ski or snowboarding sports but do not have the possibility to travel outside the country to practice in the real snow! Besides of it, the Ski Mountain offers amazing views from São Roque region and mountains, some souvenirs stores, cafes, wine tasting bar and other cool activities, especially for children. You can check further information in their OFFICIAL WEBSITE .

If you want to know more about the “Wine Route” and all places you can visit there, check their OFFICIAL WEBSITE .


3. Embu das Artes

Located 41 minutes driving distance from São Paulo downtown.

Embu das Artes is a small city near São Paulo really famous for its weekly arts and amazing crafts fair, where you will find not only traditional and colorful Brazilian crafts, but also many restaurants, Brazilian snacks and desserts, many artisan shops, paintings, everything you can imagine about Brazilian art and craft. It’s a place where you spend a day just walking around, visiting the colonial center where is located the 17th century Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, eating delicious Brazilian traditional food and we doubt you will leave there without want to buy all unique and detailed pieces of art you see! Really difficult to resist!


4. Serra da Cantareira

Located 45 minutes driving distance from São Paulo downtown.

If you want to spend a nice day outside of the big São Paulo downtown city, the Serra da Cantareira is a nice option where you will find the famous “Pico do Jaraguá”, that is the São Paulo’s highest point.

However, our suggestion for you is to visit “O Velhão” , a Demolition complex where you will find cafes, unique shops and an amazing restaurant called “Restaurante as Véia”, a self-service restaurant where you will eat delicious and typical Brazilian countryside style food and desserts, taste the different kind of “Cachaça”, the most typical Brazilian drink.

We would also recommend, if you like Holy Art, to visit the “Basilica Nossa Senhora do Rosário” in Caieiras, that is located 30 minutes driving distance from “O Velhão”. The church, that reminds an European castle, has a really beautiful style and it’s the home of teenagers around the world that goes to Brazil to learn about the heralds of the Gospel seminary.


5. Paranapiacaba

Located 1h30 minutes driving distance from São Paulo downtown.

We went to Paranapiacaba by car, however we know you can also take the metro and train from São Paulo downtown to Paranapiacaba, which should be a nice 2h30 minutes train ride! < CLICK HERE > for further information about the train location/time etc.

Paranapiacaba is a district of the municipality of Santo André, located what is also called “ABC Paulista” and it’s a place we would totally recommend to spend the day!

The small village, which was established during the middle of the 19th century, it was founded by the British owned São Paulo Railway Company during the big “Coffee” export years, where they should transport the coffee beans to the Port of Santos, São Paulo coast.

Nowadays, unfortunately, the city has an air of forgetfulness and could be much more beautiful if renovated. But still, it has a rustic and charming aspect that shows the history of that time, with a very interesting train museum, restaurants with typical Brazilian food, a very cute little church on the top of the hill and a cemetery that reminds of Halloween stories since a particularity of the city is to be always covered by fog.

Paranapiacaba is also famous for the beautiful Nature around, where you can explore some trails and for the Carnaval in old style, where group of people, dressed with costumes, go around the streets having fun and we actually had the opportunity to enjoy while visiting Brazil, it was really fun destination for sure!

If you wanna know more about Paranapiacaba, READ our Blog (opens in a new tab)">< DAY TRIP TO PARANAPIACABA >


6. Campinas

Located 1h20 driving distance from São Paulo downtown.

Although located in the countryside of São Paulo, Campinas is a vibrant city, with more than 1 million inhabitants and with several companies around, it has become a great option for those are tired of the big city.

The city has several restaurants, squares and parks, large green areas around with small farms and small history town that includes the Metropolitan Cathedral famous for a “Jacaranda-wood” interior and a museum of sacred art.

Near Campinas, you also have the option of spending a day at Hopi Hari, which is the theme park next to the city and Holambra, a small city formed by descendants of the Dutch that offers a tourist center where all the attractions are turned to the flowers of the region that follow to the entire state of São Paulo.

If you wanna read a little more about Campinas and what to do over there, we have a Blog about it! (opens in a new tab)">< CLICK HERE > and check it out!


7. Holambra

Located 1h46 minutes driving distance from São Paulo downtown and 40minutes driving distance from Campinas.

Holambra is a small city, part of the Metropolitan Region of Campinas and is the largest producer of flowers and ornamental plants in Latin America, also hosting the largest spring event in the continent, the “Exploflora” as you can check details in Wikipedia.

If you are planning to visit Campinas, you should take one day to spend in Holambra, that offers a small touristic street with great restaurants, souvenirs stores where you can find interesting and unique crafts from Brazil and Holland, since descendants of the Dutch in São Paulo form the city. You will also have lots of Flowers shop and a nice square to walk with an amazing Dessert place.


8. Campos do Jordão

Located 2h30 minutes driving distance from São Paulo downtown.

For those who don’t imagine that there is a cold weather in Brazil, Campos do Jordão is considered the favorite city of São Paulo people and of all those who visit São Paulo to spend a few days relaxing, in the middle of the mountains, with fresh air, lots of nature around and “Cold” weather!

Campos do Jordão, that is a municipality of “Serra da Mantiqueira” (Mantiqueira Mountains), has a Swiss-style architecture and is famous for the cozy and organized city centre, where you can find lots of restaurants, shops for local craft, wool clothing and delicious local Chocolate and other local food products.

If you want to know more about Campos to Jordão, check our Blog “Things to do in Campos do Jordão” where you will find lots of tips of places to visit, where to stay and where to do shopping!


9. Águas de Lindóia

Located 2h30 minutes driving distance from São Paulo downtown.

Lindóia city or “Águas de Lindóia” is a small town located in the Serra da Mantiqueira mountains, countryside of São Paulo, and it’s knowing for their mineral water springs.

The city offers really great hotels “All Inclusive”, where you will have the pools with hot water and a municipal “Balneário” where you can enjoy medicinal pools, clay baths and water slides. Also there is a small but nice city centre where you can buy local products as crafts, delicious traditional Brazilian sweets and wool clothing.

Near the city you have an amazing view point of the mountains and region that you can visit by car of just taking a small touristic train in the town square and you can also ranch visits and the small city of Monte Sião – located in the State of Minas Gerais, 14 minutes driving distance from Lindóia, where you can buy delicious cheese and other local products!


10. Aparecida do Norte

Located 2h11 minutes driving distance from São Paulo downtown.

If you are Catholic and if you have heard about the city of “Fátima” in Portugal, you will understand better that “Aparecida do Norte” is the Brazilian “Our Lady of Aparecida”. The huge neo-Romanesque Basilica holds a statue of Brazil’s patron saint, where you can check further information in Wikipedia, but it’s the most visited place for Faith and Prayers in Brazil.

In the city you will find the “New Basilica” and the “Old Basilica” linked by a long bridge where you have amazing views from the city and region, however we can tell that is a really busy place to visit during weekends, receiving thousands of people from everywhere in Brazil and Latin America.

If you have sometime to visit the place, should be better to visit during the week days to enjoy a peaceful time.

Aparecida do Norte has everything related to the Church and Our Lady Aparecida, then if you want to plan a day trip you should be OK, since you even find buses from São Paulo terminal to the city, or if you are planning to visit the Basilica and other small cities around, even Campos do Jordão, you will have many hotels around and “Pousadas”, check, which can give you great options with Discounts on Genius, or any other links you prefer.


11. Brotas

Located 3h00 driving distance from São Paulo downtown.

Now we will give you a kind of “Bonus” city to visit.

Brotas, a small countryside city of São Paulo, is a perfect destination for those love nature, hiking and to practice “Radical” Sports such as Rafting, which includes option during Full Moon depending of the weather and time of the year, canoeing, and others adventurous activities!

We (Discovering Destinations – Lia and Serge) couldn’t visit the city together yet, however it’s in our list to do for next time visiting São Paulo with more than two weeks.

However, Lia has already visited the city and her best friend lives there, owning a Sushi Buffet style restaurant called “Restaurante Nikkey Sushi” and since she also owned a Hotel in the city years ago, she can guide us through what is the Top things to do in Brotas. Then if you want some advice, let us know, we can put you in contact with them and you can experience a 4.8 Google reviews Sushi!

You can also visit the following page for the OFICIAL Website for tourism in the city, however in Portuguese language only, some Google translation required.

Rafting - Brotas - Sp

This is just a SUMMARY of all places we talked about in this Blog of Countryside of São Paulo:

  1. Cotia & Templo Zu Lai;
  2. São Roque & Rota do Vinho (Wine Route);
  3. Embu das Artes; < READ MORE >
  4. Serra da Cantareira;
  5. Paranapiacaba; < READ MORE >
  6. Campinas; < READ MORE >
  7. Holambra; < READ MORE >
  8. Campos do Jordão; (opens in a new tab)">< READ MORE >
  9. Águas de Lindóia;
  10. Aparecida do Norte;
  11. Brotas.
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