Discovering São Paulo - Holambra and Campinas
Why Holambra and Campinas combined ? Because Holambra is such a small town, you can see practically everything in one afternoon. You have the possibility of driving from São Paulo and back in the same day (roughly two hours each way) or make a pit stop in Campinas (roughly 50 minutes from Holambra) to sleep overnight.
We opted to sleep in Campinas because we wanted to discover more and we were visiting friends.
Holambra is a cute city in the countryside of São Paulo. The city was founded in 1991 near Campinas in virtue of a Holland colony. When in Brazil, it's the closest thing to seeing the real thing ! In a very small version that is..
Today Holambra is known as the city of flowers and receives many visitors from Brazil and Latin America. Its most popular to visit in September, during Brazil's spring. This is when they host the famous Exposition of flowers. This is the largest exposition of ornamental flowers in all of Latin America.
Discovering Destinations went to visit Holambra with friends and family in order to discover all the main touristic points.
Just another reminder, Holambra is very charming but extremely small. One would visit the entire city's attractions in one morning or afternoon. You could prolong your stay by visiting the small shops for a souvenir or one of their restaurants with traditional European food with a Brazilian twist.
Things to do in Holambra
- have lunch or dinner in a local restaurant
- visit one of their flower shops
- visit the windmill ($3-4 to go up for a panoramic view)
- shop for ornaments or souvenirs in the local shops
- have a desert or ice cream at 'Zoet en Zout' while enjoying animals and nature (Capybara)
Head back or Continue Discovering ?
We opted to continue discovering, with a 50 minutes drive to a city called Campinas. But if you prefer heading back to São Paulo, it's a two hour ride back. If you would also like to visit Campinas or know more about the city, read on !
Campinas is a municipality located in the countryside of Sao Paulo. The population is approximately 116000 people and considered the 3rd biggest municipality in Sao Paulo.
We from Discovering Destinations went to Campinas to visit some friends and of course, discover a new city! Overall, it’s a very charming city with friendly neighborhoods with a quiet life in comparison to São Paulo (which is not hard to beat) and great artistic and cultural projects.
Where did we stay in Campinas ?
Since we are travelling and unemployed for the time being, our budget is extremely important. Our friend recommended Ibis hotel, just as well situated but as we continued searching, we found Mr. Hostel and what a great turn out. Mr. Hostel recently opened its doors but they operated like a well-oiled machine! Their helpful and friendly staff took the time to give directions and indicate places to visit. Delicious and abundant breakfast was more than enough to get your day started. Our room was on the smaller side but we had everything we needed.
- Hostel is super well located, walking distance to many amenities
- Friendly staff
- Great breakfast variety and quality
- Small rooms but well structured
Where did we visit in Campinas ?
Centro de Convivencia de Campinas
The hostel staff told us we could visit a small artisanal center located 10 minutes away by foot. It’s a larger square called 'Centro de Convivencia', surrounded by trees and restaurants. During the weekends you’ll find a market, with merchants selling anything from textiles, jewelry and paintings. The market is active during Saturdays and Sundays, from 9:00am to 2:00pm as long as it doesn’t rain.
Things to do in Campinas
- Visit the 'Centro de Convivencia' to discover Brazilian artisanat or eat traditional food
- Visit Praça Carlos Gomes (a square with some of the largest trees you've ever seen)
- Enter the beautiful Cathedral Metropolina of Campinas
Where to eat like a Viking in Campinas
With so many places and so little time, we accepted friend's recommendations
- Cathedral of Chopp (for some brews and snacks)
- Milord Tavern for a traditional midivil experience
- City Tortas or City Bar for some of the best salty pies and Portuguese 'bolinho de bacalhau'
This wrapped up our weekend. There are other places to visit and restaurants to discover, but these were some of our suggestions if you like to follow them or make your own itinerary ! Check out the link below.
One last thought
Important Note: Campinas is located in a quiet part of Brazil, but it's still a large city. It's calmer than São Paulo but you still need to take care or yourself and your belongings. We recommend take a great walk and visit the city, however when you do it try to avoid to show up with shining and expensive watches or anything flashy. Take care of personal objects that are important for you as document, for example it's better to bring credit cards instead of cash.