The Free Walking Tour São Paulo is a fun way to discover one of the biggest cities of the world, with local Guides, the tour offers 3 different routes you can choose according your availability or curiosity as:
- Old historic town of São Paulo;
- Paulista Ave – The Financial district
- Vila Madalena
Visiting São Paulo in January 2017, we chose to visit the Old historic town of São Paulo, and based in our experience we decided to share some of those moments and places we have seeing with our readers and who is starting to make plans to visit this amazing and huge city of São Paulo – Brasil.
- WHAT IS A FREE WALKING TOUR?
- HOW FREE WALKING TOUR SAO PAULO WORKS?
- HOW LONG THE FREE WALKING TOUR SAO PAULO TAKES?
- WHAT IS THE “FREE WALKING TOUR” ROUTE IN SAO PAULO?
- MEETING POINT
- HOW TO GET THERE?
- LISTEN TO THE TIPS OF THE GUIDES BEFORE LEAVING
- MAIN POINTS WE VISITED IN SAO PAULO OLD TOWN:
- Copan Building (Edifício Copan)
- Consolação Church (Paróquia Nossa Senhora da Consolação)
- Address Municipal Market SP
- Rua Cantareira, 306 – Centro – São Paulo – Zip Code: 01103-200
WHAT IS A FREE WALKING TOUR?
As the name already says “FREE Walking Tour” is a tour where you will be guided to walk through the main streets of the city you choose to visit.
IMPORTANT to say that “Free Walking Tours” gives you an “OVERVIEW” of the main historic and touristic places, being guided by the eyes of local and really knowledgeable tour guides, who offer their Free services, tips-based only.
For Free Walking Tour São Paulo, the tour is totally in English language, it was really well organized, with two guides following us, giving incredible tips on how to save money on museum and other tourist entrances fees, historic sites to visit “Before” and “After” the tour ends, and you always can go back to the places you must liked to visit inside and get further details.
The tour also gives you an opportunity to discover a fun route with more than 15 places to see in the Old downtown of São Paulo, and to enjoy places that usually only locals know as restaurants, typical food and snacks bars, drinks, etc
And in addition, in the case of large cities like São Paulo, it’s a safe way to get to know one of the largest cities in the world!
HOW FREE WALKING TOUR SAO PAULO WORKS?
- Usually, the way that works, you check the meeting point and time of meetings on their Official websites. Click < HERE > .
- Depending of the city, sometimes is necessary to book in advance, but often, as in the case of São Paulo Free walking tour, it was not mandatory, you just show up at the place and 15 minutes before the time to start indicated by their Official Website;
- The tour in São Paulo was totally in English language;
- The tour guides were really knowledgeable and gave us impressed quality of explanations, suggestions and friendly service. The guides were speaking through a microphone, making it easy to understand;
- At the end of the Tour, if you liked your experience with the guides (and let’s say that we liked ours a lot), they ask for a tip that is totally up to you, sometimes they specify an amount in advance, sometimes not, but let’s say in São Paulo they asked for R$ 30.00 that is less than $ 10.00cad if you convert the current, so we gave a little more because we really enjoyed.
HOW LONG THE FREE WALKING TOUR SAO PAULO TAKES?
The tour takes around 3h30min, starting at Republica Square at 11h30am, however they ask to arrive at least 15 minutes earlier in order to get some personal information for those who wants to participate.
WHAT IS THE “FREE WALKING TOUR” ROUTE IN SAO PAULO?
We arrived at “Praça da República” (Republica Square) early morning, which gave us the opportunity to visit the “Craft” exposition they have around it and it’s really cool.
The tour has more than 15 destinations listed in their personalized route as:
- Italia Building;
- Martinelli Building;
- Chá Bridge;
- Republica Square;
- Municipal Theatre;
- Sé Catedral
- And others you can check in advance in their Official Website.
Basically, it goes through the main streets of the São Paulo Old Town, and give you a great overview, stopping in front of the main tourist and historic destinations.
You will have a quick stop around lunch time for a snack in a typical and traditional restaurant & padaria, where you can eat famous Brazilian snacks as “Coxinha”; “Pão de Queijo” etc
This said, we are listening below some of the main sights we visited in the historic city of São Paulo (Old Downtown) and understand the importance of this work dedicated by locals to the tourism and the history of their cities!
Following the Official website for the São Paulo Free Walking Tour, where you can get further information about the tour guided time & hours; the list of places you will visit; suggestions of places you can visit “Before” and “After” the tour starts & ends.
The starting point of the Free Walking Tour to visit the Historic Old town of São Paulo is in one of the main squares of the city names “Praça da República” (Republica Square), where you can immediately visit the craft fair and contemplate the handcrafts of Brazilian artists before you get to meet the Guided Tour & Group.
Arriving at Republica Square, it will not be difficult to find where the guides are located and where the meeting point will be.
You will have to make a quick registration to be able to participate and follow the guides, who will present themselves before departure, explaining the rules.
The guides usually wear clothes with specific colors and are easy to find and have a “Free Walking Tour” sign for you to follow without getting lost.
When we took the tour, there were two guides. A main guide at the front, and another who followed behind with the group, trying to prevent people from getting lost in the city crowd.
HOW TO GET THERE?
- Subway “Republica” is indicated, since it’s 10 minutes walking distance from the meeting point and you avoid traffic and looking for parking; (< Click HERE > for metro Map)
- Uber is a another good option in São Paulo if you are not located near the metro, since it’s cheaper than regular taxis; however always remember that “Traffic jam” in São Paulo can be challenge, so ask Uber in advance;
- Buses can be another cheaper option, we would suggest you get further information about buses line at Google Maps from where you are to the meeting point; < CLICK HERE > to check Official Website from SP Trans.
- Taxis – If you prefer just to take a regular Taxi, try to get authorized taxis, usually indicated by hotels for example.
LISTEN TO THE TIPS OF THE GUIDES BEFORE LEAVING
Before following the group, some tips for you not to end up getting tired halfway:
- Comfortable shoes are highly recommended;
- Wear light clothes are recommended;
- We hope you are lucky to have a perfect sunny day, but don’t forget to pick up:
- Sun hat;
- Sun lotion;
- Bottle of water (Preferably reusable, think about the environment);
- However, if it’s raining:
- Rain jackets are more practical than umbrellas
Important for your Security:
Although we felt very safe with the Group, it's always recommended to walk in downtown São Paulo:
- Wear simple clothes are recommended;
- Try to not use fancy jewellery and watches that can call attention;
- Take care of your Cameras, cell phones and other valuable objects, because can call attention enough of thieves prowling the city, just to avoid headaches;
- Avoid walking with lots of money. Credit Cards are usually well accepted in almost any commercial establishment in the city of São Paulo, if you want to get some local currency “Reais” it's OK, however do not overdo to avoid call attention.
MAIN POINTS WE VISITED IN SAO PAULO OLD TOWN:
Below are some of the main points visited in the Historic town of São Paulo.
Remember: The places visited are usually seen outside only, you will receive an explanation of the history of the place through the Guide and various great tips in case you want to return to visit inside of the place later on, as example, how to get discount; free days to visit, better time to visit etc. So stay tuned for all the tips !
Copan Building (Edifício Copan)
The Copan Building (Edifício Copan), that was designed by Oscar Niemeyer’s, one of the most famous architecture in Brazil, is a landmark of São Paulo city and it’s famous because of the wave shape and for being one of the largest buildings in Brazil.
The Copan Building has inspired many artists, photographers and also became a traffic light that you can see near the building, check it out with the Guide when you get there, since it’s really cool.
There is an option to visit the Top of the Place, which is Free admission, so check it with your tour Guide too.
Consolação Church (Paróquia Nossa Senhora da Consolação)
We saw the "Consolação Church" when crossing the street, but it looks very beautiful from the outside and it would be a good option to return and visit with more time.
The church also is one of the oldest in São Paulo city, since was founded in 1799 and reformed in 1840.
- Municipal Library (Biblioteca Municial de São Paulo)
Passing in front of the Municipal Library of the City of São Paulo, the guide called our attention to the details of the sidewalk floor, which has words “Biblioteca” written using the Portuguese stone floor style.
It’s a simple detail that makes a good Picture!
- Municipal Theater of São Paulo (Teatro Municipal de São Paulo)
The Municipal Theatre of São Paulo (Teatro Municipal de São Paulo) is one of the preserved landmarks of the city and has a beautiful architecture and it’s very important for the history of São Paulo, being the
This is one place we wanted to go back, however we didn’t have time, so it’s in our list for a next visit in the city.
If you have opportunity to go back and visit inside, ask your Guide about the days you can visit, we understood that our guide told us there is one day of the week you can visit for Free, or you can buy a ticket to watch one of the many events that they promote all year long.
Click here to check their OFFICIAL WEBSITE
Click here to check Wikipedia for history & further information.
- Ramos Square (Praça Ramos)
The Ramos Square (Praça Ramos de Azevedo) is one of the main squares in São Paulo city and it’s famous because is where it’s located the “Municipal Theatre of São Paulo” and was named by it’s architect Ramos de Azevedo.
The square was created in 1911 and since then has being surrounded by famous buildings from the city as Esplanada Hotel, the Chá Bridge (Viaduto do Chá), the old and famous Mappin building that was the biggest department store in old downtown in that time that closed down in 1999.
- Sé Square (Praça da Sé)
The Sé Square (Praça da Sé) is considered the central point of São Paulo, it’s the poing from where the distance of all roads passing through São Paulo are counted.
The square was the location of many historic events in São Paulo’s history.
You can check Wikipedia for further information.
The square is really beautiful, surrounded by trees and it’s where the famous “Sé Cathedral” the main church of São Paulo is located.
The traffic lights around of the square represents the “Sé” Cathedral, it’s a cool detail in the city.
- Sé Cathedral (Catedral da Sé)
The Sé Cathedral is the main church of São Paulo city and it started to be built in 1913.
When we arrive at this point, the guides will let the group enter the Cathedral for few minutes, what was nice, however if you have the chance to return with more time we recommend it, because the Church seems to be very beautiful and there is the Crypt that we didn’t have time to visit and other locals told us that it’s an unique place to visit.
Also, pain attention to the Guides explanation, since there are lots of hidden details that they mention during the tour.
This is the Official Website of the Church in case you want to take a look.
- Santa Tereza Padaria & Confeitaria
São Paulo is well know for its food, which mixes various cultures, the most traditional being Portuguese, Italian and Japanese food.
Like the Portuguese Bakeries, where you will find the main Brazilian and Portuguese snacks, sweets and you can try the famous Brazilian Café.
And based on the famous “Padarias Portuguesas” (Portuguese Bakeries), the tour shows you one of the most traditional in the city, the “Santa Tereza Padaria & Confeitaria” open since 1872.
If you don’t know what you will ask to eat or try, as Brazilian, Eli would recommend:
- Coxinha: one of the famous Brazilian Snacks filled with Chicken and you have the option to eat with cream cheese, really delicious;
- Coxa Crème: It’s the one in the picture. Chicken creamy, just trust us and try, you will love it!
- Pão de Queijo: famous Brazilian cheese bread, where you can eat only the cheese bread, however Santa Tereza offers the option to eat with Cream Cheese, just ask them: Pão de Queijo na Chapa com Requeijão, totally delicious!
- Churrasco sandwiches: They offer many sandwiches you can try, but Churrasco (Barbecue) is something you should try;
- Bauru a Santa Tereza: Bauru is a special sandwich invented in São Paulo, really famous and delicious, you will love it!
They also offers some “Vegan” options as “Vegan Pão de Queijo”.
Check Santa Tereza Padaria Official Website for further information < CLICK HERE >
- Streets of São Paulo
It’s difficult to remember all the places we passed, or the streets we walked on, but one tip is to live the “Presente Moment” and admire the entire structure of this city, which despite losing some of its historic buildings over the years, still maintains a large part of the structure built at the time when Europeans immigrants, mainly Italians and Portuguese, started one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world, where in 2016 had an Urban population of 11,967,825 according some research on the Internet.
- Square “Largo de São Bento”
This is the ending point of the Free Walking Tour, the Square “Largo de São Bento”, near the Subway station “São Bento” where you can decide if you stay around and continue your visiting, or you can just take the subway (Metro) and leave.
We would recommend you at least visit the São Bento Monastery, a beautiful church and place, where you can have peaceful moments after all this walk and also buy some of their famous “Home made Breads” in their Bakery.
So, this is the list of 10 things we did during the Free Walking Tour in São Paulo and we hope you got inspired to visit this amazing city.
As mentioned, you can visit the Official Website of the “São Paulo Free Walking Tour” where they give you further information about:
- The 3 different routes you could discover in São Paulo;
- Where it’s the Starts and Ending Point;
- All places you will see;
- Tips about things to do “Before” and “After” the tour;
- Other Tours you can pay a fee to do it as “São Paulo Food Tour” and “São Paulo Night Tour”;
- Hours and days of the week for each tour;
- PROS AND CONS
This is also a quick summary of the “Pros and Cons” we see in order to help you to decide if you want to do the “Free Walking Tour” in São Paulo city or not.
- It’s Free, Tip Based only;
- iI’s a safe way to get to know São Paulo, you walk in Groups with the Guides where you will feel safe walking in the main streets of São Paulo;
- It’s totally in English;
- You can meet new people from around the world during the walking tour;
- Local Guides, that when we visited they were totally friendly and knowledgeable;
- The tour also gives you an opportunity to discover a fun route with more than 15 places to see in the Old downtown of São Paulo, and to enjoy places that usually only locals know as restaurants, typical food and snacks bars, drinks, etc
- No Booking need, you just show up in the place indicated in their Official Website 15 minutes in advance and have fun!
- As mentioned, the Free Walking Tour gives you and “OVERVIEW” of the main historic and touristic places, then if you want you can go back and visit the places “Inside” again with more time.
- Since it’s a “Walking” tour in the main streets of São Paulo, probably it won’t be ideal for those have some disability or issues to walking long distance.
- PLACES WE WOULD SUGGEST YOU VISIT IN SAO PAULO OLD TOWN AFTER THE TOUR ENDS
We already talked a little about the “Praça da República” that is the “Start” point and you could visit before the Free Walking Tour starts.
Now we will suggest some places you could still visit while you are in the Old Town, after the tour ends:
1-) São Bento Monastery;
2-) Get great views from São Paulo visiting:
- Top of the City Hall (Matarazzo’s Palace)
- Top of Martinelli Building;
- Terraço Itália, where you can also have dinner up there or a drink if you have some good Budget to spend.
Almost all of them have “Free” entrance to the Top to see the view. Ask your Guide about it.
3-) Municipal FOOD MARKET !!!
We totally recommend you visit this amazing Food Market, that is located in a historic building of São Paulo, less than 10min walking distance from the “Ending Point” and you will find exotic fruits and food from many parts of Brazil and you can try the famous dishes as “CodFish Pastel” and “Mortadela Sandwich”.
Just check their Official Website < CLICK HERE > before for the open hours, because looks like they closes around 6pm.
< CLICK HERE > Following their contact page: