"São Paulo" Top 5 Page for this destination Estado de São Paulo by Lady_Disdain
Estado de São Paulo Travel Guide: 1,251 reviews and 3,022 photos
São Paulo is best known for its huge capital city, also named São Paulo. However, the huge metropolis may be the least of its charms. The countryside is littered with small towns and large cities, as well as farms, forests, rivers and many, many waterfalls.
In fact, São Paulo city only exists as it is today because of the countryside. Until the late XVIII century, the capital was a smallish city, outshined by Rio de Janeiro, the capital at the time, and other major cities. However, the coffee plantations were generating huge amounts of money, which was invested in industry. These same industries are, today, the main reason for São Paulo's development.
What is there to do and see in the countryside, then? A lot!
Petar is perhaps the best known attractions - and with good reason! The caves and falls are beautiful! But Brotas, Itatiaia, São Francisco Xavier and São Luiz de Ipatinga all have falls, good hikes and trails. Ecoturism is very well developed.
Other towns have not changed much over the years, showing how small farmers have lived in the region. Horseback riding, sports and plenty of good, hearty food is garanteed! Since brazilians are very religious, a church (or two or three) is always present in the main square, often with stained glass windows.
And speaking of churches, Aparecida do Norte has one of the major churches in Brazil, the Basilica built to house the image of Nossa Senhora Aparecida (Our Lady who Appeared, in a very free translation), the patron saint of Brazil. The complete story and all the miracles performed by the saint is told in Aparecida.
The Basilica itself is one of the largest in the world, built between 1955 and 1984. It is made of aparent bricks and the roof is being rebuilt in blue tiles, in honour of the Virgin. It is well worth a visit, for the spectacular building, the throngs of the faithful (specially on october 12th) and the incredible room filled with donations.
I thought a lot about how to organize these pages.
This is what I decided to do:
I am posting tips in this page on my favourite towns and places in São Paulo. This is basically an index, so if you are interested in any place, check if I have built a detailed page on that place (if not, I hope to eventually!).
Other general tips about São Paulo will also be posted here.
The typical colonial town of São Paulo - brightly painted buildings, cobblestones, several churches, a marketplace... A... more travel advice
On the road to Rio, it is impossible to miss the Basilica looming over the small, poor town. The city itself is nothing... more travel advice
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