São Paulo State

Speaking of São Paulo state without using superlatives is difficult. The southern hemisphere’s largest city! Its finest museums! Its best restaurants! Its worst traffic! (Well, you can’t have everything.) São Paulo city – Sampa to locals – is Brazil's boomtown (commercially, financially, industrially and culturally), and an explosion of sophisticated travelers descending on the city’s numerous arts and epicurean offerings has ensured the sprawling city remains a must-stop for traveling urbanites.

Inland from the cityscape, the Serra da Mantiqueira's 1500ft (2500m) peaks play the novel Alpine-esque getaway role, while Iporanga sits tucked away in the pristine Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Out to sea, some of southeastern Brazil’s finest beaches cling both to the mountainous stretch of rainforest-backdropped coastline near Ubatuba, and to nearby Ilhabela, which relishes its position as São Paulo's cosmopolitan island escape.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout São Paulo State.