Private Tour: São Paulo City Tour
If you want to see São Paulo’s top attractions and you’ve only got a few hours to spare, book a private city tour to cover a lot of ground as you explore by vehicle and on foot. A private guide will accompany you on a walk through São Paulo’s historical downtown and take you on a scenic drive through several city neighborhoods. Enjoy commentary on major landmarks like Catedral da Sé, the Italian Tower, and the Tea Bridge, and select a 3-hour or 5-hour tour when booking.
The 3-hour option is the ideal way to get a taste for the vast city of São Paulo in a short amount of time. After your guide picks you up by private vehicle at your hotel, head downtown for a brief historical walking tour. See where the city was founded in 1554 at the Pátio do Colégio, a historical Jesuit mission church and school, and stop at Catedral da Sé, a neo-Gothic building from the 20th century that holds up to 8,000 people.
Return to your vehicle to continue your sightseeing tour, passing by the Monastery of Sao Bento, a historical site belonging to the Benedictines, who have sung Gregorian chants at mass here since the 16th century. See the 30-story Martinelli building—São Paulo’s first skyscraper—and Banespa Tower, which looks similar to New York’s Empire State building. Pass the churches of St Francis, built during the 18th century, and the Municipal Theatre of São Paulo, the city’s oldest theater and a venue for renowned concerts and operas.
Hear from your guide about the São Paulo Law School, the city’s first established university, and admire the Tea Bridge, the 42-story Italian Tower, and City Hall, an imposing building made entirely of travertine marble. Keep an eye out for Brazil’s largest residential building—the Copan, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer.
In addition to these city landmarks, you’ll drive through several interesting areas such as Liberdade, the Japanese district of São Paulo, where Japanese immigrants settled at the beginning of the 20th century; Paulista Avenue, a financial district created at the end of the 19th century, then home to wealthy coffee farmers; and Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo´s main park, which features a peaceful garden landscape designed by Roberto Burle Marx.
If you’ve got an extra two hours, upgrade your tour to include a few additional stops, including markets and neighborhoods. This option includes everything mentioned in the 3-hour tour, plus the following
See the municipal market, a vibrant building inaugurated in São Paulo in 1932. You'll be introduced Brazil's culinary variety and enjoy the chance to sample dishes, if you like. Perhaps try the famous pastel de bacalhau (fried pastry with salt-cod filling) or a sandwich with more than 14 ounces (400 grams) of mortadela (food and drinks at your own expense). You'll also check out the Vila Madalena neighborhood and Sunset Square, a bohemian area full of artist studios and home to the best murals in town. At Sunset Square, enjoy a view of the city.