There are few places as colourful and lively as Sampa, what the locals lovingly call São Paulo. Orange trumpets, flame trees with brilliant orange blossoms, introduce some colour into the otherwise grey cityscape.

The sun shines ceaselessly onto the emerald green parks and terracotta roofs. Even the slums, locally called favelas, look like mosaics. The residents of São Paulo are a colourful mixture, too. The first conquerors came from Portugal and Africa, followed by influences from Italy, Japan and the Middle East. Nowadays the scent of ginger wafts through the streets of Liberdade, while a spicy garlic aroma draws visitors to the Cantinas and the scent of earth and fresh fruit permeates the street markets.

Your imagination will be stimulated by impressions that could hardly be more contrasting: classic ballet and martial dances, Catholic saints and African deities, wooden carts pushed by manpower, colonial Villas, neoclassical buildings and modern glass façades with window dressing.

In São Paulo irreconcilable contradictions exist side by side and blend into one great whole. São Paulo is in constant change; São Paulo is a little of everything. Those who can keep up find that São Paulo is a creative powerhouse, a symbol for the joy of living.

City Facts

  • Location

    The largest city in Brazil, in the southeast corner of the nation.

  • Population

    about 11 million

  • Size

    1,523 km²

  • Public transport

    Metro and bus. The underground trains are modern and safe.

  • Climate

    Subtropical climate. Summer temperatures fluctuate between 25°C and 30°C.
    In the winter it seldom drops below 10 °C.

  • Best time to visit

    Any season. The period from June to October is the best time for sightseeing, as the temperatures are at their most comfortable. The rainy season runs from December to January.

  • Good to know

    São Paulo is the third largest city in the world.

  • Nice to know

    For reasons of security, it's best to keep your car windows closed when you're not moving, regardless of how hot it is outside.

  • Airport

    Guarulhos International Airport, about 25 km outside the city centre.

  • Bus

    Buses leave every 20 to 30 minutes headed for the Tatuapé underground station in the city.

  • Taxi

    During rush hour, a taxi ride can take a good two hours. At night or in the early morning, the ride takes about 45 minutes.