Sensational things to do in São Paulo
When it comes to countries bursting with things to see and do, Brazil is up there. World famous for the legendary carnival, beautiful beaches, the Amazon rainforest and the home country of Pelé, arguably the greatest footballer ever, there are lots of reasons why millions of tourist flock to the biggest country in South America.
Virgin Atlantic has added São Paulo to its list of destinations, so from 13 May 2024 you can get there using Virgin Points*. Simply link your Virgin Red and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club accounts to earn and spend points on a flight to the most populous city in Brazil.
Bem-vindo a São Paulo!
São Paulo is a melting pot of Portuguese, Native American and African culture, with incredible nightlife and endless options for foodies. But what to do when you get there? Check out our favourite things to do in the city locals call ‘Sampa’.
Visit Ibirapuera Park
In the middle of the city is Ibirapuera Park – an urban space stretching to over 350 acres that’s a welcome respite from the hectic streets of São Paulo, but it’s not only for picnics, exercise or sunbathing.
Brazil’s most famous architect, Oscar Niemeyer, designed Ibirapuera Auditorium while Eduardo Kobra created a mural to celebrate the park’s 60th anniversary. The park also has numerous museums including Oca do Ibirapuera, which houses Latin America’s largest Picasso exhibition, the Afro-Brazil Musuem celebrates Africans in Brazil, and the Museum of Modern Art.
The park also hosts São Paulo Fashion Week, so if you time your visit well you could see the latest fashion from the grass.
Go for gourmet at São Paulo Municipal Market
The ‘mercado’ in the historic centre of the city is a must visit. Established by two cousins in 1933, the second floor is a restaurant while the ground floor is full of retailers where locals and visitors can find fish, sweets, exotic fruit like Pitaya and the Mortadela Sandwich, a snack with a bologna filling.
But it’s not just the treats inside that make it a place to see; the building is 12,600 square metres and has impressive stained-glass panels created by artist Conrado Sorgenicht Filho whose work is on 300 Brazilian churches including the São Paulo Cathedral.
See the largest cathedral in São Paulo
Dating back to 1589, the Catedral Metropolitana de São Paulo is a stunning structure that houses one of the biggest organs in Latin America and can comfortably seat 8,000 people. With a Renaissance-style dome and Neo-Gothic façade, the towers are 92-meters high have a striking turquoise finish. Affectionally called ‘Praca de Se’, it’s considered the central point of the city and is one its most visited places.
Stroll down Batman Alley
Since a shift that saw local artists being funded and encouraged rather than criminalised, São Paulo is heaving with amazing street art, and thanks to one artist’s random painting of a DC superhero there is a place to go to see a vast collection of it.
Beco do Batman is an area in the Vila Madelena neighbourhood where psychedelic and cubist graffiti lines the streets. It's maintained by the local community and was a major tourist destination during the 2014 World Cup.
Discover the beginnings of Brazilian ‘futebol’
When it comes to famous Brazilian exports, football and some of the world’s most gifted players are up there, so it makes sense to have a space dedicated to the contribution Brazil has made to the beautiful game.
Located on the west side of the city in the Pacaembu Stadium, the Museu do Futebol’s main exhibition has 15 rooms showing how a game created and played by the English became part of the culture, heritage and identity of Brazil. Other exhibitions are dedicated to the 1970 World Cup, the rise of the women’s game, LGBT+ football, and a photography collection of legendary goalkeeper Moacir Barbosa, one of the world’s best keepers in the 1940s and 1950s.
London to São Paolo flights launch on 13 May 2024. Book an Economy return flight from London to São Paulo and earn from 5,870** Virgin Points or spend 36,000 points** plus taxes, fees and charges for the same journey.
*Taxes, fees and carrier-imposed surcharges apply. Reward flights are subject to availability, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club membership required.
**Points based on an Economy Classic fare.