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Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo has come a long way since its 16th-century founding, when Jesuit priests lay the first stones of their mission. They probably weren't expecting their humble project to blossom into the world's third-largest metropolis. There is no denying the greatness of this bastion of Brazilian culture, and a visit is well worth tourists' time.

The city center – Centro – is a comprehensive archive of Sao Paulo's early days as a trading post and market town, though much of what now stands was built in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the highlights are stoic parliament buildings, neo-Gothic cathedrals, and a careful reconstruction of the original mission. Such sites as the Banespa Skyscraper can also be found here. Accommodation in Sao Paulo is tucked into a maze of alleyways intersecting at odd angles, an intriguing setting for a walking tour.

Modern Sao Paulo is equally fascinating, and there's no better place to get acquainted with the modern phenomenon of Brazil. The restaurants in this city are superb, and shopping is equally well supported from the top-end boutiques of the Jardins district to the rambling marketplaces of Centro. Whether searching for fresh produce, haute fashion, or antiques, Sao Paulo is almost bewilderingly well-endowed.

Congonhas-São Paulo Airport is Brazil's domestic gateway, but international visitors arrive at Guarulhos International Airport. Both are served by airport hotels and operate efficient transport to the city center. Find the most suitable accommodation for you by clicking on our interactive map and exploring Sao Paulo for hotels and must-see destinations.