São Paulo (SP)

Located in the south-eastern region, São Paulo is the richest and most populated state in Brazil.

The area was inhabited by indigenous people, and at the beginning of the 1500s the Portuguese and Spanish started to visit its coast. In 1532, Martim Afonso de Sousa founded the first Portuguese settlement – São Vicente, close to modern day Santos. In the 17th century the territory was expanded due to the activities of the bandeirantes. In the 18th century, the area gradually started to acquire more and more political clout, being raised to the level of a Captaincy.

Once Independence had been declared, São Paulo started to become an important agricultural producer (particularly coffee), which meant that a rich oligarchy started to develop in the rural region of the state, which enjoyed immense power during the republican period. In the 1900s, the state was one of the first to start the process of industrialization, and the population became ever more urbanised.

Nowadays, São Paulo has the most varied and the largest population in Brazil: around three million immigrants of 70 nationalities. The state is heavily focussed on business, and has plenty of cultural features, especially in the capital, which is the financial heart of Brazil, and South America’s most populated metropolis. MASP (São Paulo Art Museum), the Pinacoteca do Estado and the Latin America Memorial are just a few of the city’s cultural highlights. Sampa, as it is known locally, also has plenty of parks, such as the Ibirapuera, diverse markets dotted about its neighbourhoods, and nightlife 7 nights a week.

Recognised as Latin America’s gastronomic capital, the city boasts top notch international restaurants, as well as great regional options.

In addition to the roughly 620km of beaches like Guarujá and Ubatuba, São Paulo offers rural and eco-tourism in places such as the Serra do Mar and Serra da Bocaina National Parks. In Ilhabela, dozens of beaches, waterfalls, bars and B&Bs attract tourists from all over the world. Cities with more European climates, like Campos do Jordão and São José dos Campos, have good quality infrastructure and restaurants, and attract lots of tourists during the winter.

With its many attractions, from beaches to countryside to its sprawling, cosmopolitan capital, the variety of options and excellent services are the Paulista’s trademark, and make Brazil’s richest state a complete and unmissable destination.

Capital: São Paulo
Area (km2): 248,222.362
Population: 44,396,484 (2015)
Term for a person from this state: paulista
Dial code: 11 / 19
Bordering states: Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro