The Best Day Trips from São Paulo

Baloon ride in Boituva | © Dennis Fidalgo/Flickr
Baloon ride in Boituva | © Dennis Fidalgo/Flickr
Photo of Lise Alves
17 March 2017

Just a few kilometres from bustling São Paulo lie many places of stunning natural beauty – with adrenaline-pumping activities – that will keep you both on your toes and at one with the wilderness. If you want to get away from the crowded city streets, try these seven destinations where you can spend the day, enjoy the fresh air and restore your energy at once.


The city of Socorro is only 130 kilometers (80 miles) from São Paulo and offers lots of interesting activities for those seeking adventure. In addition to kayaking, canoeing and mountain climbing, one of the most interesting attractions is the Gruta do Anjo, a former mining cave. You can rent pedal boats to enter the cave and explore the surroundings.

Gruta dos Anjos, Socorro, São Paulo | © Juninho Sarpa/Flickr

Zip line in Pedra Bela

Just an hour-and-a-half from São Paulo, Pedra Bela is breathtaking even if you skip the zip line altogether. It is not for everyone, however – you need to be physically fit to scale the mountain and view the small church, perched atop one of the largest stones in the region. The zip line at Pedra Bela is said to be the longest in Latin America at 1,900 metres (6,233 feet).

Pedra Bela, Rodovia José Bueno de Miranda, Pedra Bela, São Paulo, Brazil

Zu Lai Temple

For those who want to spend a more reflective day, the Zu Lai Temple, located less than 30 minutes from São Paulo, is the place to go. It is the biggest Buddhist temple in South America, with beautiful gardens and temples, and worth a visit even for those uninterested in meditation classes, which seem to spring up on Sunday out of nowhere, with visitors invited to join in. Visitation hours for non-Buddhists are Tuesday–Friday from 12PM–5PM and Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 9AM-5PM.

Templo Zu Lai, Fernando Nobre 1461, Cotia, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 11 3500 3600

Wine route in São Roque

Although not as famous as the wine produced in the Southern region of Brazil, the varietals processed here in São Roque are so popular with São Paulo residents that the city created a wine route with 31 establishments open for visitation and wine tasting. Between January and February these wineries allow visitors to go out to the grape vines, pick their own grapes and “produce” their own wine the old-fashioned way: by squishing the grapes with their bare feet. In October the wineries offer a wine tasting festival along with the region’s production of artichokes.

Rota do Vinho, Rodovia Raposo Tavares, km 56,6, São Roque, São Paulo, Brazil

Grape Plantation São Roque © Vinicula Goes

Grape Plantation São Roque | © Vinicula Goes

Embu das Artes

A haven for painters, sculptors, writers and musicians who have fled the noisy, crowded city of São Paulo, Embu das Artes is today a mega arts and crafts complex, where you can find everything from pottery to hand-woven textiles, poetry readings and writers selling their books on street corners, and musicians playing jazz and blues in doorways. There is a vast selection of artisans from all over Brazil, with their studios open to visitors.

Balloon rides

Known as the skydive capital of Brazil, Boituva has received a lot of press exposure for its balloon trips over the region. For those scared of heights, Boituva is still a beautiful place to visit, with its rolling hills and beautiful landscape. The balloon rides last anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes and you usually have to confirm the trip the night before, due to changing weather conditions. If you prefer to skydive, there is a center specialized in the sport with certified instructors. The city has the only “airport” totally devoted to skydiving and paragliding in Brazil. The balloon tours also depart from nearby.

Balloon Rides, Rua Dr. Newton Raul Faria de Almeida 81, Cidade Jardim, Boituva, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 15 3263 4544


Of the many beaches along the state of São Paulo’s coastline, Guarujá is the one often chosen by tourists from São Paulo city who want to spend a day at the beach. Approximately two hours from the capital, the beachfront offers a wide selection of restaurants and bars which quickly fill up in the afternoon. The white sand and relatively calm waters attract both beachgoers and those looking to practice water sports.

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