There really is no underestimating the sheer size of São Paulo. Upon flying into the city to Guarulhos or Congonhas airport, looking out the window reveals a never-ending sea of buildings – São Paulo itself is the size of Lebanon with a bigger population than the Netherlands. Making your way around this modern megacity can be quite a daunting prospect, but being a part of something this huge is a really rewarding feeling. As it is such an expansive city, seeing it from above is absolutely breathtaking. Here are the best spots in São Paulo for some unforgettable panoramic views.
One of the best views of São Paulo can be found from the roof of the Edifício Itália, a huge 46-story skyscraper in the heart of the city’s historical center. Built in the 1950s, it was given a proverbial cherry on top 10 years later with the opening of the Terraço Itália, a swanky rooftop restaurant with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city. While its food and cocktails are absolutely delicious, Terraço Itália is just as much about the view. The windows of the restaurant span from floor to ceiling, providing a completely unobstructed view of the massive city around you. While it would make for an incredibly romantic dinner, the food here really is quite pricey. If you’re just here to take photos, you can buy a drink at the bar (the Martinis are particularly popular), grab a sofa and stay as long as you like, gazing at the cosmopolitan masterpiece which is the city of São Paulo.
Terraço Itália, Av. Ipiranga, 344, República São Paulo – SP, Brazil, +55 11 2189 2929
For the more adventurous types, one of the best views of São Paulo can be found at the end of a hike up to the Cantareira State Park to the north of the city. The so-called Núcleo Pedra Grande (Big Rock) is a great trail which is close to the city, not terribly challenging, and absolutely rewarding. The walk up to Pedra Grande is done via an asphalted path, through beautiful vegetation with some impressive wildlife and the entire journey, to the top and back, should take you about three hours. Once you reach Pedra Grande, you’ll realize exactly why this is one of the best views of São Paulo. Looking down on the city from the north, you can see for miles, with lush forest immediately in front of you, followed by the never-ending city. The park charges a token fee of R$9 for entry and only opens on the weekends, except during the height of summer (December and January), when it is open throughout the week.
The name of this rooftop bar and restaurant one block from Paulista Avenue really does say it all. Located on the top floor of the Intercontinental Hotel, The View offers good food and incredible views of the modern center of São Paulo. There is indoor and outdoor seating, but the view is infinitely better when outside, so try and get there early. The food is good, but we particularly recommend their risottos and brie starter. As with all rooftop restaurants, the cocktail menu is impressive, particularly the Martini and Kir Royale. The area surrounding Paulista Avenue is one of the highest points of the expanded center of São Paulo (which you’ll know already if you’ve ever walked around the hilly streets of Jardins or Bela Vista), so your view from The View is guaranteed to be special.
The View Bar, Alameda Santos 981, Jardins, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 11 3266 3692
São Paulo’s answer to the Empire State Building, the Edifício Altino Arantes (better known as the Banespa, as it used to be the headquarters of the São Paulo State Bank) is one of the highest skyscrapers in São Paulo and is one of the most popular postcard pictures of the city. Today it is the home of Santander Bank, but they still offer free visits to the observation deck for some amazing 360-degree views of São Paulo. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Cantareira State Park in the north and the gorgeous Serra do Mar mountains to the south, as well as everything in between.
Edifício Altino Arantes, Rua João Brícola 24, Centro, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 11 2196 3730
Located on a hill in the artsy, bohemian neighborhood of Vila Madalena, Alto da Harmonia is a cool bar with a lovely, laid-back atmosphere, good food and a charming roof terrace with superb views of the surrounding area. It’s an excellent place to come for a late afternoon bar lunch, or would even be a good option for a date. The bar has an impressive selection of beer, spirits and cocktails, while there are plenty of options of good bar food for a snack or light meal. Alto da Harmonia is also completely pet-friendly, even offering a menu exclusively for dogs.
Alto da Harmonia, Rua Harmonia, 271 – Vila Madalena, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 11 2528 1241
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.