This ambitious city is blessed with a multifaceted past, a dynamic cultural present and a number of lovely outdoor spaces.
A bustling metropolis of about 1 million inhabitants, Campinas has changed significantly since its 18th-century founding as a rural enclave. Visit this industry, technology and education hub with a vigorous cultural scene. After surviving a dreadful yellow fever outbreak in the 1800s, Campinas took as its icon the mythical phoenix, an appropriate emblem for a city on the rise.
Stroll around the Centro district to see monuments to the deeper heritage of Campinas. Admire the Gothic façade and intricate decorations of the Basilica of Our Lady of Carmel, the city’s oldest place of worship. A few blocks south is the 19th-century Metropolitan Cathedral of Campinas, one of the world’s largest structures built using the “taipa de pilão” clay-and-rock technique.
In the Culture Station see Campinas’ modern adaptation of its industrial history. This historic railway complex, once the city’s central station, now hosts major concerts on covered train platforms and many other cultural activities throughout its varied spaces. Check listings in advance to see what’s on.
For a panoramic view of Campinas and surroundings, visit the Castle Tower north of the city. This fetching art deco structure is a functioning water reservoir and offers the highest vantage point in town. Climb the stairs to its observation deck and look out across the sprawl of Campinas, identifying landmarks with the handy information plaques provided.
To escape urban bustle, retreat to one of the many fine natural spaces in Campinas. Stroll the shaded paths of the Jequitibás Forest, a wooded urban park with native trees, a zoo, an aquarium, playgrounds and a children’s theater. Visit the Parque Portugal to enjoy recreational activities and scenic views of the lagoon.
Campinas lies in the state of São Paulo, just 56 miles (90 kilometers) north of the city. Fly into Viracopos Airport in Campinas or take the 2-hour transfer bus from São Paulo Airport. Campinas is served by urban buses, connecting most major sights in the city. Regular safety precautions apply, especially at night.