Things to do in Sao Paulo

Golf

Lusty drives with a three iron won’t ping off skyscrapers because metropolitan São Paulo has space for several top-draw golf courses. Golfers don’t have to travel too far out of the centre to find well-manicured greens and fairways. The 18-hole São Paulo Golf Club (tel: (11) 5525 9255; www.spgc.com.br) lies just south of the city centre and was founded by British engineers in the early 1900s.

Sailing

If the city’s toxic rivers haven’t put you off water, put some wind in your sails at the refreshingly pure Guarapiranga Reservoir - a popular weekend destination for Paulistanos. Watersport schools, such as Pera Náutica (tel: (11) 5524 3553; www.peranautica.com.br), rent equipment and instruct in sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.

Cycling

If cycling in São Paulo sounds like an accident in waiting, think again as the city is making positive strides to open cycle routes. Two-wheel adventurers should contact Sampa Bikers (tel: (11) 5517 7733; www.sampabikers.com.br) cycling association on Rua Diego Suarez 253, Praia Azul. Besides renting bicycles, it also organises city and park tour rides plus excursions outside São Paulo.

Racing driving

Satisfy a craving for speed and follow in the hallowed tyre treads of Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna because F1 circuit Interlagos (tel: (11) 5666 8822; www.autodromointerlagos.com) is not out-of-bounds for mere mortals. At a cost, lessons and drives with professional tuition can be arranged in sports cars, power bikes, and karts.

Hiking

Wild toucans and howler monkeys within metropolitan São Paulo may sound fanciful., but just 10km (6 miles) north of downtown is one of world’s largest urban rainforests: Serra Cantareira State Park. These 7,916 hectares (19,560 acres) of tropical rainforest reserve have well-marked hiking trails through rosewood and pink cedar trees, plus stunning views back toward São Paulo’s concrete jungle. Exotic birdlife includes brassy-breasted tanagers. Outside school holidays, the park’s trails only open at weekends. Brazil International Adventure (tel: (11) 7355 2054; www.braziltourstravel.com) run guided hikes to the park in English.

Watch football

The atmosphere inside the stadiums of São Paulo’s Brazilian Serie A teams is raucous and exhilarating, particularly during evening kick-offs. The three big teams in São Paulo have a die-hard fan base, with many international admirers. São Paulo FC (www.saopaulofc.net) plays at the 67,000-seat Estádio do Morumbi (a venue for the 2016 Summer Olympics); Palmeiras (www.palmeiras.com.br) play in the brand-new 60,000-seat Arena Palestra Itália; while Corinthians (www.corinthians.com.br) will also play at a new stadium -- the Arena Corinthians, located 24km (15 miles) east of downtown. It's easy enough to buy tickets on game day, though go early for the bigger match-ups.

Edited by Daniel Fahey
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