Santos (tours to São Paulo), Brazil cruises

Home to one of the world’s largest urban populations and hosting an enticing fusion of residents from over 200 different countries, São Paulo is simply a cultural extravaganza.

Vibrant São Paulo, which stretches out across a vast plateau in the Brazilian Highlands, is the largest city in the southern hemisphere. It’s Brazil’s dynamic financial centre, and brimming with cultural diversity, comprising residents from over 200 different countries, it brandishes its own distinctive style of Brazilian culture.

The rich heritage and colourful history of Sampa, as it’s known locally, has ensured a multitude of galleries, parks, and museums to wander and explore. There’s a vivacious art scene, the shopping district is extensive to say the least, and with no less than 12,000 restaurants lining its effervescent streets, the city is a gastronomic delight.

MASP, the São Paulo Museum of Art, is Latin America’s pre-eminent fine-art museum. It houses an emphatic collection of European art, as well as works from Brazil and around the world. Its ground-breaking design is also a proud symbol of modern Brazilian architecture.

The immense, 391-acre Ibirapuera Park was created in 1954 in the design of other major English landscape gardens of the time and is comparable to Central Park. Often referred to as a ‘green oasis in the heart of a concrete jungle’, the park plays host to a vivid cultural scene and is filled with an array of captivating museums.

Sampa’s striking, eclectic skyline is punctuated by a vast variety of styles and materials. Towering behemoths emblazoned with glass, granite, and steel, comfortably intertwine with a collection of iconic buildings including the neo-Gothic cathedral and the 1929 Martinelli skyscraper, as well as the colonial-style Pátio do Colégio, where Jesuit priests founded the city in 1554.

As you would expect the catalogue of churches is quite impressive, with a beguiling collection starting in the 16th century. One of the most remarkable is the Convent of Luz (1579), home to the Museum of Sacred Art, which houses an extraordinary collection of religious items dating back to the 16th century.