Welcome to an enchanting tour of two fascinating destinations in the state of São Paulo: Rio Claro and Piracicaba. These hidden gems offer a unique combination of history, nature and authenticity that will transport you to the very essence of the region.

— Puedes leer esto en español aquí —

Now through family and friends, I have been visiting these 2 cities for years, plus the city of Campinas, but for some reason I usually visit Campinas only to go to the shopping centers and I don’t have many images (or videos or photos). So I promise myself the next time I’m walking through that area, to explore more and less shopping 🙂 – well, I don’t promise anything about not buying shoes in Brazil that I love -.

São Paulo: Rio Claro and Piracicaba
My first time here in 2002

One of the things I like most about this Brazilian state is how pleasant it is to drive between cities. At least until the last time I visited in 2018, clean, wide highways, beautiful views and very easy to get to places due to the amount of signage.

São Paulo: Rio Claro and Piracicaba

I usually arrive and stay in Rio Claro. A small, pleasant, very friendly city known for its extensive gardens and historic squares. A walk through the city center is a must, the Jardim Público, with their landscape design, are the perfect place for a relaxing walk. As you explore the downtown squares, you will feel the rich history that exists in every corner. Don’t hesitate to stop at a bakery or pastry shop and try delicious snacks at any time of the day. My always favorites coxinhas, pão de queijo and brigadeiro, or even a simple ham/turkey sandwich with catupiry (a creamy cheese, similar to ‘cream cheese’ but richer) make my day.

Another good spot to visit while in Rio Claro is the Mercado Municipal de Rio Claro with some spots for drinks and food.

The other city that I usually visit is Piracicaba, on the banks of the river that gives its name to the city. Enjoy the authenticity of this place while relaxing with a delicious lunch in front of the river, something I can never leave aside (main photo). The vibrant energy of the Municipal Market and the charm of Rua do Porto offer unforgettable culinary and cultural experiences. Another point not to miss is Alto Do Mirante from where you can enjoy an incredible view of the city from the middle of the river.

Important Info:

  • Distance by Car from São Paulo: Rio Claro and Piracicaba are approximately 180 and 160 kilometers from São Paulo, respectively. A drive from the city takes you to these gems in about two hours and two and a half hours, respectively. Simply take the famous Rodovia dos Bandeirantes (or SP-348) and it takes you to Campinas, Rio Claro and Piracicaba. If you need a car, I always try Expedia for good deals!
  • Best Seasons to Visit: Spring (September to November) is ideal for exploring the gardens of Rio Claro. In Piracicaba, cultural events and pleasant weather make spring and autumn perfect times. I have been during the summer (December and March), although I liked March (end of summer, beginning of fall) more since it felt a little ‘cooler’ during the afternoons, not as hot as in December. And I also liked May (autumn) because of the pleasant weather, although more rain.
  • Distance between Rio Claro and Piracicaba: These two cities are strategically located, about 60 kilometers away from each other. You can easily include both in a single trip, making the most of your time.

Rio Claro and Piracicaba are destinations that awaken the senses and offer a unique experience in São Paulo. From the history printed in the squares of Rio Claro to the serenity of the river in Piracicaba, this trip invites you to discover the authentic soul of the state. Get ready to explore these hidden gems and immerse yourself in the cultural and natural wealth they offer!

Don’t forget to check out my other posts about cities in São Paulo as the state capital and Santos.

Here’s my video about this 2 cities you should visit while in São Paulo: (click CC for subtitles in English)

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