Campinas is a city in São Paulo state, Brazil, and the core municipality of the Grande Campinas, a metropolitan area with 2.8 million people, the second largest in the state after Grande São Paulo. Campinas is a major center of industry, services and research, holding the 11th highest GDP of Brazil and being responsible for 15% of all scientific research of the country. The city is home to State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), considered (QS Ranking 2012) the second best university of the country and the third best of Latin America.

For a visitor, besides the obvious business/academic opportunities, Campinas offers the shopping, gastronomy and nightlife typical of a large city, but with ease of access to the beautiful landscape and the scenic towns of the Mantiqueira mountain range. Campinas also hosts a considerable historical heritage from the late XIX century, associated with the properity of coffee farming during this period.


Downtown Campinas.


Campinas is certainly not a main tourism destination, attracting more business travellers, international students and research visitors than conventional tourists. It offers however a number of interesting things to do for the casual visitor, such as exploring the city's coffee farming heritage and its lively nightlife.


The Casa Grande and Tulha, in Jardim Proença, are the remnants of Campinas' first coffee farm.

Campinas started as a simple outpost for Portuguese settlers on 1774. It become a municipality on 1797, with the name of Vila de São Carlos. The city grew and prospered in subsequent decades with sugarcane farming, followed by coffee farming by the end of XIX century. After the decline of the coffee farming, Campinas started to re-emerge after the 1930s by means of industry development and more diversified exported-oriented agriculture. It eventually became the center of Brazil's major important industrial areas, which includes nearby municipalities such as Paulínia, Americana and Valinhos, collectively forming the Campinas metropolitan area. The creation of State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), in 1966, also resulted in the city becoming one of the country's most important centers of research and technology, hosting several research institutes and technology startup companies.


Campinas' culture can be described as a mix of the urban, cosmopolitan São Paulo city and the rural, caipira culture of the countryside of the São Paulo's state. The city's many bars and clubs play international pop music as much as sertanejo music. Demographically speaking, Campinas is similar to São Paulo, with a strong Portuguese and Italian heritage as well as a sizeable population of descendants of Japanese as well as migrants from the Northeast of Brazil.

Get in

By plane

Campinas has its own an international airport, but many international and domestic visitors arrive from São Paulo's airports.

By Viracopos International Airport (VCP)

Campinas' international airport is located about 20 km from Downtown. The airport has a range of food options, but only a few are open after 10-11pm. To arrive from the airport to the city, one can use the following options:

By Guarulhos/Congonhas airports

The airports of Guarulhos and Congonhas are both about 1:40 minutes away by car. Cab trips are somewhat pricey but you can take a shuttle from Lirabus that goes directly to Campinas and take about 2 hours. It costs R$40,00 from Guarulhos, R$35 from Congonhas, and will leave you at Largo do Pará Square, one block from Hotel Ibis, or at Terminal Multimodal Ramos de Azevedo (Rodoviária). From there you can get buses or taxis to other points of the city.

A far less attractive option is to use the Airport Bus Service from EMTU that goes to Terminal Rodoviário Barra Funda and stop at Terminal Rodoviário Tietê, where you have to take an intercity bus to Campinas. This option is both more expensive and takes a longer time (about 3 hours) than the LiraBus direct bus, so it would typically only be used in an emergency.

By car

By bus

The modern bus terminal Ramos de Azevedo is Campinas' main terrestrian transport hub.

Buses to Campinas arrive at Terminal Multimodal Ramos de Azevedo (Rua Dr. Pereira Lima - Centro), in (Downtown). Bus tickets can even be reserved and purchased by Internet for the main bus companies. You would need to check on the bus station which company serves to a certain destination in particular.

Buses from São Paulo are however quite frequent (4-5 departures per hour) and reserving in advance is seldom necessary. The two companies that operate buses from São Paulo are Viação Cometa and Lirabus . The ticket costs R$25 and the trip takes about 1:20 hour (often more because of traffic in São Paulo).

However, do not use such buses if you just want to get to the Viracopos airport (there are buses from São Paulo that go directly to the airport).

By train

Currently, the only passenger train operating in Campinas is the weekend touristic ride to and from Jaguariúna (see #Do section). At some point in the future, Campinas is expected to be linked by high speed train to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and by commuter train to São Paulo and Jundiaí.

Get around

On foot

Downtown Campinas, containing most of the city's shopping and historical buildings, is a relatively large area but still easier to be explored on foot, given the large amount of traffic. The center of Sousas/Joaquim Egídio is also an excellent area to walk.

Other areas of Campinas don't offer much in terms of sightseeing, but calm, green suburbs like Parque Taquaral, Nova Campinas, and Cidade Universitária (in Barão Geraldo), can offer a nice leisurely stroll.

By bicycle

Campinas has a very limited network of cycleways; there is for instance one that links the center of the Barão Geraldo district with the UNICAMP, and another surrounding Parque Portugal. It is better to cycle in calmer suburbs, with small amount of traffic. Cycling is a popular means of transport for the students of UNICAMP.

By bus

Despite being a city with more than 1 million inhabitants, Campinas does not have any mass rapid transit system, although a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is under implementation. Buses are hence the only option of public transport; check the EMDEC company website for routes and itineraries. As with most large Brazilian cities, buses are confusing, and can be overcrowded and slow (as they often get stuck in traffic), but they are relatively frequent and reach practically everywhere.

Although it is not easy to find where are the bus stops and which bus to catch, people on the street will be glad to help if they can understand you. There are several main bus terminals, where you can transfer from one line into another. Some urban buses even go to neighbor cities as Jaguariúna and Paulínia.

Campinas has adopted a prepaid smartcard for paying buses, the Bilhete Único, that allows you to take multiple buses in a 2-hour period paying only a single tariff (R$3,30 as of May 2013). A visitor can obtain a Bilhete Único for free in the main bus terminals, by bringing an identiy document and charging as little as R$6,60 (two tariffs).

By car

If driving a car, be aware that some avenues have been converted to one-way streets to form a ring around downtown. Sometimes it can be tricky to find your way back and be careful not to get into the wrong way on one of those avenues.

After 22:00 until 06:00, some traffic lights are turned off and just blink yellow. Don't be scared, this is not effect of a Martian invasion. For safety reasons, you are not supposed to be stopped at red lights late at night.

Be aware, however, that during normal hours red lights and speed are enforced by cameras everywhere in the city, so stick to the speed limits and don't cross red lights.



Catedral Metropolitana de Campinas.

Like many others large Brazilian cities, Campinas' Downtown suffers from urban degradation. However, it contains several buildings of historical and architectural value, many associated with São Paulo state's glorious coffee farming era between the XIX and XX centuries.

Jóquei Clube Campineiro.
  • Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Praça Bento Quirino - Centro. The former central church of Campinas, inaugurated during the foundation of the city. However, a large portion of the building was reconstructed in 1939, giving its current neo-Gothic appearance. Its nicely decorated interior is open to visit 7 days per week (check the website for the time table).
  • Jóquei Clube Campineiro, Praça Antonio Pompeo, 39 - Centro. The social quarters of the Campinas Jockey Club, built in 1925 in eclectic style with art nouveau and neo-Renaissance element. The building maintains its original function.
Museu de Imagem e Som de Campinas/Palácio dos Azulejos.

Main district suburbs

Lagoa do Taquaral.
  • Lagoa do Taquaral. This lake is also known as Lagoa Isaura Teles Alves de Lima.
  • Electric Tram. The park has 3 kilometers of track that carry four historic trams that served the city from 1912 to 1968.
  • Beethoven Amphitheater. This 2700-seat conch-shaped amphitheater is a replica of the one in New York City's Lincoln Park.
  • Campinas Planetarium,  +55 19 3252-2598. MON-FRI 8:30AM-12PM, 1PM-5:30PM; SUN 3:30PM-5PM. Look for the pyramid-shaped building
  • Museu do Café, Av. Dr. Heitor Penteado, 2145. Here one can learn about the history of the city and São Paulo State, the products that were cultivated and how they impact the state's (and nation's) economy and politics, and especially about the people who made it possible: slaves, immigrants and their descendants.
EsPCEx entrance.

Sousas and Joaquim Egídio

Joaquim Egídio.

Barão Geraldo


Steam locomotive ride from Campinas to Jaguariúna.


Theater and culture

For a city of its size, Campinas is somewhat underwhelming in terms of cultural options, mostly due to the proximity to São Paulo, that tends to get the most relevant performances and expositions. Theatrical performances are mostly in Portuguese; check websites such as for a list of ongoing performances in the Campinas metro area.


Rua 13 de Maio is the city's most important shopping street.

Shopping malls

Iguatemi Campinas shopping mall.

Like any decent-sized city in Brazil, there are a number of American-style shopping malls, typically including a food court, movie theater, and a variety of shops.


The affluent neighborhood of Cambuí has the highest concentration of bars and restaurants in Campinas.

While, like most of the state, Campinas has the fairly typical paulistano range of Italian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and standard Brazilian food, it doesn't have anything much that might be called campineiro food. The two most notable things might be the local penchant for arugula salad (salada de rúcula) and the local lancherias' habit of serving their sandwiches cut into bite size pieces, dubbed the "angel-mouth cut" (corte boca-de-anjo). Among desserts, you should not miss the torta holandesa (Dutch pie) which, despite its name, was invented in Campinas.

Main district

  • Kilimanjaro Galleria, Rodovia Dom Pedro I, km 131.5 (in Galleria Shopping, 1st floor),  +55 19 3207-3332.
  • Kilimanjaro Iguatemi, Av. Iguatemi, 777 (in Shopping Iguatemi, 3rd floor),  +55 19 3295-0051.

Sousas and Joaquim Egídio

Barão Geraldo


While in terms of cultural options, Campinas is not quite what you expect from a metropolis, its nightlife will surely not disappoint you. Cambuí is the "city center" of bohemian life, but good bars can be found everywhere, Barão Geraldo including. Campinas' clubs, mostly contained in the affluent northern and eastern suburbs, attract crowds from the entire region. The musical scene is dominated by sertanejo (Brazilian country music) and electronic music, although there are options for all tastes, including MPB and rock'n'roll.

Main district

  • Giovannetti Cambuí, Rua Padre Vieira, 1277 - Cambuí,  +55 19 3234-9510.
  • Giovannetti Dom Pedro (in Parque Dom Pedro Shopping),  +55 19 3209-1641.
  • Giovannetti Rosário, Rua General Osório, 1059 - Centro,  +55 19 3231-2830.

Sousas and Joaquim Egídio

Barão Geraldo


Stay safe

Campinas is pretty much similar to São Paulo in terms of crime problems. During the day, most of the city is considerably safe - exceptions are the "Crackland" area in the Botafogo neighborhood (Downtown) and some lower class suburbs. Fortunately, the intercity bus terminal has been moved from Botafogo, so there is no need anymore for a visitor to wander this area.

The Downtown area is not safe during the night and should be avoided. Cambuí and most affluent suburbs are relatively safe during the night, but take a cab or drive yourself if you have to walk anything more than a few blocks. If you just want to fool around during the evening, a safer bet is to go to one of the city's shopping malls.

The districts of Barão Geraldo, Sousas and Joaquim Egídio are safer than the main district, but crime does happen and staying alert to your surroundings during the night is always a good idea.

Go next

Campinas is just south of the Circuito das Águas Paulista (Paulista Water Circuit), a collection of mineral spring towns over the Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range. Even if you are not interested in mineral springs, it is still worth a visit as it is a scenic area with cozy and charming towns, offering also options for radical sports and ecotourism.

Outside the Circuito das Águas Paulistas, there are some other places worth a visit:

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