The largest city in South America, Sao Paulo, has many famous spots that you have to visit with a guided tour. However, the most profound memories often occur, when visiting a destination at the moment less expected. For the adventurous who love traveling by train, I list here three trains that leave from Sao Paulo’s Estação da Luz and bring you to nearby, cities just outside of Sao Paulo that are usually not visited on ordinary tours.
All the trains mentioned below run only on weekends and public holidays. Some need a prior reservation. Please check your travel plans a few days before you plan traveling.
Expreso Turistico Jundiai
Junidai is just 60 km away from the city of São Paulo. One of the attractions there is the Railway Museum, owned by Cia. Paulista de Estradas de Ferro.
The train journey usually takes place on Saturdays, departing at 8:30 am at Estação da Luz in Sao Paulo and returning at 4:30 pm from Estação Jundiaí. The train is pulled by locomotive from the ’50s, completely renovated.
The train travels on the railroad built in 1867 by the old SPR (São Paulo Railway Co.), a company with English capital. The Jundiai railroad was the first railway in the São Paulo area, and its purpose was to bring the coffee produced in the region of Jundiaí to the Port of Santos.
Train to Mogi Das Cruzes
From Sao Paulo, is it 48 km train ride to the small town of Mogi das Cruzes. The city is part of the region Alto Tietê, an area close to the source of the Tietê River. The city has about 370 000 inhabitants. Mogi has a significant Japanese presence and is considered one of the flower-producing centers of Brazil, especially for Orchids. One of the most relaxed activities for those who like trails and beautiful scenery is the visit to Pico do Urubu. Very close to the train station, the place has a short and easy path that leads to the top of a mountain. The destination is practically a center of extreme sports, with activities for runners, cyclists, trekkers, or just admirers of landscapes. The sunset at the site is incredible!
The train journey from Sao Paulo Estação da Luz takes about 1h30. Inform yourself of the departure dates because the train doesn’t run every weekend. The train usually departs at 8:30 am from Estação da Luz and returns from Mogi das Cruzes at 4:30 pm.
From São Paulo the train travels the rails of the old Central Railway of Brazil. The railroad was inaugurated in 1877, to connect Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo. The last train that connected Sao Paulo with Rio de Janeiro operated until 1998.
Train to Paranapiacaba
The train journey to Paranapiacaba is probably the most scenic from Sao Paulo. Paranapiacaba is a charming village of English architecture located in the mountain range that separates Sao Paulo with the Atlantic Ocean. There are various cultural and ecological attractions near Paranapacaba, such as the Castelinho Museum, the Nascentes de Paranapiacaba Municipal Natural Park, and the Casa da Memória.
The train journey usually leaves on Sundays. The train leaves at 8:30 am at Estação da Luz. The return journey departs at 16:30 from Paranapiacaba, with a stop at the Mayor Celso Daniel-Santo André Station.
The 48 km train journey takes about 1h30. Among the highlights of the train trip, are the Ribeirão Pires and Rio Grande da Serra stations, which are both considered as historical heritage of São Paulo. The British owned Sao Paulo Railway Company (SPR) built the railroad, which opened in 1867.
Besides, it is possible to find in operation in Paranapiacaba the second oldest locomotive in Brazil, which belonged to SPR and today is part of the collection of the Brazilian Railway Preservation Association (ABPF).