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São Vicente is a city in the Baixada Santista metro area, in the São Paulo state, being conurbated with Santos. Founded in 1532, it considered to be the oldest city of Brazil. Most of the city's historical heritage has been lost with time, and São Vicente is now mainly visited for its scenery and beaches.


São Vicente.

São Vicente was founded in 1532 by Portuguese settlers, being the first officially recognized village in colonial Brazil. Its early years of existence were characterized by violent fights between Portuguese, Spanish, Tupi native Brazilians (often put into slavery) and pirates. Economy of São Vicente was based on sugarcane plantations, but the economical success didn't last much. In the 17th century, São Vicente became a source of bandeirantes, explorers who travelled towards the countryside in order to make fame and fortune.

In the 19th century, with the boom of coffee farming, the neighboring city Santos would become the most important port city of the country. Slowly, São Vicente would assume the role of a "dormitory city" for the workers of Santos, a role that it maintains until the present day.

During the São Paulo state industrialization era (second half of the 20th century), immigration caused the population of São Vicente to grow too much for the available job supply. As result, São Vicente is the poorest city of the Baixada Santista metro area, containing a large number of favela's. Middle class neighborhoods are highly concentrated around the beach, in the southeast part of the city.

It was home to about 370,000 people in 2020.

Get in[edit]

Get around[edit]


Frequently overlooked by visitors, the "Biquinha" is the oldest landmark of São Vicente.
  • Biquinha de Anchieta (at the west corner of Praia de São Vicente). The only surviving construction from the early history of the city is this fountain from 1553. Near the fountain there is a statue of the Jesuit José de Anchieta, who used to conduct prayers near the fountain.
  • 1 Oscar Niemeyer Lookout (Mirante Oscar Niemeyer). Lookout point over the Bay of Saint Vincent from the top of the hill on Porchat Island. It is also known as the "Monument of 500 Years of Brazil" (Monumento dos 500 anos do Brasil). The platform was designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer (1907–2012). It faces roughly north in an imaginary line to the National Congress in Brasília, completed by Niemeyer and others in 1960. Niemeyer Monument (Q54558403) on Wikidata
  • Ponte Pênsil.
  • Porchat Island (Ilha Porchat).


  • Gonzaguinha Beach
  • Itareré Beach


  • Centro Comercial.
  • Shopping Brisamar, Rua Frei Gaspar, 365 - Centro (near Gonzaguinha Beach), +55 13 3579-9800. M-Sa 10:00-22:00, Su and holidays 12:00-22:00.


  • Biquinha. This plaza has had a fair of sweets and pastries for decades.
  • Restaurante Gáudio, Av. Embaixador Pedro de Toledo, 191 - Centro (in front of Gonzaguinha Beach), +55 13 3568-1215. One of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in town.
  • Restaurante Terraço Chopp, Alameda Ari Barroso, 274 - Itararé (on the top of Porchat Island), +55 13 3468-7527. One of the most famous restaurants in town, with two different environments: a bar with live music and varied seafood, and a restaurant with a la carte dishes. Both have an excellent view of the bay.



Stay healthy[edit]

As elsewhere in Brazil, some beaches in São Vicente are not suitable for bathing, and conditions can change from day to day. On the day of your visit, check the map of the latest weekly beach quality bulletin (in Portuguese, boletim de qualidade das praias) of the state's Environment Department (CETESB).


Go next[edit]

Routes through São Vicente
PeruíbePraia Grande (São Paulo)  S  N  CubatãoSantos

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