2023 Brazilian Grand Prix – Getting Around Guide

Posted on 09 June, 2023

Discover cosmopolitan São Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world and home of the São Paulo Grand Prix. Here's everything you need to know about traveling and enjoying Brazil on 2-5 November.

Practical Information

  • Visas: The majority of international visitors to Brazil (including EU, US, Canadian, Australian and Japanese citizens) no longer need to apply for a visa in advance of travel. 
  • Currency: Brazilian Real (R$). Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, but it's still worth withdrawing some cash from an ATM as not all shops accept electronic payments. You can tip up to 10% for good service, but this is often included in your restaurant bill. 
  • Language: Brazilians speak Portuguese. Aside from service staff in high-end hotels and restaurants, English is not widely spoken. Make sure you have a translation app on your phone and that you write down addresses for taxi drivers.
  • Safety: Street crime and petty theft are not uncommon in São Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world, so keep a close eye on your belongings and always exercise caution in public spaces.
  • Time Zone: UTC/GMT -3 hours
  • In an Emergency: Dial 190 for Police, 192 for Ambulance and 193 for the Fire Department
  • Power Sockets: Brazil uses type N electricity sockets, which also work with Type C appliances from continental Europe. Other visitors should bring along an adaptor. 
  • Weather: São Paulo has a sub-tropical climate and November is one of the wettest months, with an average of 8-10 days of rain. Temperatures range from 18-27°C (64-80°F). Make sure you pack your wet weather gear, as rain is never too far away at Interlagos.

Arrival & Getting Around

Flights to Brazil

São Paulo has three main airports, the largest of which is called Guarulhos (GRU). Approximately 25 km northeast of the city centre, GRU Airport serves hundreds of daily connections from all over the world, including cities in the USA, Europe and all across South America. Located midway between Interlagos and the centre of the city, Congonhas Airport (CGH) is the second largest airport in São Paulo but mainly serves domestic destinations. The same applies to Viracopos Airport (VCP), almost 100 km northwest of the city, which is a hub for Azul Brazilian Airlines.

Where to stay for the São Paulo Grand Prix

To get the most out of your time in South America's largest city, we recommend staying in one of the central areas of São Paulo rather than near Interlagos. Some of the city's best hotels can be found on Avenida Paulista, the main artery that runs through the city centre and is within walking distance of many of the best shopping malls, restaurants and sights. Other areas worth considering include the leafy neighbourhood of Higienópolis, where you'll find some of the city's most eclectic nightlife, and the upmarket Nacoes Unidas area -- a positive of the latter is that its equidistant between the centre and Interlagos, making for a shorter commute to the track.

Getting around in São Paulo

  • Taxis/Uber: Official taxis and Uber can be a good way to get around in São Paulo, apart from peak times when some city areas become gridlocked. Most taxi drivers in the city are honest, but scams do exist. Always make sure you use a registered taxi and that the driver turns on the meter. 
  • Metro: Probably the best and cheapest way to get around in São Paulo! The network is huge and it’s easy to use once you have got yourself a Bilhete Único smartcard, which can be topped up at shops and kiosks all around the city. Metro map and more information.
  • GRU Airport to City: It can take anywhere from 1-3 hours to make the 25 km journey from the city’s largest airport to the centre. The easiest way is to book an Uber or take an official airport taxi but the shuttle buses (some of which connect with nearby Metro stations) will be a cheaper alternative. More information here.

How to get to Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos)

The home of the Brazilian Grand Prix is around 25 km south of the city centre. Depending on where exactly you’ve decided to stay, a taxi or Uber to Interlagos will most likely be the most convenient way to get there each day. Taking the metro is much cheaper, of course, and may even be quicker given the inevitable traffic jams near the circuit. The gates of the circuit are only 600 metres from the Autódromo station at the southern end of Line 9 (Esmeralda). The Metro is safe, but be sure to stay with other fans walking from the Metro to the circuit and do not wander off into the nearby favela (shanty town). F1® Experiences also offers you the choice to add on hotel accommodation with private transfers to and from the circuit.

What to see and do in São Paulo

  • Sample the best local produce at the Mercadao Municipal: Housed in a huge warehouse style building in the centre of the city, the São Paulo Municipal Market is a haven for foodies keen to discover the best of Brazilian cuisine. The most famous product at the market is a small baguette filled with mortadella (a large Italian sausage).
  • Admire Catedral da Sé: One of the largest neogothic temples in the world, the São Paulo Cathedral was only completed in 1954 but looks much older! Tours of the cathedral and crypt are available. 
  • Get your art fix at MASP: A striking example of 1960s brutalist architecture, the Museu e Arte de São Paulo (MASP) is worth visiting for the building itself, though the museum does house a huge collection of works by well-known local artists and international masters such as Picasso and Van Gogh.
  • Get lost in Ibirapuera Park: São Paulo's version of Central Park sits on 158 hectares in the south of the city and attracts over 14 million visitors a year. As well as miles of walking and cycling paths, Ibirapuera Park is also home to several of the city's best museums. 
  • Go Japanese in Liberdade: Believe it or not, more than 1.5 million Japanese call São Paulo home and the heart of the city's Japanese community can be found in Liberdade. Head to this popular tourist area for an authentic slice of Japan, including authentic restaurants, shops and markets. 
  • Have dinner at a churrascaria: A fine dining experience with well-dressed waiters, top quality wines and as much meat as you can eat, barbeque steakhouse restaurants are big business in Brazil. São Paulo is home to some of the country's best examples, including Figueira Rubaiyat which features a 130-year-old fig tree in the middle of the dining area.
  • Party with the locals: São Paulo's nightlife, which has achieved legendary status, offers everything from super clubs in abandoned factories (Fabriketa) to an eclectic assortment of underground bars and restaurants on Praça Roosevelt.
  • Visit the grave of Ayrton Senna: Pay your respects to the legendary 3-time F1® World Champion, a native of São Paulo, who is buried in the Gethsemani Morumbi Cemetery in the south of the city.
  • Check out the street art in Vila Madalena: One of São Paulo's most bohemian suburbs, Vila Madalena boasts some of the best examples of graffiti art in the world, especially on Batman's Alley (Beco de Batman). Once you've checked out the open air art, there's plenty of cool bars and restaurants to discover too.