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Trips by bus can take anywhere from one to four hours. It's even possible to take a taxi from the city to Embu das Artes and Santana do Parnaíba.
The North Shore (about 210 km/130 miles from São Paulo) has beautiful beaches for every kind of sun or sports enthusiast. In the 1990s the area experienced a building boom, with condos popping up seemingly overnight. Luckily, the region still managed to maintain its pristine environment.
Just a stone's throw from São Paulo, Embu das Artes is famous for its big handicraft fair with paintings, toys, and candles, as well as scrumptious pastries and breads. Campos do Jordão, known as the Switzerland of Brazil, attracts hordes of chill-seekers in winter, when temperatures drop below tepid. Serra Negra is the main city of São Paulo's Circuito das Águas (Water Circuit) and offers plenty of events and activities for families as well as a refuge for couples seeking romance.