The historic centre of Sao Luis is one of the finest in Brazil and an outstanding example of the Portuguese colonial past so it is no surprise that it has been declared as an UNESCO World Heritage site.
Originally founded by the French in the early 17th century and under Dutch occupation for a short time, Sao Luis is perhaps the most Portuguese of all the cities in Brazil. Its position in the north of Brazil makes it one of the closest cities to Europe with a year round hot, humid and sultry climate.
The city sits on a small promontory surrounded by water and although the city isn’t renowned for its beaches the sands of Sao Marcos and Calhau are pleasant enough with bars lining the sea front. It’s the historic centre though which is the main draw. The cobbled streets are full of historic civic buildings, churches and crumbling pastel coloured buildings which are slowly being restored and best explored by foot on a guided tour.
A short ferry ride from Sao Luis is the equally beautiful town of Alcantara, well worth a day of exploration, whereas slightly further afield is the natural highlight of the state of Maranhao, the stunning sand dunes of Lencois Maranhenses National Park.
Sao Luis is a beautiful city and combines perfectly with a tour of the north coast on a Brazil holiday.