Charming Alpine Atmosphere
If you are looking for mountain atmosphere near Sao Paulo, you should consider Campos do Jordao.
Located 1.700m above sea level (compared to the 800m of Sao Paulo) it is particularly charming on winter (June to September), specially on the Winter Festival, a music festival where the most famous classical orchestras and musicians countrywide move to there during some weeks.
Many options of restaurants make you feel really at home: from French cuisine to Brazilian typicals, you find everything there.
Accomodations there can be really expensive depending on the festivals and events that take place in town, so be prepared to pay an extra for that.
We had the good luck to be there during the Trout Festival... whammy...
Enjoy your trip and my tips.
In and Around the EFCJ in Campos do Jordão
The Estrada de Ferro Campos do Jordão is a historic railway treasure that also continues to serve as a useful form of transportation in and around the tourist community of Campos do Jordão.
Above is pictured one of the classical wooden electric passenger motor cars operating on this railroad. The car is from English Electric, and is apparently quite old, as is the French-built passenger car it is pulling.
The line runs all the way to Pindamonhangaba (over 20 miles - 33 km by road) and there are several turntables along the line.
Only one of these turntables is electric. Here, one of the railway employees, in a suit and tie, no less, assists in turning motor car A1 on the turntable in Campos do Jordão.
A steam locomotive is stored in Campos do Jordão for use on certain special tourist trains. I visited during winter, so I didn't see it running, but it would have felt good near the fire considering the weather was only about 3 degrees C.
Several meter guage european trams have also been relocated to the railway from overseas. These two cars are occasionally used to provide city passenger services inside Campos do Jordão.
Another view of these trams is available on my transportation tips for Campos do Jordão.
This intermediate station, with the coastal mountains in the background, should give an adequate idea of how scenic the line can be in good weather.
This station is not at the highest point on the Brazilian railway system, but that station is not far away - just down the line a little ways.
Here is another view of motor car V1 sitting in the Campos do Jordão station at the very end of the line. Near this point there are several good restaurants, as well as a ski-lift type cableway that climbs to the top of a nearby hill.
The hotel I stayed in is also nearby.
Here is another photo of motor V1 passing in front of the station in the central part of Campos do Jordão.
As with most of the buildings in Campos do Jordão, several of the larger train stations have very creative architecture.
For more photos of the line, please see the virtual tourist pages I have built on Pindamonhangaba and the shop complex there.
Other interesting photos of the line are also available on the EFCJ section of the EF Brasil Railway Photo Album as well as a few other locations.