São Luis was founded in 1612 on the orders of the King of France (still many of the million inhabitants still have French names) and is now the capital of the state of Maranhão. It was the site of one of the most important commercial cities in Brazil.
The buildings of the old town radiate a new light after a renovation and are protected as historical monuments. The city center is also a UNESCO world cultural heritage since 1997.
The easiest way to explore Centro Histórico, the old town, is on foot. The Beco Catarina Mina market, Fonte do Ribeirão fountain, Praça de Desterro, the historical museums, the port and the Igreja Matriz da Sé church, and other witnesses of the colonial era. In addition, many pretty alleys, pretty streets and squares invite you to linger.
Tip: If you are in this northeastern part, you should not miss the stunning coastal sections with the almost white sand dunes!