Recife & Olinda

Sister Cities

These two cities in northeastern Brazil are perfect complements. In the state of Pernambuco, Recife and Olinda happily share their secrets as you stroll along their sunny streets, full of history.

Text: Mariana Lacerda  |  map: manuel córdova






Museu Paco do Frevo - Recife-4

photo: Alcione Ferreira


A genre of music and dance that originated in Pernambuco, frevo makes carnaval in Recife and Olinda one of the world’s most energetic. This museum lets you experience frevo in all its glory. A glass floor adds a new dimension to the spirit of the blocos líricos, the frevo orchestras that fill the air with joyful music during the annual celebrations.

Rua da Guia, s/n / no address number



Dining, Drinking & Dancing






Strategically located in the small neighborhood of Cabanga, Estelita offers an intimate space for just 380 spectators. The performance area has a retractable roof that allows for open-air, moonlit shows under the stars.

Avenida Saturnino de Brito 385, Cabanga




Feijoada gets an original spin at this restaurant: the hearty black-bean stew is transformed into a bolinho, a deep-fried treat that’s increasingly popular at local bars. This is a special touch courtesy of chef Edu Gomes, who opened this restaurant in September 2014. Keep an eye on the musical programming, which favors local bands like Siba and Karina Buhr.

Rua Mariz & Barros, 328, Recife antiguo



Art & The Sea



photos: gettyimages, francisco pardo


Recife boasts one of the most beautiful: Boa Viagem. However, the sea is just there for your contemplation – swimming during the high tide is prohibited due to sharks. If you feel like taking a dip in the sea, head to the southern coast of Pernambuco, home to great beaches, like Praia dos Carneiros, located 62 miles from Recife.




“I remember finding the old São João ceramics factory in ruins,” wrote artist Francisco Brennand. It was 1971 when he began his reconstruction of the brick and tile factory founded by his father in 1917. In an area spanning nearly 161,500 square feet, Brennand built his home and found inspiration for the tireless production of sculptures and murals.

Propriedade Santos Cosme e Damião, s/n, Várzea





Igreja da Misericodia - Olinda

photo: Alcione Ferreira


A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Olinda is full of charming colonial architecture. You can take in the sunset next to the Igreja da Sé, the highest point of town, which offers a great view of the open ocean, the surrounding landscape and, in the distance, Recife. At 5:30 p.m., the Benedictine monks open the doors to the Igreja da Misericórdia (at the end of the street of the same name) while they sing their prayers.


A Taste of History


Restaurante Oficina do Sabor - Olinda

photo: Alcione Ferreira


Award-winning chef Cesar Santos innovates by adding fruit to dishes featuring traditional Pernambuco ingredients: flavors like pitanga, passion fruit and mango, all common to the home gardens of Olinda. They inform dishes like jerimum (squash) with shrimp and pitanga, created in homage to one of Pernambuco’s most brilliant sons, Gilberto Freyre (1900–1987).

Rua do Amparo, 335. Cidade Alta


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