The city cut by rivers and canals also has museums, churches and colonial houses that keep the rich history of the state.

Photo: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock

Passionate about large urban centers that offer a huge range of options for tourist attractions will fall in love with Recife. The capital is one of the most developed urban centers in the country and stands out for its effervescent culture.

Recife it has a network of large hotels, named restaurants specializing in various cuisines and numerous nightclubs. attractions apart is its beautiful historic center, with a large part of its colonial period preserved, always well stirred by the cultural manifestations that often take place in the streets of the old quarter by groups of frevo, maracatu, cultural houses, workshops of local artists in addition to a beautiful coast that adorns the city with its vibrant green tone, always surrounded by countless coconut trees with different heights and shapes.

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Founded in 1537, the city of Recife Its history is closely linked to port life. The reef barrier, which forms a veritable wall of coral, is largely responsible for the city's name. The port was built by the Portuguese and was the starting point of a trajectory marked by many battles and conquests and witnessed the coming and going of cargo, slaves, goods and various invaders.

Walking through the historic center, it is possible to notice the marked presence of legacies in the architectures that dominate this area of the city. Portuguese and Dutch mansions in front of charming bridges that connect the neighborhoods together with colonial-era churches form an unmissable scenario that can be done on foot or on boats hired by tourist agencies.

The starting point to tour Recife Antigo is Marco Zero, a square on the edge of the estuary of the city's port formed by the Capibaribe River and further on, the Francisco Brennand Sculpture Park, with works by the artist from Pernambuco. The site records the point where Recife began, there is also a bronze bust of the Barão do Rio Branco, a sculpture by the Frenchman Felix Charpeutier, placed there in 1917. In front of the attraction are other essential tourist attractions of the old quarter such as the Caixa Cultural with traveling exhibitions where the Pernambuco and Paraíba Stock Exchanges used to work.

Carnival in Recife Antigo is frequented by millions of people, being the public's preference, especially at night to enjoy the carnival program at Marco Zero such as the famous Galo da Madrugada, which always comes out on Saturdays of the event. From there it is possible to go to Olinda, a municipality that is a few kilometers from the municipality, there the movement is taken by the frenetic energy of the frevo and the carnival blocks accompanied by the traditional giant puppets that infect the crowd on the slopes of the historic site.

Read more:
Logbook: 3, 5 and 7 day itinerary in Recife and Olinda
Cais do Sertão Museum in Recife
Places to visit in Olinda: what to see and do
Places to visit in Porto de Galinhas: what to see and do

What to do in Recife

Photo: Filipe Frazao / Shutterstock


The Recife coast can easily be on the list of the most beautiful coasts in Brazil. The set of imposing buildings with modern architecture contrasts with a sea of green waters and many coconut trees that form an ideal background for a walk, with a mandatory stop for a cold coconut water. The beautiful boardwalk consists of practically two beaches: Boa Viagem with a complete leisure structure with courts, playground, skating rink, bike path and Praia do Pina which, during low tides, forms several natural pools.

Praia de Boa Viagem is one of the most beautiful urban beaches in Brazil. With an extensive strip of reefs, the sea is taken by pools of warm and crystalline waters when the tide is low.

Neighboring Boa Viagem, Praia do Pina is one kilometer long and is suitable for swimming. It has weak waves, which attracts a lot of families with children and offers a structure of kiosks and restaurants similar to the beach next door.

old reef

A place to get in touch with the history and the emergence and growth of the city. A great starting point to start the tour is Marco Zero Square. From there, you can see the Francisco Brennand Sculpture Park, as well as the buildings from the end of the 17th century and other constructions from the 20th century.

Catamaran ride on the Capibaribe River

A stroll along the Capibaribe River is a great way to see the bridges and the three islands that form the center.

golden chapel

Walls full of sacred paintings and thousands of gold-plated details, the most beautiful church in Recife is a mandatory stop if you want to know a little about the city's historic architecture.

Public Markets

The markets are a way to understand what the day-to-day life of the city's residents is like. During this tour it is possible to notice the architectural details of these buildings and find the handicrafts and typical foods of the region. The city has public markets, the best known are São José, Madalena, Boa Vista and Casa Amarela.

Ricardo Brennand Institute – IRB

Cultural Heritage of Brazilian Studies, the Institute enchants with its gardens full of valuable sculptures, replica of a medieval castle, works of art from different periods, gathered in collections of tapestry, decorative arts, paintings and furniture.

Cais do Sertão Museum

The Cais do Sertão Museum works in an old warehouse in the port, the space proposes an experience with the culture of the region. The space also has a space dedicated to Luiz Gonzaga, with the artist's history and discography.

Paço do Frevo

Space totally dedicated to the typical frevo rhythm of the region that has already been declared Cultural Heritage of the country. Installed in one of the most beautiful buildings in Recife Antigo, the space has spaces and studios that hold dance and music workshops and interactive exhibitions.

Patio de San Pedro

Surrounded by colorful and historic mansions, the Pátio de São Pedro also has another important construction in the state: the Cathedral of São Pedro dos Clérigos. Studios, bars and restaurants occupy most of the townhouses.

Pernambuco House of Culture

Built in 1950, the building that houses the Casa da Cultura de Pernambuco functioned as a prison for 118 years. The space underwent a major renovation and today all the cells house craft shops, a bookstore and snack bars. Perfect tour for those who want to buy some souvenirs from the capital of Pernambuco.

Francisco Brennand Ceramics Workshop

Ceramist Francisco Brennand turned the family's pottery into a studio and museum. Paintings, panels, tiles and sculptures are scattered throughout the rooms. The visit also includes a tour of the gardens designed by Burle Marx.

Palace of Campo das Princesas

Historic building that serves as the seat of the Pernambuco government. The place also offers free guided tours, a true history lesson about Pernambuco.

Brum's Fort

Controlled by the Army, it keeps a collection of World War II weapons, Brazilian Empire cannons and reproductions of maps of Dutch Brazil.

Diving in the shipwreck park

Considered the Brazilian Capital of Shipwreck Diving, Recife has a coastline full of boats on the seabed. The average temperature of the water is 26º, and its visibility can reach up to 50 meters.

Other tourist attractions in Recife

  • Five Points Fort
  • St. Anthony's Headquarters
  • Basilica and Convent NS do Carmo
  • Santa Isabel Theater
  • Jaqueira Chapel
  • Jewish Cultural Center
  • MAMAM – Aloísio Magalhães Museum of Modern Art
  • Embassy of the Giant Puppets
  • Boa Viagem Fair

How to get to Recife

Photo: Bruno Lima / MTUR

By airplane

The Internal Airport of Recife/ Guararapes – Gilberto Freyre is one of the most modern in Brazil and receives daily flights from the main Brazilian capitals.

By car

Access via BR-101.
There are 259 km between Recife and Maceió (Alagoas) or 120 km to João Pessoa (Paraíba).

By bus

The city receives daily buses from several Brazilian capitals. For up-to-date information on which companies operate to Recife, it is worth calling the bus station in the capital of Pernambuco.
Recife bus station
Tel: (81) 3207-1088

Best time to visit Recife

Photo: Walber Moura / MTUR

The state of Pernambuco usually receives more rain during the first half of the year, mainly between March and August. But even during the rainiest season, with a little luck it is possible to enjoy a beach and go for walks in the open air, since the days are not usually closed for a long time in a row.

Summer is the ideal time to enjoy the Pernambuco coast. The averages at this time of year are usually around 28ºC.

The city is famous for its street carnival, which is considered one of the best in the country. This is the time when the destination receives more tourists and the city usually runs out of beds. If you intend to visit the popular Bloco do Galo da Meia Noite, make your reservation in advance.

Where to stay in Recife

Photo: Portal da Copa

The stretch of waterfront that passes between Praia de Boa Viagem and Praia do Pina is the region where the vast majority of hotels and inns in Recife are concentrated. This is a great place to stay in the city, because in addition to being in front of the beach, the neighborhood has a great structure, with great gastronomic options, stores, markets and shopping.

The large hotel chains are present at Praia de Boa Viagem, options such as the Hotel Luzeiros, The manibu it's the TRYP Recife, from the Meliã group, are among the favorites of tourists visiting the capital of Pernambuco.

Those looking for more contact with Pernambuco's culture can choose accommodation in the old center of Recife, or in the neighboring city of Olinda, with excellent inns in the historic center.

Find accommodation in Recife

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