Recife Top 12

Recife, capital of the state of Pernambuco in northeast Brazil, is both a city of business and a holiday destination, with one foot in the beach and the other in the region’s history. There is much to see if you are planning to spend some time in Recife, and if you have the time, you can also visit the neighboring towns of Olinda and Porto de Galinhas. The problem will be... that you won’t want to leave!
Paço do Frevo
Here you will discover all you need to know about Pernambuco’s traditional frevo music and dance. A building that, while showing how frevo - a musical rhythm and dance that originated in Pernambuco - came about, also seeks to help encourage the teaching of dance and music. Would you like to dance and enter the Carnival spirit now? There is also a very nice bar with a pleasant atmosphere next to the entrance.
Praia da Boa Viagem
A 4.5-mile beach, Praia da Boa Viagem is a place to relax and take a stroll. But be careful in the water... there are shark warnings in the area, so avoid swimming beyond the reefs. Still, it is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy at any time of the day... just don’t miss the sunsets.  
Embaixada de Pernambuco – Bonecos Gigantes de Olinda
If Carnival is the biggest festival, then it is only natural that much refers to it. And the Embaixada de Pernambuco – Bonecos Gigantes de Olinda (Pernambuco Embassy - Olinda Giant Puppets) is home to some of the “protagonists” of the Olinda festival, with giant puppets of world-famous people from the world of cinema, music, politics, religion and sport. If you want to take photos with “famous people”, then here you will find celebrities ranging from Pelé to Darth Vader, and from David Bowie to Pope Francis.
Marco Zero
The Rio Branco square, also known as Marco Zero, is huge, and is the place from which all road distances are officially measured. It is a place where locals and visitors gather to enjoy the views of the Capibaribe River and the Francisco Brennand Sculpture Park created to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Brazil. The square is located beside the renovated port warehouses, which now house modern bars and restaurants. 
Pernambuco Craft Market
Next to Marco Zero, the market has craftworks from all over Pernambuco state. The Craft Market has something for all budgets, so it is the ideal place to get your souvenirs. It has a little of everything: furniture, ornaments, terracotta ware, embroidery, woodware, glassware, textiles... everything handmade by regional craftsmen and women. There is nothing more typical!
Port of Recife Warehouses
There are many modern bars and restaurants that have set up home in the old warehouses on the waterfront next to Marco Zero. While this was once an area where nothing much happened, now the reverse is true, and every day of the week there are good reasons to visit. Here, in Armazén 10, you will also find the Cais do Sertão, an interactive museum about the Sertão (the interior of Pernambuco state) and the godfather of forro music, Luiz Gonzaga. This museum is considered one of the best in South America.
Boa Viagem Fair
If you are staying at one of the hotels next to Boa Viagem beach (and we recommend the Atlante Plaza Hotel), then you will be just two minutes away from the traditional Boa Viagem Fair. Besides handicrafts and other souvenirs, at this fair – which first opened in 1966 – you will find lots of stalls selling sweet and savory food. Here you will also find the Church of Our Lady of Boa Viagem, after which the area is named.
Catamaran trip (at night)
To make the most of your time in Recife, why not take a boat trip in the Capibaribe River? Catamaran Tours, which leave from Cais Santa Rita, also organize night-time trips highlighting the city’s history and architecture while enjoying the city lights. It is an unmissable trip. You can even have a meal at the quayside before getting on the boat.
Francisco Brennand Ceramic Workshop
The artist Francisco Brennand is well known for his paintings and ceramics and those wishing to discover more can visit the museum that is the Francisco Brennand Ceramic Workshop. There are several pieces by this local artist on display here, from paintings and sketches to ceramics, which reflect a life dedicated to art. As well as the items on display inside, there are also exhibits spread throughout the gardens, and there is a bar and a shop.
A charming town of colorful houses, artisan studios and a wealth of history (it was known as “little Lisbon”) which translates into a richness that in 1982 turned it into a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. The views over the coast from the Alto da Sé are stunning, and it has several surrounding churches (all of which face toward the cathedral). It is also known for its Carnival, with its parade of Bonecos Gigantes (Giant Puppets of Olinda).
Porto de Galinhas
Located a few miles from Recife is Porto de Galinhas, which is renowned for its beaches, resorts, and coconut plantations that make it seem like a little piece of paradise. If you don’t have time for anything else, then you should at least visit the natural swimming pools of crystal clear water, where you don’t need to snorkel to see all the fishes. The paths to the natural pools, which are formed by the reefs at low tide, are made of rafts in the traditional manner. Unmissable! 
Visit the Ricardo Brennand Institute
Founded by the Pernambucano collector Ricardo Brennand, it is considered one of Brazil’s best museums. What began as a personal collection of bladed weapons (which currently has more than 3,000 items), is today a very eclectic museum containing local and global history exhibits. Its attractions include replicas of Michelangelo’s David and Rodin’s The Thinker.
By Susana Ribeiro / Viaje Comigo

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