Multicultural Capital of Brazil

What to do in Recife

Among the warm waters of the state of Pernambuco, there is a capital full of history and attractions. 

The city of Recife

The northeast of Brazil is famous for its beaches but that’s not all that it is! Among the warm waters of the state of Pernambuco, there is a capital full of history and cultural attractions.


The city is located on the coast and has beautiful waterfront, the Boa Viagem Beach is the most important and famous part. It is indeed a very beautiful beach, with clear blue water, but unfortunately the sea there is only to be admired, because the coast of Recife has one of the highest rates of shark attacks in the world.

All along the beach there are warnings about the danger and defying this alert is a great recklessness. For those who seek the pleasures of the sea, there are nearby towns that are infinitely more beautiful and completely safe. This is the case of Porto de Galinhas, the paradise of natural pools. 

recife: Emblematic areas

What it lacks in beaches, it compensates very well in culture, gastronomy, art and historical patrimony. The center of the city, known as Recife Antigo, brings together the most of the cultural attractions.

Marco Zero is literally the starting point for exploring the region. The square is beautiful and stands out for having a large rose of the winds stamped on the ground, with a landmark in the center from where the official measures of road distances are initiated. Around it there are several historic buildings with beautiful architecture.

In the square there are several attractions. It is where the classic sign of the city is located, a mandatory stop to take a picture. On the opposite side, behind the bust of Barão do Rio Branco, is located Pernambuco’s Handicrafts Center. A little further on is Cais do Sertão, a very interesting museum that celebrates the life of Luiz Gonzaga and the region’s culture.

And still in Marco Zero there is an island where is located Francisco Brennand’s Sculptures Park, whose name says it all. To cross there you need to take a boat.

The region is also known for its nightlife and those looking for a good gastronomic center, the restaurants of Armazém do Porto are the right choice!

What to visit in recife?

Inside the old city (Recife Antigo), we arrive at Embaixada dos Bonecos Gigantes (Bom Jesus Street). These are the giant dolls that parade in the streets during the carnival, which represent characters and famous people from Brazil and the world. At the end of Bom Jesus Street is the Arsenal Square, which has three attractions: the historic Malakoff Tower; the Paço do Frevo and the Embassy of Pernambuco.

From there it is time to cross one of the bridges towards Casa da Cultura, and on the way it is possible to stop at Capela Dourada Church to admire the gleaming gold-plated interior.

Casa de Cultura is one of the most interesting places of Recife Antigo. It is an old prison that has been transformed into a cultural center and the contrast that it causes is impressive. There are three cell galleries, each with three floors interconnected by steep staircases. And inside every old cell, today a little shop works. The feeling of being inside is incredible, because it is possible to feel the old energy of the place even now totally transformed into a tourist spot.

Before closing the itinerary through the historical center, go to the Train Museum that is in front of Casa da Cultura and that gathers several copies of the railway history.

This is undoubtedly the most attractive part of the city but the neighborhood of Várzea still has two latest surprises: the Francisco Brennand Ceramics Workshop and the Ricardo Brennand Institute. Both are excellent and can not be left out of the script.


For those who think it is worth spending a few days, the city has lots of options of accommodation in Recife. For those who choose to spend their days in Porto de Galinhas, but do not want to miss these places, there are day-tours from Porto de Galinhas to Recife that are excellent: they make a complete route passing through the main tourist points of Recife Antigo,  and still includes the city of Olinda. You can check it here: Recife & Olinda Experience.

Martín Miguel

Martín Miguel

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