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What to do in Olinda: History, culture and gastronomy

If you like historic cities, you will fall in love with Olinda. Less than 10 km from Recifeis one of the best preserved heritage sites in the Brazila full plate for those looking for history, culture and gastronomy.

Founded in 1535 and with about 400,000 inhabitants, Olinda has a colonial-era houses in its historic center, as well as churches, workshops and many restaurants.


The main activity for those visiting the city does not require a guide or much knowledge of the area, as the best experience is to get lost on the slopes admiring its colorful houses and cobblestone streets. The cool thing is that you can do everything on foot, without stress.

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

The Portuguese heritage and Dutch rule for more than two decades left their marks on what was the first capital of Pernambuco, today World Heritage for the UNESCO.

Like other historic cities, like straps and Black gold, the churches are one of the great attractions of Olinda. The most beautiful and worth a visit are the Carmo (Carmo Square), monastery of St. benedict (Rua de São Bento s/n) and the Cathedral Church (from Salvador, which is located in Alto da Sé) .

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

O Alto da Sé It’s one of my favorite places. The large flat area in one of the highest parts of the city offers a beautiful view.

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

In addition to a market with typical foods, shops and good restaurants, the coolest attraction there is visiting the Panoramic Elevator and Viewpoint of Caixa d’Água. Entrance is charged (R$6 in 2015) and what you can see from up there is to be contemplated for a long time: a privileged view of the archaeological site and the colorful sea of ​​Pernambuco.

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

Take the opportunity to take a break from the walk to have lunch at a good restaurant. There are many options and we made a list with some that we indicate in the city.

When shopping for souvenirs or local handicrafts, it is worth visiting the Alto da Sé Craft Market and a hidden market that is great for souvenirsO Ribeira Market (Rua São Bento), a place used for the sale of slaves in the past and which has a nice patio surrounded by small shops.

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

already in Largo do Varadouro is the beautiful Eufrásio Barbosa Market, from the 17th century, where there is a theater and folkloric center. It’s a good place to meet famous people. Olinda dolls if your visit takes place outside the Carnival season.

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

A suggestion if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of revelry, but still feel the atmosphere of frevo on the slopes of Olinda, is to visit the city a few weeks before Carnival. We went two weeks before the date and every evening and at night the streets were filled with blocks to the sound of Pernambuco rhythm, including the participation of the “puppets”.

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

Throughout the year, in the association Pitombeira dos Quatro Cantos (Rua 27 de Janeiro), which looks more like a bar, you can have fun with frevo.

Things to do in Olinda (Photo: Esse Mundo É Nosso)

The most famous museums in the city are the Museum of Sacred ArtO Mamulengo Museum it’s the Olinda Regional.

Now if you go to Olinda hoping to enjoy the beach, unfortunately the edge of the city is not very suitable for swimming in the sea. The main ones are urban Carmo, New Neighborhood and sweet River. Further away, and with better bathing conditions, are whitewashed house and Maria Flour.


The driest time is from September to March. During the winter, especially in June and July, it is the time of greatest rainfall. Carnival days are the busiest and also the most expensive.


Olinda is just 6 km from Recife and 12 km from the neighboring city’s airport. Access from other capitals in the Northeast is via BR101, followed by Av. Agamemnon Magalhães, between Recife and Olinda.


Without a doubt, the best place to stay is in one of the many hotels or inns in the Historic Center. If you prefer, it is easy to take a day trip from Recife (check accommodation tips in Olinda).

See too

+ Where to stay in Olinda

+ Tips for restaurants in the city

+ Boa Viagem beach in Recife

+ Hotel tip in the capital of Pernambuco

+ Walking tour through the Center of Recife

Rafael Carvalho

A fan of chicken with okra and a good beer from Minas Gerais, he currently lives in São Paulo. He has a degree in Radio and TV, a postgraduate degree in Journalism and has been working with Digital Content for over 16 years. He has worked for companies such as SBT and Jovem Pan FM. Passionate about travel, he founded Esse Mundo É Nosso and travels around Brazil and the world all year round, always looking for tips to share.

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