A vibrant mishmash of technicolored houses and quaint churches on a hill affording tropical ocean views, the immaculately preserved colonial town of Olinda is a must for anyone venturing into the north of Brazil. Don’t believe us? Here are 11 reasons why this gem is not to be missed.
An epic carnival
Featuring nonstop street parades that begin several months before the main event, the Olinda/Recife carnival is a hit among Brazilians and a worthy rival of the festivities in Rio.
Those photogenic streets
Everywhere you look in Olinda is an Instragrammable affair thanks to its cobblestone alleys lined with cutesy pastel-colored homes.
Incredible colonial history
Olinda was the original capital of the Pernambuco province, a former hub of commerce and artistic flair that was fundamental in shaping 16th-century Brazil.
Such is its importance to the nation that the entire historical center of Olinda was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
A thriving arts scene
Popular with Brazillian bohemians, Olinda is chock full of contemporary museums, vibrant galleries, and eclectic outdoor art installations.
An abundance of pretty churches
Given its colonial history, it should come as no surprise that there is seemingly a house of worship on every corner.
Incredible ocean and jungle vistas
As it occupies an enviable position on a hill perched over the sea, you don’t need to walk far in Olinda to stumble across breathtaking views.
A happening social scene
Packed full of bohemian restaurants, bars, and cafés, Olinda has no shortage of hip places to eat and drink with its youthful local clientele.
It’s off the beaten track
Most travelers stick to the sights of southern Brazil, rarely giving the north the time of day. Venture off the well-trodden gringo trail to discover this magical part of the country away from the tourist crowds.
A chilled vibe
The atmosphere in sunny Olinda is ever so laid-back, tempting many an enamored traveler to linger for longer than planned.
Recife is just down the road
Keen to explore a more modern Brazillian city? Then the metropolis of Recife, Brazil’s fourth-largest town, is only a short taxi ride away.
Check out this region-by-region guide to Brazil’s diverse cultures.