The Top 10 Things to See and Do in Recife, Brazil

Recife Old Town | © fgmsp / Pixabay
Recife Old Town | © fgmsp / Pixabay
Photo of Harry Stewart
15 February 2018

Dubbed the “Venice of Brazil” for the abundance of picturesque waterways that sliver throughout the city, Recife is a touristic and commercial powerhouse in northern Brazil and a must for travelers traversing the region. From a crazy carnival parade to pristine beaches and thumping nightlife, here are the top 10 things to see and do in this vibrant tropical city.

Go crazy at carnival

Give the tourist throngs of Rio a miss and go a little loco Brazilian-style at Recife’s world-class carnival. Try to arrive on Saturday to witness the Galo da Madrugada, an epic parade that follows a giant route across a bridge and attracts some two million revelers. It’s the biggest street party in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

Galo da Madrugada | © governadoreduardocampos / WikiCommons

Check out neighboring Olinda

A sister city just a short drive from Recife, colorful Olinda is famous for its pastel-colored houses and quaint colonial churches. Culture vultures will adore this open-air living museum, especially considering the entire historical center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.

Olinda, State of Pernambuco, Brazil

Shop till you drop

Shop
Map View
RioMar Recife
RioMar Recife | RioMar Recife
Retail therapy is another popular pastime in this affluent city, with numerous glitzy designer stores to tempt the frivolous spender. For the best selection, head to the massive RioMar Recife, considered to be among the best shopping centers in Brazil.

Marvel at some incredible pottery

Brazil’s finest ceramicist set up shop on the outskirts of Recife, converting his family’s abandoned tile factory into a whimsical array of immaculately crafted artworks. It’s within a short distance of Instituto Ricardo Brennand, so be sure to combine a trip to both.

Oficina Ceramica Francisco Brennand, Propriedade Santos Cosme e Damião, Rua Diogo de Vasconcellos, S/N Várzea, Recife PE, 50740-970, Brazil, +55 81 3271 2466

Head out for an unforgettable evening

The thriving city of Recife has no shortage of excellent dining and entertainment options, with many of the most happening spots lining the upmarket Boa Viagem.

Nighttime Recife | © Paula Cristina / Flickr