- Encounters with locals
- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
- Unesco World Heritage
- Off the beaten track
Best carnival in Brazil, a colonial jewel, a town packed with artists and crafts people, amazing sea views, exquisite food...Welcome to... Olinda!
"Oh!" "Linda" being the translation of "Oh magnificent!" Or so the legend goes. Apparently Duarte Coelho (the first governor of the region in the 16th Century) used these words to describe the town's geographical location.
And Olinda lives up to this story! Stroll along its streets, poke your nose into its churches and amazing 16th Century monastery! The town is built on a steep slope, so massage your calves and drink lots of coconut water!
Leave the noisy, uninteresting Brazilian towns of Brazilia and São Paulo behind - the real Brazil is found in the north and north-east, the 'must-sees' during any trip to Brazil.
Olinda is, without doubt, one of my favorite places in Brazil. It has all the elements that represent the charm and beauty of the country. Incredible ocean views overlooked by the town and color everywhere. Vivid green plants blend with a clear blue sea, bordered by bright, colonial houses. Music is omnipresent, with local frevo and maracuta rythms, alongside folklore, crafts, great food and, of course, the architectural heritage. Be prepared for the heat and roads that are steep, but, trust me, it's well worth the effort!
Even though the town is not big, it has a lot of things on offer. Top of my list are the Convento Sao Francisco, a baroque jewel, the Mosteiro Sao Bento, where you can go to a 10am Sunday service and listen to Gregorian chants, the Catedral da Sé that overlooks Recife and, finally, the ocean view from the terrace at L'igreja N.S. do Camo. I also enjoyed my tour of the Museu de Arte Sacra de Pernambuco, where the staff were really friendly and happy to answer any questions. It has an amazing collection of polychrome wooden carvings.
If you're interested in crafts, then head to rua do Amparo, with its numerous workshops or the former slave market, the Mercado de Ribeira, which has been transformed into a craft center.