Entry way to the Pernambucano coast.

By Isis Juliana Neves-Müller

“Today, serene, it floats, one half stolen from the sea, the other half from the imagination because it’s from men’s dreams that a city re-invents itself”. The description by the poet Carlos Pena Filho (1929-1960) about the city of Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, makes sense even today. Founded in 1537, the name comes from one of the coral reefs that protect the coast, creating one of the most beautiful natural pools in the world. Intersected by various rivers, channels and wetlands this city is rich in culture, history and natural beauty. Our Brazilian Venice fascinates tourists with the 39 bridges that began being constructed in the 17th century, during the time of the Dutch invasion.

Holland, however, did not completely leave Recife. Douglas Van Der Ley descended from Dutch grandparents, won, for the second consecutive time, the award for chef of the year with his innovative cuisine. In his restaurants — É and Azú Comedoria, the latter just recently opened, with a seafood menu — he creates an impact with his recipes. With dishes that are definitely not routine such as cotton candy with foie gras and filet-mignon with popcorn farofa, the chef pleases all with new items on the menu.

This is the enchantment of Recife: the new and the old live harmoniously. It’s a city full of churches, convents, estates and museums where you can also find modern buildings and a large number of sky scrapers, in comparison to other capitals in Brazil. Recife also stands out because it has the most important medical center in the North/Northeast and a famous technological center that houses various multi-national companies.

Recife International Airport is the largest in the region in terms of annual passenger capacity. One of the most modern in the country, it was elected one of the five best airports in the world by airline companies. Our Venice brings in tourists from all over the world seeing who see it as the gateway to the state. Some of the reasons for the large number of tourists are cultural celebrations like Carnaval and São João.

The Carnaval in Recife, together with the ones in Olinda and Salvador, is one of the liveliest street carnavals in Brazil. During Carnaval, frevo runs wild in the streets during the street parades, such as the Galo da Madrugada, the most important frevo group in the city. During this time the downtown streets are full of people, at times uniting over one million revellers. The maracatu, caboclinho, cirandas and coco de roda groups are typical to the region and fascinate the tourists. Local artists such as Alceu Valença, Lenine Antônio Carlos Nóbrega and the filmmaker and television director Guel Arraes, among others, show us that the city invented from dreams continues to feed our imagination.

Check it out:

Casa da Cultura – The city’s former Detention House has become a cultural centre for Pernambuco art. There are 150 shops where you can find pieces made of clay, ceramic, leather or wood that is transformed into dolls, chess games, bumba-meu-boi and even purses, sandals, hats and embroidery.

Porto de Galinhas – This beach stands out because of the natural clear-water pools and the beautiful landscape.

Ricardo Brennand Institute – This is a mandatory tourist stop for those visiting Recife. There is an art gallery and an interesting arms museum that is shaped like a castle.

Bar da Praia – This inviting place has an air conditioned room and an open deck to the sidewalk, with a privileged view of Boa Viagem beach. There is something new on the menu: organic oysters, brought from a marine farm in Rio Grande do Norte, that are always fresh and clean, because they go through a purifier filter that eliminates impurities and bacteria.


Recife – Lonely Planet