Olinda is my favorite city in Brazil. I was captivated by its colorful beauty and its slow, peaceful pace within seconds of arriving. I often say that one day I will buy a house in Olinda. In the meantime, I return to spend a few days there every time I go to Recife to slow down and be dazzled by its beauty. If you want to visit Olinda, here is some information to ensure a successful stay.
Visit Olinda Brazil :
- Explore the historic center
- Visit its churches
- Buy local souvenirs
- Enjoy a drink in a bar
- Relax at the beach
- Finish the evening at Alto do Sé
More useful information:
Olinda in a nutshell
The Portuguese founded this charming city in 1535, perched on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, although indigenous tribes had long occupied its territory. It was the entry point for slaves forced to travel from Africa, whose fate ended in one of the plantations in the Pernambuco region in northeastern Brazil.
Olinda, the capital of the region, was burned by the Dutch nearly a century later, but was rebuilt toward the end of the 17th century.
Today, it is an extremely well-preserved colonial city known for its lively carnival and its beauty, which tourists come to admire, fully aware that the city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982.
Visit Olinda: 6 must-do
Even though I could spend weeks enjoying the laid-back lifestyle of Olinda, Brazil, it’s a city you can easily explore in a day.
Explore the historic center
Steep cobblestone streets and colorful facades are the essence of Olinda. To discover the city, don’t try to navigate with Google Maps, but wander at your leisure.
Visit its churches
Olinda has nearly 22 churches. I recommend visiting the Catedral da Sé for its terrace, which offers an incredible view of the city. The Mosteiro do São Bento is another must-see
Buy local souvenirs
There are a few local craft centers in Olinda. I suggest visiting them to discover the region’s craftsmanship, which offers a wide range of colorful souvenirs.
Enjoy a drink in a bar
Drinking a cold beer while listening to Brazilians laughing loudly or local artists playing music is an activity you can do throughout the country, and Olinda is no exception!
Relax at the beach
Olinda has several beaches where you can soak up the sun and gaze at the ocean. Here is a short list: Praia dos Milagres, Praia da Olinda, Praia do Farol and Praia da Casa Caiada.
Finish the evening at Alto da Sé
On the main hill overlooking the city, with a view of Recife in the distance, many food stalls are present from late afternoon. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy tapioca with coconut and cheese, or a Romeu e Julieta while surrounded by Brazilians and tourists.
ALSO : Visit Recife
Olinda is a beautiful city perfect for slow travel, but you’ll quickly explore it. You can spend a weekend there and combine your visit with a trip to Recife, the actual capital of the state.
Bustling city center and very long beach to relax, the city is perfect for a short stay between history, culture, and chill.
How to get to Olinda?
Whether you’re coming from Natal, Salvador, João Pessoa, or anywhere else in Brazil, chances are you’ll arrive in Recife by plane or bus.
How to get to Olinda from Recife?
Several buses connect Recife to Olinda and take you there in 30 minutes. Ask locals for the bus stops because Google Maps is not very reliable.
From the airport or the bus station, you can take a taxi to Olinda.
You have the option of taking a motorcycle or car to get to Olinda from Recife.
How to get around in Olinda?
Of course, you can take an Uber or a taxi, but the tourist center is quite small, so you can easily walk everywhere.
Just for you to know: numerous streets are very steep, so if you have knees or back problems or just a bit of vertigo, it can be quite challenging. Take your time or look for an alternative route to avoid these streets.
When to visit Olinda?
The weather is beautiful year-round in Olinda. From May to August, rains can be quite frequent and intense, so it’s best to avoid that period.
Is it safe to visit Olinda?
As in any part of Brazil, there is no such thing as zero risk. However, since the city is smaller, the risk is lower.
That being said, avoid walking at night and exposing valuables or money to everyone’s eyes.
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Being a digital nomad in Olinda
Honestly, Olinda is a perfect city for a tourist stay. For working there, since the city is small, you will quickly explore it, and it may be more challenging to meet people and even more so to meet other remote workers.
Responsible travel in Olinda
Wherever you are in Brazil, it’s important to travel responsibly to protect the planet and improve the living conditions of the locals.
There are many actions you can take during your travels. Here is a very short list:
- Avoid very expensive Airbnbs that disrupt the local market and prevent locals from finding proper accommodation.
- Bring a reusable container to avoid unnecessary plastic consumption when eating on the street.
- Apply eco-friendly sunscreen when swimming.
- Opt for walking to explore the city instead of taking taxis or Ubers.
- Learn about the social, economic, and environmental context of your destination to better understand the locals’ situation.
If you visit Olinda, you will discover a charming city to enjoy a colorful excursion or a peaceful stay to recharge your batteries.
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