>  Brazil   >  Things to Do in Recife? 10 Must-See Attractions

Most tourists who visit Brazil usually limit their exploration to Rio de Janeiro and Salvador de Bahia. It’s a shame, as this country, which is the size of a mini-continent, has much more to offer. The entire Northeast region combines large cities, typical architecture, diverse craftsmanship, delicious cuisine, and beautiful beaches for relaxation. Recife is a perfect example of these cities. It’s a place I really like, as it’s less touristy and more peaceful. Let’s discover 10 things to do in Recife.

Other important information:

Recife in a Few Words

Recife is the capital of the state of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil. The city, with almost 4 million inhabitants, was founded in 1537 by Portuguese colonizers. At that time, it was subordinate to its neighboring city, Olinda. This simple fishing port became the capital of Dutch Brazil in 1630 when the Dutch bombarded and burned Olinda. In 1654, the Dutch were expelled. Recife gradually grew and became the capital of the state of Pernambuco in 1837.

The city, whose name originates from the reefs on which it has been built, has intense economic activity. However, it is best known for attracting tourists, who come to relax on its main beach, Boa Viagem, and other areas’ beaches.

que faire à recife

10 Things to Do in Recife

If you enjoy soaking up the sun and the beach while also indulging in some sightseeing, Recife is a perfect destination.

Recife Antigo

Begin your visit at Marco Zero. From here, all distances in the state of Pernambuco are calculated. Wander aimlessly in the city center. If it’s a Sunday, you can enjoy the street market. You can buy local food and souvenirs there. Walk down Bom Jesus Street and admire the colors of its facades. Stop at the terrace of Venda Bom Jesus to enjoy live music.

que faire à recife
que faire à recife
que faire à recife
que faire à recife

Parque das Esculturas

From Marco Zero, there’s a boat that can take you to Parque das Esculturas, where entrance is free. There, you can admire the rather unusual structures by Francisco Brennand. It’s a fairly peaceful place to escape a bit from the noise of the historic center.

Embaixa dos Bonecos Gigantes de Olinda

In this museum, you can discover the traditional giant puppets that parade during Carnival. You’ll easily recognize Pelé, Neymar, Trump, the Pope, or even Chucky.

Sinagoga Kahal Zur Israel

The first synagogue in the Americas was built in Recife. Today, it’s a very interesting museum. One of the rooms recreates the interior of the synagogue, which no longer exists. The rest narrates the fascinating history of that synagogue and the Jews of the area.


Museum Paço do Frevo

Frevo is a dance and carnival genre typical of the region. It’s part of UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage. This charming interactive museum offers you first contact with frevo. If you don’t speak Portuguese at all, you might want to skip it.

Museum Cais do Sertao

This museum highlights the life, culture, and history of the sertanejo people. The same: if you don’t understand basic Portuguese, you might want to skip it.


Museum da Cidade e Forte das Cinco Pontas

This fort built by the Dutch in 1630 tells the city’s history in an exhibition as comprehensive as it is interesting. The building itself is also worth a look.


Casa da Cultura

The cells of this former prison have been transformed to host local artisans who sell souvenirs and everyday items. An unusual visit not to be missed!


Ferinha da Boa Viagem

If you’re staying in Boa Viagem, you need to know that every night there’s a small night market where you can get typical local souvenirs. There are also many stalls where you can buy drinks and local specialties to taste. Sometimes, artists come to dance or sing.


Enjoy the beach

Boa Viagem Beach stretches endlessly for the delight of those who don’t like crowded places. It’s better to go on weekdays for more tranquility. Part of the beach has natural pools, where you can enjoy the water far from sharks. In fact, swimming isn’t recommended since these dangerous fish are never far away, as the warning messages along Boa Viagem remind you.


Enjoy the nightlife

In Boa Viagem, there are plenty of bars to have a drink and listen to live music. However, if you truly want to dive into more authentic Brazilian culture, I recommend going to bars in the city center. Be careful when moving around at night!

2 Must-Visit Places in the Recife Area

For beach lovers, Porto de Galinhas offers a spectacular beach guaranteed to be shark-free, but with water in a thousand shades where you can refresh peacefully.

The city of Olinda is a real gem with its multicolored facades and magnificent churches. It’s impossible to be bored there, as the atmosphere is always lively in its streets.

How to Get Around Recife?

If you’re staying in Boa Viagem, you’ll need to use transportation to get to the city center. You have many options!

By metro

The city has two metro lines, one goes through the airport. However, you’ll have to walk quite a bit to reach Marco Zero, for instance.

By bus

Recife is very well served by buses. However, some bus stops are not in service, contrary to what Google indicates. To make sure you wait at the right stops, you should ask the locals for advice.

By Uber

By car or motorcycle, you can do all your trips by Uber. The issue is that at certain times, traffic in Recife can be dreadful; prefer the motorcycle. You can also use the 99 app as an alternative to Uber.


If the distances to cover are short, you can easily walk. After nightfall, only walk in areas you know. After 11 p.m., opt for Uber.

Tips for Getting Around Recife:

  • Avoid rush hours, as traffic in Recife can be very heavy if you’re driving.
  • Use navigation apps, but never use your phone on the street, especially if you’re in the city center or historic neighborhood. If you need to check your apps, go into a shop.
  • Keep your belongings safe and prioritize well-lit and crowded areas to stay secure.
  • Learn basic phrases in Portuguese. Few people speak English or Spanish in Recife. Without Portuguese, communication can be complicated.

When to Visit Recife?

It’s hot all year round in Recife. However, rains can be particularly heavy and intense from May to August. Avoid this period if you mainly want to enjoy the beach.

Is it Dangerous to Visit Recife?

Firstly, I must admit that I only know the city center, the historic center, and Boa Viagem. Boa Viagem is the wealthiest neighborhood in the city, so security is higher. However, zero risk doesn’t exist. Avoid walking around at night, and keep your valuables in a safe place.

The two times I went to Recife, I read about many cases of attacks against tourists in the historic center. Make sure to blend in with the crowd as much as possible, and never take out your phone on the street.

Les deux fois que je suis allée à Recife, j’ai lu beaucoup de cas d’agressions contre des touristes dans le centre historique. Veillez à vous fondre dans la masse le plus possible et ne sortez jamais votre téléphone dans la rue.

Being a Digital Nomad in Recife

Recife isn’t really a destination for digital nomads. However, if you enjoy the beach and tranquility, it can be a good option. The Wi-Fi is quite good. There are some co-working spaces, and nearly all cafés have internet. If you need to connect with other digital nomads, it might be a bit challenging to find a community.

Traveling Responsibly iN Recife

Traveling responsibly is a habit to adopt, no matter your destination. There are many actions you can take to preserve the planet and its inhabitants. Here are some:

  • Support local businesses by choosing accommodations run by locals. The same goes for restaurants, bars, and shops.
  • Buy your souvenirs at Centro do Artesana to support local artisans and artists.
  • Reduce plastic waste by always carrying a reusable water bottle and shopping bag.
  • Use eco-friendly sunscreen to avoid water pollution and help preserve animals and reefs, among other things.
  • Learn about social, environmental, and economic issues locals face to better understand their situation.


Recife is a perfect city for enjoying relaxation on the beach coupled with immersion in Brazilian culture.

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things to do in Recife
things to do in Recife
things to do in Recife

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