Lives in Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Since Nov 2010
Creator of Rent a Local Friend.com, which is a global platform that connects people who love to travel with those who are passionate about where they live and have a great story to tell. More than just an outing, the project aspire the sharing of local tips and contents, information that will be revealed in no travel book or guide and last but certainly not least the essence of each local culture and spirit. All of this is done in a spontaneous, genuine, collaborative, and interest based way allowing people to connect with those that posess similarities or own characteristics that will allow a full immersion in the visiting destination.
Historic Walking Areas
Sacred & Religious Sites
Sacred & Religious Sites
Churches & Cathedrals
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Government Buildings
Observation Decks & Towers
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Gift & Speciality Shops
Since 1982, Olinda has been a designated UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity site, and being a historical site, the best way to experience it is by walking! Start with the lower part, where the beach and the São Francisco Fort are situated. From here, walk through the grounds of Carmo Church (at 'Sítio de Seu Reis') and continue on the higher level until you reach the Sé Church. (As well as its cultural richness, Olinda is blessed with lush natural areas, meaning it's not hard to find a shady place to rest as you explore.)
Situated in the historical center of town, Oficina do Sabor has been in business for more than 20 years, and has won several regional and national restaurant awards. The menu is a mix of seafood with regional flavors, my favorite being the shrimp stew with fruit sauce (think locally-grown fruits like mango and 'pitanga'), served in a whole squash. Dessert is also something to experience: Ask for a 'cartola,' a plate with banana, cheese and cinnamon, served warm. A true delight!
The first convent of the Franciscan Order in Brazil, its church features beautiful Portuguese tiles, and plenty of original baroque detail. In the inner courtyard, Portuguese tile panels depict the life and death of San Francisco, while in the sacristy you'll find other tile displays, plus Jacaranda (Brazilian native tree) furniture, and numerous religious paintings.
For over 24 years, Brazil's first School of Law was housed here in this basilica, whose opulent gold-coated altar is a real highlight. Another must-see is the life-size image of Christ on the crucifix, which you'll find at the back of the Chapel.
A curious point you might notice as you explore Olinda is that all the churches in the historic city have their faces pointed towards the Igreja da Sé. Why? Because this church is the principal one, and as such has cathedral status. While you should definitely explore inside this lovely building, I recommend this place for a different reason — a snack stop! Ever heard of the very typical Brazilian food called 'tapioca?' It's a type of white pancake made with manioc flour, and the stalls in the square opposite this church serve some of the most authentic in Olinda. If you are going to try one, I suggest starting with the most traditional — tapioca with coconut — although you will find many fillings here, from savory to sweet.
Easy to find on a historical street corner, the Creperia at number 168 offers a fantastic range of flavors and a warm, homey atmosphere. Imagine feasting on a crepe filled with one of the specialties of the region, 'cartola;' a mix of cheese, guava, and cinnamon. Definitely worth the visit!
This museum is not to be missed by those who wish to delve deeper into the Catholic art that's so inseparable from Olinda's history and development. Set in a privileged, city-center location, this space is dedicated to the exhibition and study of sacred art and religious inspiration. It's permanent collection includes objects of worship — from popular saints to processions — as well as religious paintings.
Near the São Bento Monastery, you'll find the Palace of the Governors, Olinda's City Hall. Visitors are allowed to enter, and the view from the backyard makes it certainly worth the visit.
From the top of the Olinda's water tower — the highest point of the Upper Town — is where you'll enjoy one of the best sunset views. It's also a great lookout point on clear days, should you want to get your bearings.
Hard to believe, but Beijupirá's location is perfect! It's in the middle of a beautiful garden, where you can spot marmosets and fruit trees, the decor is a colorful Carnival theme, and the view is fantastic too. 'Beijupirá' is a delicious fish that is a big part of the menu here, but it's not the only star; the shrimps and lobsters are also delicious. It's perfect for a dinner for two or a family gathering!
Small in size, the Fort of San Francisco (nicknamed "Fortim do Queijo" because of its dimensions) was built to defend Olinda. It has a quadrangular format, featuring two cannons and an access ramp, and it's very easy to spot the remains of shells — which were used along with sand and whale oil — in the construction of its structure.
Strategically located, Olinda Sorvetes is a refreshing oasis in the middle of the historic center. After climbing up the city's hilly terrain, in its hot, tropical climate, nothing beats a tasty peanut ice cream, or a cooling 'cajá' (cashew) or 'graviola' sorbet.
This market is a mandatory stop, whether you want to buy handicrafts or simply admire one of Olinda's most famous Carnival attractions: the giant dolls. Built around 1693, the Mercado da Ribeira was formerly a meat, flour, fish, and slave-trade market; but today it sells all manner of goods.
Looking for a snack and a cold, refreshing drink? Why not order a 'petisco' (snack) and a chilled beer at Bodega de Véio, and take in the daily routine of the locals on one of the most renowned streets in historic Olinda! The bodega inside is small, more like a huge counter, but it's very authentic, the decor is charming, and sells a bit of everything — from beer to hair combs. You can have a good time here simply taking in every detail!
Olinda is also known as the city of giant puppets: dolls and puppets of all shapes and sizes feature prominently in Carnival parades, and these 'mamulengos' translate and sing the people's dreams, joys, and sorrows. This museum is the first and most important puppet museum in Latin America, and its collection — featuring figures from the nineteenth century, right through to contemporary items — is considered a real cultural gem.