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The historic city of Olinda is full of hills, offering privileged views of the surrounding landscape, including its beautiful UNESCO-listed mansions and churches. Olinda got its name from its earliest Portuguese inhabitants, who described the city as "O-linda!" ("how beautiful"), and visitors today are still wowed by the city's authentic charm and genuine local culture. There are also numerous paradise spots for foodies to discover, and Olinda's proximity to Recife — being practically a suburb of this ever-expanding metropolis — makes it a great base for exploring the range of attractions that both cities have to offer.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • LGBT
  • Beach Goer
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

15 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

15 Places

Day 1

Centro Historico de Olinda

Historic Walking Areas

Oficina do Sabor

Restaurants

Convento de Sao Francisco

Sacred & Religious Sites

Basilica de Sao Bento

Sacred & Religious Sites

Se Cathedral

Churches & Cathedrals

Creperia

Restaurants

Day 2

Museu de Arte Sacra de Pernambuco

Speciality Museums

Palacio dos Governadores-Prefeitura de Olinda

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Government Buildings

Caixa d'Agua Alto da Se / Elevador Panoramico

Observation Decks & Towers

Beijupira

Restaurants

Day 3

Fortim de Sao Francisco de Olinda

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Olinda Sorvetes

Restaurants

Mercado da Ribeira

Gift & Speciality Shops

Bodega de Veio

Restaurants

Museu do Mamulengo

Speciality Museums

RentaLocalFriend's City Tips

  • Visit Itapissuma, less than 30 minutes drive from Olinda, and known as "crustaceans paradise!"
  • It's hilly and it's hot, so travel light. Use a very small bag to carry the bare minimum around with you e.g. documents, cash, and credit cards.
  • Olinda is only seven kilometers from the center of Recife, so it's definetly worth a visit to check out the attractions of its neighboring city.
    Day 1
  • Centro Historico de Olinda
    Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.)

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • A walking tour with a local guide is strongly recommended.
    • Look out for the variety of birds and fruit trees that inhabit the historical center.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 56 things to do in Olinda
    • Day trip from Recife 05/01/2021
    • A must-visit in the northeast of Brazil! 08/12/2020
    • Centro Historico de Olinda
    Other:
  • Oficina do Sabor
    Restaurants (Brazilian, Seafood)
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Ask for a table on the balcony, the view is beautiful!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 428 restaurants in Olinda
    • 28 years and going strong! Highly recommended! 08/12/2020
    • So not miss the oportunity to try this amazing cuisine. 30/10/2020
    • Oficina do Sabor
    Address:
    Rua do Amparo 335
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55 81 3429-3331
    Price range:
    US$16 - US$34
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:30 AM - 5:00 PM
    Tue - Thu
    11:30 AM - 4:00 PM
    6:00 PM - 12:00 AM
    Fri - Sat
    11:30 AM - 1:00 AM
    Other:
  • Convento de Sao Francisco
    Sacred & Religious Sites
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Don't miss the art panels, with scenes depicting the daily life of the convent's first inhabitants.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 56 things to do in Olinda
    • Lovely convent 15/01/2019
    • Nice tour at your own pace. 17/12/2017
    • Convento de Sao Francisco
    Address:
    Rua de S. Francisco, 280
    Centro
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco
    Brazil
    Phone:
    (81) 3429-0517
  • Basilica de Sao Bento
    Sacred & Religious Sites
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • On Sundays, from 10am, you can listen to the Gregorian Chanting Choir here.
    • On Saturday and Tuesday during Carnival, the famous troupe ('bloco') Eu Acho é Pouco meets in the square opposite the monastery. It has paraded the slopes of Olinda since 1977.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 56 things to do in Olinda
    • a monastery church 18/10/2018
    • ok church with lots of gold interior 03/06/2016
    • Basilica de Sao Bento
    Address:
    Rua de Sao Bento s/n
    Centro
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53020-080
    Brazil
    Phone:
    (81) 3316-3290
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    Mon - Thu
    8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Fri - Sun
    6:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Se Cathedral
    Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Be sure to visit the church yard. The view is beautiful!
    • The church doesn't have regular opening hours so ask ahead at your accommodation.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 56 things to do in Olinda
    • Must visit while in Olinda! 08/12/2020
    • perfect place 04/10/2020
    • Se Cathedral
    Address:
    Ladeira da SE s/n
    Carmo
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53120-101
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55 21 3030-7200
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Other:
  • Creperia
    Restaurants (Brazilian, Pizza)
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • This place is particularly nice because it is located in a corner house. Enter and settle at a table near the window. You will soon feel at home!
    • The savory pastries are just as delicious as the crepes.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 428 restaurants in Olinda
    • Best Crepes I've had!! 27/08/2018
    • Nice little place with great crepes and coffee 20/01/2018
    • Creperia
    Address:
    Praca Conselheiro Joao Alfredo 168
    Carmo
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53025-200
    Brazil
    Phone:
    (81) 3429-2935
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
    Other:
  • Day 2
  • Museu de Arte Sacra de Pernambuco
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Located in the center of Olinda, it's easy to include this spot in whatever walking itinerary you have planned.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #18 of 56 things to do in Olinda
    • Museum worth a visit! 02/04/2021
    • Sacred art at the old Episcopal Palace ... 05/11/2018
    • Museu de Arte Sacra de Pernambuco
    Address:
    Rua Bispo Coutinho 726
    Alto da Sé
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53120-130
    Brazil
    Phone:
    (81) 3184-3154
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Palacio dos Governadores-Prefeitura de Olinda
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Government Buildings
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • During Carnival, the most traditional groups pass by here, making it a fiercely competitive place. I recommend avoiding it during this time. (Television stations even compete for the best location here!)
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 56 things to do in Olinda
    • one of a few secular grand buildings in Olinda 18/10/2018
    • Ben tenuto 28/11/2019
    • Palacio dos Governadores-Prefeitura de Olinda
    Address:
    Rua de Sao Bento 123
    Varadouro
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53020-080
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55 81 3439 1988
    Other:
  • Caixa d'Agua Alto da Se / Elevador Panoramico
    Observation Decks & Towers
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • On weekends and holidays, this small spot gets very crowded. Try to go on a weekday.
    • During Carnival, the much anticipated "Enquanto Isso Na Sala de Justiça" bloco performance is held here. Check times at your accommodation (usually around 9am).
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 56 things to do in Olinda
    • For the views and the architectural concept ! 08/02/2019
    • Great View of the City 03/11/2017
    • Caixa d'Agua Alto da Se / Elevador Panoramico
    Address:
    Rua Bispo Coutinho
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53120-130
    Brazil
    Other:
  • Beijupira
    Restaurants (Brazilian, Seafood)
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Full moon? Sunset? Call and book an outside table.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 428 restaurants in Olinda
    • Not a tourist trap 16/03/2020
    • Not to be missed while in Olinda! 05/03/2020
    • Beijupira
    Address:
    Rua Saldanha Marinho s/n
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53020-210
    Brazil
    Phone:
    (81)3439-6691
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    Mon
    12:00 PM - 12:00 AM
    Wed - Sat
    12:00 PM - 12:00 AM
    Other:
  • Day 3
  • Fortim de Sao Francisco de Olinda
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • At the back of the fort, on the other side of the avenue, you can see one of the few Baobab trees that exist in Olinda. These strange-looking trees can live to be 3,000 years old!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #28 of 56 things to do in Olinda
    • Not much to see ! 08/02/2019
    • a small coastal fort 17/10/2018
    • Fortim de Sao Francisco de Olinda
    Address:
    Rua do Sol - Largo do Fortim
    Carmo
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco
    Brazil
    Other:
  • Olinda Sorvetes
    Restaurants
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Buy a cone with two different flavor scoops and enjoy the view over Laura Nigro's Square, opposite the ice cream shop.
    • The house specialty is regional fruit flavors.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #47 of 428 restaurants in Olinda
    • Olinda - Patrimônio da humanidade - cidade do estado de Pernambuco no Brasil. 18/03/2019
    • Refrescância pura 14/03/2017
    • Olinda Sorvetes
    Address:
    Rua de Sao Bento 358
    Varadouro
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53020-080
    Brazil
  • Mercado da Ribeira
    Gift & Speciality Shops
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • The back of the market offers a beautiful view of mango, coconut, and cashew trees. Marmosets can often be seen here too.
    • During Carnival, some "blocos" and "caboclinhos" meet here, before starting their parade through the city's slopes.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 11 Shopping in Olinda
    • Handicrafts at the historical center of Olinda! 05/11/2018
    • A Lisbon must 28/06/2018
    • Mercado da Ribeira
    Address:
    Rua Bernardo Vieira de Melo
    Bairro da Ribeira
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53020-160
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55 81 34399708
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
  • Bodega de Veio
    Restaurants (Brazilian, Bar, International, Pub)
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Although it's small, there are always events going on here. Check out the schedule once you arrive.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 428 restaurants in Olinda
    • A must go 28/05/2018
    • very nice simple place 25/09/2017
    • Bodega de Veio
    Address:
    Rua do Amparo 212
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53025-080
    Brazil
    Phone:
    558134290185
    Other:
  • Museu do Mamulengo
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    RentaLocalFriend Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you're not visiting during Carnival, this is a great place to taste the spirit of Olinda's celebrations.
    • The entrance fee is very low!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 56 things to do in Olinda
    • An entertaining tour of crazy dolls 19/06/2015
    • A journey through the magical world of dolls and northeastern culture. 30/01/2015
    • Museu do Mamulengo
    Address:
    Avenida Doutor Joaquim Nabuco
    Olinda, State of Pernambuco 53010-240
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55 81 3493-2753
    Hours:
    Tue - Sat
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
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