The street Rua Prudente de Morais in Olinda

Olinda is a city in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco. It hosts one of Brazil's most famous carnivals and is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its XVI and XVII-century buildings. Many bars, restaurants, artist and craftspeople studios add charm to the old-town setting.


Olinda was founded in 1537 by the Portuguese Duarte Coelho Pereira. It owed its rapid rise to the sugar cane cultivated in the Pernambuco area. From the 16th century onward, religious missions built many churches and convents. The city was, however, pillaged by the Dutch in 1631. One of the few surviving buildings is the Church of São João. The Portuguese returned in 1654. Most of the buildings at Olinda date from the 18th century.

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is Recife Guarapes Airport. A taxi to/from the airport will cost some R$ 40.

By bus

Olinda is approximately 7 km from the center of Recife, with plenty of local buses running in between. The main bus stop in Olinda is Praça do Carmo, which is easy to miss.

By taxi

Taxis from the center of Recife to Olinda take about 20 minutes.

Get around

The historic center is compact and can be explored on foot.


In poetry

Olinda is all for the eyes
it's not tangible, it's all desire.
No one says, "That's where I live."
They just say, "That's where I see."

-- Celebrated Brazilian poet Carlos Pena Filho,
in his poem Olinda.

Olinda's beautiful scenery and architecture make for a pleasant sightseeing all around. Colonial architecture, belvederes and the blue sea paint a relaxed environment that is second to none among Brazilian traditional cities.





Outside of Carnaval season, Olinda boasts a lively culture, featuring mostly forró and maracatú in the clubs and town squares, as well as year-round, Saturday night serenades.


Quite different from those of Rio and Salvador this is a lively street party, where blocos parade accompanied by frevo and maracatu music. There is a certain activity during the weeks before (and some after), but the party itself explodes on the official dates, from Friday evening until Wednesday morning. Its most famous representative are the giant dolls carried on the shoulders of the people. The parties are non-stop, 24 hours, but the bulk of the crowd fills the streets daytime. When looking for accommodation, bear in mind that the most central streets get very noisy.


The beach in Olinda proper is polluted. Local buses can take you north to Pau Amarelo and Maria Farinha.




Olinda's prefeitura (mayor's office) publishes a monthly nightlife guide, available in tourist offices and hotels.


Olinda has a wide range of options when it comes to lodging. Reservations could be wise in January and February. During carnival prices triple (literally!!!) and you will have to pay for the five nights from Friday to Wednesday no matter what. Private rooms (R$ 500-1000/5 nights) and apartments/houses (R$800 and up) are mostly cheaper, but standards vary greatly, and they are hard to book ahead. If you arrive on Thursday, there is still time.




See list of foreign consulates in the page for the neighboring city of Recife.

Go next

Routes through Olinda

Natal João Pessoa  N  S  Recife Maceió

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, August 27, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.