With small colorful colonial houses and narrow cobbled streets climbing the slopes of the hills facing the ocean, discover the romance of a charming town that seems lost in time.
The small town of Olinda, just 8kms from Recife, the capital of the Pernambuco region in the southern part of the Northeast, deserves its UNESCO World Cultural Heritage title. With more than 300,000 inhabitants today, it is one of the biggest cities in the Northeast and played an important role in the local economy until the mid-19th century. This prosperity led to the construction of some beautiful homes and buildings, a splendid reflection to the enrichment of its visitors. Its particularly steep topography earned it the nickname of “Seven Hills Town”.
Centuries of history and remarkable colonial architecture make this city one of the most beautiful places to visit in Brazil for lovers of history and culture. It’s also an interesting step if you want to learn more about the largest country in Latin America on your way to the island of Fernando de Noronha, calling in at Recife.
Finally, Olinda is a favorite destination for partygoers and other night owls during the carnival in February. The city is known throughout Brazil for having the most feverish carnival in the country!
During your stay in Recife & Olinda
The Cultural Heritage of Pernambuco with its captivating capital, Recife
“The tropical Venice”
Typical steep streets and treasures of Olinda’s colonial architecture
Our Olinda package includes
- 1 private transfer with Portuguese speaking driver from Recife airport to your hotel in Olinda
- 2 nights with a double room in the hotel you have chosen from our selection.
- 1 half-day guided tour of Olinda with a professional guide.
- 1 full day (8hrs) visiting Recife with a French speaking guide.
- 1 private transfer from Olinda to Recife airport.
Visit Olinda’s rich cultural history and the economic pillar of the colonial Northeast
Olinda was founded by the Portuguese around 1535 on the hills overlooking the Atlantic from where they could see ships arriving from Europe or Africa.
It has a particular charm that enchants the visitor. Legend has it that it inherited its name from the first settlers who cried out “O Linda! “, ” what a beauty! », when discovering its idyllic landscape.
Right from the sixteenth century, Olinda became one of the most prosperous cities in the Northeast thanks to its sugar industry. As with other Brazilian cities, its cultural and architectural growth linked to the exploitation of sugar cane attracted artists from all walks of life. They created a city center of wealth and splendor that has past the test of time.
With this discovery package of Olinda and its neighbour Recife, you will discover the amazing colorful colonial architecture along the narrow cobbled streets down to the sea. Visit the Santa Isabel theatre or the numerous baroque churches, including the Alto da Se Cathedral and the Convento de Sao Francisco, with their splendid Portuguese, Italian and Spanish architecture. Finally, you can stroll around the Sao Jose market with its array of intense colors in a town where the tropical vegetation meets the blue ocean.
Olinda, a serenely beautiful city that vibrates to the crazy carnival rhythm
The architectural splendors of the historic center take on a particular image during the Carnival, which is quite different from the one in Rio, but no less popular.
Where in Rio there is a very formal parade in the Sambodrome, Olinda lives to the rhythm of the blocos. These carnival groups parade through the narrow streets followed by the crowd of Folioes (jesters) as those who dress up and participate in the festivities are called.
If you come to enjoy these few days when the party is in full swing throughout Brazil, do not miss the “bonecos” parades, these giant papier-mâché puppets, that are a tradition in Olinda and recognized as intangible heritage of humanity.
Finally, do not miss the famous “Galo da Madrugada” the largest bloco in the world! Following its procession, you will discover the Frevo, a musical style from the nearby city of Recife, so furious that the samba seems slow in comparison. It’s a typical Olinda carnival music, which you will recognize by its feverish rhythm of drums and percussion. It is all the subversive heritage of the slave era that you feel while dancing the Maracatu. This parade that mixes music and dance evokes the ancestral lands of Africa.
The heritage of Pernambouc, beyond the « city of eight hills »
The colorful peculiarities of Olinda’s culture extend throughout the Pernambuco region, including Recife, its twin city, which was founded in 1537 from a simple fishing port.
It became the regional capital 300 years later, thanks to its large port which gave it a more strategic position for maritime trade.
Called the “Brazilian Venice” because it has three islands and peninsulas, it will charm you with its canals and channels that form the Capibaribe river. During your guided tour, you will discover these islands that form the historic heart of the city.
Detailed program of a stay in Recife & Olinda
Day 1 : Olinda/ in
Arrival of your flight in Recife in the morning.
A driver awaits you at the airport to take you to Olinda, a 30 to 40 minute trip depending on the traffic.
Arrival in Olinda, the driver will drop you off at the hotel you have chosen from our selection. (Pousada do Amparo or Hotel 7 collinas, see descriptions in the accommodation section).
Afternoon, your French speaking guide will meet you for a half day visit of Olinda (4hrs).
Olinda, the city of seven hills, is a marvel of colonial architecture and a walk through its steep streets with colorful houses is a real delight. With colonial mansions and vast gardens, Baroque churches with rich decorations, it is all the splendor of a prestigious past which appears in front of you.
From one street to another, let your mind wander along the brightly colored facades and imagine the old days where “brown gold”, sugar cane, ensured the prosperity of the region. From the churches of Se and da Misericordia, you will admire the magnificent view of the city below, as well as its neighbor Recife.
Return and night at the pousada
Day 2 : Recife
After a delicious sweet and savory Brazilian breakfast buffet at your hotel, a driver will take you to Recife. You will spend the day visiting this Northeastern capital with a local guide to discover all the secrets (about 8hrs.).
During the visit, your guide will show you the three islands of the city: Recife, Santo Antonio and Boa Vista. On the island of Santo Antonio, the heart of the historical part of the city, you will visit the Casa de Cultura (House of Culture), installed in a former prison of the mid-nineteenth century. You will then join the beautiful raised Republic square where you will find many of the city’s remarkable buildings such as the Governor’s Palace, the famous Santa Isabel Theater and the Justice Palace.
During your visit you will also come across the famous Capela Dourada (golden chapel) and the bustling and colorful Sao Jose market, as well as the famous artist Francisco Brennand’s workshop.
Lunch where you like during the day.
Return to the hotel end of the afternoon and night.
Day 3 : Olinda/ out
You will have one last breakfast at the hotel buffet then check out (you must check out before noon) according to the schedule of your flight.
A vehicle will take you to the airport.
The driver will you at the airport with your luggage.
End of our services.
Fin de nos services.
Nuit à la pousada.
See Our Accommodation in Olinda
Hotel 7 colinas
The hotel 7 colinas is a modern but charming hotel that has the double advantage of being located in the historic center of Olinda and in a beautiful garden of 15 000m2 with some very old trees. There is also an interesting museum in an old house with period furniture.
With its 44 pleasant and functional rooms, with balconies or terraces and various services (restaurant, sauna, swimming pools, gym, bar, library etc. ..) this hotel has a very comprehensive quality offer. The 7 colinas hotel is, for us, the best choice in Olinda for groups or family visitors as well as those looking to enjoy a little bit of nature during their stay.
Pousada Do Amparo
The pousada do Amparo is a charming establishment very well located in the heart of Olinda. Indeed, the Rue do Amparo is also known as the street of artists and is a real example of the local atmosphere. Housed in an ancient building with a nice little garden and swimming pool, the 17 rooms of this pousada all been individually decorated highlighting the architectural peculiarities of each room.
The main parts are decorated with noble materials and antique furniture with a touch of modernity creating an intimate and romantic atmosphere. It is a charming establishment that has been a regional reference for 20 years. We love the quality decor and the warm atmosphere. It is the ideal destination for couples and those looking for a charming or small establishment.