15 Best Things To Do in Recife, Brazil

by Dhruvalakshmi Paithankar Updated on 15 Oct 2018

Music, art and culture finely balance with a handful of museums and a whole of gastronomy delight, Recife is one of Brazil’s largest urban agglomeration. Pronounced as He-cee-fee, this city was once the capital of 17th-century colony of New Holland of Dutch Brazil. Indeed, a lot of history to look forward to here. These are not usual historic attractions but those that have made it to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Culture is best experienced during highlights of the year, like the New Year’s Eve where the new year is brought in at the beaches. The carnival of Recife and Olinda is another main event this city is famous for and sees a huge turn over of tourists. For all these reasons and more, December is the best time to visit Recife if you want to soak up all what it is has to offer.

However, all year round too, Recife has a lot to offer and thus we bring to you this comprehensive list of Best Things To Do in Recife, Brazil.

1. Experience the unique art at Oficina Ceramica Francisco Brennand

Oficina Ceramica Francisco Brennand
Image Source: wikimedia.org

Francisco Brennand is a famous Brazilian plastic artist who is famous for creating bizarre and creative sculptures. Oficina Ceramica Francisco Brennand is a museum as well as workshop of this artist. It is home to about two-thousand pieces including different kind of sculptures and paintings. The complex also houses artwork that combines mythology and sexualized earthworms. Visiting this place would be one of the unique things to do in Recife. You can also visit a chapel, small garden, and a temple located in its premises.

  • Attraction Type: Art And Culture, Nature, Sculpture
  • Address: Propriedade Santos Cosme e Damiao, S/N - Varzea, Recife - PE, 50740-970, Brazil

2. Visit the scenic Instituto Ricardo Brennand

Instituto Ricardo Brennand
Image Source: wikimedia.org

One of the most famous cultural attractions in Recife, Instituto Ricardo Brennand is a unique museum and a art gallery. Surrounded by well-maintained gardens, this institute also has a library on its premises. The place is famous for housing the largest collection of armory from the 14th to the 19th century along with some of the famous European and Brazilian artwork. The library is home to more than sixty thousand volumes including brasiliana and other rare items. The structure is built in such a way that it looks like a medieval castle and is decorated with some of the elegant antique furniture.

  • Attraction Type: Museum, Specialty Museum
  • Address: Alameda Antonio Brennand, s/n - Sao Joao - Varzea, Recife - PE, 50791-904, Brazil

3. Fall in love with the charming hub known as Recife Antigo

Recife Antigo
Image Source: pixabay.com

When it comes to vacationing it Brazil, there is no better place than Recife Antigo to experience the nightlife in Recife. This is the old, historical part of the city located on the Island of Recife. It was recently renovated and remodelled in order to transform it into a bustling hub. Today, it is home to numerous classy boutiques, chic restaurants, lively bars, and pubs. You can easily spend a whole day here wandering around, pampering your taste buds, and experiencing the combination of old structures and modern buildings.

  • Attraction Type: Bar, Museum, Historical Site
  • Address: R.do Apolo, 181 - Recife, PE, 50030-210, Brazil

4. Admire the striking gold decorations at Capela Dourada

Capela Dourada
Image Source: wikimedia.org

The Golden Chapel is a famous tourist attraction in Recife, Brazil. The huge amount of gold used for the decorations inside make it the most beautiful church in the city. Built in 1697, the decorations carry the influence of the Baroque style architecture. The walls, altars and ceiling of the chapel are covered with elegant carvings. There is also the antique rosewood furniture that dates back to 1762. The premises of the chapel also have other tourist destinations like the Church of the Order Terceira de São Francisco and the Franciscan Museum of Sacred Art.

  • Attraction Type: Church, Religious Spot
  • Address: R. Imperador Pedro Segundo, s/n - Santo Antônio, Recife - PE, 50010-240, Brazil

5. Witness the ancient religious beauty at Madre Deus Church

Madre Deus Church
Image Source: wikimedia.org

Madre Deus Church is one of the famous points of interest in Recife. Built in 1720, the church is famous amongst locals and tourists alike for the exquisite artwork it displays. Though it looks small from the outside, you will find its true essence after stepping in. The huge walls that are adorned with paintings and wood carvings leave a lasting impression on visitors. It carries the influence of different architectural styles. Unfortunately, the church was damaged by the fire in 1971. But, it was restored in such a way that its ancient charm has been maintained.

  • Attraction Type: Church, Religious Site, Architecture
  • Address: Cais da Alfandega - Recife, PE, 50030-020, Brazil

6. Get awestruck by the magnificent Sculpture Park

Sculpture Park in Recife
Image Source: wikimedia.org

When it comes to popular tourist attractions in Recife, the Sculpture Park ranks on the top. Established in 2002, the park is located on a scenic site on a reef in front of the Marco Zero of Recife. The main reason behind opening this park was to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Brazil in 2000. The park is home to around ninety sculptures from the sculptor and plastic artist Francisco Brennand. Visiting this park would be a unique experience for art-lovers.

  • Attraction Type: Architecture
  • Address: Recife - State of Pernambuco, 50030-230, Brazil

7. Catch some tan and soak in the warmth at Boa Viagem

Boa Viagem, Recife

One of the most popular beaches in Brazil, Boa Viagem in Recife is a place to go to unwind with your loved ones. Though it is not advisable to go into the water as there have been several cases of shark attacks in the past decade. But, the shore is beautiful and is covered with soft, white sand. You will also find a line of natural reefs that protect the beach. You will find numerous people coming here for enjoying sunbathing and beach volleyball.

  • Attraction Type: Hotel, Bar, Beach
  • Address: Boa Viagem, Recife

8. Have a fun-filled day at Mirabilandia

Mirabilandia Parque De Diversoes, Recife

One of the top places to visit in Recife, Mirabilandia is the amusement park that has been attracting people since 2002. With more than 35 different attractions, this is the third largest park in Brazil. The roller coaster along with other attractions like Move It, Trampoline, Mixer, Climbing Wall, Cyclone, and Splash are some of the most loved amongst visitors. It is designed in such a way that kids as well as adults can enjoy at least half a day here. There is also the food court on its premises that will keep you energized.

  • Attraction Type: Amusement Park, Park, Entertainment, Games
  • Address: Rua Professor Andrade Bezerra, 1285 - Salgadinho, Olinda - PE, 53110-110, Brazil

9. Learn about the local history at Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue

Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, Recife

Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue dates back to 1636 and is also one of the first synagogues in Latin America. For those who are looking for places to visit in Recife, this site is the place to be! Though it has not been used by Jews as a religious place in decades, it still holds a lot of significance when it comes to the religious history of the city. The building houses the museum today. Though it was rebuilt in 2001, the original walls and floors were used again to maintain its ancient charm. If you visit in November, you will also get a chance to witness the annual Jewish festival that attracts thousands of people.

  • Attraction Type: Museum, Historical Site, Archaeological Site, Synagogue
  • Address: Rua do Bom Jesus, 197 - Recife, 50030-170, Brazil

10. See sacred artifacts at Franciscan Museum of Religious Art

When you are visiting the Golden Chapel, you can also visit the Franciscan Museum of Religious Art that is connected to the chapel. Established in 1974, it has become a top tourist attraction in Recife. The museum works towards the preservation of objects of worship and sacred art. Those who are on a spiritual journey or are interested in understanding more about the paintings, sculptures, and liturgical hangings from the 13th century, can visit this fascinating museum. It also has artifacts found around here from the Roman and Medieval ages.

  • Attraction Type: Museum, Historical Site, Archaeological Site
  • Address: Altura da rua Siqueira Campos, R. Imperador Pedro Segundo, S/N - Santo Antônio, Recife - PE, 50010-010, Brazil

11. Take your kids to the Zoo Botanical Park Dois Irmãos

For those who are looking for the fun things to do with kids in Recife, Zoo Botanical Park Dois Irmãos is the place to be! With more than 850 animals from 120 species, the zoo attracts people of all age groups. The animals and birds that call it home represent native as well as exotic species from around the world. This is originally a state park founded in 1916 and is spread over more than 380 hectares. Today, it has a Natural Science Museum as well as the Zoo Botanical on its premises. Coming here can turn out to be an educative experience for nature lovers.

  • Attraction Type: Zoo, Park, Kid-friendly
  • Address: Praça Farias Neves, s/n - Dois Irmãos, Recife - PE, 52171-011, Brazil

12. Step back in time at Forte de São João Batista do Brum

Fort of St. John the Baptist of Brum also known as Fort Brum, is located a little away from the center of the city in Recife. Built in around the sixteenth century, the fort has witnessed the wars between Portuguese and Dutch rulers. Considered to be the significant part of the local history, the structure became a popular tourist attraction in Recife. It is managed by the Brazilian army and also has the Military Museum of Forte do Brum on the premises. You will get a chance to see permanent as well as temporary exhibitions here throughout the year.

  • Attraction Type: Museum, Historical Site
  • Address: Praça da Comunidade Luso Brasileira - Recife, PE, 50030-230, Brazil

13. Learn about different Types of flora at Botanical Garden of Recife

Jardim Botânico do Recife, which means Botanical Garden of Recife is a beautiful, well-maintained environmental education center. Remodelled in 2013, the garden has become one of the interesting places to visit in Recife. You will get an opportunity to explore different ecological trails that will take you to sections like cactus collection, orchid garden, palm garden, sensory garden, section of medicinal plants along with tropical flower nursery and forest nursery. This is a great place to learn more about the Atlantic Forest.

  • Attraction Type: Garden, Park, Kid-friendly, Nature
  • Address: Rodovia BR 232, s/n - Curado, Recife - PE, Brazil

14. Unwind with your loved ones at Dona Lindu Park (Parque Dona Lindu, Recife)

Parque Dona Lindu, Recife

Dona Lindu Park is established in the specially designated area on the Boa Viagem beach in Recife. For those who are looking for things to do in Recife, visiting this park is recommended. considered as a well-maintained cultural and leisure space, the park has a multi-sports court and a unique skating rink. There is a The Luiz Mendonça Theater on its premises that is known for housing creative and interesting plays and shows. Visiting the anete Costa Gallery located in the park would be a real treat for art-lovers.

  • Attraction Type: Sport, Park, Play Ground, Entertainment, Kid-friendly
  • Address: Avenida Boa Viagem, s/n - Boa Viagem, Recife - PE, 51030-010, Brazil

15. Experience the true essence of Frevo music at Paço do Frevo

Paco Do Frevo, Recife

Paço do Frevo is a unique cultural space in the city of Recife that attracts thousands of people every year. This recently established center opened its doors to the public in 2014 and is dedicated towards creating the awareness about the dance and frevo music. The building that houses the center is also beautiful and carries the influence of late English neoclassical style architecture. One of the popular tourist attractions in Recife, visiting this place will give you a chance to understand the local music better.

  • Attraction Type: Art And Culture, Museum, Specialty Museum
  • Address: R. Guide, sn - Recife, PE, 50030-360, Brazil
Dhruvalakshmi, who believes that her Patronus would be a cat, loves day-dreaming and writing. But, she gets very uncomfortable when it comes to writing third person introductions like this one. If you ask her to scribble something about herself, she ...

Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Recife, Brazil

Must see places in Recife ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in Recife and points of interest to visit.

  1. # 1 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 213 times in trip plans
    Instituto Ricardo Brennand

    Tags: Museum, Specialty Museum

    Address: Alameda Antonio Brennand, s/n - Sao Joao - Varzea, Recife - PE, 50791-904, Brazil

    Timings: 01:00 pm - 05:00 pm Details

    Ricardo Brennand, was a British descended Brazilian collector and businessman, who began to amass a collection of arms and armoury from all over the world in 1940. Much later, he grew interested in ar...Read more

  2. # 2 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 232 times in trip plans
    Recife Antigo

    Tags: Bar, Church, Museum, Historical Site

    Address: R.do Apolo, 181 - Recife, PE, 50030-210, Brazil

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The port at Recife Antigo was once the busiest in all of the Americas. It’s where the Portuguese initially settled in the 16th century, and later, the Jewish community. Today, it is at once the ...Read more

  3. # 3 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 237 times in trip plans
    Boa Viagem

    Tags: Hotel, Bar, Church, Beach

    Address: Boa Viagem, Recife

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The liveliest, most exclusive neighbourhood in Brazil also has one of the continent of South America’s most visited beaches - Boa Viagem beach. The beach is 8km long, with white sands, crystal c...Read more

  4. # 4 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 240 times in trip plans
    Marco Zero At Praca Rio Branco

    Tags: Light House, Architecture , Arts And Crafts, Sculpture

    Address: Av. Alfredo Lisboa, s/n - Recife, PE, 50030-150, Brazil

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    This extremely pretty square, also known as Ground Zero, is where the Portuguese founded Recife in 1857. Kilometre 0 is marked with a plaque. Elegant and grand historic buildings surround the square o...Read more

  5. # 5 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 143 times in trip plans
    Oficina Ceramica Francisco Brennand

    Tags: Art And Culture, Nature, Sculpture

    Address: Propriedade Santos Cosme e Damiao, S/N - Varzea, Recife - PE, 50740-970, Brazil

    Timings: 08:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Did you know ceramic making can make you famous even in this date? It worked for Francisco Brennand, widely considered as one of the world’s best. 11 kilometres out of Recife, this complex is de...Read more

  6. # 6 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 171 times in trip plans
    Riomar Recife

    Tags: Market, Shopping Center

    Address: Av. Republicado Libano, 251 - Pina, Recife - PE, 51110-160, Brazil

    Timings: 09:00 am - 10:00 pm Details

    This upscale shopping mall is the 3rd largest commercial enterprise in Brazil. It’s stuffed full of luxury brands, both international and national. Eat, shop, catch a movie or just hangout. This...Read more

  7. # 7 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 179 times in trip plans
    Pernambuco House Of Culture

    Tags: Landmark, Market, Shopping Center, Architecture

    Address: Rua Floriano Peixoto, s / n - St. Anthony, Recife - PE, 50020-060, Brazil

    Timings: 09:00 am - 07:00 pm Details

    This former prison, completed in 1857 in Imperial Classical style, is now one of Rencife’s foremost landmarks. Once the prison was shut down in 1973, the building’s architectural value led...Read more

  8. # 8 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 125 times in trip plans
    Museucais Do Sertao

    Tags: Museum, Nightlife

    Address: Av. Alfredo Lisboa, S / N - Recife, Brazil

    Timings: 09:00 am - 07:00 pm Details

    Luiz Gonzaga, was a singer-songwriter known as the King of Baiao, and his muse was dear to much of Brazil – the Pernambuco North eastern Hinterlands. The permanent interactive exhibit in this mu...Read more

  9. # 9 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 96 times in trip plans
    Mosteiro De Sao Bento

    Tags: Church, Religious Site, Tower, Monastery

    Address: R. Sao Bento, s/n - Varadouro, Olinda - PE, 53020-080, Brazil

    Timings: 08:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    This Baroque religious complex, now a UNESCO world heritage site, dates back to the earliest date of Portuguese colonisation in Brazil. In the 17th century, the place underwent some serious redecorati...Read more

  10. # 10 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 119 times in trip plans
    Paco Do Frevo

    Tags: Art And Culture, Museum, Specialty Museum

    Address: R. Guide, sn - Recife, PE, 50030-360, Brazil

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Frevo: Derived from the Portuguese world ferver (to boil), Frevo refers to the wide range of music and dance styles from the Recife area – dances for the Carnival. This is such a big deal in the...Read more

  11. # 11 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 172 times in trip plans
    Se Cathedral

    Tags: Church, Religious Site, Historical Site, Tower

    Address: Av. Rui Barbosa, 409 - Graças, Recife - PE, 52011-040, Brazil

    Established in July 1614, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Olinda e Recife is seated at this church, even though its not the arch-bishop’s own headquarters. More interesting for its historical ...Read more

  12. # 12 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 69 times in trip plans
    Paiva Beach

    Tags: Beach

    Address: Paiva, Cabo de Santo Agostinho - PE, Brazil

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    30 km south of Recife, this pedestrian only beach isn’t protected by coral reefs like the Boa Viagem beach is. There are both shallow calm pools and areas with strong waves, making the beach pop...Read more

  13. # 13 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 62 times in trip plans
    Coroa Do Aviao Beach

    Tags: Beach, Island, Water Body, Restaurant

    Address: 50 km Norte do Recife | Itamaraca , Recife , State of Pernambuco , Brazil, Recife, Brazil

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    One of Recife’s favourite weekend retreats, this beautiful islet beach has white sand, clear waters, and amenities to fulfil every need. The islet is basically a sandbar with a number of tourist...Read more

  14. # 14 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 51 times in trip plans
    Teatro De Santa Isabel

    Tags: Historical Site, Performance, Theatre, Concert

    Address: Praca da Republica, s/n - Santo Antonio, Recife - PE, 50010-040, Brazil

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Opened in 1850, this historic theatre has hosted a great number of important art and political figures. It is a cute little Neo-classical building of pink, and seats about 850 people at a time. Today,...Read more

  15. # 15 of 47 Things To Do in Recife | Added 91 times in trip plans
    Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue

    Tags: Museum, Historical Site, Archaeological Site , Synagogue

    Address: Rua do Bom Jesus, 197 - Recife, 50030-170, Brazil

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    The first synagogue in the Americas was founded in 1636 by Jews fleeing forced conversion in Spain and Portugal. Though the original building doesn’t exist anymore, there is on the site a museum...Read more

Activities And Tours

Explore these activities and tours for awesome experiences in Recife:

  • Save 4% City Tour of Olinda Including Instituto Ricardo Brennand
    City Tour of Olinda Including Instituto Ricardo Brennand4 Reviews

    Duration: 5 Hrs

    Come and experience Olinda and Recife, the 'Venice of Brazil' on this 5-hours city tour. See all the highlights of these city...

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  • Save 4% Recife Boat Tour
    Recife Boat Tour1 Reviews

    Duration: 3 Hrs

    Unforgettable ride through the waters of the Capibaribe River covering the three islands in the center of Recife; Santo Anton...

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  • Save 4% Stand up Paddle in Jaboato River from Recife
    Stand up Paddle in Jaboato River from RecifeNew on TripHobo

    Duration: 3 Hrs

    Increasingly the SUP (Stand Up Paddle) is better known and has more fans around the world. Here in Recife would not be differ...

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  • Save 4% Arrival Transfer from Recife Airport to Olinda
    Arrival Transfer from Recife Airport to OlindaNew on TripHobo

    Duration: Flexible

    Relax with this transfer from the International Airport of Recife to all hotels in Olinda. This service uses transportation o...

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