Are you planning to visit Brazil soon? We’ve prepared a selection of the best areas to stay in Recife!
The capital of the state of Pernambuco in the Northeast region, Recife is the fourth-largest urban agglomeration in Brazil with 1,625,583 inhabitants spread over 217 km² and 4,031,485 inhabitants in the greater metropolitan area. Both for its beaches and for its historic sites, dating back to colonization, Recife stands out as a significant tourist attraction in Brazil. A former small fishing port, the city was colonized in 1537 by the Portuguese, and taken over by the Dutch in 1630 before being reclaimed by Portugal in 1654. Thanks to its warm tropical climate and its vast array of attractions, its beautiful beaches, as well as its historical and cultural heritage (carnivals, music festivals), Recife is known as the Venice of Brazil. Recife boasts a vibrant culture and lifestyle, bound to seduce visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Accommodation rates in Recife vary depending on the neighborhood and the level of comfort desired.
Recife’s residential districts are Casa Forte, Graças, and Espinheiro, where you’ll find numerous accommodation options, from small to large apartments. The more affluent neighborhoods of Piedade and Boa Viagem, not far from the beach, are home to modern and luxurious villas, which are, of course, expensive. Discover the best areas to stay in Recife.
Located on the Island of Recife, near the Recife harbor, where the Portuguese first settled at the beginning of the 16th century, Recife Antigo (Old Recife) is the historic center of the city. Old Recife is home to Praça Rio Branco, and Rua do Bom Jesus, two of the oldest and most typical sites in Recife. It also houses the Malakoff Tower – initially built as an observatory and as the main entrance and gateway for Arsenal da Marinha (Navy Arsenals) square – and Fort São João Batista do Brum – now a military museum -, as well as the 32-meter high Crystal Tower.
Stroll along the quays of the port to enjoy breathtaking views of the other side of the Rio Capibaribe, where stands the Recife Lighthouse, built in 1822 to protect the old town from the Atlantic Ocean. Old Recife also houses beautiful churches, convents and colonial buildings. In the south of the island, many museums and restaurants dot the old streets of the city center. Although there are few hotels in Recife Antigo, this area is an excellent place to stay in Recife, allowing you to explore the authentic heart of the city while being close to everything.
The residential neighborhoods
For a wider choice of apartments to rent, we recommend targeting the neighborhoods of Casa Forte, Graças, and Espinheiro. They are located west of the city center, stretching along the northern banks of the Rio Capibaribe. Offering numerous accommodation options, Espinheiro has the advantage of being adjacent to the modern city center. As for Graças, it features many museums, art galleries, bars, and restaurants, offering the convenience of a central location and a family atmosphere. A great neighborhood to stay in Recife, with more affordable accommodation rates compared to the city center.
Located south of Recife’s city center, the city of Boa Viagem, integrated into the greater metropolitan area of Recife, attracts well-heeled Brazilians and trendy young people. Accommodation rates in Boa Viagem are higher than in the north, but the area is highly attractive, mainly thanks to its beach, a 7-kilometer strip of golden sandy beach, the city’s most famous attraction. The coastline is protected by reefs, but at low tide, you can swim in warm natural pools. Boa Viagem is a fun and lively place to stay in Recife, the perfect place to relax, cycle, jog, play beach volleyball, tennis, and more!
Official history tells us that when they arrived on the coast, the Portuguese, stunned as they were by the beauty of the place, shouted: “O linda situação para se construir uma vila!” (“What a beautiful setting to build a city!”). Olinda, the former capital of Pernambuco, has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1982. The colonial past remains clearly visible in the historic center today, including Olinda Cathedral, São Francisco Convent, and the Basilica and Convent of Nossa Senhora do Carmo. Take the panoramic elevator – “elevador panorâmico do Alto da Sé” – to admire the city from above. If you’re keen to discover Brazilian history and culture and to explore the local churches, the city of Olinda is an excellent place to stay in Recife. Lively during the day, Olinda is a rather quiet town in the evening.
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