Recife will set the scene for the much-anticipated USA vs. Germany World Cup game, scheduled for June 26. In addition to being an entertaining host for the big game, Recife is also an ideal destination for a relaxing vacation full of adventure, culture and beaches just waiting to be explored. Recife is a popular city that is no stranger to grand celebrations and festivals. In the upcoming months, travelers can experience various events with the locals.
Recife, the City of Many Bridges
Recife is referred to as the “Brazilian Venice” because of its 50 bridges, which cross over various waterways and rivers similar to the ones in Venice, Italy. These bridges serve the purpose of connecting the city’s smaller surrounding islands like Santo Antonio, Sao Jose and Bairro do Recife. Nestled in Recife’s modern metropolitan style, the city also has an “Old Recife,” known as Recife Antigo, which is the oldest, most traditional district in the state of Pernambuco. Visitors can appreciate the city’s cultural and historical landmarks, all while enjoying its modern attractions, like the dozens of restaurants and craft fairs that are attended by locals and visitors alike.
In the next couple of weeks, Recife locals will give the world a preliminary taste of its festive celebrations with Carnaval taking place Friday, Feb. 28. Recife adds to the excitement and spirit ofn Caraval by offering free admission to parades and festivals, which is unheard of in other Brazilian cities like Rio de Janeiro. The opening ceremony for Recife’s Carnaval starts in the neighborhood of Rua da Moeda, where people start dancing to the distinct rhythm of the Recife Carnaval known as Frevo while following drummers, known as the “12 Nations of Maracatu.” Soon after, Carnaval kicks into high gear with fireworks and a concert with some of the most famous Brazilian musicians. This year’s lineup includes artists like Zeca Baleiro, Lenine, Gilberto Gil, Elba Ramalho, Nação Zumbi and Alceu Valença. Don’t wait to impress the locals during Carnaval — start practicing your samba moves now.
Coinciding with the World Cup, people visiting Recife will also have the unique opportunity to be exposed to Saint John Festivals (Festa Junina), another cultural festival important to the city. These festivals honoring Saint John take place throughout the entire month of June. This is a wonderful opportunity for travelers to surround themselves by locals, and to be exposed to local music, traditional food and an impressive fireworks show.
Cultural Landmarks and Experiences
Pernambuco has a reputation for being a cinematic state that has given birth to internationally-renowned filmmakers, including Karim Aimouz, Paolo Caldas, Lirio Ferreria, Marcelo Gomes and Heitor Dhalia. The city hosts the Cine Pernambuco film festival at the end of April. The festival features films by both new and prominent directors over the past 16 years. Along with a strong cinematic influence, Recife has various cultural centers that are true gems in understanding the city, its residents and local culture.
The Complexo Cultural Pátio de São Pedro is where Pernambuco state hosts cultural events, and where many people are welcomed to explore various arts, music and dancing available to tourists and locals in Recife. The Golden Chapel (Capela Dourada) is a landmark not to be missed when sightseeing. This chapel was built in the 16th century, and its name describes the decorative gold-painted wood paneling found in its interior, along with various religious images commonly featured during the Baroque Era.
The Parque das Esculturas de Francisco Brennand is an outdoor museum that houses more than 90 works of clay and bronze artwork created by artist Francisco Brennand. The first masterpieces people see before entering is a 433-foot-tall clay and bronze column called Coluna de Cristal. Another option to explore culture in Recife is the Museu do Estado de Pernambuco. This museum holds a collection of 14,000 archeological artifacts that focus on the city’s indigenous culture, including Dutch origins in Pernambuco and African-Brazilian culture and other historical artifacts.
After a long day touring the city, Recife has beautiful beaches for locals and visitors to soak up the sun and rejuvenate in peace. Boa Viagem Beach (Praia da Boa Viagem) is one of the most visited beaches in Brazil, and it has much to offer travelers looking to splurge on luxurious hotel accommodations. When the sun sets, the nightclub scene in the Boa Viagem neighborhood is lively and provides a variety of options to keep visitors entertained. Pina Beach (Praia do Pina) – located next to Boa Viagem — is a beach known for its calm waters and natural bathing pools. Visitors are encouraged to join locals in friendly games of volleyball, soccer, tennis and basketball, found at nearby facilities. Pina Beach has plenty of restaurants, bars and live music venues options for a night out on the town.
The local cuisine in Pernambuco incorporates ingredients like fruit, coconut, cashew nuts, seafood and manioc flour. A popular dish to try is feijoada Pernambucana, which is the authentic bean stew travelers would find in Brazil. In this state, however, the stew is prepared with brown beans, instead of black beans. Peixada (fish stew) and guaiamuns (fresh giant crabs) are great for food lovers wanting tasty seafood dishes. For beef dishes, the carne de sol (sundried beef) is a must try, along with cozido Pernambucano (beef stew). To finish off a good meal, regional fruits like mango, passion fruits, guava, acerola and pitanga make for a delicious dessert.
The Gilberto Freyre International Airport is conveniently located just 7 miles from the city center of Recife. The airport also makes it simple for travelers to make their way to the south or north to explore other nearby cities. From the airport, visitors can easily rent a car and take the main highway, BR-101, or they can take the bus from the Integrated Passenger Terminal, where they have access to more than 2,700 buses that run on 385 lines.
– By The Brazilian Tourism Board (Embratur)