Recife: History, beaches and more in Brazil

Recife in Brazil

What’s up, everyone!
Did you know that the history of Recife is related to the Netherlands? On today’s Dica we’ll learn more about Recife. The vibrant capital of Pernambuco is a city that beautifully marries its rich historical past with a lively present. Known as the “Brazilian Venice” due to its intricate system of waterways, Recife boasts a tropical climate, welcoming people, and a culture as colorful as its Carnaval.

Where is Recife located in Brazil?

Nestled on the northeastern coast, Recife shines as a jewel in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. Its strategic location at the mouth of the Capibaribe, Beberibe, and Jordão Rivers makes it a pivotal economic and cultural hub in the region.

Which one is the closest airport to Recife, Brazil?

The gateway to this mesmerizing city is the Recife/Guararapes–Gilberto Freyre International Airport. Offering both domestic and international flights, it connects Recife with the world. Besides air travel, you can also reach Recife by bus or car, with well-connected highways paving the way to this coastal paradise.

Ever heard of “Dutch Brazil”? The history of Recife

Pernambuco and its capital, Recife, have a turbulent history. The history of the city began in 1537: the king of Portugal divided the great colony into strips of land. The lands, called Capitanias Hereditária (Hereditary Captaincies), were donated to wealthy entrepreneurs so that they could thrive in the name of the Crown.

However, in dividing the land, the king also divided the huge investments required to turn such a vast country into something manageable and profitable above all. Few captaincies lasted, but Duarte Coelho succeeded in Pernambuco with Olinda as its capital. The strongest consumption culture in Pernambuco was sugarcane.

In 1630, the Netherlands conquered the area and greatly marked the history of northeastern Brazil. They governed a large area that went approximately from São Luís, in Maranhão to Salvador, in Bahia. Under the inspiring government of John Maurice de Nassau, Recife’s urban planning was accomplished by designing a street plan and building bridges, bringing prominent architects.

When John Maurice had to leave Recife, there was the turbulence: a small army of Portuguese soldiers and local rebels took the place and drove the Dutch out of northeastern Brazil.

What is Recife in Brazil known for?

Besides being known for its tourist potential, Recife has a rich cultural center and a great historical heritage, a relatively well developed infrastructure and is also recognized not only for having beautiful beaches, but also for attracting more and more Brazilian and foreign tourists. There, stand out frevo, a typical dance of the Northeastern Carnival, especially in Recife and Olinda, as well as the famous bonecões de Olinda.

Economically, Recife has become the city with the second largest medical and pharmaceutical industry in Brazil and is one of the most important cities in Software Engineering.

Sport Recife

Sport Recife, the city’s passionate football team, is at the heart of local culture. Their matches are a spectacle of fervor, showcasing the deep love Recifenses have for the beautiful game.

Typical food of Recife

Recife’s local cuisine is a mix of many cultures, including Portuguese, African, and Indigenous influences. This blend has created a variety of unique dishes that visitors should definitely try.

One popular dish is Peixada Pernambucana, a fish stew made with bell peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and spices. It’s a flavorful and hearty meal that reflects the coastal location of Recife.

Galinha à Cabidela is another traditional dish. It’s a chicken stew made with chicken blood and vinegar, giving it a distinctive taste and a rich brown sauce.

For something a bit different, try Arrumadinho. This dish includes chopped sun-dried beef, a mix of diced vegetables, black-eyed peas, and farofa, which is a toasted cassava flour mixture. It’s a filling and tasty option that combines several elements of Recife’s food culture.

Don’t miss out on Guava Cake Roll (Bolo de Rolo), a sweet treat that’s hard to resist. It’s made of thin cake layers rolled with guava paste and sprinkled with sugar. It’s so good, you’ll find it hard to have just one slice!

Tapioca is a must-try as well. This flatbread made from cassava starch is similar to a crepe and can be filled with either sweet or savory ingredients. Brazilian tapioca is so important to the local culture that it’s been recognised as an intangible heritage in nearby Olinda.

Tapioca in Brazil
Tapioca is a must-try!

What to do in Recife?

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on its golden beaches or reveling in the euphoria of Carnaval, Recife offers endless adventures for every traveler.

Recife Beach

The beaches of Recife, especially Boa Viagem, are where the city’s heart beats the loudest. With soft sands, warm waters, and a protective reef, it’s a haven for beach lovers.

Carnaval in Recife

Carnaval in Recife is an explosion of color, music, and dance. Unlike anywhere else in the world, it’s a time when the city’s streets come alive with the rhythms of frevo and maracatu, making it an unforgettable experience.

Visiting Recife’s city center

Recife’s city center is full of interesting places to visit. Marco Zero is a good starting point. It’s a busy square in the old part of the city, surrounded by historic buildings. Close by, you can explore the Cais do Sertão museum, which offers insights into local culture and history. Another must-see is the Casa da Cultura, a former prison now turned into a market where you can buy local crafts and souvenirs. The city center is a great place to see the mix of old and new that defines Recife.

Recife is a city with a rich history tied to the Netherlands. Its beaches, cuisine, and Carnaval are alluring to visitors. The city offers a charming old town to explore and the opportunity to cheer for Sport Recife. You are sure to create lasting memories in this city.

That’s it, guys! Now we know more about Recife and we also know more about Brazil.

See you on the next Dica!

Click in the links below to see more related Dicas
Most Important Brazilian Cities
States and Regions of Brazil
History of Rio de Janeiro
The origin of São Paulo
The history of Salvador
Minas Gerais
Rio Grande do Sul

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

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