Olinda – 5 hours in rich history


To see Well done Portugal (And well done Brazil!)

Close to Recife, it’s “impossible” to visit one without going to the other, but they are so different, that the visits complement well each other.

Olinda is history and tradition, with evident Portuguese signs in each church, street or corner. Impossible to miss.

History is well preserved, and shows the best that Portugal made in Brazil. Together with Ouro Preto and Parati, Olinda honors the men that built and preserved them.

Old Town

Olinda 14
Olinda 14

Where am I? In Óbidos? Monsaraz? Castelo de Vide? No! With this temperature in March it cannot be Portugal. But it looks like!

Sorry folks, you will have to content with a good lunch in Estrela do Mar, because this sensation is reserved for the Portuguese, but the visual pleasure is shareable. So, walk slow, breath deeply, and… enjoy!

There is always a solution to understand the described feeling – come to Portugal and try to understand the links.


Olinda 11
Olinda 11

Created in the 16th century, this church was destroyed during the war between Portuguese and Dutch.

​Rebuilt in the 17th and ruined again, the final version is about 100 years old.

It’s far from being among the best in Olinda, but it surely is located in the best sightseeing place of town.

The yard in its back is mandatory.

S. Francisco church

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Olinda 13

The most beautiful church I saw in Olinda, St Francis suffered the common mistreatment of the war, but kept the appearance of its reconstruction in the 17th century.

Nested in green, its sober cloisters contrast with its very rich baroque decoration. The golden altar and the frescoes in the roof stand out amidst many figurative tiles.

Though some panels already miss a few tiles, the whole is rich and very beautiful.

S Bento Church – Golden Altar

Olinda 15
Olinda 15

I left Portugal with a severe warning from a friend: I should not miss this church.

​Thanks for the warning! I didn’t and agree that the richness and beauty of the altar are unbeatable.

Unfortunately the photo of the altar (flash forbidden) was so lousy I don’t dare to publish it, but it’s better that way: you will have to go there and look for yourself.

Carmo Church

Olinda 9
Olinda 9

We didn’t enter this church, that shows from below the serious need of conservation.

It’s a beautiful building atop a small hill, dating from the 17th century.

Slave Market

Olinda 10
Olinda 10

I read that the so called slave market never was used for that purpose.

I don’t know the truth, but if it did, then the look should be different from what it is.

​There are no dramatic references in the place, with shops covering it all, respecting the ambiance but giving color and life to a place that, if the story is true, should be treated in a more austere way, inviting us to reflect about the world of slavery.


Olinda 12
Olinda 12

I was in Recife and visited Olinda from there, but nothing stops you to do it the opposite way.

No matter where you are, one thing is clear: they are very different, and both places must be seen, and it will take only some minutes to move between them.

I recommend Estrela do Mar – Good seafood

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Estrela do Mar

“Seu” Roberto, our driver took us to this restaurant saying that it was good, with a small price. 

It was his biggest mistake: It was veeeery good, with a not so small price, but it served us one of the best meals we had In Brazil. 

Favorite Dish: Crab
Moqueca of lobster, fish and shrimps

Address: Av Ministro Marcos Freire, nº 1691, Bairro Novo

Website : Estrela do mar

Warnings or dangers Warnings – Advancing sea

In some areas the sea is advancing, swallowing beach and everything unprotected. 

Olinda 8
Olinda 8

Some friends of mine bought an apartment near Recife, and their beach… is gone. 

In Olinda it’s easy to see the struggle to sustain the sea. To win or to loose? If you plan any kind of investment pay attention to your chosen area!