Olinda Attractions: The 10 Best Tourist Attractions In Olinda

Nestled in the lush, green hills of Brazil’s Pernambuco state, Olinda is a gem waiting to be discovered. With its colorful colonial architecture, vibrant cultural scene, and breathtaking views, it’s no wonder this historic city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As someone who’s wandered its cobblestone streets and soaked up its festive atmosphere, I can tell you that Olinda’s attractions are as charming as they are diverse.

Historic Centre of Olinda

Let’s kick things off with the heart and soul of the city: its Historic Centre. Strolling through the Old Town’s winding alleys, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The well-preserved 16th-century buildings are a feast for the eyes, with their pastel hues and baroque details. Don’t miss the chance to climb up to the Alto da Sé, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views that are nothing short of spectacular.

Convento de São Francisco

One of the oldest Franciscan convents in Brazil, the Convento de São Francisco, is a testament to Olinda’s rich religious heritage. The intricate azulejos (Portuguese ceramic tiles) tell stories of faith and history, while the gold-leafed altars shine as brightly as the tropical sun. It’s a place where art and spirituality intertwine, leaving visitors in awe.

Olinda’s Carnival

If you’re lucky enough to visit during the Carnival season, you’re in for a treat. Olinda’s Carnival is a vibrant explosion of music, dance, and costumes that rivals Brazil’s more famous festivities. The city comes alive with giant puppets parading through the streets, and the infectious rhythms of frevo music will have you dancing whether you planned to or not!

Mercado da Ribeira

For a taste of local life, head to the Mercado da Ribeira. This bustling market is where artisans showcase their crafts, from intricate lacework to colorful ceramics. It’s the perfect spot to pick up a unique souvenir or simply to chat with the friendly vendors about their trade.

Churches Galore

Olinda is dotted with churches, each with its own charm. The Igreja do Carmo, for instance, is not only the city’s oldest church but also a prime example of Olinda’s baroque architecture. Meanwhile, the Igreja da Misericórdia offers stunning views of the cityscape from its hilltop perch.

Museu de Arte Sacra de Pernambuco

Art lovers will appreciate the Museu de Arte Sacra de Pernambuco. Housed in a former Bishop’s palace, the museum boasts a collection of sacred art that spans centuries. The pieces on display are not just beautiful; they’re also a window into the region’s cultural and religious history.

Olinda’s Lighthouse

For a different perspective, make your way to Olinda’s lighthouse. While it’s no longer in use, it stands as a proud symbol of the city’s maritime past. Climb to the top for a bird’s-eye view of the coastline and the sprawling city below.

Oficina do Sabor

No visit to Olinda is complete without savoring the local cuisine. Oficina do Sabor is a restaurant that has earned accolades for its innovative dishes that fuse traditional ingredients with contemporary flair. The setting, in a colonial mansion with views of the ocean, is just as delightful as the food.

Street Art and Galleries

Olinda’s creative spirit is evident in its street art and galleries. Take a leisurely walk and you’ll find murals that bring walls to life with vibrant colors and bold designs. Galleries like the Galeria de Arte Baobá are hubs for contemporary artists, showcasing works that reflect the city’s dynamic energy.

TIP: Mamulengo Museum

Finally, for a quirky slice of local culture, check out the Mamulengo Museum. This unique space is dedicated to the traditional puppetry of the region. The whimsical exhibits celebrate this folk art form and offer insight into its role in Pernambuco’s cultural tapestry.


  • What’s the best time to visit Olinda?

    Olinda is a year-round destination, but if you want to experience the Carnival, plan your visit for February or March. For milder weather, visit between September and March.

  • Is Olinda safe for tourists?

    Like any tourist destination, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings. During the day, Olinda is generally safe, but it’s advisable to be more cautious at night.

  • Can I get by with English in Olinda?

    While Portuguese is the main language, you’ll find that many people in the tourism industry speak English. It’s always appreciated if you learn a few basic phrases in Portuguese, though!


In conclusion, Olinda is a treasure trove of cultural, historical, and sensory experiences. From its historic centre to its lively Carnival, there’s something in Olinda for every traveler. The city’s rich tapestry of attractions offers a unique blend of the past and present, making it an unforgettable destination. Whether you’re admiring the view from the Alto da Sé, exploring the depths of sacred art, or indulging in the local flavors at Oficina do Sabor, Olinda’s charms are sure to captivate your heart. So pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready to fall in love with one of Brazil’s most enchanting cities.

Kurby Team

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