The historic city of Olinda is located in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, on the northeastern Atlantic coast. Founded in 1535 by Duarte Ceolho Pereira, Olinda holidays have a number of major tourist attractions, such as its historic town centre, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.
Olinda is called the “First Capital of Culture in Brazil”, and has a 500-year history behind the claim. This is reflected in the finely preserved colonial architecture and the many ornate churches of the city, some going back to the 1540s. While other cities in Brazil have eclipsed Olinda in wealth and growth, Olinda’s wealth is in her culture, which is a diverse blend of Portuguese, African and Indigenous influences.
Olinda is host to a famous Carnival that draws thousands of visitors each year. Olinda’s carnival is markedly different from those in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. Admission is free and is a lively street party, ongoing and nonstop from Friday evening until Wednesday morning. Blocos parade the streets accompanied by maracatu and frevo music. The revelers carry about on their shoulders the giant dolls that are the hallmark of Olinda’s carnival celebrations. And best of all, admission is free, unlike carnival celebrations in other cities.
Outside of carnival season, Olinda has many features and attractions for travelers of a quieter bent. There is plenty of shopping; though the local arts and crafts can be a bit inflated in price in certain areas heavily trafficked by tourists. Accommodations are plentiful as well, and the local cuisine is inexpensive and abundant.