Tropical beaches, traditional cuisine
and a vibrant musical scene
An imposing fusion of traditional culture and vanguard trends, Recife is all about contrasts. The gleaming high-rises that frame the idyllic white sands and turquoise waters of Boa Viagem beach seem all the more modern when compared to the gold-doused baroque churches, cobblestone squares and sun-faded pastel palaces of the city’s bustling historical centre.
The city’s gastronomic scene straddles the sun-parched Sertanejo Interior and the tropical Atlantic coast with flair. Breezy seaside bars and restaurants whet the appetite for fragrant moquecas and peixadas, overflowing with fresh fish and seafood, while hole-in-the-wall bars and hip gastropubs serve up robust, shareable portions of sun-dried beef, roasted goat, and buchada typical of the Sertão. Relaxing on the beach with a tangy snack of grilled coalho cheese, dripping in sugar cane molasses, is as delicious a pastime as sampling the contemporary cuisine on offer in the restaurants of Graças, Casa Forte and Poço de Panela.
Recife’s abundant bars and clubs provide the perfect introduction to local musical styles, from the LGBT-friendly, indie botecos of Recife Antigo, Boa Vista and Olinda to the more trendy, rock ’n’ roll offerings of Pina and Boa Viagem. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional, foot-stomping forró or the more frenetic rhythms of maracatú, manguebeat and frevo, the percussive soundtrack to the city’s legendary annual street Carnival, you’ll find countless spots to chill out with the locals, and plenty of others where you can dance all night long.