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Brazil: Recife, Olinda and Fernando de Noronha

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Recife is a captivating Brazilian city with a vivid character all of its own. It hosts a real mix of modern high rise building and colonial architecture referring back to the plantation boom which brought so many African and Amazonian indian immigrants to the city, all of whom have left their cultural mark and continue to do so.Nowadays there has been a real artisitic revival with traditional music and dance featuring in a modern, slightly gritty incarnation. Just up the road is Olinda, where cobbled streets and baroque architecture have enchanted visitors  for many years.

The only populated island in a protected volcanic archipelago way out in the Atlantic Ocean, Fernando de Noronha is almost off the map. But those who go there (and numbers are restricted), especially divers and surfers, are well rewarded. Craggy cliffs jacketed in close scrubby vegetation close in on gorgeous little bays of sugary sand, and the waters here, warm year-round, are sapphire-clear. Much of the area is designated a marine park, for good reason: sharks, dolphins, turtles and stingrays and a multitude of fish species thrive there. There are no luxury facilities here: it’s a dream destination for lovers of nature, especially the undersea world.

Our holidays to Recife, Olinda and Fernando de Noronha

View all holidays
Active Brazil

Active Brazil: Remote Bahia and Fernando de Noronha

Private journey

15 days from £3,284pp

Lenocis Manahenses National Park

Off the beaten track Brazil: Dunes and lagoons of Lencois Maranhenses

Private journey

10 days from £2,248pp

Things to do in Recife, Olinda and Fernando de Noronha


Walking tour of colonial Olinda

Brazil diving

Go scuba diving in Brazil

Go Snorkelling

Go snorkelling in Brazil

Our insider tips for Recife, Olinda and Fernando de Noronha


Chris Rendell-Dunn

Visit the quiet, historic town of Olinda in conjunction with the busier, culturally diverse and and multi-faceted port, Recife - it's just 15 minutes up the coast by car.  


Angela Fernandez

Watching the sunset from one of Fernando de Noronha's best beaches, Baíia do Sancho or Baía dos Porcos.


Laura Rendell-Dunn

Exploring the undersea world of Fernando de Noronha at the tide pool at Praia da Atalaia: you can spot octopuses, lobsters and a myriad of fishes in the shallow water.

What our experts say

I arrived in Fernando de Noronha after hearing many rave reviews of the island, and one of its beaches is indeed the No.1 beach in the world as voted by reviewers on Trip Advisor. It didn't disappoint Its appeal lies in its lack of development – it is quite wild and unspoilt, with beautiful empty bays. The number of tourists at any one time is apparently limited, which shows – you feel mostly in the company of Brazilians, and there are no gaudy tourist attractions.  


Laura Rendell-Dunn

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