Recife boasts a heady mix of everything that makes Brazilian cities so magical, making for one dynamite tourist package. The coastal city offers a balance of culture and hedonism, with a well-preserved historic centre, a fabulous restaurant scene, lovely beaches and its own exciting Carnival.
Recife is a port city and the capital of Pernambuco. Its location on a network of islands and estuaries, linked by a number of bridges, has earned it the moniker 'the Brazilian Venice'. The city is named for the offshore reefs (recifes) that keep the waters along its shoreline pleasantly calm and protected.
The cityscape may be more picturesque than other Brazillian urban areas, but Recife is still a heavyweight industrial city, dominated by lofty skyscrapers. Although the tourism sector is booming thanks to its beautiful beaches, Recife has always attracted many business travellers as well as those in search of fun and sun.
The beach of Porto de Galinhas, just south of the city, is often thought of as Brazil's best â€' which is no mean feat in a country celebrated for its paradisiacal coastlines. Those seeking a quainter, historical holiday should consider staying just beyond the urban sprawl in the UNESCO-listed town of Olinda. It provides laid-back colonial charm as well as easy access to energetic Recife.