Centro Cultural São Francisco

Top choice in Brazil

This is one of Brazil's most beautiful monasteries. São Francisco's construction was interrupted by battles with the Dutch and French, resulting in an impressive but architecturally confused complex built over two centuries (1589–1779), with the facade, the church towers and the adjoining Santo Antônio monastery displaying a hodgepodge of styles.

Its highlight, especially for the quantity of gold adorning its altars, is the chapel, Capela Dourada. Portuguese-tile walls lead up to the church’s carved jacaranda doors.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Brazil attractions

3. Igreja NS do Carmo

0.13 MILES

The 16th-century Igreja NS do Carmo stands at the center of an impressive complex of church buildings on Praça Dom Adauto.

4. Casa de Polvora

0.15 MILES

On the side of the hill halfway between the Cidade Alta and Cidade Baixa, this arched brick building was erected in 1710 to store the city's gunpowder…

5. Igreja de São Pedro Gonçalves

0.41 MILES

Down in what's called the Cidade Baixa, the adjacent squares Praça Antenor Navarro and Largo de São Pedro Gonçalves are both lined with pastel-colored…

6. Hotel Globo

0.46 MILES

Built in 1928, the old Hotel Globo has been recently renovated and is supposed to house a small museum, but the pieces have long been in storage. What…

7. Praia de Tambaú

4.17 MILES

Praia de Tambaú, 7km east of the center, is an urban beach but nevertheless an enjoyable area to spend time. Bars, restaurants, coconut palms, fig trees…

8. Estação Cabo Branco

6.25 MILES

Inaugurated in 2008, this cultural center 5km southeast of Tambaú was designed by famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and is more interesting for its…