Recife (‘heh-see-fee’), capital of Pernambuco, is one of the Northeast’s most exciting cities. It has a vibrant cultural, entertainment and restaurant scene, an intriguing historic center (Recife Antigo), an impressive coastal setting and a fabulous Carnaval. It's a sprawling, urban place of glassy high-rises, crowded commercial areas, thundering traffic and extensive suburbs; if you like your cities gutsy, gritty and proud, Recife is for you. It takes its name from the offshore recifes (reefs) that calm the waters of its ports and shoreline.
The charming and far more tranquil historic town of Olinda lies on Recife’s northern edge, just 6km from the city center, and many visitors opt to stay in Olinda and visit Recife during the day, or venture into Recife for its animated nightlife.