Located just below the equator, the Northeast region is the third biggest in Brazil with a total area of 1,561,177 km², and is also the region with the most states: Alagoas (AL); Bahia (BA); Ceará (CE); Maranhão (MA); Paraíba (PB); Pernambuco (PE); Piauí (PI) ; Rio Grande do Norte (RN) and Sergipe (SE).
The region is blessed with incredible natural beauty and has a lot more than just beautiful beaches. For this reason, it is one of the Brazilian regions with the most potential for tourism, which also helps energise the local economy. Here there are hundreds of potential nature tourism sites.
It was in the Northeast that the history of Brazil began. The Portuguese arrived here in 1500 and it is where they started the colonisation of the country. It was also in the Northeast that the main economic activities of the colonial period were developed and this is clearly visible in Salvador, São Luís and Olinda, which are considered world cultural heritage sites. Other historical cities are: Marechal Deodoro e Penedo (AL); Salvador (BA); São Luís e Alcântara (MA); João Pessoa (PB) e Olinda (PE).
The beaches in the Northeast are without doubt the most beautiful in Brazil. They cover an extensive area of coastline, a total of 3,338 km of beaches and enjoy an average of 300 days of sun a year. The beaches also stand out for their diversity, from the bustling busiest to the most tranquil, remote and difficult to reach, there is something for everybody. Among the most well-known are: Maragogi and Barra de São Miguel (AL); Porto Seguro, Trancoso, Morro de São Paulo, Boipeba, Marau, Caravelas, Sauípe (BA); Canoa Quebrada, Porto das Dunas, Iracema and Jericoacoara (CE); Porto de Galinhas, Praia dos Carneiros and Fernando de Noronha (PE); Pipa and Genipabu (RN);
The Northeast boasts spectacular areas for nature tourism, such as Chapada Diamantina (BA), Cânions do Xingó (SE), Chapada do Araripe and Serra do Baturité (CE), the National Parks of Sete Cidades, Serra da Capivara and the River Delta Parnaíba (PI), and Lençóis Maranhenses (MA), which are all internationally known for their beauty, biological diversity and growing tourism infrastructure.
The Northeast is known as one of the Brazilian regions with the richest and most unique historical culture. In this sense, some of the highlights are:
The climatic diversity (tropical on the coast and semi-arid inland) has a direct influence on the Northeastern cuisine.
The influence of African cultures is most noticeable from the coastline of Pernambuco to Bahia. This is because slaves were brought here to farm sugar cane.
Seafood is the staple diet in Alagoas due to the state’s diverse coastal lakes
Portuguese influence is stronger in Maranhão than in the other states, and spicy condiments which are typical along the coast are less common.
In the North-eastern Sertão, the climate is excellent for curing meat. Sun cured beef is a popular meal and the dishes themselves are made from roots.
Foods associated with the Festa Junina (June Festival) are typical of the Northeast’s inland areas. As June is the month of the corn harvest, there are many types of local and traditional, sweet and savoury cakes made from corn.
It is a type of popular poetry printed and distributed on small paper books. They are typically illustrated with naïve, ink prints using a process called xilogravura. Cordel gained its name in Portugal where the little books were displayed to the public hanging on lines of cord, in small shops, markets and even on the street. This form of literature came to Brazil in the 18th century and quickly became popular in the Northeast, where it continues to be made and sold in the streets today.
Festa Junina (June Festivities)
Although these festivals are celebrated in all four corners of Brazil in June, it is in the Northeast that this festival, which pays homage to the Catholic Saints John, Peter and Anthony, really comes to life. The Northeast is the birthplace of the Festa Junina and therefore the parties here are the most animated and attract more and more tourists. For the people of the Northeast this festival is the most important of the year, even more so than Christmas.
Beyond being the land of sun, happiness and hospitality full of sensational natural wonders, the Northeast region stands out for its cultural richness which is obvious in its folklore, born from the mixing of European, African and Indigenous cultures, making it certainly one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world.