Whereas elegant Rio de Janeiro and cosmopolitan São Paulo may be the best-known places in Brazil, the Northeast, or Nordeste is one of the liveliest - a land of sunny beaches, colonial towns, vibrating street parties, music and friendly people.
Nine states comprise the Northeast region, counting along the coast from the south:
Despite being grouped together, culturally and geographically speaking some of those states can be very far apart from each other.
- Fortaleza - the pleasant capital of Ceará and close to several spectacular beaches
- João Pessoa - the capital of Paraíba, with the easternmost point in the Americas
- Juazeiro do Norte - One of Brazil's most famous pilgrimage sites, located in rural Ceará.
- Maceio - the beautiful capital city of Alagoas, known as the "Waters' Paradise"
- Natal - Founded on the 25th of december (Natal means Christmas in Portuguese), and the capital of Rio Grande do Norte
- Olinda - a preserved colonial town with lots of great music
- Recife - a major city and the capital of Pernambuco
- Salvador (Salvador da Bahia) - the capital of Bahia, rich in African influence and colonial architecture
- Teresina -- Considered by some to be the hottest city in Brazil, it is the capital of Piauí and a gateway to exploring the pre-historic remains in Serra da Capivara.
- Campina Grande - a second city of Paraíba. Center tecnology of region.
- Fernando de Noronha - A tropical island paradise in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Is protected as a Marine National Park since 1997 and a World Heritage Site.
The Northeast is the sunniest of Brazilian regions. Although this may mean long periods of drought for the mainly agricultural inland of some states (and thus crop losses and widespread poverty), the climate also provides almost year-round opportunities for beach-going and other outdoor activities. Long favoured by Brazilian holiday makers, the Northeast has also become increasingly popular with European travellers, especially from Portugal, Spain and Italy due to language and cultural similarities.
The region was also the original site of European colonization in Brazil. The first Europeans landed in Bahia, set up the country's first capital in Salvador, and over the next centuries brought millions of slaves from Africa to the region. Added to the indigenous population, the result is a fascinating rich cultural mix that makes up some often unknown faces of Brazilian culture.
This page was last edited at 02:43, on 28 October 2008 by Marius Mollersen. Based on work by Valtteri Päivinen, Ricardo, Gobbler, Evan Prodromou, Paul N. Richter, William M Goetsch and Rob Payne, Wikitravel user(s) Texugo, Episteme and Dhum Dhum and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.