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Salvador

Practical information on Salvador

  • Relaxation
  • Encounters with locals
  • Beach / Seaside Resort
  • Festivals
  • Music
  • Museums
  • Castle and fortress
  • Handicraft
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Unesco World Heritage
  • Essential
  • Off the beaten track
5 / 5 - 4 reviews
How to get there
A 2 hr 20 min flight from Rio or a 7 hour flight from Lisbon.
When to go
All year round except the European summer (Australian winter)
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of Salvador

Jeanne Brette Seasoned Traveller
3 written opinions

Salvador de Bahia is a prime example of Afro-Brazlian culture. It's also the home of Capoeira martial arts.

My suggestion:
If you can, visit Salvador before or during its famous carnival. At carnival time, entry to the party is free - it all happens in the streets!
My review

During my tour of Brazil, I stayed in guest house at Pelourinho, the historical center of Salvador de Bahia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I loved the colorful, renaissance-style facades of houses that lined paved streets, as well as the lower parts of town, with its Capoeira martial arts center and farmers' markets.

Although touristy, I really enjoyed my visit to the Mercado Modelo market in Salvador's lower town. I also watched a Capoeira match, perched on a boxing ring, surrounded by crowds going crazy!

If you want to escape, head to the local beach of Porto da Barra. It goes without saying that during the carnival and on weekends, the town buzzes.And whilst you're in the town, try a Coco Verde, a green coconut smoothie. Thirst-quenchingly delicious! 

Ariadne M Seasoned Traveller
37 written opinions

The first capital of Brazil (1549-1763), colonial city and dynamlic metropolis, Salvador is a city of black and white and a must-see for anyone traveling to Brazil!

My suggestion:
Hire a car, make friends with the locals, or come with a tour operator, because traveling by bus here can be challenging for the uninitiated.
My review

I’m going to try to remain objective about the city where I was born. Salvador de Bahia is chaotic, it’s really hot all year round, the traffic is dreadful, the people are very casual and often unprofessional, and there is a lot of poverty. That's the dark side.

You will see the other side of the city in the form of a beautiful old colonial city (Pelourinho), with lovely beaches, welcoming people, and exotic and delicious food. Salvador is the essential point of departure if you want explore the state of Bahia in greater depth, which is one of the most beautiful in Brazil, because of the diversity of its landscapes.

Eva Martin Seasoned Traveller
181 written opinions

A very attractive coastal city, Afro in culture and spicy in atmosphere, and famous and widely known for its highly-festive carnival, which is unique of its kind in the world.

My suggestion:
Don't be reluctant to get away for the day and head off to explore Ilha dos Frades and its picture postcard beaches.
My review

From my whole trip to Brazil, the state of Bahia truly remains my most dazzling memory. And the city of Salvador de Bahia, with its very particular charm and character, was definitely part of the reason for this.

The city's Afro influence makes its cultural character unique on every level. Capoiera is a philosophy here, African dance a hobby, Candomblé the religion and food an art form. And on that subject, be sure not to miss the chance to try an acarajé : a kind of sandwich fried in palm oil using bread made from a black-eyed pea paste, and very often stuffed with Vatapá (a coconut milk and peanut paste) and smoked shrimp. Acarajés are packed with calories, and watch out if you're not used to hot, spicy food!

Salvador de Bahia  is divided into two parts: the city area and the beach area. In the city's heights, you can visit and explore Salvador's very colorful historic and colonial center, Pelourinho. It is inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage and is a popular place to stay for tourists. It's also a center for courses of all kinds, including lessons in dance, cookery or music for those wanting to immerse themselves more fully in the local culture. There are also museums, churches and forts to be found here, as well as the port and the famous "Elevador Lacerda", which enables you get from the upper city to the lower city, and vice versa.

Salvador's beaches are often packed, so don't be reluctant to travel a few kilometers by bus and venture off along the coast. You'll find some heavenly little places in which to simply laze around and relax there.

Brazil is huge, which makes it really really difficult to choose what to visit. However, I do really encourage you to include Salvador on your itinerary when traveling through this magnificent country.  

Cathy Trichet Seasoned Traveller
36 written opinions

When I was staying in Brazil, I fell in love with Salvador. Salvador de Bahia, or to give it its full name, São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, is located on a promontory to the north of the Bay of All Saints.

My suggestion:
Try to go there at carnival time, it's very different to Rio's carnival. You get to see an amazing spectacle and the city is very beautiful too.
My review

I arrived just as the carnival was beginning. It's a piece of street theater and a carnival of the people. Everybody devotes hours of work to preparing for the event. The people all take to the street and are dancing by 5 pm and through until 5 or 6 the following morning.

The groups parade past, all very different from one another. There are the rastas, all in red, gold, and green, the Indians all painted and carrying bows and arrows, groups made up of women only, percussionists swinging along like anything, not forgetting the electric trio which consists of three enormous trucks, which are all lit up and decorated, each carrying an orchestra standing up and playing music on the platform, with enormous speakers taking up the whole sides of the trucks. Behind, there are thousands of people having a tremendous time and dancing the samba. Then everywhere, there are little dance halls where everyone can dance to the music they like.

The city lives to the rhythm of the carnival for four to six days. The elevator that links the lower part of the city to the upper part is free for the duration, buses are available to get people to the different parades, depending on the neighborhood. The stores are closed. Everybody parties. There are street sellers offering meat or cheese kebabs all full of Bahian specialties, including the famous 'caïpirinha'.

Tours and travel ideas Salvador

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