Salvador da Bahia is a destination that mixes beach, historical, religious tourism and much more.
There is a lot to do in Salvador and for those who like the beach you can still enjoy the island, or the dozens of beaches near Salvador da Bahia on the north coast, and for those who have more time you can go to Morro de São Paulo.
Salvador da Bahia geographical location
- Beaches in Salvador de Bahia
- What to do in Salvador de Bahia places to visit
- Salvador de Bahia tourism in the Pelourinho
- Bahia Itaparica Island
- Salvador Bahia Municipal Square
- Festivals of Largo in Salvador de Bahia
- Salvador de Bahia Carnival
- São João in Salvador
- Where to eat in Salvador da Bahia
- Where to stay in Salvador de Bahia
- How to get to Bahia
- What to do in Bahia in more days
- Frequently asked questions about Salvador
How to get to Bahia?
The most common way to get to Salvador is through the airport if you are coming from far away. The airport is in the outskirts of Salvador, in Lauro de Freitas.
Another possibility is to arrive by bus if you are coming from the interior of the state, or from cities in neighboring states, such as Aracaju which is very quiet to make the trip to Salvador.
How to get from the airport of Salvador Bahia city center
There are collective buses that leave from the airport to the main tourist spots such as Barra, Pelourinho and all along the coast.
Although cheap, it is not what I recommend because they can take a long time and are not adapted for those carrying a suitcase.
A more comfortable alternative is the executive buses, which are air-conditioned and more comfortable. The line that goes to Praça da Sé is ideal for those who need to go to Pelourinho, for example. Buses without terminal outside the airport.
Also a cheap and more comfortable way (air-conditioned and newer trains) if you are going somewhere with metro service, which is not very likely unless you go directly to the bus station.
Car and uber
There is a cab line outside the airport, you won’t have any problems with that.
If you prefer an executive cab, there is also Coometas, an executive cab company at the airport. Uber and rentacars also operates normally.
One possibility is to hire a transfer company, especially if you have a group.
Sharing the cost is much cheaper and is ideal if you go directly from the airport to places like Praia do Forte or Sauípe.
Beaches in Salvador de Bahia
Of course, a post on what to do in Salvador would not lack beach options!
Salvador is as much bathed by the Atlantic Ocean as it is by the Bay of All Saints, so there is no shortage of beaches in Salvador.
We will give you some suggestions of beaches on both sides of the city.
There is a lot to do in Salvador, there is the Pelourinho, there is the Lower City, but we know that many people who visit Salvador want to take advantage of the beach in the Bahian capital.
Beaches Near Salvador de Bahia
Salvador is located at the tip of the Bay of All Saints, and is bathed by it and by the Atlantic Ocean, so it has two distinct beach areas.
The most touristy praias are all the beaches on the ocean side, most people will always point to Praia do Porto da Barra for bathing.
The Port of Barra (not to be confused with the lighthouse!) has a very quiet beach, ideal for adults and children even though it is always crowded on weekends.
Salvador Bahia best recommended beaches:
- Porto da Barra
- Barra Lighthouse
- Buracao Beach
- Boa Viagem Beach
- Flamengo Beach
- Inema Beach
Still on the sea side, we recommend the beaches of Barra, Jaguaribe, Piatã, Itapuã (there are rocks that form small pools for children).
Further away is Flamengo Beach (with strong waves) and Stella Mares Beach, which are a little quieter.
What few people know is that Salvador’s most beautiful beaches are hidden.
The beaches of the Suburbio Ferroviário, bathed by the Bay of All Saints, have incredible shades of blue.
One of the most famous is Praia de Inema, which is Praia da Marinha.
What to do in Salvador da Bahia places to visit
History, nature, faith and fun. This is how the scripts for Salvador can be divided. In the high or low cities, there are many attractions to surprise the visitor throughout the year.
For only R$ 0.15 you will get to know one of Salvador’s icons. The Lacerda Elevator was the first urban elevator in the world, and the highest when it was inaugurated.
It is one of Salvador’s postcards, and even if you don’t know the city well or don’t know what to do in Salvador, you probably know the Lacerda Elevator.
Salvador Bahia Brazil what to do in Lacerda Elevator is not only a tourist spot, but it was made to connect the upper part with the lower part of Bahia.
Previously you had to climb the Ladeira da Montanha, until it was inaugurated in 1873. From the top you have one of the most beautiful views of Salvador, with the Bay of All Saints and the Model Market below.
Salvador de Bahia tourism in the Pelourinho
The Pelourinho is one of Salvador’s main attractions, and you should set aside at least half a day to visit it. Noon if you are an enthusiast who likes to visit churches.
Speaking of churches, in Pelourinho there are many and we will talk more about them!
The Pelourinho is actually just a part of the historic center of Salvador, passing through the center itself, Santo Antônio, Pilar and other surrounding neighborhoods.
Pelourinho, Salvador Bahia by night
The whole Pelourinho is a great cultural center of Salvador, besides being a large area of baroque construction, it has a multitude of museums, cultural houses and lots of music.
Speaking of music, it is not uncommon to see percussion bands rehearsing there, for example the famous Olodum, Didá and others.
Pelourinho is also known for the video of Michael Jackson and other songs of national artists.
Churches in Pelourinho
You may hear the phrase «Salvador da Bahia has 365 churches», one for each day of the year!
The truth is that Salvador is estimated to have more than that, and it is in Pelourinho where you can see a great concentration of churches. Because we walk out of one and stumble upon another.
If you like to visit churches, the Pelourinho is the perfect place for it. Of the churches in Pelourinho you will like the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos and its sung mass, the syncretism of this church that brings together catholic chants and percussion with atabaques.
Another well-known church is the church and convent of São Francisco, also known among the locals as the «golden church».
The name of course comes from the fact that the altar of the church of São Francisco is covered in gold.
You can also visit the Basilica Cathedral and the Church of the Passo, made famous in the movie O Pagador de Promessas.
Salvador de Bahia Itaparica Island
A Caribbean sea, transparent and of various shades, with warm and calm waters, centennial mansions of preserved architecture and charming cobblestone streets.
The island of Itaparica, in Bahia, is a place with neighbors with chairs on the sidewalks enjoying the sea breeze.
The largest island in the Bay of All Saints is located 13 kilometers from Salvador by sea.
It is surrounded by coral reefs, has lush tropical vegetation, mangroves and beautiful coconut trees.
To this day, its beauty is fascinating and has a magical connection with all who pass through it.
Salvador Bahia sightseeing: Farol da Barra
Another classic Salvador must-do! Officially it is called Farol de Santo Antonio, but since it is in Barra, it is the nickname that ended up being imposed.
It was the second lighthouse built in the entire American continent and the most important of the time.
Let’s not forget that Salvador was the capital of Brazil and had a large flow of ships passing through there, in addition to the slave trade, there was also the extraction of sugar cane and wood from Brazil that was taken to Portugal.
The lighthouse is actually just this tower with light, inside it was always a fortress (Fort of Santo Antonio da Barra) that can be visited.
The Farol da Barra is not only a Carnival spot (that’s where one of the circuits starts!) but it is also famous for being one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunset in Salvador.
Bahia Nautical Museum
Inside Farol da Barra there is a museum that tells a little about local sailing.
In the museum you can see replicas of large ships, nautical charts, recovered shipwreck items, period documents and navigational tools.
Ribeira neighborhood Salvador Bahia
The Ribeira neighborhood is an old neighborhood of Salvador. Known for its old houses, its marina with calm waters, its natural beauties and its bucolic air.
Barrio da Ribeira is located in the Lower City and is bathed by the Bay of All Saints, in a quieter region of Salvador.
Sorveteria da Ribeira
This is the most traditional ice cream parlor in Salvador! It was founded in 1931 and has more than 70 flavors of ice cream! Anonymous and famous Baianos are always there, as it is a very traditional place in the city.
The ice cream parlor is simple, but continues with its artisanal ice cream and recipe for over 80 years.
We recommend local flavors such as tapioca, mangaba, seriguela, corn and umbu.
Salvador Bahia Municipal Square
The official name is Praça Tomé de Souza (founder of Salvador and first governor general of Brazil) but everyone in Salvador calls it Praça Municipal because it is in this square where the prefecture and the city hall are located.
It is also in this square that you will find one of the entrances to the Lacerda Elevator and the Rio Branco Palace.
Please use and abuse the Municipal Square, you can take amazing pictures of Salvador from every corner of the square.
This is one of the best «Instagram spots of Salvador», as you can take the Lacerda Elevator, the Bay of All Saints and the Model Market together!
Rio Branco Palace Salvador da Bahia
The Rio Branco Palace is across from the city hall and next to the Lacerda Elevator.
It is the former seat of government, and today functions as a museum of sorts, telling a bit about the rulers of Bahia. It’s not a must-see in Salvador, but you’ll be next door….
Admission is free, and although it’s not as pretty inside as it is outside, from the side you have an amazing view.
Visit all the open parts of the Rio Branco Palace, which has a Memorial of the Governors, with photos and articles of all the governors of Bahia.
Most tourists go to Farol da Barra to see the sunset, but Bahians know it’s not the most beautiful.
The most beautiful sunset in Salvador is on the other side of the city, at Ponta de Humaitá!
The Cidade Baixa is full of quiet places, where not all tourists know.
On weekends it is a bit more crowded, so the suggestion is to go in the afternoon hours, after visiting the Bonfim church and refresh yourself in some bar there.
Visit also the Monte Serrat Church located there, and enjoy the most beautiful sunset in Bahia.
Salvador Bahia Sightseeing and Bonfim Church
Another well known tourist site in Salvador! The Bonfim church is one of the stages of the Bahian faith, and is a very beautiful church inside.
All in rococo and neoclassical style, it differs from most of the other famous churches in the city which are baroque.
Hall of Miracles
If you like religious tourism, be sure to visit the room of miracles. It is where devotees return to give thanks for the grace they have received, it is not only a place of faith, but also a place that leads to reflection.
The sala dos milagros is now part of the museum of ex-votos, which is located in the same church and for only R$ 5 you can enter the museum and the church tower, which was previously closed.
Faith in the Lord of Bonfim and in the Independence of Bahia.
Being the most popular saint in the city, many people think that the Lord of Bonfim is the patron saint of Salvador, but he is not.
The patron saint of Salvador de Bahia is St. Francis Xavier, but it is for the Lord of Bonfim that prayers are asked most of the time.
It is even said that the Lord of Bonfim helped in the battles of the Bahians against the Portuguese.
To be brief: Although the independence of Brazil was on September 7, 1822, the Portuguese troops continued in Salvador.
After much fighting, and a revolution led by the people (and with the help of Mr. Bonfim as they say) the Portuguese troops finally surrendered on July 2, 1823, a holiday in the state as it is Bahia’s Independence.
Yes, there are two independence holidays in the state! There is even a hymn to Senhor do Bonfim, which every Bahian knows how to sing at least the chorus.
Fitinhas do Bonfim and the right way to tie it.
Everyone knows the Bonfim ribbons, but not everyone who ties their arm knows their ritual. Enjoy what a real baiana will tell you!
When we buy, we don’t tie ourselves anyway, no! It has a whole tradition.
You need to twist the ribbon twice, and then tie three knots, at each knot we make a request mentally.
You cannot remove the ribbon from your arm after that, you have to break it yourself, and then you will know that your command will be answered.
Spend an afternoon in Itapuã
If in addition to what to do in Salvador, you are looking for what not to do in Salvador de Bahia because you want to relax, go spend an afternoon in Itapuã.
The neighborhood besides the beach sung by Vinícius de Moraes, also has many bars and it is there where you eat one of the best acarajés in Salvador.
Largo Festivities in Salvador de Bahia
If you are looking for what to do in Salvador between the end of the year and the beginning of the year, we recommend the long parties.
The square festivals are events that were initially religious, but today they mix the sacred with the profane and people of diverse beliefs in one party.
Two of Salvador’s biggest festivals take place within two weeks of each other: the Lavagem do Bonfim (the second Thursday of January) and the Feast of Yemanjá (February 2).
The festas de largo are not something to explain, just to feel. It is a mix of masses, processions, batucada, smelling water, parties, and sometimes even electric trio!
There is the religious part with masses and processions, but there is the profane part with food and parties.
These parties bring together Catholics and fans of candomblé, kizomba, capoeira, rich and poor, famous and anonymous Bahians.
Walk along the Rio Vermelho
Rio Vermelho is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Salvador da Bahia. It’s a place where I go to eat and drink, listen to music, a neighborhood that is traditionally bohemian but is also becoming an alternative neighborhood.
Casa do Rio Vermelho
The house where Jorge Amado and Zélia Gattai lived for more than 40 years, today it is a monument to one of the most beloved couples in the world of lyrics.
You can see documents and objects of people who belonged to the writers, including the typewriter used by Jorge Amado.
Salvador de Bahia Carnival
One of the most sought after things to do in Salvador is the carnival. Or have you never thought of spending carnival in Salvador?
One of the best things to do in Salvador is to skip the carnival there!
Salvador carnival date Salvador de Bahia 2022 Salvador is a party in the month of February and having this experience in Salvador can make your trip unforgettable.
São João in Salvador
In June, the party in Salvador is the forró! Traditionally, Bahia is empty at the time of São João, as people usually travel to inland cities.
When I was a kid, staying in Salvador in São João was synonymous with having absolutely nothing to do, but since the beginning of the program called São João no Pelô, that has changed.
During the June season, Pelourinho became a big arraiá, with many bands, traditional forró trios, established artists and others.
Pelourinho became a small rural town with music, food for children, decoration and lots of partying for those who could not go to the rural towns.
Where to eat in Salvador de Bahia?
Salvador has a variety of restaurants, but what makes the success even among Bahians and tourists are the Bahian food restaurants.
I have made a selection of new and traditional restaurants for those visiting Salvador. Be sure to try the local delicacies.
One of the restaurants that goes round and round that I always end up going to is Ki-Mukeka.
Where to stay in Salvador de Bahia
Many people have a hard time figuring out where to stay in Salvador, as the city has more than one tourist center.
Choosing places to stay in Salvador de Bahia, you might choose Rio Vermelho or Barra, due to their proximity to other attractions and ease of transportation.
- Farol da Barra suites and hostel: Very good energy …well located … the people who work in the hostel are very attentive, especially Luan for his kindness.
- Salvador bahia all inclusive resorts: very beautiful place. Very good value for money. Excellent pools, service and quality. The beach is a bit dangerous for swimming, especially with children. It is a place to come back.
- Deville Prime Salvador Bahia Hotel: Abundant and varied breakfast and wonderful location, very good view and green areas.
- Fasano Salvador Bahia Booking: Definitely the best service! Everything perfect in the center of Salvador, the best in every way!
The best neighborhoods to stay in Salvador
The offer includes hotels in Salvador de Bahia 5 stars, places to stay in Salvador de Bahia, and the best neighborhoods are:
- Barra do Centro Histórico do Itapuã Rio Vermelho
- Ondina Beach
- Stella Maris
- Salvador Bahia International Airport Vitória Armação
- Santo Antônio Beyond Carmo
What to do in Bahia in more days?
If you have more days in Salvador, you can consider a bate and return to some beach or place nearby.
The most classic and best known round trip from Salvador is undoubtedly Praia da Forte.
There are, however, many other beaches on the north coast of Bahia that can serve as a round trip from Salvador.
Besides the North Coast, already in the part of the Bay of All Saints, I could not fail to mention the Itaparica Island, the Island of the Tides, the Island of the Friars and all the Recôncavo Baiano, with cities with a great historical heritage as is the case of Cachoeira, São Félix and Santo Amaro.
Salvador can also be the gateway to a trip through the northeast, Salvador can be combined with other capitals such as Aracaju and Maceió.
Frequently asked questions about Salvador
How many days in Salvador?
I suggest three days for Salvador only. Add more days if you want, for example, to go to Praia do Forte or Morro de São Paulo.
Salvador de Bahia best area to stay
Without a doubt, Barra. It is close to most places and it is easy to go to other places as well.
Some of the best places to stay in Salvador de Bahia are Pelourinho or Itapuã, but I still think Barra is better.
What to do in Salvador at night?
There are many bars along the coast, especially in Rio Vermelho. Another option is the various band rehearsals that take place, especially in summer.
How far is it from Salvador to Aracaju?
Only 320 km separate the two capitals.
What to do in Salvador on a rainy day?
Salvador is a beach city, but there are options for those who want to enjoy some attractions even on rainy or cloudy days.
Winter in the Bahian capital is characterized by falling temperatures, which have already reached 18ºC, during the early morning hours, cloudy weather and strong winds. However, it is not the rainiest period.
A strong feature of this season is the climatic variation, with a little sunshine interrupting a day that seemed to be all rain.
- Model Market.
- Lacerda Elevator
- Forts of São Diogo and Santa Maria.
- Bahia Nautical Museum
- Casa do Rio Vermelho
- Bahia Gastronomy Museum.
- Bahia Museum of Modern Art (MAM)