Looking for the best things to do in Salvador Brazil?
Here I’m going to list a few things to do in Salvador that will quickly get you acquainted with the beauty of one of my favourite places in Brazil.
No matter what your interests entail you’ll find something for you. Many people visit just for the beach.
I loved roaming the streets ogling at the untouched 17th century architecture and the diverse mix of African identities; but that’s just me.
Things to do in Salvador Bahia Brazil
On this trip I arrived to Salvador Bahia from Rio de Janeiro by plane.
It was late June and most days were very cloudy, you may want to check the weather in Salvador before arriving.
Just before we dive into the list, let’s take a moment to appreciate the fact that Salvador Bahia as it’s called in Portuguese, was once Brazil’s capital city.
1# Walk around Pelourinho
Taking into account this is a UNESCO world heritage site I can guarantee you’ll not be disappointed by it’s beauty.
The Pelourinho district is the official historic centre of Salvador Brazil and it’s oozing with history and culture.
Whilst looking for things to do in Salvador Bahia it’s worth knowing that the city is split into two different zones:
- Cidade Alta (upper city)
- Cidade Baixa (lower city)
Prepare for some West African flavours. Pelourinho is full of live and soul and after doing some research I found out it’s called after the name pillory, which basically means; the place where slaves were sold publicly. Terrible, I know!
Being one of Brazil’s UNESCO world heritage sites, the old colonial neighbourhood of Pelourinho has become one of the best places to learn about Afro-Brazilian heritage here in Brazil.
You’ll find Pelourinho is the located within the upper city.
💡 Smart Travel Tip
When in Salvador use Uber for getting around. In many cases it works out cheaper than public transport and you’ll get to your destination much quicker.
Similar to the Spanish conquistadores in Cartagena Colombia, It’s no secret that the Portuguese were using African slaves for building their complex churches, cathedrals and luxury villas.
In just a short 5 minute stroll you’ll quickly become acquainted with the prudent mix of old-world and new-world charm scattered around the neighbourhood.
Despite all the heritage, people advice to stay out the area during the evening. But I’d say, don’t miss the evening if you can help it.
If you fancy it, this area is known as one of the best places to hear live African drum beat ceremonies.
2# Walk around Barra
Arriving at Barra Salvador you feel at chilled vibe. The thing to do is to grab your self a coconut and take a stroll around.
This is the touristic centre of Salvador it’s has a bohemian feel and you can find some amazing street art. You can even rent bicycles if you fancy a ride.
If you’ve not heard about the other world famous UNESCO site in Barra which is the Lighthouse; you can’t miss it.
This is actually the first lighthouse in the Americas – How about that for history. It looks absolutely beautiful in the night as well.
3# Go to the beach
Don’t walk around Barra in Salvador Brazil without going to the beach.
I was greeted by a cool young man asking me if I’d like a sun lounger and coconut. Along with a huge smile, he offered to bring water to refresh my feet.
I found myself laid on the main beach at Barra Salvador, which is called Praia do Porto da Barra. I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets there.
The beach is within close walking distance of Praia Farol da Barra and Forte da Santa Maria.
💡 Smart Travel Tip
Although it can get very crowded at times, don’t let it’s crowds put you off. This a perfect way to connect with locals in the day time.
A certain times, you’ll feel like you’re getting approached a little too much, especially if you sit amongst the crowds, but you can easily find another spot.
Remember, it’s one of those beaches in Latin America where you’ll find strong waves. I even saw a few surfers pass by me as I walked along the promenade.
4# Head out to Chapada Diamantina
Everything from green landscapes, peaceful paths and small villages to breathtaking waterfalls.
Visiting Chapada Diamantina with the right guide would give you the perfect all-round experience. This is adventure travel at it’s best.
Many backpackers that have heard of Chapada Diamanntina but yet to see it. Arriving at the top of the mountain peaks.
Take time out and get yourself a new perspective on life.
You could check out for yourself the best time to visit Brazil before you go.
The treks through Chapada Diamantina park can get tough and challenging in the blazing heat.
5# Visit the Museu de Arte Moderna
Located inside an old sugar processing factory, the Museum of Modern Art in Bahia is Famous for it’s jazz music concert called Jam no MAM.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Salvador brazil on a Saturday night, you’ll find live Jazz music outside from around 6pm.
Whilst searching for things to do in Salvador make sure the museum is on your list. Neatly situated along the water, the Museum is a popular spot to go in the early evening to watch the sun go down.
6# Ride the Elevador Lacerda
A ride in the elevator will take you from sea level to yet another endearing UNESCO site. I’d say it’s definitely the most fun way to go about it.
There’s a beautiful view of the ocean that awaits you once you get to the top.
A ride on this baby is only R$0.15 which from my experience I think it must be the cheapest thing you can buy in Brazil.
The construction of Elevador Lacerda begun in year 1869. You could look at this a just an elevator but you have to learn the history to really understating it’s true value and significance for Salvador Brazil.
The elevator is what makes the connection between the upper city and lower city in which you’ll find various Brazilian tourist attractions.
You’ll also be glad to know there are other points of interest depending on your personal tastes.
7# African Heritage Tour
If like me you’re really interested in the remarkable presence of West African people in Brazil; I invite you to consider taking part in the African Heritage Tour.
This specially designed tour has been noted for it’s special knowledge about the transatlantic slave trade.
In a nutshell, here’s what the tour involves:
- Sightseeing tour of Pelourinho
- The Afro-Brazilian Museum
- Rosary of the Blacks
- The Society for Black Protection
Craving deeper knowledge on this subject, or find it interesting to learn more about the heart and soul of Salvador itself, this tour is highly recommend for you.
Things to do in Salvador Brazil
Named as the first ever capital of Brazil, if you’re not already raring to go then forever hold your peace.
Salvador offers a vibrant blend and identity, history and culture.
After spending one full week exploring this picturesque location with my backpack and flip-flops, this is one of the places in Brazil that I visited that I felt I didn’t want to leave.
If you were wondering what to do in Brazil I hope this inspires you to travel to Bahia. Now you’ll have an idea on what things to do in Salvador while you’re there.
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Already been to Salvador, or thinking of backpacking Brazil?
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