Salvador is most definitely worth visiting. It is a lovely city, full of history and African influence. With this in mind, make the most of your time there. Ensure you don't miss any of the top things to do with our complete travel guide on Things to Do in Salvador de Bahia!
Salvador is quite spread out so to make things a little easier, we recommend taking a tour with Salvador Bus. Consequently, they will ensure you see all the sites, without the hassle of figuring out how to get to each one.
Barra Lighthouse is situated at Barra Beach and is considered one of Salvador’s historical sites. Additionally, it is placed in the same fort building as the Bahia Nautical Museum. Both are worth a visit and there's a beautiful view of the beaches from the top of the lighthouse.
Head to the Beach
There are a few beaches to visit in Salvador. With that in mind, the closest ones are Porto da Barra and Farol da Barra. The latter is the biggest of the two and perfect to witness the beautiful Salvador sunset from. In contrast, the other is a more picturesque cove beach. So take your pick, or do both!
The Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim
When walking around Salvador, you will constantly see colourful ribbons flying around. As well as having locals tying them around your wrist. This is in relation to the Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim. In fact, this church is the most famous Catholic Church in Salvador! Moreover, with a visit to the Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, you will find thousands more of these ribbons tied to the gates of the church. They are a symbol of fortune and good luck in Bahian culture and it is heart-warming to witness the strength of the culture still embedded in everyday life. Furthermore, you'll also find a very interesting room dedicated to people who are considered miracle survivors. In short, models of their body parts and limbs that were saved have been hung from the ceiling, alongside photos and stories of the survivors all over the walls!
Without a doubt, in our opinion, this is the most unmissable part of Salvador. Due to the way. the African influence shines into the cobbled streets, through the beautiful Portuguese colonial buildings. Undoubtedly, just a moment here will have you understanding exactly why it has been made into a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is so much history in this part of the city, which actually used to be an area where slaves were sold. The culture is rife, from the colourful clothing to the delicious food and joyful music. Hence it feels amazing to be fully immersed in it!
Placed in the Pelourinho district, this elevator leads to Salvador's beautiful harbour. As well as to the city's famous indoor market, Mercado Modelo. The view of the harbour from the top of the elevator is one of the most famous views of Salvador. Hence the image is on many a postcard! Moreover, at only 15c, you could travel up and down it as many times as you like!
Mercado Modelo is a big indoor market spread over 2 floors, which is very popular amongst both the locals and visitors. The market has everything from artwork to clothing and food to souvenirs. Thus, head here for all your gifting needs! However, do keep in mind that it can be quite pricey here. Importantly, the Mercado Modelo is very unique. It should be noted that you'll not find many of the African style clothing and prints anywhere else in South America. As a consequence, indulge yourself!
The Carnival Museum
The Carnival Museum (House of Carnival) is a relatively new addition to the Pelourhino district, having opened in February 2018. Moreover, the museum shows the interesting history of Salvador carnival and is a delight to visit. In fact, it is one of our most recommended places to visit whilst in the city! However, we don’t want to reveal too much, as it is best experienced whilst in the moment. The history of the carnival is beautiful and it is a lot of fun to learn about the joy it brings to people who have come from so much suffering.
Carnival's have such an important place in the hearts of Latin American's. Fortunately, we were able to catch the end of Salvador's after experiencing Rio's infamous event!
Definitely a once in a lifetime kind of event. Check here for a full guide to Rio Carnival.
Dique do Tororó
Dique do Tororó is a large lake filled with eight giant statues of the Orishá. In short, the Orishá are the deities of the Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomble. It definitely is a lovely sight to see them all emmerging from the lake. Especially at night, when the statues are lit up too.
Delicious Bahian food is renowned throughout Brazil. Therefore, it goes hand in hand that if you are in Bahia, the local food must be tried and tested! Luckily, there are lots of stalls offering tasty food at great prices. Definitely try Acarajé, Moqueca and Bolinho de Bacalhau whilst you're there! Namely, there is a lovely lady near the top of Elevador Lacerda selling delicious Acarajé. Furthermore, we would highly recommend Ré Restaurante Dona Suzana for a scrumptious Moqueca!
In fact, Ré Restaurante Dona Suzana even appeared on a Netflix show! With that in mind, to get you even more excited about the food on offer, we would highly recommend tuning in! Namely, you're looking for the Salvador episode of Street Food: Latin America. Delish!
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