Salvador is the capital of the state of Bahia, Brazil. With a charming Old Town (a World Heritage Site), a vibrant musical scene and popular Carnival celebrations, it is considered one of the birthplaces of Brazilian culture.
Founded in 1549, Salvador was the capital in the heyday of the slave trade. The legacy remains today in its large Afro-Brazilian population, and the resulting culture in many ways outshines the rest of Brazil; in music, many of the greatest names from the mid-20th century to the present hail from Salvador, such as Dorival Caymmi, Gilberto Gil, and Caetano Veloso. In literature, the late Jorge Amado was also from the region. It's a vibrant, exciting city, and its people are quite friendly.
Salvador is on a peninsula on the northeast coast of Brazil which shields the large Baía de Todos os Santos ("All Saints Bay") from the Atlantic Ocean. The city is the third largest in Brazil, sprawling for dozens of kilometers inland from the coast. Most visitors head for the coastal neighborhoods that cluster around where the bay meets the ocean.Salvador, Brazil has a tropical climate including rainforests and lush vegetation.
A 100m cliff runs along the entire bayshore, dividing the city into Cidade Alta, up on the cliff, and the Cidade Baixa down by the bay. The former features Pelourinho, the old city center that packs historical sites, colonial architecture, museums, restaurants, bars, hostels, artisanal shops, and music/dance/capoeira academies into a convenient, albeit tourist-swarmed, set of winding cobblestone streets. The latter features a commercial center with lots of bus traffic coming in from all over Salvador.
Outside of this area, there are many beach districts that stretch from the tip of the peninsula northeast along the Atlantic coast. The Barra neighborhood at the tip of the peninsula is the main alternative jumping-off point to Pelourinho, and a little further to the northeast are the hip neighborhoods of Rio Vermelho and Amaralina, which feature a nightlife less geared to the foreign tourism industry. A decent bus ride beyond these is the neighborhood of Itapuã, which has an energetic beach side nightlife and relatively few foreign visitors. Northward from there are kilometers and kilometers of gorgeous beaches, all accessible by bus.
The bayshore coast north beyond Pelourinho features a more tranquil atmosphere and a locally patronized, though less scenic, beach life. The interior of Salvador is where the "new city" has developed, full of residential neighborhoods, shopping megaplexes, and knotted highways, all of which can be quite alienating without actually having a friend to show you around.
Local residents enjoy sharing their exotic dancing and music skills with tourists. Residents are also considered some of the friendliest people on the planet.Tourist are welcomed with open and friendly arms by the majority of local residents.
People of Salvador, as other people from the state of Bahia, have a reputation of being relaxed, easygoing, and fun-loving, even by Brazillian standards. On the bad side, this is also interpreted as lazyness and disgust of working; in a way, people of Salvador have reputation opposite to people from São Paulo. It's questionable whether this reputation is true, as the behavior of pedestrians and drivers in traffic seems to contradict this. Regardless, few soteropolitanos seem to bother with this reputation, even the bad part of it, and some even make fun of their own supposed lazyness. Also, most people in Brazil agree that soteropolitanos are generally friendly and warm people.
The Salvador's Deputado Luis Eduardo Magalhães International Airport (IATA: SSA, ICAO: SBSV) is one of Brazil's main airports. All of the biggest Brazilian airlines have flights to the Bahian capital city. The city also receives flights from the main hubs of Europe, South America and the United States.
- TAM (Domestic flights).
- Gol (Domestic flights and Buenos Aires).
- Avianca (Domestic flights).
- Azul Linhas Aéreas (Domestic and regional flights).
- Passaredo (Regional flights).
- TAP (Lisbon).
- American Airlines (Miami).
- Condor (Frankfurt).
- Aerolineas Argentinas (Buenos Aires).
- Air Europa(Madrid).
The airport is 28km from the city center (via the Paralela expressway) or 32km (via the seaside). Two kinds of taxis are available in the airport, the executive taxis (Coometas and Comtas), and the normal taxis (careful, they have bad reputation, taking travelers around and around to keep the meter running and most of them only speak Portuguese). Executive taxis are pre-paid, they have a table of prices rather than a meters. The other taxi option would be the normal taxis which are metered. The third option definitly is UBER, drivers have good reputation and are willing to do the best to please you at very reasonable prices. A fourth option would be the executive air-conditioned minibuses which depart every 20 minutes to the Praça da Sé, in downtown near Pelourinho via the seaside, stopping at famous beaches like Ondina, Pituba, Amaralina and Itapuã, and Barra as well as stopping by Shopping Barra--an American-style shopping mall located not too far from the Farol da Barra The fare for these buses is R$5. Another option is the urban buses that go to many parts of the city (and have a known reputation for their lack of security as many assaults happen) but not an option if you have traditional luggage, for the tourist the options are Lapa, Campo Grande and São Joaquim buses, the best thing is ask the driver before taking an urban bus, the fare is R$3,80 (3.80 reals). Linha Verde executive buses go to Praia do Forte and depart often from the airport.
There is also a luxury bus called "First Class", leaving from the airport (turn right out the airport and walk to the final stand) that takes you to Praça da Sé at a cost of R28 pp, dropping off people on the way.
If you want to take the minibus or urban bus, they pick up behind the parking lot that is directly across from the arrivals exit. You will need to walk through the parking lot. Be aware that there are no signs directing you to the place where the buses stop, you just have to find it yourself.
Salvador's long-distance bus station is in the middle of the new city, 14km from downtown. Salvador is accessible via scheduled buses from all around the country and from Paraguay. Inside the bus stations there are taxis (local taxis and executive taxis) and local buses which can all take you to many places in Salvador and the metropolitan area. Executive buses in the Iguatemi Station can be accessed from the Iguatemi Mall by way of a busy walkway. Bus travel in and out of Salvador can take a lot more time than expected. Count on an average speed of 50-60 km/h when planning your itinerary.
Salvador is a common stop on international cruise routes and was once visited by the Queen Elizabeth 2 during her sailing career. Note that the docks area can be dangerous. This area is linked to the Pelourinho historic centre by the Elevador Lacerda, and to the city by urban buses and executive buses to Iguatemi.
There are a number of transportation options available in Salvador, including taxis, buses and car rentals. the bus fares are quite affordable, although the taxi fares can be quite expensive if one is traveling a long distance.
The old city center can be easily explored on foot. To get between the upper and lower sections, take the Elevador Lacerda or the cable car, remember to take small change as the fare is just R$0.15. The streets between the two are considered dangerous even during the day.
City buses, as in other Brazilian cities, are constant, confusing and dangerous. (over 100 busses per month assaulted in 2017). Fares are normally R$3.60, as of March 2017, (even for buses into the neighboring city of Lauro de Freitas). There is also the option of the air-conditioned executive buses. Know your landmarks and neighborhood names.
Way safer than busses is the Metro, though less possibilities to move around it proves a quick and efficient way to travel in Salvador. Soon there will be a direct link with the City-center and the International Airport.
The best way to plan your route is by using Google Maps
Any large shopping area will have a complimentary frequented bus stop, and the major intercity terminal, Lapa, is next to Shopping Lapa.
Other major bus terminals include: Estação Iguatemi (between the Rodoviaria and Shopping Iguatemi), and Estação Mussurunga (located on the Paralela with buses usually connecting to Praia do Flamengo interior neighborhoods in Salvador).
If you are trying to make your way out of Pelourinho, you can either take the Elevador Lacerda down to the Comercio and find buses for just about every route, or walk to the Praca da Sé bus stop just south of the elevator, which has a much smaller selection of buses passing through, and many options of executive buses.
Buses are safe to ride at night, as long as you are on a frequented (i.e. coastal) route and dress/act inconspicuously. Service stops at midnight and begins again around 4:30-5AM. There are a limited number of lines that provide night service from midnight-4AM.
You can find more about about the Salvador bus routes and time tables one the website for the Superintendência de Transporte Público  (in Portuguese only).
Salvador's metro system opperates from Lapa (in city center) to Bom Juá. Campo da Pólvora Station is 700 meters from Historic Center and Acesso Norte Station is near Bela Vista Shopping Mall.
The Line 2 is linking the international airport with "acesso Norte". It is running since 05.2018
Suburban rail service links Calçada in Lower City and the suburban neighborhood Paripe.
Salvador cab drivers must be competing with those in Rio for spots on Formula 1 racing teams. They will certainly get you where you're going quicker than the bus! However, as buses stop running after midnight, do be prepared to haggle quite a bit with taxistas who refuse to use the meter, especially if you've decided to explore far from your bed - as a general rule very few taxistas will use the meter, so haggling is common on most journies. Executive taxis (COMTAS white and blue) don't have meters, and the prices are on a table, it's more expensive than city taxis (white with red and blue stripes), but they are much more comfortable, they are in stops in the main shopping malls, the airport, bus station, ferry-boat station and big hotels. Most of the executive taxis don't have a very good online presence and often English speaking staff are hard to come by.
Your best option in Salvador is to use Uber, friendly drivers (working hard for their Uber reputation) at half the price of traditional taxis (which are known for their lack of any ethics).
Renting a basic car with air conditioning (100+ kilometers or KM free) costs R$ 110-140 per day, plus fuel. It's not hard to find your way accross Salvador avenues, but although people from Bahia have a reputation of being relaxed and easygoing, traffic is agressive (somewhat like Rio de Janeiro), and you will frequently see drivers attempting dangerous overtakes on you. Pedestrians are also careless and unexpectely run to cross roads and streets. If you are not used to this type of traffic, consider asking for a private driver, which is possible on many car renting agencies. Renting a car may be a good idea if you plan to visit the beaches from the northern part of Bahia, with more time flexibility than allowed by travel agencies.
The Bicycle sharing system program Bike Salvador offers many bike stations through the city. Cycling is not really a good option to get around in Salvador excpet the cycleways and pedestrian zones like in Barra and Ribeira areas.
At sundays and holidays the Salvador Vai de Bike project offers leisure cycleways like the one in downtown between Campo Grande Square and Historic Center and in the City Park (Parque da Cidade) area.
- At the center of the Cidade Alta there are the 2 large squares Praça da Sé and the Terreiro de Jesus which are connected at the corner by the cathedral. The latter is probably the most lively part of town, with food carts and stalls through the day and revelers in the evening hours. The slick, L-shaped Praça da Sé has cool fountains and the fenced-off ruins of the foundations of its namesake church. At the far end of the plaza, the 1874 funicular railway Plano Inclinado Gonçalves used to send 30-passenger cars between Cidade Alta and Cidade Baixa on terrifyingly steep tracks – it's been out of service since 2011, though plans to restore the train are in the works. A colourful intersection of vendors, tourists, capoeiristas and colourful locals, the Terreiro de Jesus is a historic site of religious celebrations, and is ringed by four churches, as well as the XIX century Faculdade de Medicina Building . The plaza feeds into the Cruzeiro de São Francisco , named for the cross in the square’s center.
- Praça Municipal (City Square), Praça Tomé de Souza. Once the political seat of colonial Brazil, it is now a lively place to people-watch and see panoramic views over the bay. Overlooking the plaza, note the impressive Palácio Rio Branco, reconstructed in 1919; the original 1549 structure housed the offices of Tomé de Souza, Brazil’s first governor general. edit
- Largo do Pelourinho — A fairly small triangular plaza, is among the oldest parts of town. You can guess from its name meaning "plaza of the pillory" what went on around there.
- Mercado Modelo — The city's main market located in the lower town is and a good place for crafts and other souvenirs. In the adjacent square you can often see young men performing capoeira, the famous martial arts dance which originates from the area.
- Solar do Unhão — The best place in Salvador to watch the sunset. It is an old style house located at the Baía de Todos os Santos. Inside there is a small museum (Museu de Arte Moderna) with local art pieces. Sometimes on Saturday evening there is a jazz concert.
- Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra ((Farol da Barra for the lighthouse)), Largo do Farol da Barra - Barra BA, Brasil, ☎ +55 71 3264-3296, . is Bahia’s oldest fort was built in 1698. In addition to having superb views, the fort houses an excellent nautical museum, with relics and displays from the days of Portuguese seafaring. As you catch the sunset here – from the grassy ledge behind the fort or from the museum’s gorgeous terrace café – realize that Salvador’s peninsula is the only location in Brazil where the sun appears to set over the ocean. edit
- Elevador Lacerda, Rua da Conceição da Praia, Salvador, Bahia, Brasil (near the Comércio), ☎ +55 71 3103-3103. 7am-11pm, extended hours summer weekends & Carnaval. The beautifully restored, art deco Elevador Lacerda connects the Cidade Alta with Comércio via 4 elevators traveling 72 m in about 30 sec. The Jesuits installed the 1st manual rope-and-pulley elevator around 1610 to transport goods and passengers from the port to the settlement. In 1868 an iron structure with clanking steam elevators was inaugurated, replaced by an electric system in 1928. Facing the elevator are the impressive arches of the Câmara Municipal, the XVII century city hall, which occasionally puts on cultural exhibitions. R$0.15. edit
- Convento de Igreja de São Francisco (see the 360º Virtual Tour in the following link), . — is a very important colonial monuments in Brazil. The current church was built between 1708-1723, but the interior was decorated by several artists during a great part of the XVIII century. Most decoration of the church and convent were finished by 1755. All surfaces inside - walls, pillars, vaults and ceilings - are covered by golden sculptered gilt woodwork and paintings. The decoration of the church is considered one of the most complete and imposing in Portuguese-Brazilian Baroque gilt woodwork art (talha dourada), being a perfect example of the "golden church" (igreja dourada). edit
- Igreja do Nosso Senhor do Bonfim — A small church located in a neighborhood to the north, is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in all of Brazil. The colorful votive ribbons or fitas of Bonfim are an easily recognizable item throughout Brazil and even beyond. Children outside the church will (for a small fee) tie them around your wrist and tell you to make a wish for each one. If the ribbon wears off naturally, the wish will come true; if you cut it off before then, it won't. You can get to Bonfim by city bus in about 15 minutes.
- Igreja da Ordem Terceira de Sao Francisco (The Church of the Third Order of St. Francis), Rua São Francisco, Salvador. 8am-5pm. It is a Catholic church nominated for the election of the 7 Wonders of Brazil. The facade was covered with mortar in the late XVIII century and only in the early twentieth century, during services in the electric grid , was rediscovered its underlying decor. It wasn’t seen until a workman installing wiring in the 1930s serendipitously discovered the beautiful, baroque sandstone facade (the only one of its kind in Brazil). The church was designed by Gabriel Ribeiro. The ceiling is decorated with paintings by Franco Velasco in 1831. R$ 3. edit
- Museu da Cidade (Cidade museum), Largo do Pelourinho, 3 - Pelourinho, Salvador - BA, 40026-280, Brazil, ☎ +55 3321 1967. 9am-6pm Mon & Wed-Fri, 1-5pm Sat, 9am-1pm Sun. Rather like the city itself, Museu da Cidade contains an eclectic assortment of the old and the modern, the sacred and the profane. Exhibits include Candomblé orixá costumes, the personal effects of the poet Castro Alves (author of Návio Negreiro, or Slave Ship, and one of the first public figures to protest slavery), and traditional rag dolls enacting quotidian colonial life, as well as paintings and sculptures. R$ 3. edit
- Museu da Misericórdia, Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil , ☎ +55 71 3322 7355, . 10am-5pm Mon-Sat, 1-5pm Sun. The Museu da Misericórdia is housed in a marvelous 17th-century edifice, this one serving as Brazil’s first hospital. Visits here include a guided tour (in Portuguese) that allows a glimpse of fine period furnishings, portraits and assorted finery dating back four centuries. You’ll also see the attached Igreja da Misericórdia, with its azulejos and a sacristy featuring impressive 18th-century woodwork. R$5. edit
- Museu Afro-Brasileiro, . M-F 9am-6pm, Sa Su 10am-5pm. — A museum that documents the slave trade and subsequent development of the city. R$ 5. edit
- Museu de Arte da Bahia (Art Museum of Bahia), 7 de Setembro 2340. 1-7pm Tue-Fri, 2-7pm Sat & Sun. Set in an attractive neocolonial building, the Museu de Arte da Bahia showcases works from Bahian artists, with paintings by José Teófilo de Jesus (1758–1817) and drawings by Argentine artist Carybé. adult/child R$5/3. edit
- Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology), Faculdade de Medicina, Terreiro de Jesus, . 10am-5pm Mon-Fri. Below the Museu Afro-Brasileiro, the Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia exhibits indigenous Brazilian pottery, bows and arrows, masks and feather headpieces. Also tucked between the building’s arching stone foundations is 19th-century glass and porcelain found during the excavations for the metro. R$6. edit
- Museu Náutico da Bahia (Nautical Museum of Bahia), Largo do Farol da Barra, ☎ +55 3264 3296, . 8:30am-7pm Tue-Sun, daily Jan & Jul. In addition to having superb views, the Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra contains this excellent nautical museum, with relics and displays from the days of Portuguese seafaring, plus fascinating exhibits on the slave trade. All information is offered in both Portuguese and English – a rarity in Bahia. Sunset is delightful at the museum’s gorgeous terrace café. adult/student R$10/5. edit
- Museu de Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art), Contorno s/n, ☎ +55 3117 6139, . 1-7pm Tue-Fri & Sun, to 9pm Sat. Museu de Arte Moderna has a changing display of avant-garde exhibits and erratic opening times. A fine restaurant and an art workshop occupy the former store house. The hillside sculpture garden is a pleasant place to take a breath and enjoy the fine bay views. Take a taxi there, as it is off bus routes and the desolate walk is known for tourist muggings. adult/child R$6/3. edit
- Museu Carlos Costa Pinto, 7 de Setembro 2490, . 2:30-7pm Mon & Wed-Sat. This lovely two-story mansion houses some of Salvador’s finest decorative art, from the collection of the patrician couple Carlos de Aguiar Costa Pinto and his wife Margarida, both born in Bahia in the late 19th century. Displays highlight gold, crystal, porcelain and silver pieces, as well as beautifully carved coral jewelry and tortoiseshell fans. Don't miss the outdoor cafe. R$5. edit
Beach and Parks
- Abaeté Park — A protected state park around the lake with same name. The lake is famous because of the stark contrast between the dark water and the very white sand dunes. There is a entertainment area with a lot of bars and live music.
- Praia Porto da Barra (Porto da Barra beach), Praia Porto da Barra, Salvador, Bahia (near Avenida Oceânica and Avenida Sete de Setembro). Praia Porto da Barra beach is rather like the Pelourinho: small, picturesque, usually crowded, loaded with vendors selling everything imaginable, and roughly half those present are foreigners. The bay's waters are clear and calm, and the people-watching is fantastic. To the left of the lighthouse, Praia do Farol da Barra has a beach break popular with surfers. Barra's waterfront is lined with bars and restaurants and is well lit at night, but it gets a bit sleazy in the later hours. edit
You'll find a huge variety of things to do in Salvador. Some of the popular activities include:
- Day tour of Salvador
- Salvador Parks
- Salvador golf courses
- Salvador music festivals
- Surf trips
- Salvador, 500 years in 1 day (Visit Salvador, back to the African and colonial roots of Brazil with #IvanBahiaGuide), Santo Antônio Além do Carmo, Salvador, ☎ +55 71 984.112.900. A historic visit, off the beaten tracks, to discover the most interesting places in Salvador, linked to over 500 years of culture, meeting with Salvadorians and their real every-day-life. Guiding in English, French, Dutch and German with private transportation. (-12.6026684,-38.9724051) edit
A good brazil tour guide in Salvador will be able to show you around lots of the attractions and activities if you want to explore the city and it's surroundings safely with a local. A good option to get a general idea and find your way around in the city is the "Salvador Bus", an open-top tour bus passing by the main points of interest and offering explanation on the way.
For alternative crowd there is a free walking tour running in the city starting from Cinema Glauber Rocha on Castro Alves square
If you don´t want to go by bus you can contact a guide for a private individual tour. The private guides all speak excellent English and provide a lot of insider knowledge.
Salvador's Street Carnival, the biggest in the world
One of the main attractions in Salvador is the carnaval. Salvador's giant Carnival, the biggest of the world, according to the Guiness book of records, lasts for one week and is extremely popular with Brazilians and tourists alike. In 2017, the event happens on February 22nd - March 1st and consists of parades,live entertainment, music, dancers and vendors. The main parades follow three circuits: one in the historic center Pelourinho (with mainly traditional groups in costumes), one on Campo Grande, where most bands play samba, and in recent years the most popular one in Barra / Ondina, where modern Brazilian Axé music mixes with percussion and all kinds of rhythms and styles, and the bands parade between "Camarote" boxes on one side and the beach on the other. Options to participate are either by watching from the camarote boxes, or purchasing an "abadá" shirt to join a group that accompanies one of the bands throughout the parade.
One can expect to have a lot of fun if they vacation in Salvador, Brazil during Carnival.
Go to the beach
Visiting a Salvador beach is a highlight for many tourists. One of the main central Salvador beaches is Porto de Barra. It was originally the site of the first settlement of european newcomers to Bahia. It can get very crowded on weekends. The northeast region of Salvador concentrates most beaches with good water quality. Flamengo and Stella Maris are the most popular beaches among tourists and upper class locals. They have excellent tourist infrastructure and rough waters excellent for surfing. Jaguaribe, Piatã and Itapoã, with calmer waters, are mostly frequented by locals and can become quite crowded at weekends. They are a good option with you want to mix with the local population, but don't bring anything besides your clothes, sunglasses, sunscreen, and some cash, as muggings are quite common.
The other beaches of Salvador aren't suited for bathing, but still can be good for walking, cycling, or taking pictures. Farol da Barra has a beautiful view (specially during the sunset), but it's difficult to walk due to the rocks. "Farol" means lighthouse, and this beach is known for its lighthouse as well as being popular with surfers. A much safer choice is nearby Plakaford. Here the calm waters and soft sandy beaches are welcoming for families and children. In the city south, there is an array of beautiful beaches that include Tinhare and Boipeba.
Salvador shopping is the bargain hunters paradise. There is nothing that you cannot find in a mall. If you plan to buy popular art, crafts and clothing, check the small stores at the Old Town or head to the Mercado Modelo (Model Market).
Locals like to shop at American-style shopping malls.
- Shopping da Bahia (formerly Shopping Iguatemi)
- Salvador Shopping
- Shopping Barra
- Shopping Itaigara
- Shopping Center Lapa
- Shopping Piedade
- Bahia Outlet Center
- Salvador Norte Shopping
- Shopping Bela Vista
The first thing that anyone wanting to shop in Salvador should know is that it is essential to barter. very few vendors will stick to their given price. If pushed they will always go lower. If you are looking for souvenirs you may want to check out Litoral Norte located at Rua Gregorio de Matos 30. They sell tshirts and other items. Most will cost you no more than $5.
If you want local art you should visit Pelourhino. There are many galleries that double as stores. Galeria 13 at Rua Santa Isabel 13 displays work by local artists.
Bahian restaurants are considered to be among the best in Brazil. The majority of Bahia restaurants offer South American cuisine but there a few that offer other specialties. For example, the Maria Mato Mouro located at Rua 3A Ordem de Sao Francisco, Pelourinho serves a wide range of seafood dishes from all over the world although most are from South America. One of the most popular dishes is the grilled bahia fish badejo. This restaurant is open daily from noon until 1am and offers main courses from $15 to $25. The Terreiro de Jesus is a great place to sample the local cuisine from street stalls, served by Afro-Brazilian baianas in their traditional white dresses. A must try dish is the Abara. This is a wrap with bean paste, dende oil and onions all cooked in a banana leaf with spices for flavour. if you prefer western food then you will find many fast-food places like Burger King, McDonald's, Subway or Pizza Hut. You also will find casual dinner chains like Outback Steakhouse.
Be sure to try acarajé, small fritters made from black-eyed peas and onions fried in palm oil slathered with spicy vatapá (shrimp paste).These are sold by Baianas on the street.
Here are a list of restuarants to try:
- Acarajé da Cira, Largo de Itapuã, 3249-4170. Fresh acarajé daily from 10AM-11PM. There is also another location on the Largo da Mariquita in Rio Vermelho.
- Acarajé da Dica, Rua J, Castro Rabelo, Pelourinho. Open T-Sa 3PM-11PM, Su 10AM-1AM.
- Health Valley Brasil, Rua Direita da Piedade (in the city center). Vegetarian restaurant run by Chinese (as is the case for more and more restaurants in Salvador now). Serving typical dishes based around ginger. Very popular with the local alternative crowd. Buffet including fruit juice and desert costs R$15.
- Quiosque de Amaralina, Ave Otávio Mangabeira, Amaralina. Serving acarajé near the beach from 4PM to midnight.
- Bistrô PortoSol, (on a cross-street near Porto da Barra). Small, cozy Austrian-Hungarian restaurant run by an Austrian and his wife. Simple accommodations decorated with posters of classic Hollywood movies. Quite delicious.
- Companhia da Pizza, Rio Vermelho (on a cross-street near the Pestana Bahia and Blue Tree Towers hotels). One of the city's most popular pizza restaurants.
- La Figa, Rua das Laranjeiras 17, Pelourinho (near Terreiro de Jesus). Italian restaurant with fresh pastas around R$35 for two people, appetizers around R$10, and deserts. The new owner changed the name in June 2007 (It was previously known as La Lupa), but the high quality, good service and good atmosphere remain the same.
- Maria Mata Mouro, Pelourinho (near São Francisco church). Small, with only twelve tables but the service is great. Try the shrimp.
- Meridiano, Ave Tancredo Neves (in front of the Casa do Comércio building). Gourmet cuisine at moderate prices. Excellent service.
- São Salvador, (on the grounds of the Salvador Trade Center). Buffet with a refined atmosphere.
- Panela da Bahia, Pelourinho, Rua Frei Vicente, 7. Bahian food and drinks with exotic flavors at very reasonable prices. Try the Moqueca de camarao com banana. It is exquisite. Around R$30-55 for two people including drinks.
- Hostel galeria 13, Pelourinho, Rua da ordem terceira no 23.The new european owner offers Pelourinho a much needed variety of international dishes & spanish tapas.The menu includes a great selection of vegetarian meals from around the world.You can enjoy your meal in the unique morrocan chill out room or in their patio garden.They also offer those great juices with a touch of ginger 'refreshing',or maybe a caipirinha with water melon.The quanties are very generous an the prices are extremely fair.
- Amado, Ave Contorno. Contemporary cuisine.
- Barbacoa, Ave Tancredo Neves. Fine meat dishes and some of Salvador's best feijoada in a refined atmosphere.
- Boi Preto, Boca do Rio (in front of Aeroclube Plaza Show near the Convention Center). One of the best churrascarias in town. Full buffet and salad bar plus unlimited fine cuts of meat.
- Casa do Comércio, Ave Tancredo Neves, 11F (in the heart of the financial district). A good place to eat well and take in a panoramic view of Salvador.
- Marc Le Dantec, Pier Sul Apartment Service, Ondina. The best French restaurant in the city.
- Mistura, Itapoã. Specializing in fish and international cuisine.
- Yemanjá, Ave Otávio Mangabeira 9292, Pitubá, 231-5570. Long held nationally and internationally as the standard in typical Bahian cuisine.
- Ki Mukeka, one of the best typical bahia food.
No trip to a Salvador restaurant is complete without dessert. The Bahia region is famed for it's sweet tooth. A Cubana located at Rua Alfredo de Brito 12 is open daily from 8am until 10pm. It is an old fashioned ice0cream parlor or sorvetoria with 28 homemade flavors.
- Beco dos Artistas, near Campo Grande. A dark alley with a diversified crowd and festive local bars that spill out into the street, Friday and Saturday nights only. Particularly popular among young black urban locals, tourists are rarely seen here. But for an LGBT experience that feels very different from major gay cities around the world, bring a local friend and come. The area has various bars and a restaurant. It's most crowded between 10 PM and 1 AM, when many move on to nightclubs.
- Bohemia Music Bar, Jardim Brasil. The comfortable atmosphere, live music, and a varied menu make this a popular pick-up spot. The places often checks for IDs at the entrance.
- Chuleta, Vale do Canela (near the UFBA campus and the neighborhoods of Graça and Vitória). Boteco frequented by university students, famous for its cheap beer and for the meat snack from which the bar takes its name. Open air, plastic tables.
- Largo de Santana, Rio Vermelho. This busy street has various bars and restaurants, and some of the best acarajé in town.
- Mercado do Peixe, Rio Vermelho (at the seaside in front of the Blue Tree Towers Hotel). One of the best after-hours spots, Mercado do Peixe is a real Salvador institution. It starts to get busy after 3AM when everywhere else is closing. With simple accommodations and plastic tables, various stands stay open offering moquecas and regional appetizers, in addition to drinks. During the day it is, as its name suggests, a traditional seafood market.
- Sankofa African Bar e Restaurante, Rua Frei Vicente, No 7, Pelourinho, . In the middle of the Pelourinho. Live bands (salsa, samba, reggae, zouk, semba) and DJ's spinning African, Brasilian and world music. Tasty African dishes and drinks are also offered. African flags, maps, and artworks adorn the walls. The top floor has a projection system showing films and documentaries.
- Hostel Galeria 13, Pelourinho, Rua da ordem terceira no 23.The new native English speaking owner has travelled & worked in many famous bars & clubs around the world you will get a chance to check out his knowledge of drinks.They offer great juices with a touch of ginger 'refreshing',or maybe a caipirinha or roska with water melon already being boasted the best in Brasil,a big Claim take him up on it.You can enjoy your drinks in the garden or the most original spot in Pelourinho,the Morrocan "chill out" room.
- Bar Zulu,Pelourinho,Rua das laranjeiras no 15. tel 87843172.A very international bar & vegetarian restaurant.A mix of staff from all over the world bring you a cool corner bar with terrace & individual bar tables in every window,great for people watching.The bar offers the most original menu in The "Pelo",spanish tapas,salads,sandwiches ,international dishes & a vast choice of great veggie dishes from around the world.The bar has a feel of a trendy spanish tapas bar with some of the friendliest girls serving with a smile.Try there house special Caipirinha "zumarangi"strawberry & passion fruit.The owner promises they will soon be providing a sports tv,so a great spot for catching european footie
- Dolce, on the first floor of Shopping Boulevard 161, Itaigara. Very busy club, attracting a somewhat older crowd.
- Fashion Club, Ave Octávio Mangabeira, 2.471, Pituba, 71 3346 0012. Once the most vibrant nightclub in Salvador, Fashion Club has taken somewhat of a backseat since the opening of Lotus. Prices, however, are around half of what you would pay at Lotus.
- Lotus — Often mentioned in tourist guides but now closed.
- Off Clube, Rua Dias Dávila, 33, Barra, 71 3267 6215. A very popular gay and lesbian club in town, open Thursday through Sunday. A variety of events attracts locals of all social classes. As of 2013, Friday night is the busiest night here. Just next door is a relaxing gay-friendly creperie, where locals sit outside at night and listen to live music accompanied by the sound of the surf.
- San Sebastian , R. da Paciência, 277, Rio Vermelho, 71 3012-5013. A high-quality gay and lesbian club with top-level DJ's and two floors. Upstairs you'll find house and electronica, downstairs is usually the spot for American and Brazilian pop. This is a modern, up-to-date club that easily holds its own against the best LGBT venues in Rio or Sao Paulo. Especially popular on Saturday nights.
- Rock in Rio Café — Often mentioned in tourist guides but now closed.
- Twist — The pub plays Pop music, Axé and Forró to people aged 18-25. R. João Gomes, 95 - Rio Vermelho.
- Zauber Multicultura, Ladeira da Misericórdia, 11, Edifício Taveira, Comércio, 71 3326 2964. Combining music and visual arts in one of the most important historic areas of the city. The space bridges between the old (architecture) and the new (decoration). Find out what is going on before you go, and take a taxi, as the location is in a rather dangerous and prostitution-plagued area of the city.
There are a number of hotels in Salvador brazil that tourists can stay in when on vacation. Some of the hotels are luxury hotels located on the beach. Salvador also has discount hotels that offer cheap rates for those on a budget. Some of the cheap hotels may not offer all of the amenities that luxury hotels offer. There are also hostels in Pelourinho that are reasonably priced, but noisy at night.
- Pousada Fonte do Boi, Rua Fonte do Boi , Rio Vermelho 51 (71) 3014-6858 offers affordable lodging in the middle of all the action , both day and night, for Salvador's bohemia location .
- Irawo Hotel, Rua Portas do Carmo 13 , Pelourinho 51 (71) 9113-3950 is situated right in the heart of the historic center of salvador,with a more affordable rate,you Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, Rooms with Air conditions,29inch Plasma TV,Cable channels,Jacuzzi,hydro massage bath tub,fridge .
- Hostel Pais Tropical, Largo do Pelourinho 7 , Pelourinho 51 (71) 3322-1859 Situated in the heart of Salvador. Offers economical prices, good breakfast and support for speaking in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Polish. .
- Casa Cultural Do Bispo, rua Do Bispo 11 (Pelourinho). Dorms: R$20; hamac: R$10-15. Concerts, capoeira classes... not a quiet place though .
- Open House, Rua Comendador Bernado Catarino, 137, Barra, +55 11 3711-2186 - run by an artist couple, Cuban writer and film director husband Alex and Brasillian painter, dancer and choreographer wife Jacqui. A few blocks from Barra beach and trendy restaurants and bars, the house is full of paintings and artistic touch and incredible hospitality. Dorm and private rooms available. .
- Ibis Salvador Rio Vermelho, Rua Fonte do Boi, 215, Rio Vermelho, (71) 3172-4100, .
- Hotel Ondimar, Ave Oceânica, 1843, Ondina, (71) 3339-8383, .
- Hotel San Marino, AAv. Presidente Vargas, 889, Barra, (71) 2106-0066, .
- Sol Plaza Sleep, Ave Otávio Mangabeira, 4581, Praia de Armação, (71) 3418-3699, .
- Sao Jorge, in Pelourinho, . Charges R$50 a night for a double room. The dorm costs R20 with free internet and breakfast included.
- Praia da Sereia, Ave Dorival Caymmi, 14, Itapoã (near the airport), (71) 3285-8100, .
There are 3 hostels affiliated with Hostelling International, two situated in Barra and one in Pelourinho. All are quality youth hostels.
- Albergue do Porto, Rua Barão de Sergy, 197/207, Barra +(71) 264-6600, .
- Hostel Barra, Rua Artur Neiva, 04, Barra, (near Morro do Cristo). +(55)71-3245-2600, .
- Laranjeiras Hostel, Rua da Ordem Terceira 13, Pelourinho, (071)3321-1366, .
- Hostel Galeria13, Rua da ordem terceira 23, Pelourinho, 71-32665609, .(It is not affiliated with HI)
- Che Lagarto, Avenida Oceânica, 84, Barra, ☎ +55 (71) 3235-2404 ([email protected]), . After knowing the historical center in the morning, sunbathe on the beach in the afternoon, and enjoy the evening of Salvador, nothing beats the Che Lagarto Hostel Salvador to sleep and relax in front of the sea. edit
- Pousada Esmeralda, Ladeira do Baluarte, 29 - Santo Antonio do Carmo, ☎ +55 71 3323-0839, (''[mailto:[email protected]]''),, . Simple but well decored,homemade breakfast with delicious marmelade homemade breads and cakes. Close by foot to the Stadium and storic center. * Pousada das Flores, Rua direita do Santo Antonio, nº442, Centro Histórico, (71) 3243 1836, ([email protected]), . The Pousada das Flores serves a delicious breakfast, counting on a variety of snacks, candies, breads, tropical fruits and juices. * Bahia Othon Palace Hotel, Av. Oceânica, 2294, +55 71 2103 7100, ([email protected]), . The hotel faces Ondian Beach and provides guest with a magnificicant view of the Atlanitc Ocean. The hotel offers a nightclub, beauty spa and other activities. Rates start at $103 per night. * A Casa das Portas Velhas, Largo da Palma, 06, Nazaré, (71) 3324 8400, ([email protected]), . Right on Salvador City Center, this accommodation has a Colonial English Style. * <sleep name="Vila Galé Salvador" alt="" address="Ave Rua Morro Escravo Miguel, 320 Ondina CEP 41 700.000 Salvador Bahia - Brasil" directions="" phone="351 217 9076190" email="[email protected]" " url="http://www.vilagale.pt/pages/hoteis/?hotel=16" hours="" price="" geo="" tags="">Located right on Praia de Ondina in São Salvador da Bahia and only 20 minute away from the International Airport. Online booking. Room suite from 130 R$. edit
- Hotel Pousada Rancho Fundo, Salvador / Abrantes, Lot. Las Palmas, Camaçari -Ba 42480-000 (just 12 km from the international airport going north), ☎ (+55) 71 3623-2606 ([email protected]), . Hotel in the nature on a big Sitio close to fab. beaches of the coconut coast. English speaking staff. They offer city tours and other day trips. mid. edit
- Mercure Salvador Rio Vermelho, Rua Fonte do Boi, 215, Rio Vermelho, (+55)7131729200, (Fax: (+55)7131729286), .
- Iguatemi Business Flat, Rua das Alfazemas, 761, Caminho das Árvores, 71 2101-1300.
- Golden Park Hotel, Av. Manoel Dias da Silva, 979, Pituba, (71) 2201-5622, .
- Marazul Hotel, Av. Sete de Setembro, 3937, Barra, (71) 3264-8200, 
- Atlantic Towers, Av. Oceânica, 1545, Ondina, (71) 2203-3000, 
- Hotel Cocoon, Rua Heackel José de Almeida, 238, Jaguaribe, (71) 3368 8100, 
- Pousada Des Arts, Rua Direita do Santo Antonio, 90, Historic Centre, (71) 3012-5964, 
- Pousada Santo Antonio, Rua Direita do Santo Antonio, 130, Historic Centre, (71) 3326-1270, 
- Portobello Ondina, Ave Oceânica, 2.275, Ondina, (71) 2203-6000, .
- Sol Vitória Marina, Ave Sete de Setembro, 2068, Vitória, (71) 3418-2000, .
- Holiday Inn, Rua Dr Augusto Lopes Pontes, 1207, Costa Azul, +(55)71 4009 4488 .
- Ondina Apart, Ave Oceânica, 2400, Praia de Ondina, (71) 3203-8000, 
- Pisa Plaza, Ave Prof. Manoel Ribeiro, Jardim Armação, 55 (71) 2103-6555, .
- Aram Yami, Rua Direita de Santo António, 132, Centro Histórico, 40301- 280 Salvador da Bahia Brazil, ☎ +55(71)32429412, . Rua Direita de Santo António, 132, Centro Histórico, 40301- 280 Salvador da Bahia Brazil edit
- Zank Hotel Boutique, Rua Almirante Barroso, 161 Rio Vermelho, (71) 30834000, ([email protected]), . The Zank Boutique Hotel has a variety of environments.
- Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Rua das Portas do Carmo, 06, Pelourinho, (71) 3266 8550, ([email protected]), . This top-range hotel is located on Pelourinho.
- Vila Galé Salvador, Ondina, 0800 2848818, ([email protected]), . 5-star hotel located right on the seaside, close to tourist attractions.
- Pestana Bahia, Rua Fonte do Boi, 216, Rio Vermelho, +(55) 7121038000, . Pestana Bahia Hotel with its 430 rooms on 22 floors is recognized as Salvador's largest hotel.
- Pestana Bahia Lodge, Rua Fonte do Boi, 216, Rio Vermelho, +(55) 7121038000 . The Pestana Bahia Lodge is an urban resort and the first time-sharing hotel in Salvador.
- Convento do Carmo, Rua do Carmo, 1, Pelourinho +(55) 71 33278400 . Convento do Carmo is proud to be the first historical and luxury hotel of Brazil. This former and notable friary construction started in 1586 and once restored became a unique hotel in Salvador.
- Villa Bahia, Pelourinho, (71) 3322 4271, . Villa Bahia Hotel is a luxury hotel with an African-Portuguese colonial flair. The building was totally renovated to turn into a cosy and charming hotel with a 17th - 18th century style.
- Fiesta Bahia Hotel, Avenida Antonio Carlos Magalhes 711, 55 71 3352-0000, . The hotel provides a convention center for businesses and a floor just for ladies. A gym, game room, wet and dry sauna, spa and outdoor pool are just a few of the services provided for guests. Rates start at $210. per night for luxury rooms and $468 per night for suites.
Salvador is notorious for street crime, and for a tourist that wanders carelessly in the streets, the likelihood of a mugging or armed robbery is considerably higher than in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Salvador recognizes the importance of tourism to the city economy, so most important tourist sites such as Pelourinho and Mercado Modelo, as well as main popular festivals like the Carnival, are usually heavily guarded.
If you are moving on foot, by bicycle, or by bus, it's best to go out during the day. Avoid bringing anything valuable, just enough to enjoy your day. The Flamengo and Stella Maris beaches are among the safest places to go during the day, and they are the best option if you just want to enjoy a good beach without much local culture. In other places, try to stay at areas guarded by police.
As a general rule, be suspicious if people approach you directly in a friendly way as they may want money or to sell you something.
At night, it's better to take a cab to go out. Stay at reasonably crowded places. If you don't see other tourists where you are, you should take extra caution.
- Some areas, which are strongly frequented by foreigners, can become dangerous, especially at night, i.e. the Barra harbour area. Avoid going to the beach at night!
- The long sloping road leading from the old town to the harbor should be avoided even during the day. ALWAYS take the elevator.
- If you are staying in the touristic Barra area, beware of the favela near Shopping Barra, especially at night. The area just to the east toward the beach can be dangerous as well.
- Beware of vehicular traffic. Crossing the streets is always dangerous even when using a pedestrian crosswalk with the traffic light red for cars. As one member of Supergrass band once said: "In Brazil green means go, and red means go faster!" Start the crossing ONLY when vehicles have already stopped.
- Never agree to share a taxi with other random people, especially if they approach you. Most likely it's just a trap to rob you!
- Watch out for children in Pelourinho, especially on Tuesdays at the Geronimo Concert at the old church - they are reaching out for any low pockets in cargo pants!
When shopping always check the price first. Ask for a Coupon Fiscal it ensures that the company or individual you are purchasing from pays the proper tax.
Be particularly aware of Banca and Kiosks on the street as they may charge you more for being an estrangeiro (foreigner).
For a nice day trip, catch the ferry to the laid-back island of Itaparica.
Salvador is also the gateway to many other nearby attractions such as:
- Praia do Forte. Beach town with the "Project Tamar" turtle sanctuary.
- Arembepe. Tiny beach town along the Costa dos Coqueiros (Coconut Coast) with quiet beaches perfect for surfing.
- Imbassai. Just a few kilometers further North from Praia do Forte, this relaxed village's beach lies between the sea and a river that runs parallel to the ocean for a few hundred meters. Unique panorama.
- Boipeba. A beautiful and very pleasant island.
- Morro de Sao Paulo. Very frequented island by tourists and locals, plenty of restaurants, hostels and bars. It has four beaches with translucent water.
- Massarandupió. Just 90 km from Salvador, it's a true paradise, a semi-desert beach, with a small river. Walking by the beach you can reach a nudist beach area. A few small pousadas and restaurants. Great camping on a grassy flat area behind the dunes.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!