3 Days in Salvador, Bahia: The Perfect Itinerary

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Curated By

Phelipe Cardoso Sekai

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  • Brazil

  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Outdoors

  • Sightseeing

  • Relaxing

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Curator’s statement

Salvador, a gem of Brazil's Bahia state, is a city where history and culture converge. As one of the oldest cities in the Americas, it holds a rich colonial legacy, evident in its stunning architecture and historic sites. Known as the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture, Salvador is a city pulsating with rhythmic music, colorful festivals and an unparalleled culinary scene. This guide aims to take you through a three-day journey in Salvador, unveiling its enchanting mix of historical significance, cultural richness and natural beauty, ensuring an immersive and unforgettable experience in this unique Brazilian metropolis.

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Where to stay

Hotel Fasano Salvador

Ideally located in the centre of Salvador, Hotel Fasano Salvador offers air-conditioned rooms, a fitness centre, free WiFi and a restaurant.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Mercure Salvador Rio Vermelho

Where vibrant Brazilian culture meets impeccable hospitality, ensuring an enchanting stay in the heart of Salvador.

Fera Palace Hotel

Where timeless elegance and modern luxury harmonize, offering an exquisite retreat in the heart of historic Salvador.

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Unlock perks by contacting Phelipe to book your trip.

Day 1: Historical Journey in Pelourinho and Spiritual Experience at Bonfim

white-and-brown-concrete-building

Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia, is a city steeped in rich history and cultural diversity. Founded in 1549, it was one of the first colonial cities in the New World and served as the capital of Portugal's vast Brazilian territory for many years.

Salvador is renowned for its well-preserved Portuguese colonial architecture, especially in the Pelourinho district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city's history is deeply intertwined with the African slave trade, and this influence is profoundly evident in its culture today. Salvador is considered the center of Afro-Brazilian culture in the country, with its music, cuisine, dance and religion heavily influenced by African traditions. The city's vibrant Afro-Brazilian heritage is celebrated in its frequent festivals, most notably the world-famous Salvador Carnival, which is one of the largest street parties in the world.

Beyond its historical significance, Salvador boasts a picturesque coastline, making it a popular destination for both cultural and leisure tourism. The blend of its colonial past, African heritage and breathtaking natural scenery makes Salvador a unique and enchanting destination that offers a rich and diverse experience to its visitors.

Morning (Pelourinho): Begin your Salvador exploration in Pelourinho, the city's historical heart. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a maze of colorful colonial buildings and cobbled streets. Start at the Praça da Sé, a square that offers a window into Salvador's colonial past. Praça da Sé.

Visit the magnificent São Francisco Church and Convent, renowned for its gold-laden interiors and exquisite Portuguese tilework. Wander through the streets, soaking in the Afro-Brazilian culture and art, and visit the Casa do Olodum, famous for its role in developing the musical scene in Salvador.

Afternoon (Church of Bonfim): In the afternoon, visit the Church of Our Lord of Bonfim, a symbol of Bahian religious syncretism. Here, you'll see the famous colored ribbons tied to the church gates, each representing a wish or prayer. Explore the church's interior and learn about its historical significance.

Tip: Participate in the local tradition of tying a ribbon and making a wish for a unique cultural experience.

Evening (Bahian Cuisine): For dinner, head to Restaurant Maria Mata Mouro for an authentic dining experience with a charming ambiance.

Day 2 - Art, Culture, and Nightlife in the Upper City

a cobblestone street lined with colorful buildings

Morning (Museums in Pelourinho): Return to Pelourinho for a deeper dive into its art and culture. Visit the Museu Afro-Brasileiro to understand the African influence in Brazilian culture. Explore the galleries showcasing African artifacts and religious items from Candomblé, a local religion.

Tip: Join a guided museum tour for in-depth insights into the exhibits.

Afternoon (Santo Antônio Além do Carmo): Stroll through the charming Santo Antônio Além do Carmo neighborhood. This area is known for its artistic atmosphere and stunning views. Visit the Centro Cultural Solar Ferrão, an art gallery housed in a historic building, showcasing a mix of contemporary and traditional art.

Evening (Nightlife in Pelourinho): Experience the vibrant nightlife of Pelourinho. The streets come alive with music and dance performances, especially Samba and Forró. Visit local bars and music venues like Café Teatro Rubi or the Pelourinho square for live performances.

Tip: You may want to try a "caipirinha," Brazil's national cocktail, while enjoying the live music​

Day 3 - Relaxation and Natural Beauty in Rio Vermelho and Barra

aerial view of city buildings near body of water during daytime

Morning (Rio Vermelho): Start the day in Rio Vermelho, Salvador's bohemian district. Visit the Jorge Amado House, now a museum, to delve into the life and work of one of Brazil's most famous authors. Enjoy a traditional Bahian breakfast in the neighborhood's many cafés.

Tip: Try the "Tapioca" and Açaí bowl for a typical Bahian breakfast experience.

Afternoon (Barra Lighthouse and Beaches): Head to Barra, famous for its lighthouse (Farol da Barra). Explore the Nautical Museum inside the lighthouse. Then, relax on the nearby Porto da Barra Beach, known for its calm and clear waters, ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

Evening (Sunset at Ponta do Humaitá): Conclude your day at Ponta do Humaitá, a serene spot for watching the sunset. Enjoy the panoramic view of the bay and the city skyline. For dinner, explore the seafood restaurants in the Rio Vermelho area.

Tip: Arrive early at Ponta do Humaitá to secure a good spot for the sunset and bring a camera to capture the breathtaking views​.

Phelipe wearing glasses, a suit and a hat while smiling and standing outside in front of a city street.

Travel Advisor

Phelipe Cardoso Sekai

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Brazil