Salvador travel guide

Salvador Tourism | Salvador Guide

You're Going to Love Salvador

The historic capital of colonial Brazil, Salvador is the center of the Afro-Brazilian world. Filled with 18th-century architecture and pulsating with dance and music, it's a city that is easy to dive into but hard to escape.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Salvador

1. The Beauty of the Pelourinho

Dating back to 1594, the Pelourinho is famed for its pastel colors and outdoor musical concerts. When you visit, it's easy to see why Pelourinho has also been a magnet for music video producers, hosting shoots by Michael Jackson and Paul Simon.

2. Gorgeous Beaches Nearby

The coast of Bahia is home to some of the finest beaches in Brazil, including Arembepe (20 miles to the north), which was home to a famous 1960s counter-cultural community.

3. Superb Cultural Attractions

Head to the Museum of Modern Art (which also hosts live jazz on Saturdays), the Afro-Brazilian Museum, and a great museum dedicated to Jorge Amado, the country's greatest novelist.

4. Gorgeous Sunset Views

Not many cities can match Salvador's sunset vistas. Take the historic Elevador Lacerda to the upper city, and enjoy a glass of wine as the sun dips below the Baía de Todos os Santos.

5. Live Music Every Night

Music is a huge part of Salvador's life, and there are plenty of places to catch live shows, from bistros like Casa de Mãe Iemanja to the far larger Bahia Café Hall.

What to do in Salvador

1. Convento e Igreja de São Francisco: A Colonial Convent

The São Francisco Church and Convent of Salvador is truly a sight to behold for those who love cathedrals, as well as those who simply savor the decadence of old-world European architecture and design. The values of the culture during the time period of the early 17th century are evident in every intricate molding, exuberant, golden woodwork, and painstakingly-painted ceilings lit up overhead. No detail is spared and every alcove and corner within this Jesuit church is a marvel to behold. Get lost studying the beautiful, Baroque-inspired foliage, angels, and and arches. This is one sacred place that will remain with you long after you have left.

2. Cathedral of Salvador: History and Heritage

The Cathedral of Salvador is the seat of the Archbishop in Salvador, Brazil - and its majestic interiors and opulent exteriors say just as much. Hearkening back to its Portuguese roots, the one-aisled church, while not as decadent as the São Francisco Church, certainly mesmerizes viewers with its attention to art and architecture. The interiors feature beautiful stonework, gilded altarpieces and archways, statues depicting religious figures of significance, and beautiful balconies that rest only halfway up its cavernous ceilings.

3. Elevador Lacerda: Providing a Modern View

Looking down from the Elevador Lacerda, you can marvel not only at the beautiful city of Salvador but how far its restoration of the notable art-deco-style elevator has come. The city, with its shimmering golden spires of the Catedral Basílica de São Salvador and the Convento e Igreja de São Francisco, as well as its jewel, the Bay of All Saints, deserves more than one look. And with the Evader Lacerda's intimate, panoramic view, you'll feel as though everything the light touches was crafted for your eyes only. The Eleavador Lacerda connects the Cidade Alta with Comércio and its 4 elevators can travel 72m in 30 seconds.

4. Praia do Porto da Barra: The "Beach Barrio"

In Salvador, when the sightseeing is done and the memory-making has concluded, travelers can relax, unwind and witness some of that famed Brazilian beach life at the Porto da Barra Beach. Right on the Bay of All Saints, it's the place to be for stunning sunsets, adrenaline-pumping watersports, and calm waters. The beach is lined with more than just coastline: there are plenty of vendors, restaurants, cafes, and beach volleyball nets set up. Before finishing up for the evening, take a walk to the small, white, colonial-style building at the beach's tip, which was the first settlement point.

5. Solar do Unhao: Bossa Nova and Modern Art

The Solar do Unhão is tucked away on the edge of the waters but is a perfectly-preserved complex that dates back to the 18th century. Arrive here for the day and plan to spend it outdoors as well as indoors, at the Museu de Arte Moderna. Once you're done marveling at the avante-garde exhibits, unwind to the familiar, beloved sounds of Saturday evening slow jazz, mixed with everyone's national favorite, Bossa Nova.

1. Convento e Igreja de São Francisco: A Colonial Convent

The São Francisco Church and Convent of Salvador is truly a sight to behold for those who love cathedrals, as well as those who simply savor the decadence of old-world European architecture and design. The values of the culture during the time period of the early 17th century are evident in every intricate molding, exuberant, golden woodwork, and painstakingly-painted ceilings lit up overhead. No detail is spared and every alcove and corner within this Jesuit church is a marvel to behold. Get lost studying the beautiful, Baroque-inspired foliage, angels, and and arches. This is one sacred place that will remain with you long after you have left.

2. Cathedral of Salvador: History and Heritage

The Cathedral of Salvador is the seat of the Archbishop in Salvador, Brazil - and its majestic interiors and opulent exteriors say just as much. Hearkening back to its Portuguese roots, the one-aisled church, while not as decadent as the São Francisco Church, certainly mesmerizes viewers with its attention to art and architecture. The interiors feature beautiful stonework, gilded altarpieces and archways, statues depicting religious figures of significance, and beautiful balconies that rest only halfway up its cavernous ceilings.

3. Elevador Lacerda: Providing a Modern View

Looking down from the Elevador Lacerda, you can marvel not only at the beautiful city of Salvador but how far its restoration of the notable art-deco-style elevator has come. The city, with its shimmering golden spires of the Catedral Basílica de São Salvador and the Convento e Igreja de São Francisco, as well as its jewel, the Bay of All Saints, deserves more than one look. And with the Evader Lacerda's intimate, panoramic view, you'll feel as though everything the light touches was crafted for your eyes only. The Eleavador Lacerda connects the Cidade Alta with Comércio and its 4 elevators can travel 72m in 30 seconds.

4. Praia do Porto da Barra: The "Beach Barrio"

In Salvador, when the sightseeing is done and the memory-making has concluded, travelers can relax, unwind and witness some of that famed Brazilian beach life at the Porto da Barra Beach. Right on the Bay of All Saints, it's the place to be for stunning sunsets, adrenaline-pumping watersports, and calm waters. The beach is lined with more than just coastline: there are plenty of vendors, restaurants, cafes, and beach volleyball nets set up. Before finishing up for the evening, take a walk to the small, white, colonial-style building at the beach's tip, which was the first settlement point.

5. Solar do Unhao: Bossa Nova and Modern Art

The Solar do Unhão is tucked away on the edge of the waters but is a perfectly-preserved complex that dates back to the 18th century. Arrive here for the day and plan to spend it outdoors as well as indoors, at the Museu de Arte Moderna. Once you're done marveling at the avante-garde exhibits, unwind to the familiar, beloved sounds of Saturday evening slow jazz, mixed with everyone's national favorite, Bossa Nova.

Where to Eat in Salvador

Food is a huge attraction in Salvador. Restaurante do SENAC is a great place to find Bahian specialties while Cafélier offers fine views. Expect to pay around R$20 for a good meal, but much less for street food.

When to visit Salvador

Salvador in June
Estimated hotel price
$30
1 night at 3-star hotel
Salvador in June
Estimated hotel price
$30
1 night at 3-star hotel

June is the time to visit if you want to experience Salvador's major festivals. Aside from that, most tourists tend to avoid the summer heat. October and November are excellent times to visit for fine weather.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Salvador

Plane

Salvador International Airport (SSA) has connections to Miami via American Airlines, and is around 20 miles outside town. Expect to pay around R$20 for a taxi, or catch minibuses (R$4) or city buses (R$3) to save some money.

Car

The best route into town by car from the airport is via the Av Luís Viana (along the coast). You can also drive to Salvador from Recife (on Highway 101) or from Rio (Highway 116).

Bus

Buses run into Salvador from all over Brazil, with taxi ranks just outside the main bus station.

Airlines serving Salvador

Lufthansa
Good (1,371 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,898 reviews)
KLM
Good (292 reviews)
Air France
Good (297 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,075 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,657 reviews)
British Airways
Good (937 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (357 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (930 reviews)
Iberia
Good (667 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (640 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (661 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (370 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (630 reviews)
Air Europa
Good (95 reviews)
Avianca
Good (692 reviews)
Ethiopian Air
Good (127 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (788 reviews)
Copa Airlines
Good (446 reviews)
Japan Airlines
Good (300 reviews)
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Where to stay in Salvador

Central Salvador is the place to stay, where leading luxury options include Aram Yami Hotel, the Hotel Baia do Sol, and Bahia Cafe Hotel.

Popular neighbourhoods in Salvador

Pelourinho - dating back to 1594, the Pelourinho is colorful, historic, and the highlight of any trip to Salvador.

Graca - on the tip of the peninsular, Graca has some excellent city beaches, luxury hotels, and great connections to the historic center.

Ondina - a relaxed beachfront neighborhood in the south of the city and a very popular place for tourists to stay.

Where to stay in popular areas of Salvador

Most booked hotels in Salvador

Hotel Villa Bahia
Excellent (9.3, Excellent reviews)
$235+
Fiesta Bahia Hotel
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
$76+
Studio do Carmo Boutique Hotel
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
$62+
Pousada Terra Nossa
Good (7.3, Good reviews)
$16+
Hotel Piramide - Iguatemi
Good (6, Good reviews)
$19+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Salvador

Public Transportation

Basic fares on Salvador's city buses are R$3 and the network provides excellent coverage of the city center.

Taxi

Expect fast service and low rates from Salvador's taxis. Prices should be around R$3.50 per mile, with a meter drop of R$5.

Car

Car rental options include Hertz and Avis, and rates begin at around R$60.

The Cost of Living in Salvador

Shopping Streets

The Old Town is a great place to hunt for craft products and artworks, while malls like Shopping da Bahia and Salvador Shopping have a huge array of international and domestic brands on offer.

Groceries and Other

Supermarkets include Walmart Brasil and Supermercado Bompreço. Expect to pay around R$11 for a gallon of milk.

Cheap meal
$7.68
A pair of jeans
$97.67
Single public transport ticket
$1.55
Cappuccino
$2.64