Brazil is the longest country in the world ! Having many different climate areas, it offers a large choice of different landscapes. Situated in the north of Brazil, Salvador is a city of wonders. The territory was discovered and settled in the 16th century. It also became Brazil’s capital from 1549 to 1763. The city was the second largest slavery harbour, with over 1.500.000 slaves coming from Africa, as a result nowadays 80% of the population is black.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Salvador is during Summer (from November to March). It’s the dry season and it’s not really rainy. The temperatures are high, but as a coastal city Salvador benefits of the Atlantic Ocean to help reduce the heat wave during summer. Although very touristy, the period from January to March is the best in general to visit Brazil. Consider assisting to the famous Brazilian Carnival that take place every year mid February/beginning of March.
Is Salvador safe to visit?
Salvador is the capital of one of the most poor states in Brazil. As such there are many beggars in the streets. Be prepared to be asked for money very often. Otherwise it is safe as long as you stay in the touristy areas. The beaches are safe as well but always prefer more crowded ones, especially If you’re travelling solo.
Travel Guide to Salvador, the activities you shouldn’t miss!
Take a Capoeira Class
How about burning some calories with the sound of the berimbau while connecting to Afro-Brazilian ancestry? Capoeira was once forbidden in Brazil. Nowadays It is one of its national symbols. Participate to a masterclass is both fun and educative! You can join a Capoeira class with Associação de Capoeira Mestre Bimba. Situated in the city center the school is nearby all the other main attractions and restaurants.
Cost for the lesson is 30€, if you’re travelling with other people you may have group discounts. The classes take place every Saturday from 11 to 12 AM and they are divided in two parts. At first a demonstration from the masters, then It’s your turn to try. Don’t forget to wear pants as Capoeira is based on kicks and circular moves.
Sit with Jorge Amado and Zélia Gattai
While walking on the seafront you may encounter a statue of two persons sitting on a bench with their dog. They are Jorge Amado and Zélia Gattai. Two of the most famous Brazilian writers, with their French bulldog Sadul. Made by artist Tatti Moreno, the sculpture is situated in the Largo de Santana, in front of the Santana Church. It was one of the couple’s favourite spot after they moved in Salvador. You can have a sit with them while exploring the shops around.
It’s the neighbourhood that goes from Largo do Pelourinho until Terreiro de Jesus. Pelourinho in Portuguese means the pillory stone, where slaves were flogged. Eventually It gave the name to the whole area, which was abandoned until the 20th century when it entered UNESCO list. This coloured area is one of the most picturesque in the city. Street artists, musicians and tasty restaurants, liven up the festive atmosphere. Very often the neighbourhood becomes part of larger celebrations and religious manifestations.
Note: be careful to the slippery ground! The very famous cobblestones that pave the neighbourhood are slippery especially when it rains. Wear comfortable shoes in order to avoid an accidental fall.
Igreja do Senhor do Bonfim
If you’ve already wandered in Brazil, probably you’ve already seen the ribbons of Bonfim, knotted on churches grates. This tradition comes from the Bahian city. And more specifically from the Basílica do Senhor do Bonfim. You can visit the basilica, the local museum or hang your prayer ribbons on the external bars. The Basilica has also an impressive room that collects prosthetic limbs tangling from the ceiling.
The Elevador Lacerda is the first urban elevator in the world. It was completed in 1873. Connecting the lower and upper cities, its structure is 72 long. It’s located in the Baía de Todos os Santos, and it offers a beautiful view over the city. The price for the ticket is around 0,50 €.
Enjoy the beautiful orchids of Orquidario Bahia
Get smell among the perfumes and colours of an Bahia’s Orchidarium. The visit will let you visit the greenhouses where the orchids are and the laboratory. The owner Ednildo will introduce you to the many species he grows, and the ones that are typical of the region. The Orquidario also hosts courses to teach you how to run a successful garden on your own. As a photographer I really enjoyed this experience, the orchids are an amazing subject and there are so many varieties.
In conclusion you shouldn’t skip Salvador de Bahia for it’s colours, scents and its joyful ambience! Are you planning to visit? Make sure to read our Rio de Janeiro guide to add this iconic city to your trip. Don’t know where to go? Find more travel inspirations.