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Things to do in Salvador
Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia in Brazil, is a city with a rich cultural heritage, amazing architecture, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife. Founded in 1549, Salvador is one of the oldest cities in the Americas and has a unique Afro-Brazilian culture that’s reflected in its music, food, and art. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top things to do in Salvador, from exploring its historic center to savoring its delicious cuisine.
Explore the Pelourinho
The Pelourinho, also known as the Historic Center of Salvador, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the heart of Salvador’s cultural scene. With its colorful colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and vibrant music and dance performances, the Pelourinho is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Salvador. Visitors can explore the area’s many museums, art galleries, and shops, or simply wander around and soak up the lively atmosphere.
Visit the Mercado Modelo
The Mercado Modelo is a bustling market in the heart of Salvador that sells a variety of goods, from souvenirs and handicrafts to local food and drinks. Visitors can sample delicious Bahian dishes such as acarajé (a deep-fried bean cake filled with shrimp, vatapá, and spicy sauce), moqueca (a seafood stew made with coconut milk), and quindim (a sweet dessert made with egg yolks and coconut). The market is also a great place to buy souvenirs and gifts, such as handmade jewelry, clothing, and art.
Relax on the Beach
Salvador is known for its beautiful beaches, and there are several to choose from depending on your preference. Praia do Forte, located about 50 km from Salvador, is a famous beach with white sand, clear water, and plenty of restaurants and shops. Praia de Itapuã is another famous beach that’s known for its scenic beauty and calm waters. Other beaches include Porto da Barra, Farol da Barra, and Praia do Flamengo.
Visit the São Francisco Church and Convent
The São Francisco Church and Convent is one of Salvador’s most iconic landmarks and is known for its ornate Baroque architecture and elaborate decorations. Visitors can explore the church’s interior, which is covered in gold leaf, intricate carvings, and colorful tiles. The adjacent convent has a museum that displays religious art and artifacts.
Take a Capoeira Class
Capoeira is a martial art that originated in Brazil and is an integral part of Salvador’s culture. Visitors can take a class and learn the basics of capoeira, including its history, music, and movements. Capoeira classes are offered at several schools and studios throughout Salvador.
Visit the Afro-Brazilian Museum
The Afro-Brazilian Museum is a museum that’s dedicated to the history and culture of Afro-Brazilians in Salvador and Brazil. The museum has a collection of artifacts, art, and documents that showcase the contributions of Afro-Brazilians to Brazilian society and culture. Visitors can learn about the history of slavery in Brazil, the development of Afro-Brazilian religions such as Candomblé and Umbanda, and the struggles and achievements of Afro-Brazilians throughout history.
Take a City Tour
Salvador has a rich history and culture, and taking a city tour is a great way to learn about the city’s past and present. Visitors can take a walking tour of the Pelourinho and learn about the area’s colonial history, or take a bus tour and visit other landmarks such as the Lacerda Elevator, the Bonfim Church, and the Mercado Modelo.
Watch a Candomblé Ceremony
Candomblé is an Afro-Brazilian religion that’s practiced in Salvador and throughout Brazil. Visitors can attend a Candomblé ceremony and witness the music, dance, and rituals of this fascinating religion. Candomblé ceremonies are usually held in terreiros, or Candomblé temples, and visitors should be respectful of the traditions and customs of the religion.
Visit the Bonfim Church
The Bonfim Church is a famous church in Salvador that’s dedicated to Our Lord of Bonfim, a patron saint of Bahia. The church is known for its colorful facade and for the tradition of tying ribbons to its gates for good luck. Visitors can explore the church’s interior and attend a mass, or simply enjoy the beautiful views of the city from the church’s hilltop location.
Experience Salvador’s Nightlife
Salvador has a vibrant nightlife scene, with a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from. Visitors can enjoy traditional Brazilian music such as samba and forró, or dance the night away to electronic and world music. Some popular nightlife spots in Salvador include Rio Vermelho, Barra, and Pelourinho.
Take a Day Trip to Morro de São Paulo
Morro de São Paulo is a picturesque island located about 60 km from Salvador. The island is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear water, and laid-back atmosphere. Visitors can take a ferry or a catamaran from Salvador to the island and spend the day relaxing on the beach, swimming, and enjoying the local cuisine.
Visit the Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art of Bahia is a museum that’s dedicated to contemporary art and is located in a beautiful 18th-century building in Salvador. The museum has a collection of works by Brazilian and international artists, including paintings, sculptures, and installations. Visitors can also attend temporary exhibitions, film screenings, and cultural events.
Explore the All-Saints Bay
The All-Saints Bay, or Baía de Todos os Santos in Portuguese, is a large bay located in Salvador that’s home to several islands, beaches, and historic landmarks. Visitors can take a boat tour of the bay and visit sites such as the Forte de São Marcelo, the Ilha dos Frades, and the Ilha de Itaparica. The bay is also a popular spot for sailing, fishing, and swimming.
Try Bahian Street Food
Bahian cuisine is known for its bold flavors and unique combinations of ingredients. Visitors can try a variety of street food dishes, such as acarajé, abará (a similar dish to acarajé, but with a different filling), tapioca, and cocada (a sweet coconut candy). Street food vendors can be found throughout Salvador, especially in the Pelourinho and Mercado Modelo areas.
Visit the Solar do Unhão Museum
The Solar do Unhão Museum is a museum that’s located in a beautiful 17th-century mansion in Salvador. The museum has a collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Brazilian artists such as Candido Portinari and Tarsila do Amaral. Visitors can also explore the mansion’s gardens and enjoy the stunning views of the bay.
To conclude, Salvador is a fantastic and culturally rich city that’s full of things to see and do. From exploring the historic Pelourinho to enjoying the city’s nightlife and sampling its delicious cuisine, Salvador has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, art, music, or simply relaxing on the beach, Salvador is a destination that’s worth visiting.