• Home >
  • Active Sun >
  • Top 10 things to do in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

Top 10 things to do in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

Wednesday, 14 November 2012 4:54 PM

Continuing our Brazil features this week inspired by Michael Palin’s Brazil series, we’ve come to Salvador da Bahia (or simply Bahia as locals call it). Located in Brazil’s north east, this city is at the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture. It’s a vibrant city full of colonial Portuguese architecture and with a dynamic arts and music scene. Here are our top 10 things to do in the city.

1) Visit the Igreia Sao Francisco – One of the best examples of barroco style architecture in the world, the San Francisco church is a must-see sight. The ornate gold embellished interior and 80kg silver chandelier will have you completely dazzled.

Elevador Lacerda, Salvador, Brazil

2) Learn about Bahia’s history at the Museu Afro-Brasileiro – Here you’ll discover the origins of the people from Bahia as the exhibits document the slave trade and development of the city of Salvador. The museum houses Bahia’s most important collections including wood carvings, pottery and baskets. One of the highlights of the museum is a room lined with 27 exquisitely carved wooden panels inlaid with shells and metals and depicting the orixás – deities of Afro-Brazilian religions. These are made by Carbyé, one of Salvador’s most renowned artists.

3) Ride the Elevador Lacerda to the Cidade Alta – The perfectly restored art deco Elevador Lacerda takes more than 50,000 passengers per day to the Upper City, through a set of four elevators which travel along vertical shafts, 72m high. The Jesuits installed the first elevator here in about 1610, using just ropes and pulleys.

4) Wander the streets of Pelourinho – The UNESCO World Heritage site of Pelourinho takes up most of Salvador’s Cidade Alta with its vibrant colourful architecture that dates back to the Portuguese colonial era. This place is best when you do that getting lost type of exploring.

5) Buy some fitas for good luck at Igreja do Bonfim – One of Bahia’s most famous symbols are fitas or multicoloured ribbons, which come from the 18th century church of Bonfim. One of the most popular places for pilgrims in the whole of Brazil, Bonfim’s fame comes from the fact that it is supposed to have miraculous curing powers. Head to the Sala dos Milagres (Room of Miracles) at the side of the church to see locals leave letters, photos and wax replicas of body parts representing those that need curing.

Bonfim Church, Salvador, Brazil

6) Pick up some crafts at Mercado Modelo – The city’s main market is a great place to get your hands on some handmade crafts and souvenirs and after you’ve finished you can head to the nearby square to watch people performing capoeira.

7) Catch a folkloric dance performance – A trip to Bahia cannot be complete without experiencing true Afro-Brazilian culture at a folkloric performance. Here you’ll witness the pros doing capoeira, which has its origins in traditional slave fighting. You’ll also enjoy great music and delicious food. One of the best places to catch a show is at the Teatro Miguel Santana.

8) Watch the sunset from Solar do Unhão and the Museu de Arte Moderna – Set on a hill, overlooking the waterfront is an old 18th century sugar mill. The main building houses a small modern art museum showcasing works by Portinari and Di Cavalcanti. When you’ve finished head up the path that leads to a quaint sculpture garden – a great place from which to watch the sunset. If you go on Saturday evenings you’ll be treated to live jazz performances too.

9) Stop at a street stall to buy some acarajéThis typical Bahian snack is like a small fritters made from black-eyed peas and onions fried in palm oil and smothered with spicy shrimp paste called vatapá.

View from the Fort, Salvador, Brazil

10) Marvel at the views from Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra – Bahia’s most impressive fort – Antonio da Barra is well worth a visit. Built in 1598 it is well known for its lighthouse and also houses a small nautical museum. Make sure you stay and watch the sunset too; the peninsula here is apparently the only place in Brazil where the sun sets over the ocean.

Follow us for more travel inspiration @WeWantSun

 

 

dancer at the Rio Carnival, Brazil

South America’s best carnivals

Carnival time in South America is soon to arrive and this party-loving continent will break out into lively parades, complete with spectacular costumes, non-stop drum beats and cultural traditions. For many, carnival season is just as an important event the cultural calendar as Christmas. Many of the carnivals signify letting go and one last indulgent party before the coming of Lent. But with so many carnivals going on throughout the continent just which ones are the best to visit?

Rio de Janeiro

Top 10 things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Here at IWantSun.co.uk, we’ve been inspired by the latest BBC documentary series – Michael Palin’s Brazil, so to start you off, here’s our list of the top 10 things to do in one of Brazil’s most iconic cities – Rio de Janeiro. And it’s a great winter sun destination too!

Christmas on the beach

Top 10 winter sun destinations for 2012

When winter arrives, here at IWantSun.co.uk, we like to start planning our trips away to sunnier climes to escape those cold, dark and dreary days to come. So here are our picks for some top winter sun destinations to escape to this year.

Xcacel Cenote, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Top 10 places to go in 2013

The New Year is almost here, so we’ve been looking at where we think is going to be hot in 2013, here are our top 10 picks.

Top five eco holiday destinations in the sun

Top five eco holiday destinations in the sun

To celebrate Climate Week, Britain’s biggest climate change campaign, from March 12 - 18, we have decided to find out where the greenest holiday destinations are in the sun, so that if you are going to travel to somewhere hot and sunny, you can at least make sure it’s to somewhere with a good environmental performance rating.

Daniel Craig as James Bond

Top James Bond film locations

Today is Global James Bond Day, so we’re taking a look at some of the best and most iconic James Bond film locations. From flying across the mountains of Bolivia, to floating down the Amazon, to lazing on the shores of Jamaica, Bond has spent his time in many exotic locations.

The Azores

Top 10 things to do in the Azores

There has been much talk about the Azores recently, the small group of nine islands that lie 930 miles off the coast of Portugal, out in the Atlantic Ocean. On Tuesday IWantSun.co.uk went to a talk at the Royal Geographic Society to learn all about them from television presenter and author, Ben Fogle – now the face of tourism to the islands. So here are our top 10 things to do on the islands.

Top five Latin America destinations for adventure sport-lovers

Top five Latin American destinations for adventure sport lovers

Activity holidays in the sun are now extremely popular and the countries in South and Central America offer a great variety of sports, from surfing, to snorkelling, wind surfing, hiking, kayaking and even zip-lining. We get the lowdown from travel expert Sue Lyall at Exsus.com (tailor made luxury tour operator), on the hottest places for adventure holidays and what you can expect.

Free Newsletter

Sign up to iwantsun.co.uk's free newsletter.

Subject to terms of use and privacy policy

I Wish I Was There Instead... Salobreña, Spain

Salobreña, Spain

Esme Fox talks to IWantSun.co.uk about a great places for an autumn holiday in the sun - Salobreña on the south coast of Spain.

More ...

I Wish I Was There Instead...Hua Hin, Thailand

I Wish I Was There Instead... Puerto Escondido, Mexico

P&O Caribbean Cruise day 4: Dominica

Caribbean Cruise Dominica

We continue our series of Caribbean cruise features with what we got up to on the island of Dominica - the Caribbean's nature island.