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Things to do in Salvador

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The top 182 attractions in Salvador

Neighborhoods in Salvador
Pelourinho is much more than a neighborhood of Salvador, it is the city's historical and cultural center. Although it is considered to be the city center it seems to be away from the reality of the city. Portuguese baroque architecture predominates and contrasts the colors of the statues and the fabrics from souvenir shops. Situated high up in the city and harbor front, wealthy families of this residential neighborhood lived and suffered during the 60 years of social degradation thus it became marginalized. However, thanks to its recognition as a Unesco world heritage site it is re-emerging as the colorful and lively cultural center of Salvador. Tiled floors leads you up the street, down the street is the Jorge Amado Foundation, the Museum Gourmet of Bahia, endless craft shops and numerous samba groups. Pelourinho has color, music, art, and ultimately, life.
Of Cultural Interest in Salvador
Elevator Lacerda
The Lacerda elevator has been working almost 140 years transporting visitors to the Bahia , more than 30,000 people per day, from the harbor area to the upper area, more than 90 meters high, where the city was constructed for defensive reasons. I used to take the elevator to go up, but felt like walking, and also recommend trying the funicular Gonçalves.
Churches in Salvador
Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim
A must in Salvador: The Church of Our Lord of Bonfim. Located in Holy Hill and built in the eighteenth century in a colonial neoclassic style, the church is a major site of pilgrimage throughout the year. Legend has it that when the construction was finished in 1773, the slaves were forced by members of the "Brotherhood of the Devotees Leigos" to wash the church as part of the preparation for the festival of "Senhor do Bonfim " which is always on the second Sunday of January, after the Epiphany. Over time, those of the "Candomblé" religion (brought from Africa with the slaves) began to associate the image of Senhor do Bonfim with the Orixá Oxalá god of their own religion. As Candomblé was not accepted by the church, the local archiepiscopal banned the washing of the interior for this reason and the ritual was transferred to the stairs instead. This ritual is still followed today and has become a tourist attraction. The area is full of people in folklore costumes that the slaves used in their days. They wash the stairs with scented water and lay flowers while singing hymns and religious songs. Another tradition is the more modern "do Senhor do Bonfim fitinha." In Salvador and in other cities of Bahia you´ll find find small colored fabric ribbons or bracelets with three knots. Each knot represents a wish of the Senhor do Bonfim. At the gates of the church, you can see thousands of these representing thousands more ve wish to spend time there.
Historical Monuments in Salvador
Churches in Salvador
São Francisco Church and Convent
San Salvador is a city in northern Brazil, capital of the state of Bahia, and known as the "colonial capital of Brazil". It has the largest population of any city in northeastern Brazil, and the third-largest in the country. It is a magical city, where all the religions you could imagine coexist without any problems ... Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Spiritualists, the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, etc. Wherever you go, you'll find hundreds of churches, some big and sumptuous, others small and simple. They're usually colonial buildings with white walls and warm ornamentation. Many religious festivals are celebrated here, including the feast days of San Cosme, St. Damian, Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, Santa Barbara, Santa Lucia, and most importantly, Our Lord of Bonfim. Anyone who has read a book by Jorge Amado will understand the inspiration felt by that great poet when they come to Bahia.
Beaches in Salvador
Stella Maris Beach
Estella Maris is located north of Salvador de Bahia. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of the city, and it's not very popular with tourists. At night there are concerts, and there are plenty of bars around the place. I recommend the Barraca Barcelona, with a charming Catalan owner. You'll see joggers, fishermen, hawkers, surfers, tourists, capoeira fighters, and many palm trees hypnotising travelers. Before traveling to Brazil, buy sunscreen 30 because here it's hard to find good sunscreen. And be careful not to tread on a crab!
Of Cultural Interest in Salvador
Dique do Tororó
The orishas are descendants of Olòòrun divinities. The belief belongs to the religion Candomblé in Brazil but the belief is widespread in many countries like Cuba (Santeria). It has about a million followers worldwide. In Brazil there are 6 of the most important, each representing a day of the week and has a specific type of "protection". The most important in Brazil is Iamanjá or Goddess of the sea and they celebrate her day on the 2nd of February.
Beaches in Salvador
Projeto TAMAR
The Tamar Project was created in 1980, by the Brazilian Institute for Forestry Development which later became IBAMA-Brazilian Institute of the Environment. Its main objective is the preservation of five types of sea turtles in Brazil, which it achieves by protecting 1,100 miles of beaches with 23 bases that are responsible for the feeding, care, and growth of the "tartarugas". The name is short for "tartaruga marinha". The website has details of the project with pictures ... although of course, the best thing to do is come to Brazil to see it in person.
Beaches in Salvador
Markets in Salvador
Mercado Modelo
This market is a must-visit in the capital of the state of Bahia - Salvador. The Market Model brings in more than 260 craft, painting, food, and drink shops. Built in 1861 in the Neoclassical architectural style, it is considered part of the artistic heritage of Brazil. Located in the "Comercio - cidade baixa", from outside the market you can see the Porto de Salvador, Lacerda Elevator (Another must-visit tourist spot) and typical rounds of Capoeira. In terms of craftsmanship you can find everything: paintings, the famous "fitinhas do Senhor do Bonfim" (used for wishes), clay or wood dolls and a multitude of small gifts. To get better prices there you have to haggle ...
Museums in Salvador
Solar do Unhão
The Solar do Unhão (part of the historical and artistic heritage of Brazil) is a must if you're in the city of Salvador. It is a colonial-style building, constructed in the century of Historical Heritage and National Artistic harboring the MAM - Modern Art Museum of Bahia. From there you have the most unique views of the Marina of Salvador. I recommend visiting in the afternoon and then sit and admire the sunset - unmissable ...
Of Touristic Interest in Salvador
Farol de Itapuã
A beacon of film in a placement around a mass of people coming together under the lighthouse to see the sunset, as if they had called everyone together at once.There were people at the foot of the lighthouse sitting down, spontaneous musicians ve come to play with them and just being quiet to see the sunset.This was followed by an applause.
Beaches in Salvador
Itapuã Beach
Immortalised in verse by Vinicius de Moraes, this is one of the best places in Salvador to watch the sunset. It's chaotic, filled with buzzing bars. You can eat, have a beer, and watch the sunset reflected on the sand. Be sure to take your camera so you can get a picture of the mermaid statue.
Of Cultural Interest in Salvador
Forte Montserrat
Its origins are not proven but it was probably built during the reign of D. Manuel Telles Barreto (1583-1587), known as Castelo de São Felipe, and perhaps designed by Baccio of Filicaia who worked in his government. It's shaped like an irregular polygon with circular towers and its function was to protect the port of Salvador. Today it has been very well preserved, offering a lovely view of the sea and the beach. The Forte de Nossa Senhora de Montserrat resisted the Dutch attempts to take the city of Salvador for one month, and was destroyed in the end. In October 1655 the Earl of Ataugia ordered the reconstruction of the fortress, later in 1693 D. João de Lencastre began the process.
Markets in Salvador
Feira de São Joaquim
It is a market where you can find a little of everything: fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and all the typical ingredients of Bahian cuisine like the ubiquitous azeite de dendé (palm oil). There are also decorative objects and objects of Candomblé worship, the Afro-American religion of Bahia. For those who are not too picky about hygiene, it is also a good place to try the local cuisine. It's nothing touristy, and is mostly frequented by locals.
Beaches in Salvador
Beaches of San Salvador de Bahía
San Salvador has many beaches along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and along the Bay of All Saints. The main urban beaches are Itapuan, Pituba, Artists and Porto da Barra. The golden sand and year-round warm water, without overwhelming waves, ensure that the city's beaches attract both locals and tourists. Many of these beaches have bars - small restaurants located on the sand where you can enjoy seafood, drinks and the famous juices: abacaxi (pineapple), morango (strawberry), azul (orange) and coconut water, which is served in a coconut cut in half. You can also enjoy a chilled beer, and you'll see locals with straw baskets on their heads selling "acarajé", a donut fried in bean palm oil, typical Afro-Brazilian food. Bahia has a warm tropical climate with high humidity, but because of its proximity to the sea, it does not feel as hot as in other places in Brazil. A great place to go to enjoy the beach, and the wonderful Brazilian atmosphere.
Of Cultural Interest in Salvador
Handicrafts in Bahia
Bahia is full color. 75% of the population is black or mixed race. It is well known for the African legacy that remains latent in the city. The traditional regional dress is a huge white skirt and white turban, accompanied by colourful lips and eyes. Here you'll find music, colour, and art. The artworks here are stunning, made from all kinds of materials (animal teeth, features, even the rib bones of a giant Amazonian cobra ...). The work is laborious, and you'll see circles of women sitting to talk while they make crafts. They always have the time to greet you with a smile and maybe even teach you the art of braiding.
Historical Monuments in Salvador
Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra
The Santo Antonio da Barra fortress was the first fort to be built in Brazil, and is a place that I loved visiting for quite a few different reasons. The first is that I just love seeing the defenses of maritime cities such as Salvador de Bahia, which has been one of the most active and important ports in Brazil for more than 500 years, and the second is that there's a lovely lighthouse inside the fort. The third is that houses a very interesting museum. The collection includes navigational instruments dating from the fifteenth century to the present day, models of ancient ships, navigation maps and logs, as well as objects rescued from shipwrecks. Opening hours are wide - Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 to 19:00.

The best things to do in Salvador

If you're one of those that believe the only attractions in Salvador are the beaches, then prepare to be surprised! The actually boasts a rich historical legacy. In fact, there are so many things to do in Salvador that you'll need at least two or three full days to see it all.
One of the must-see Salvador attractions is the Pelourinho neighborhood in known for its colonial buildings and brightly-painted houses. The area is also home to some of the best places to visit in Salvador like the Convent and Church of São Francisco, the Abelardo Rodriguez Museum in the Solar do Ferro, and the Convento do Carmo.
Next on the list of great stuff to do in Salvador is riding the
72 meters of the Elevador Lacerda which connects the Cidade Alta ("High City") with the Cidade Baixa ("Lower City"), where you'll find many of the top things to see in Salvador like
the fort of San Marcelo, a huge turtle-shaped
fortification anchored in the Gulf, and the Sculpture Park.
Finally, no list of what to do in Salvador
is complete without a visit to the Mercado Modelo where you can buy crafts and taste the local gastronomy. To find out more about the best Salvador activities, have a look at the tips and reviews from real travelers on minube and start planning your trip today!