By Pedro Souza
February 27, 2017
Once the capital of Brazil, Salvador is now the capital of Bahia, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The third largest city of Brazil, Salvador is a peninsula that stands between the Baía de Todos os Santos (All Saints Bay) and the Atlantic Ocean. Salvador has a strong African influence, which is visible in the cultural manifestations and religions of the city, as well as in its ethnicity. The city is divided by a cliff into two parts: Cidade Alta (Higher City) and Cidade Baixa (Lower city), which is by the bay.
In the Cidade Alta you will find the Pelourinho, which is probably the most popular tourist spot in the city. Considered a historical site by UNESCO, the Pelourinho is a neighborhood teeming with very well preserved buildings from the colonial era. The area also has plenty of museums where one can appreciate the rich history of the city and find artisanal shops that sell beautiful handicraft for those that want to bring a gift back home. Restaurants and bars also abound in Pelourinho, inviting travelers to take a break to enjoy a hearty meal or a few beers. While visiting Pelourinho is a must in Salvador, one must be watchful for pickpockets that prey on distracted tourists. When going there, don’t wear jewelry and never put anything valuable in your back pockets or in the front pockets of your backpack.
The city also offers plenty of beaches, although most of them are quite crowded during the weekends. Among the most beautiful beaches are the ones located in the Costa Azul (Blue Coast), a stretch of beaches between Pituba and Piata. The beaches in this region are great for swimming and sightseeing, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars in case you get hungry or feel the need for a beer. For those who want to enjoy a good seafood meal or do some windsurfing, the Amaralina beach is the place to go. As for the ones who want to know how locals live, try visiting Boa Viagem on a Sunday. For a more eclectic atmosphere try the Itapuã beach, a beautiful white-sanded beach located in an artist village. One can also take the green line, a toll road, and explore the beaches to the north of the city. Passing through sand dunes and coconuts, hundreds of kilometers of white-sand beaches are just waiting to be explored.
Salvador is also known for its vibrant nightlife, offering a range of bars and nightclubs for the party-lovers. On Mondays, a good option is the Ribeira neighborhood in the lower city, where people gather to drink and party. On Tuesdays, the party is at Pelourinho, which fills up with concerts all over the area. As for the weekends, the whole city erupts in parties for all tastes. The Carnaval parties that takes place every February in Salvador are also remarkable, being amongst the best parties in the country.
The people of Salvador are also a reason in itself to visit the city. They have a reputation for being very friendly, warmed and relaxed, even for Brazilian standards. They also tend to be very welcoming towards tourists, making a traveler feel at home. If are willing to engage with the locals, you will definitely make friends quickly, and maybe even fall in love.
Whether you want to come to visit historical sites, enjoy the nightlife, explore the beaches, do all of these things or something else altogether, going to Salvador is an unforgettable experience. If you wish to have an authentic taste of Brazil and immerse yourself in the magic of Salvador, come and enjoy!