Things to Do in Salvador

Lacerda Elevator

Landmarks

What goes up must come down. Like this elevator, for example. The Jesuits installed this massive lift-to-nowhere around 1610. At that time, a rudimentary rope-and-pulley system hoisted goods and passengers from port to summit. It was renovated decades ago in bold Art Deco style. Today, thousands use the system to commute from Cidade Alta to Comércio and back.

Accommodations near Lacerda Elevator
Mercado Modelo

Shopping Areas

Bahia’s bargain basement. This canary-coloured marketplace holds a trove of objects that cover classic to kitsch in one fell swoop. You’ll find ceramic, glass and wood tchotchkes, street scenes painted in saturated colours, vintage deities, woven baskets and more. Make sure you buy a traditional seafood or fried-rice “acarajé” from a cheery street vendor.

Accommodations near Mercado Modelo
Pelourinho

Landmarks

One road heads east, the other west. A row of colonial houses seal off a triangular wedge that forms Largo do Pelourinho. The pungent smell of dendê oil wafts from the Bahian restaurants, and Capoeira dancers charge the area with frenetic energy. Yet the cheer shrouds a dark past. Men, women and children were bought and sold here during the slave trade.

Accommodations near Pelourinho
San Francisco church

Monuments

Finished in 1723, this church was built by the toil of slaves. However, its real beauty comes from a simple act of defiance. The enslaved African artisans who carved its interior made deliberate distortions to the faces of its cherubs. Oversized and pinched, they look out of place against the unbridled pomp of gilded gold and a gargantuan silver chandelier.

Accommodations near San Francisco church
  • Praça José de Anchieta - Centro Histórico
  • Open Monday 09:00-17:30, Tuesday 09:00-16:00, Wednesday-Saturday 09:00-17:30, Sunday 10:00-15:00
Museum of Religious Art

Museums

Religious artworks reach for beauty and transcendence. This museum houses a litany of 18th century Catholic works. Sculptures that depict the Pietà – Mary holding the body of Christ – stand alongside flamboyantly framed paintings and religious reliquaries. They’re displayed in a former monastery, where spectral light from tiny windows creates a reverential atmosphere.

Accommodations near Museum of Religious Art
  • Rua do Sodré, 276 - Centro
  • Open Monday-Friday 11:30-17:00
Solar da Unhao

Monuments

Solar do Unhao is quite a complex. Its paths snake around the waterfront and border a series of buildings. Each building reveals a secret about the area’s past – from the sugar mill that was once a bustle of merchant trade, to the “senzala” that once housed slaves. These days, Saturday night concerts cloak the area in a soundscape of bossa nova and jazz.

Accommodations near Solar da Unhao
  • Avenida Contorno, s/n - Comércio
  • Open Sunday-Friday 13:00-19:00, Saturday 13:00-21:00
Barra Beach

Landmarks

Barra” might not be Portuguese for beautiful, but it might as well be. Locals regard this as one of Brazil’s most picturesque beaches. Its unusually calm waters coupled with Salvador’s temperate climate make this place a coveted spot for waterside relaxation. It’s insanely popular at times, so try and arrive early to find a spot amidst the sun umbrellas.

Accommodations near Barra Beach
  • Praia do Porto da Barra - Barra
Barra's Lighthouse

Monuments

Barra Lighthouse stands above Santo Antônio da Barra Fort. Its lamp has lit a thousand nights, its purpose to warn off attack and guide merchant ships to port. Journey into the fort’s museum to pore over yellowed charts, maps and other artefacts. Most were recovered from galleons that sunk in Todos os Santos Bay in the days of Portuguese colonial rule. Proper sunken treasure!

Accommodations near Barra's Lighthouse
  • Largo do Farol da Barra - Barra
  • Open Tuesday-Sunday 08:30-18:00
Bonfim Church

Landmarks

A procession of thousands floods into this tiny neo-classical church. Dressed all in white, the congregation begins to sing, chant and raise their hands to the heavens. The rainbow-coloured ribbons on their wrists flutter as they dance. This regular spectacle is all in honour of Our Lord of Bonfim, who they hope will answer their exuberant prayers with a miracle.

Accommodations near Bonfim Church
Humaita Point

Landmarks

Let’s set the scene. This is Salvador’s legendary port, where merchant sailors once came to sell their wares. Paths snake all around Itapagipana Peninsula, and palm trees provide shelter from the sweltering sun. Set against the backdrop of Todos os Santos Bay, with Humaitá Lighthouse standing proudly in the distance, it’s one of the most spectacular spots in town.

Accommodations near Humaita Point
  • Rua do Monte Serrat, 56 - Monte Serrat
  • Open Monday-Sunday 08:00-12:00

Accommodations and Hotels in Salvador

Catussaba Resort Hotel

7.3 Good

Score from 1735 reviews

$66

Average price per night
  • Alameda Praia de Guarita, 07, Stella Maris, Salvador
Gran Hotel Stella Maris Resort & Conventions

7.3 Good

Score from 1466 reviews

$70

Average price per night
  • Praca Stella Maris, 200, Stella Maris, Salvador
Bahia Othon Palace

8 Very good

Score from 2944 reviews

$67

Average price per night
  • Avenida Oceânica, 2294, Ondina, Salvador
Bahiacafé Hotel

8.8 Excellent

Score from 2109 reviews

$58

Average price per night
  • Praça da Se, 22, terreo 1 e 2 andar, Pelourinho, Salvador
Hotel Deville Prime Salvador

8.8 Excellent

Score from 914 reviews

$85

Average price per night
  • Rua Passargada, S/N, Itapuã, Salvador
Sheraton da Bahia

8.6 Excellent

Score from 1327 reviews

$93

Average price per night
  • Avenida Sete de Setembro, 1537, Salvador
Monte Pascoal Praia Hotel Salvador

8.3 Very good

Score from 1149 reviews

$69

Average price per night
  • Av. Oceânica, 591, Barra, Salvador
Golden Tulip Salvador (antigo Golden Tulip Rio Vermelho)

7.8 Good

Score from 1551 reviews

$63

Average price per night
  • Rua Monte Conselho, 505, Rio Vermelho, Salvador
Intercity Salvador

8.7 Excellent

Score from 2280 reviews

$45

Average price per night
  • Av. Tancredo Neves, 2227, Caminho das Arvores, Salvador
Discover Salvador

Popular Neighborhoods in Salvador

Salvador Historic Center

62 properties

The centre’s sun-scorched colonial buildings bugile visitors with their crumbled glory, where 17th century convents stand alongside churches and houses. The “Cruz Caida” monument, which resembles a tumbled crucifix, is the centrepiece of Municipal Square. From here, views stretch over Todos os Santos Bay into a never-ending horizon.

Itapuã

35 properties

Lover’s Lane has nothing on Itapuã. Here, couples clutch each other beneath the ink-blue sky and walk along Itapuã Beach. Palm trees, pools and wooden jangada (fishermen’s boats) create a romantic vista year-round. Buy a fried treat from a “baiana do acarajé” (traditional vendor) then stroll hand-in-hand with your loved one into the sunset.

Rio Vermelho

28 properties

Rio Vermelho also hosts one curious annual spectacle. On February 2nd, gifts of perfume and flowers are set adrift in the bay for the annual Iemanjá’s Festival. Any other time, it’s an area of high-class bars where the young and fabulous come out to play. On top of that, the beaches here seem to stretch on forever.

Vitoria

9 properties

Vitória connects Barra with the historic centre. This is an old money habitat, where aristocrats live lives of luxury in the area’s colonial mansions, swathed in dramatic colours and geometric patterns. Keep up with the pomp and prestige at the Bahia Art Museum. This whitewashed building holds a rich legacy of Brazilian art, from Carybé to Di Cavalcanti.

Local Tips for Salvador

Borracharia
Manuela by Manuela

Manuela thinks it’s never a bad time for a good party, a cold beer or packing her bag to discover a new place.

At first, Borracharia was an auto repair shop by day and a club by night. The repair shop is now closed, but the themed decoration remains. The place is dark, there are tires all around and the DJs play a good mix of hip hop, soul, rock and pop, making it hard to leave before sun rise.

  • Rua Conselheiro Pedro Luiz, 101A - Rio Vermelho
  • Open Friday-Saturday 00:00-05:00
Cafe Terrasse
Diego by Diego

Diego loves technology, travelling and is always in search of the perfect burger wherever he goes.

Located in a historical building within the French cultural centre, this cafe has one of the best views in town. It is the perfect place for sampling a gourmet coffee, enjoying a soothing soundtrack under the mango tree or just sitting and relaxing while the sun sets by the sea.

  • Avenida Sete de Setembro, 401 - Ladeira da Barra
  • Open Monday-Saturday 09:00-21:00
Nightlife and Acarajé at Rio Vermelho
Fábio by Fábio

Exploring new places, experimenting local cuisines and enjoying the night life are Fabio’s passions.

Rio Vermelho is a bohemian district full of bars and restaurants serving local cuisine. Consider trying Acarajé, a fried ball of black-eyed peas topped with spices and shrimp, served by local women in traditional garb. The famous Regina and Dinha stands prepare the best Acarajé in town!

  • Rua Guedes Cabral, 242 - Rio Vermelho
  • Open Monday-Saturday 09:00-21:00
Casa de Tereza
André by André

A curious traveller, Andres enjoys getting acquainted with new cultures, cuisines and local arts.

This restaurant should be on every visitor’s itinerary. The chef cooks up the best specimens of Bahian dishes, using the typical and essential Dendê oil. Also, the restaurant ambiance includes details and decorations from African culture that illustrates its influence on Bahia’s roots.

  • Rua Odilon Santos, 45 - Rio Vermelho
  • Open Monday-Thursday 12:00-23:00, Friday-Saturday 12:00-00:00, Sunday 12:00-17:00
Sunset and food at Bahia Marina
Schirlley by Schirlley

Schirlley describes herself as an enthusiastic traveller with a passion for history and gastronomy.

The one thing that’s captivated me since my first visit to Salvador is the Bahia Marina. It has such a beautiful view of the "Baia de Todos os Santos" and you can find delightful restaurants to enjoy a nice meal and watch a spectacular sunset from the bay. Amado restaurant is my top choice.

  • Av. Contorno, 1010 - Comércio
  • Open Monday-Thursday 12:00-23:00, Friday-Saturday 12:00-00:00, Sunday 12:00-17:00
See what other visitors said

Best of Salvador

The friendly people on the beaches and the way the locals mixed to get her with the tourists. They felt safe at all times and especially liked Flamingo beach as they enjoyed playing football on the beach with the locals and playing in the sea with the strong waves. However some caution is needed as the current is quite strong there.

This is a city with 3 million people from all over the world and many different backgrounds. Travelling alone people just say hi and start to talk. We also muddled through language barriers.

there is something here for everyone - whether it is places to visit or food. I'm only in my second of a three week visit and already planning the next.

Booking.com asked travelers...

Why do you recommend Salvador for food?

The fish restaurants along the promenade of the farol beach are superb.

Take a nap so you can enjoy the music and wear your dancing sneakers.

Pelourinho Solar d'Unhao mercado modelo - good food too

Keep an open mind and walk the streets of town

Walk around Pelourinho several times

Transportation

Salvador Transportation

Air - Deputado Eduardo Magalhães International Airport

Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport is 32 km from the city centre. The safest and most convenient way to reach your destination is by using the taxi service located inside the airport. A trip to the city centre costs BRL 120, while a taxi to Olinda/Rio Vermelho is BRL 89, and a ride to the northern beaches (such as Itapuã) is BRL 50. Shuttle service can also be arranged. A public bus ride into the city costs BRL 3.00, but is not recommended.

Bus

There are several buses that run throughout Salvador and make connections to main landmarks. However, taxis remain the most convenient and safest option for tourists. A bus trip costs BRL 3.00 and can be paid in cash with small bills or coins while on board.

Car

It’s possible to rent a car at the airport. However, traffic in Salvador is extremely busy and hectic, especially during rush hours. There aren’t many signs so it can be easy to get lost, and pedestrians tend to cross the street sporadically at their own will. Renting a car is more useful for travellers wanting to explore beaches in other parts of the state, far from the capital.

Taxi

Taxis are the safest form of transport for tourists in Salvador. Official taxis are white and feature a blue and red stripe on the doors. The normal starting tariff is around BRL 4.00 with a charge of BRL 2.04 per kilometre during week days, and BRL 2.85 from 21:00-6:00 on week nights, as well as after 14:00 on Saturdays, and all day on Sundays, holidays and for trips to the airport. Taxis can easily be hailed from the sidewalk.

Metro

The metro in Salvador is extremely limited and currently under construction. There are only 5 stations, and at times the metro is closed for construction. In general it runs Monday-Friday from 8:00-18:00 and 8:00-13:00 on Saturdays. The historic centre is about a 700 metre walk from Campo da Pólvora station.

Train

Salvador’s suburban railway consists of 1 line with 10 stations, and covers 13.5 km in total. It runs between Calçada in Cidade Baixa to Paripe in suburban Salvador. Trains run from 6:00-19:00 with an interval of 40-45 minutes between runs. Train tickets can be purchased for BRL 0.50 and citizens over 60 ride for free.

Food in Salvador

Top Restaurants in Salvador

Cheap Eats
Brazilian
Gramado
  • Praça da Sé, 16 - Pelourinho
  • Open Monday-Saturday 11:30-16:00
  • 0055 7134943502
Mid-Range Fare
Local
Maria de São Pedro
  • Praça Visconde de Cayru, 250, 2. andar, Mercado Modelo - Comércio
  • Open Monday-Saturday 11:00-19:00, Sunday 11:00-17:00
  • 0055 7132425262
Cheap Eats
Brazilian
Café Gourmet CGC
  • Rua do Bispo, 5 - Praça da Sé - Pelourinho
  • Open Monday-Saturday 10:00-17:00
  • 0055 7133210074
Mid-Range Fare
Brazilian
Romã
  • Largo do Cruzeiro de São Francisco, 7 - Pelourinho
  • Open Monday-Saturday 11:30-16:00
  • 0055 7133210495
Mid-Range Fare
Brazilian
O Coliseu
  • Largo do Cruzeiro de São Francisco, 9 - Pelourinho
  • Open Monday 11:30-16:00 and 19:00-22:00, Tuesday 11:30-16:00, Wednesday 11:30-16:00 and 19:00-22:00, Thursday-Friday 11:30-16:00, Saturday 11:30-16:00 and 19:00-22:00
  • www.ocoliseu.com.br
  • 0055 7133216918
Upscale Dining
Brazilian
Odoyá
Upscale Dining
Brazilian
Villa Bahia
  • Largo do Cruzeiro de São Francisco, 18 - Hotel Villa Bahia - Pelourinho
  • Open evey day 11:00-15:00 and 18:00-22:30
  • 0055 7133224271
Mid-Range Fare
Brazilian
Restaurante Torremolinos
  • Rua Francisco Gonçalves, 3, 1. andar - Comércio
  • Open Monday-Friday 11:30-15:00
  • 0055 7133260066
Cheap Eats
Brazilian
O Quilombo
  • Rua dos Algibebes, 7 - Comércio
  • Open Monday-Friday 11:30-15:00
  • 0055 7132414534
Cheap Eats
Brazilian
Ponto Vital Santo Amaro
  • Rua das Laranjeiras, 23 - Pelourinho
  • Open Tuesday-Sunday 11:30-23:30
  • 0055 7133221874
Mid-Range Fare
Brazilian
Mama Bahia
Mid-Range Fare
Italian
L'Arcangelo
  • Rua das Laranjeiras, 17 - Pelourinho
  • Open every day 12:00-00:00
  • 0055 7133220066
Upscale Dining
Brazilian
Dona Chika-Ka
Upscale Dining
Grill
496 Grill & Bar
  • Avenida Lafayete Coutinho, 496 - Comércio
  • Open Tuesday-Saturday 12:00-23:00, Sunday-Monday 12:00-18:00
  • 0055 7130180496
Cheap Eats
Brazilian
Alaide do Feijão
  • Rua Doze de Outubro, 2 - Pelourinho
  • Open every day 11:30-22:00
  • 0055 7133216775
Cheap Eats
Brazilian
Axego Restaurante e Bar
  • Rua João de Deus, 1 - 1º andar - Pelourinho
  • Open every day 12:00-22:00
  • 0055 7132427481
Mid-Range Fare
Brazilian
Maria Mata Mouro
  • Rua Ordem Terceira, 8 - Pelourinho
  • Open Monday-Sunday 11:00-00:00
  • 0055 7133213929
Upscale Dining
International
Pelô Bistrô
  • Rua das Portas do Carmo, 6 - Hotel Casa do Amarelindo - Pelourinho
  • Open evey day 11:30-22:00
  • 0055 7132668550
Upscale Dining
Brazilian
Amado
Upscale Dining
French
Oui
  • Avenida Lafayete Coutinho, 1010, Bahia Marina - Comércio
  • Open Tuesday-Saturday 12:00-15:00 and 18:00-01:00, Sunday-Monday 12:00-15:00
  • 0055 7133214765
Mid-Range Fare
Japanese
Soho
  • Avenida Lafayete Coutinho, 1010, Bahia Marina - Comércio
  • Open Tuesday-Thursday 12:00-15:00 and 19:00-00:00, Friday-Saturday 12:00-15:00 and 19:00-01:00, Sunday 12:00-15:00 and 19:00-00:00, Monday 19:00-00:00
  • www.sohorestaurante.com.br
  • 0055 7133224554
Mid-Range Fare
Mediterranean
Lafayette
  • Avenida Lafayete Coutinho, 1010, Bahia Marina - Comércio
  • Open Monday-Thursday 12:00-15:00 and 18:00-00:00, Friday 12:00-16:00 and 18:00-01:00, Saturday 12:00-15:00 and 18:00-01:00, Sunday 12:00-16:00 and 18:00-00:00
  • www.facebook.com
  • 0055 7133210800
Mid-Range Fare
International
DAS
Mid-Range Fare
Bar Bites
Mercearia de Todos os Santos
  • Avenida Lafayete Coutinho, 1010, Bahia Marina - Comércio
  • Open Tuesday-Friday 12:00-15:00 and 19:00-00:00, Saturday-Sunday 19:00-00:00, Monday 12:00-15:00
  • www.facebook.com
  • 0055 7130175815
Cheap Eats
International
Vida & Saúde
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