Salvador de Bahia is one of the main Brazilian tourist destinations, as well as the best known center for Afro-Brazilian culture in the country. On top of the interesting things the city has to offer, Salvador provides access to places like Boipeba, Chapada Diamantina, Morro de São Paulo and Praia do Forte.
1. HOW TO GET THERE:
By plane. Salvador’s international airport receives flights from the main Brazilian airlines, as well as some international carriers that fly to Salvador too.
To get to town from the airport you have two options:
1. By taxi. You are advice to use one of the official airport taxis.
2. By bus. There is an air-conditioned bus, known as frescão, running from the airport to Praça da Sé in the center of town, going through the Barra neighbourhood. Two companies operate the service: Central and Rio Vermelho. In September 2008 the ticket cost R$5,60 and the trip took approximately one hour.
By bus. It is a long journey from Rio de Janeiro (25 hours). Salvador’s bus station (terminal rodoviária) is north of the city.
By ferry. Coming from the island of Itaparica (Bom Despacho ferry terminal) you can catch a ferry to the terminal São Joaquim in Salvador. The fare costs R$3,40 and the crossing lasts one hour.
2. WHEN TO GO:
Salvador can be visited all year round. The rainy season goes from April to July. Depending on how harsh winter comes, it can rain non-stop for several days. But the temperatures hardly ever drop below 20 degrees Celsius.
Salvador is packed during the New Year and carnival.
3. CAREFUL WITH:
- safety: you are always have to be on guard at most of Salvador’s tourist sights.
- arriving in Salvador for the carnival without accommodation.
4. WE LIKE THE MOST:
The small part of fantastic historical heritage that has been properly preserved. Acarajés (a typical delicacy from Bahia). Ice-cream made of exotic fruits.
5. WE LIKE THE LEAST:
The feeling of lack of safety wherever you go (nothing’s changed over the years). The sorry state of conversation of part of the historical heritage. The harassment tourists have to go through at the Pelourinho, the farol da Barra or the Bonfim church. The shocking income distribution. The deficient information provided by the tourist offices.
6. FAVOURITE PLACES:
The view of the bay from the top of the Praça Municipal. The interior of the San Francisco church and the façade of the nearby Ordem 3a de São Francisco Church. The Sorveteria da Ribeira ice-cream parlour.
7. HOW TO GET AROUND IN SALVADOR:
As Salvador doesn’t have a subway system, the two main forms of transportation available to tourists are taxis and the buses. Taxis work with taximeters and are cheaper than the ones on other large Brazilian cities like São Paulo.
The Salvador Bus is a tourist double-decker bus – very much like the ones you might have seen or used in other cities in the world. It has a fixed route and provides and excellent means of getting to see the main sights. The ticket costs R$30, is valid for a day, and you can get in and get out as many times as you want. We gave more details at Salvador bus, visit Salvador from the top of a bus.
8. PIECE OF ADVICE:
- there are tourist information offices at the airport, at the Mercado Modelo and at the Pelourinho. Grab a map of the historic centre of Salvador.
- you need at least half a day to visit the Pelourinho, the most important part of the historic centre of Salvador. Avoid the midday, when it is blazing hot. Walk along the main streets and avoid shady side streets.
- from the Pelourinho you can reach the Mercado Modelo using the Elevador Lacerda (the elevator that allows you to go from the higher part of the city to the lower part in no time at all). Price for the ride, R$0,05.
- the Mercado Modelo is a good place for crafts and souvenirs – cheaper than the shops at the Pelourinho. Don’t forget to haggle.
- the Rio Vermelho neighbourhood (you can reach it by taxi or by bus) is home to three of the most famous acarajé stalls in town (acarajés are one of the most famous delicacies from Bahía): Dinha’s, Cira’s and Regina’s.
- it is worth going as far as the Bonfim church even if it’s only to have a superficial contact with the most important religious centre in the entire Bahia. The tourist bus mentioned above takes you to the Bonfim. From there, it is just a short drive to the classic sorveteria da Ribeira, where you’ll find the best ice-cream in Salvador.
- an excellent place for lunch at the Pelourinho is the SENAC restaurant, at the main square. There is a room on the upper floor of the building where you can eat from a buffet offering 40 traditional local dishes (as well as 12 desserts). Price in March 2009 was R$28. More details on this blog’s post: SENAC restaurant, Salvador
- from Salvador you can do a day trip to Praia do Forte (80 km away). But we advice you to stay at least the one night at the Praia do Forte.
- a same-day trip to Morro de São Paulo is a no-no, you will spend most of the day going and getting back.
You can search for accommodation in Salvador through our Hotels Combined search engine, a unique free tool that searches multiple hotel reservation websites simultaneously to help you find the lowest rate instantly. It eliminates the need to search major websites one by one in order to compare prices and availability. An amazing time and money saver!
The results open on a new page.
You don’t need any vaccines if you are visiting Salvador. The main health issue, during the summer months, is dengue fever. More information on 10 facts about dengue fever in Brazil.
The Site Oficial de Turismo da Cidade de Salvador is the official tourism site maintained by the local council. It has a version in English, an outdated design and a considerable amount of information. The Salvador Convention Bureau webpage, focusing on business travellers, also contains useful information. A third reference point is Salvador Bahía.com.br. Worth having a look as well at the Salvador section of the Visite a Bahia website.
12. WEATHER FORECAST:
14. GOOGLE MAPS:
annotated map of Salvador in Google Maps
15. PHOTO ALBUM:
Here we introduced our Salvador photo album
OTHER ENTRIES ON SALVADOR:
a city called Bahia
from Rio to Salvador
Salvador: photo album
map of Salvador
Salvador bus, visit Salvador from the top of a bus
SENAC restaurant, Salvador
sorveteria da Ribeira, top-quality ice-cream in Salvador
Category: Destination: Bahia