Brazil’s oldest city, the capital of the state of Bahia, is certainly one of the most beautiful and interesting in the country, as Portugal, Africa and Brazil all collide in a cultural melting pot.
The legacy of the Portuguese is present in the cobbled streets of the historical Pelourinho district that are lined with pastel-hued colonial buildings.
However, it is the influence of African culture that really makes a visit to Salvador unique. The culture, food and religion of the black slaves of the past still dominate the vibrant atmosphere of the present.
By day, you can enjoy the cultural heritage by strolling amongst ornate churches and candy-coloured mansions, past doorways piled high with folk art, local sculptures and musical instruments and through tranquil courtyards covered in flowers. Afterwards, as the sun sets, tuck into a delicious meal of one of the spicy specialities of Bahian cuisine, and then take in a theatre performance or simply place yourself in one of the bars and watch the vibrant nightlife unfold.
Overnight and Day Trips
We can also organise day or overnight trips out of the city into the surrounding countryside to witness another side of Bahia.
Travelling into the Recôncavo, or hinterland, to the old towns of Santo Amaro, featured in many of the novels of Jorge Amado, and Cachoeira gives a real taste of traditional Bahian life and its former orientation around the sugar industry.
In Salvador itself we offer the opportunity to try your hand at traditional Afro Brazilian drumming, the graceful art of capoeira - the part-dance, part-martial art which was once the slaves’ form of rebellion, or to experience the pulsing music, dance and colourful costumes of the candomblé religion - a fusion of Catholicism and Africa-origin beliefs.
For those with a penchant for cuisine, a trip to the local market followed by a lesson in preparing a traditional Bahian moqueca is a real treat.
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Accommodation choices for Salvador
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Ideas for experiencing Salvador
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