10 Must-Visit Attractions in Salvador, Brazil – Knows Before You Go

Salvador is a charming colonial city and the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia. It’s also the 4th largest city in Brazil. Located on the northeastern coast of Brazil, Salvador is known for its amazing coastal views, its booming nightlife, as well as being home to a deep Afro-Brazilian heritage and culture. If you plan to visit Salvator anytime soon; have a look these Must-Visit attractions in Salvador, Brazil!

On top of this, it boasts gorgeous colonial architecture, delicious local food, and extremely kind people. While safety is a concern for many people, you can enjoy this remarkable city with the right preparation and proper caution.

I have already written an article that offers some tips for female solo travelers to help them travel safely. These tips can also help any traveler have a better, safer traveling experience. If I could add anything to these tips, it would be to take care of your belongings in crowded areas like bus stations, tourist sites, and public transport. Don’t carry around too much cash or avoid displaying items of value like jewelry. Lastly, stay on main roads and if you’re traveling solo, try and take part in reputable tours or stick with other travelers.

Strap yourself in because Giorgy aka G-Extreme is about to show you the top recommendations for things to do while you are in Salvador securing yourself a wonderful trip and have a blast!

#. UNIQUE HISTORY IN PELOURINHO

What is it?
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, Pelourinho is the first place you should visit if you want a glimpse of Salvador’s unique history.

Why go?
The word “Pelourinho” itself means whipping post and it was the location where slaves used to get punished when the Portuguese took over Brazil.

The cobblestone streets, colorful houses, and breathtaking colonial buildings will charm and transport you into a different time in history. Visit some of the museums in the district such as Museu de Cidade, Fundação Jorge Amado, and Abelardo Rodrigues Museum.

#. BAIA DE TODOS OS SANTOS ~ ELEVADOR LACERDA

What is it?
The Lacerda Elevator is one of Salvador’s most famous landmarks and it offers a mesmerizing view of the city.

Why go?
Built-in 1873, the elevator was designed to connect Uptown and Downtown and it is the first public elevator in the world. With an art deco style and 72 meters in height, the elevator provides a great view of the Baía de Todos os Santos, also known as the Bay of Saints, the principal bay of Brazil.

The elevator ride only costs a few cents and gives you a chance to enjoy great architecture and a wonderful view at the same time!

#. MERCADO MODELO

What is it?
The Lacerda elevator ride will leave you right in front of Mercado Modelo, the perfect place to visit to pick up some tourist trinkets and souvenirs.

Why go?
The building was the original 1861 Customs House, where slaves were housed when they arrived in Salvador. Renovated into a market, Mercado Modelo offers a wide range of good quality art, woodcrafts, food, jewelry, and clothes. Don’t be scared to bargain because tourists are often given a higher price!

Hey Goofball! If you want to experience the another real and unsurreal market, fet to Feira São Joaquim: don’t be surprise of seening live animals of many strange Brayilian fruits, spices, dried foods and so on!

#. CATHEDRAL BASILICA OF SALVADOR

What is it?
Located on the Terreiro de Jesus, a plaza in the historic center of Salvador, the Cathedral Basilica of Salvador is one of the most important structures in colonial Brazil.

Why go?
It was built by the society of Jesus as part of an educational complex and Jesuit monastic. From the outside, the church is a prime example of Mannerism which was quite popular at the time in Portugal. From the inside, the church is richly furnished and decorated in the Baroque style with painted ceilings and a variety of art.

It’s truly a breathtaking sight that cannot be missed!

#. SÃO FRANSISCO CHURCH

What is it?
The São Fransisco Church and convent is another formidable temple in Salvador.

Why go?
A big cross decorating the access square welcomes you into the big facade of the church and into the awe-inspiring interior which is covered in gold.
Built between 1708 and 1750, São Fransisco mixes the baroque and mannerist styles with painted ceilings, wood carvings, and decorative sculptures.

It stands as a perfect example of Salvador’s ornate churches. 

#. VISIT FAROL DE BARRA 

What is it?
Salvador’s black and white lighthouse has been a remarkable landmark and a guide for ships since 1698.

Why go?
You can climb to the top of the lighthouse for wonderful views of the city and All Saints Bay. If you’re lucky enough to climb the lighthouse during sunset, you will be met with an unforgettable view!

You can also visit the Nautical Museum of Bahia in the fort which contains ship wreckage, maps, and lots of nautical instruments.

#. HIT THE BEACH

Thanks to its location on the Pacific Coast, Salvador is home to fantastic beaches where you can surf, swim, or just hang out peacefully. One of the best beaches is Praia do Farol da Barra which is relaxed and tranquil.

Another popular beach is Praia do Porto da Barra, only a few minutes away from Praia do Farol da Barra, which is a small beach with a fun vibrant atmosphere! It’s considered a local favorite so it might be a bit overcrowded. 

#. MUSEU DE ART MODERNA

What is it?
right on the edge of the water, the museum of Modern Art in Salvador is a great place to visit if you’re interested in art.

Why go?
Located in a large colonial manor house known as Solar do Unhão, the museum houses up to five exhibitions, with its own sculpture garden, a cinema as well as a school.

On most Saturday nights, there’s a jazz jam that begins at sunset and lasts until 9 or 9:30 PM.

#. MUSEU AFRO-BRASILEIRO

What is it?
The Museu Afro-Brasileiro is a great place to explore Bahia’s African roots and cultures. The museum is dedicated to studying, preserving, and spreading African-Brazilian culture.

Why go?
The museum is home to numerous African artifacts like wood carvings, pottery, baskets, clothing, ceramic, and more. Some of these artifacts and crafts link both Brazilian and African cultures.

The highlight of the museum is 27 carved wood panels that represent the orixás of Bahia candomblé (spirits common in Afro-Brazilian spirituality) by Carbye, one of Salvador’s most renowned artists. 

#. IGREJA DE NOSSO SENHOR DO BONFIM

What is it?
The Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim is perhaps the most famous church in Salvador. Named in reference to Jesus on the cross, the church was built on a small hill in the Itapagipe peninsula in 1754.

Why go?
Relatively simple in appearance, the church is not famous for being an architectural masterpiece but for the rich history behind it. One of the defining characteristics of the church is how it represents the co-existence of both catholicism and Candomblé, a form of worship with its roots in African Yoruba beliefs. Not to be forgotten, Brazil’s slaves built it up!

It’s also where the Lavagem do Bonfim, or Festa do Bonfim, takes place on the third Thursday of January every year. The festival involves a procession of worshippers from the Conceição da Praia to walk the 8 km to Bonfim. There, Bahian women dressed in white stop to wash the steps of the church with scented water as the slaves did before. It’s an extraordinary experience!

#. SÃO MARCELO FORT

What is it?
The large cylindrical São Marcelo fort, visible only from the upper city and the Elevador Lacerda.

Why go?
Not open to the public anymore, this worth peek from up high was since the 17th century a crucial defensive point for the Portuguese. People recognise it as “the belly button of Bahia”.

#. RIO VERMELHO

What is it?
Red River aka Rio Vermelho is Salvador’s hipster neighbourhood.

Why go?
If you are willing of seeing a different hiper part of Salvador; this neighborhoud is going to give you the best at night. The squares are going to fill up of people while listening to music and threading in and out of restaurants. Along with multi-arts bar-clubs, and plety of other shops to visit too!

#. RIO BRANCO PALACE

What is it?
Brazil’s oldest palaces built in 1549 situated in the cidade alta: Rio Branco Palace.

Why go?
If you are into architectural, this beauty is going to blew up your mind! Tried to be tinkered during the year is now a house from the governors of Bahia.

Hey Goofball! Tours…

#. NIGHT OUT

If you are a Latino Dancer you should NOT miss an unlikely night at Balé Folclòrico da Bahia showing you a performace that use costume, music and dance to play out local tales and demonstrate capoeita on stage! 

If you want to chill head to Casa do Comérico a state-run cultural centre with a cinema, theatre and restaurant. You can just enjoy the extraordinary building from the outside which is worth to be seen!

Hey Goofball! Tours…

 

Salvador is a delightful city that is full of captivating things to do and a magnificent culture! Start out your trip with these top 10 things to do while you’re there and enjoy an authentic travel experience that you might not find anywhere else!