Salvador is the capital of the northeastern state of Bahia in Brazil and is honestly a melting pot of people, culture, art, and so much more. You’ll find everything from the color and the language to the foods and arts to be influenced by its rich Portuguese and Afro-Brazilian history. It’s such an exciting place to explore and is one of those vacation destinations that may forever change how you look at the world. We’ve compiled so many wonderful things to do and places to visit in Salvador in this list. For example, you can’t miss out on taking in the beauty of the Bay of All Saints or walking through 250+ vendor stalls at Mercado Modelo. If you’re looking for an intriguing place to go on your next holiday, look no further than Salvador.
Pelourinho is the historic center of Salvador de Bahia in Brazil - a place where history, culture, and art all come together in a magical combination of colors and sounds. It was the city’s center during the Portuguese colonial period, and visitors today can still see many historical monuments which date back from the 17th to the 19th century. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has become a popular tourist attraction over the years and is lined with restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and an array of other establishments which are housed in original structures which have been restored over the years.
2.Baia de Todos os Santos
© Anna ART/stock.adobe.com
Baia de Todos os Santos, or the Bay of All Saints, is one of the largest bays on the eastern coast of Brazil. It is renowned for its tropical vegetation, golden-sand beaches, and gorgeous coral reefs. You can spend the day enjoying the marvelous outdoors, sunbathing, swimming, boating, and partaking in a number of water activities. Some of the interesting and unique things you’ll be able to see around the bay are the Farol da Barra, or the Barra Lighthouse, as well as the historic fort found at the entrance of the bay. There’s so much history and culture to be experienced at the All Saints’ Bay for the entire family to enjoy.
3.Cathedral Basilica of Salvador
Officially named the Primatial Cathedral Basilica of the Transfiguration of the Lord, the Cathedral Basilica of Salvador is the seat of the city’s archbishop. The original Catholic Roman structure was built in the early 1550s but wasn’t recognized as a National Historic Heritage site of Brazil until 1938. Visitors will get to see so many different architectural and historical aspects; for example, the facade of the cathedral is made with light Lioz stone that was brought in from Portugal. You’ll also be able to see statues of Jesuit saints such as Francis Borgia, Francis Xavier, and Ignatius of Loyola, within the three portals. Be sure to keep an eye out for the amazing sculptures and paintings which date back to the late 16th century.
Address: Largo Terreiro de Jesus, s/n - Pelourinho, Salvador - BA, 40020-210, Brazil, Phone: +55-71-33-21-45-73
4.Nosso Senhor do Bonfim Church
Built in true neoclassical style, the Nosso Senhor do Bonfim Church is one of the most famous Catholic churches in all of Salvador, Brazil. The church was built on a hill in the Itapagipe Peninsula in the 18th century and has continued to be the site of intense religious devotion since then. If you’re there around January, be sure to spend time visiting the church during its annual celebration of Festa do Senhor do Bonfim which is famed with locals and visitors. Art and history aficionados will love exploring the interior decor which dates back to the 19th century and include a neoclassical main altarpiece and the wooden ceiling of the church which was painted between 1818 and 1820 by Franco Velasco.
Address: Largo do Bonfim, s/n - Bonfim, Salvador - BA, 40415-475, Brazil, Phone: +55-71-33-16-21-96
The Elevador Lacerda is an actual elevator that is open to the public to connect them between the lower city and the upper city. The public urban access towers 236 feet high and was built in the late 1860s through the early 1870s. The elevator was named after the director of the Commercial Association of Bahia, Antonio de Lacerda. What you see today is the art deco style of the elevator, which was renovated in 1930. The structure is extremely important in the historical heritage of Brazil and is a must-visit attraction when in Salvador.
Address: Praça Tomé de Souza, S/N - Centro, Salvador - BA, 40020-000, Brazil, Phone: +55-71-36-11-68-17
Mercado Modelo is one of the best places in Salvador, Brazil for you to really experience the culture, meet the locals, and really immerse yourself in your surroundings during your trip. Housed in a neoclassical building, the thriving market has over 250 vendors who sell an array of things from trinkets and souvenirs to stunning arts and crafts created by talented local artists. After hours of walking through the market, relax at one of the many restaurants there and indulge in delicious local cuisine that is rich with flavor; many of the cafes out back provide outdoor seating with amazing views of the bay.
Address: Praça Visc. de Cayru, s/n - Comercio, Salvador - BA, 40015-170, Brazil
7.Feira Sao Joaquim
Feira Sao Joaquim is the largest fair in all of Salvador, Brazil. It is popular with both locals and visitors because it’s known for having an array of vendors selling every good imaginable. The smells, colors, and sounds of the bustling market will really invigorate you as you explore this brand new land. It doesn’t hurt that the prices of the stuff you’ll find will be much cheaper than that of what you will find in the shopping malls and supermarkets. The vendors come from all over and have everything from souvenirs and trinkets to locally made jewelry and works of art.
Address: Av. Frederico Pontes, s/n | Comércio, Salvador, State of Bahia, Brazil, Phone: +55-71-9-82-64-91-02
8.Farol de Barra
Farol de Barra, or the famous Barra Lighthouse, was built in the 1690s on the oldest fortress in Brazil - the Santa Antonio Fort. It is a great place for the entire family to visit and learn about the history of Salvador and its port, while taking in breathtaking views of the lighthouse, bay, and surroundings. Plan your visit so that it coincides with the sunset, which is a stunning view panorama that you will not want to miss. Visitors are allowed to climb to the top of the lighthouse so be sure to take your camera, because you’ll want to capture the scenes of Salvador city to cherish forever.
Address: Largo do Farol da Barra, S/N - Barra, Salvador - BA, 40140-650, Brazil, Phone: +55-71-32-64-32-96
9.Museu de Arte Moderna
© Museu de Arte Moderna
The Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art was created in 1948 and is housed in a building designed by renowned Brazilian architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy. The structure itself is recognized internationally as a landmark of Brazil’s modern architecture. Even before you go inside and see the exhibits, you’ll have your breath taken away by the building and the surrounding signature gardens. Inside you’ll see exhibits dedicated to over 60 years of art and culture by artists from all over Latin America. You’ll also see a wonderful collection of modern and contemporary art which really highlights some of the newer artists.
Address: Infante Dom Henrique Avenue, 85, Flamengo Park - Rio de Janeiro, Phone: +55-21-38-83-56-00
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10.Bale Folclorico da Bahia
Bale Folclorico da Bahia, or the BFB, was formed in 1988 and is the only professional folk dance company in all of Brazil. The company has been on several national and international tours in its short history, but quickly gained a prestigious reputation. No visit to Salvador would be complete without witnessing the 38-member troupe of singers, dancers, and musicians perform Bahian folkloric dances such as the samba, slave dances, or the capoeira, which is a dance form combined with martial arts. It’s such an amazing performance to witness and will surely be one of your highlights from your trip to Brazil.
Address: R. Gregório de Matos, 49 - Pelourinho, Salvador - BA, 40060-240, Brazil, Phone: +55-71-33-22-19-62
11.Palacete das Artes
© Palacete das Artes
The Palace of Arts can be found in the heart of Salvador, housed in what was once a 1912 mansion. It comprises a garden with works by Rodin, a modern wing full of art exhibits from the past and present, a theatre and library, and an open-air cafe. The famous art museum offers a unique experience for visitors; it is so large that you can spend hours exploring all there is to see and do such as their array of wonderful curious. Afterwards, grab a book from the library and a snack from the open air cafe and just spend your afternoon reading and chilling.
Address: R. da Graça, 284 - Graça, Salvador - BA, 40150-060, Brazil, Phone: +55-71-31-17-69-87
12.Fundacao Casa de Jorge Amado
© Fundação Casa de Jorge Amado
The Fundacao Casa de Jorge Amado is a center that is dedicated to the famed Brazilian writer of the same name - Jorge Leal Amado de Faria. He is one of the most renowned modern Brazilian writers and is famed for works such as Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, Home Is the Sailor, and The War of the Saints. The non-profit organization preserves, researches, and further studies his bibliographic and artistic collection. There are also exhibits dedicated to the personal aspects of the writer’s life and art. Permanent artifacts include books, documents, photographs, and personal objects from the writer’s life.
Address: Largo do Pelourinho, 15 - Pelourinho, Salvador - BA, 40026-280, Brazil, Phone: +55-71-33-21-00-70
13.Rio Branco Palace
Dating back to 1549, the Rio Branco Palace is one of the oldest palaces in all of Brazil. It was the former seat of government and can presently be found in the Historic Center of Salvador, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mid-16th century structure was built under the command of the first governor-general of Brazil, Tome de Sousa. Having initially been used as the center of Portuguese administration, the palace was then utilized as military barracks and a prison. Today, visitors are invited to tour and explore the palace which presently houses the Memorial of the Governors as well as the Pedro Calmon Foundation.
Address: Praça Tomé de Souza, S/N - Centro, Salvador - BA, 40020-000, Brazil, Phone: +55-71-31-16-69-28
14.Fundacao Pierre Verger
The Pierre Verger Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve, organize, research, and share the work of its founder, Pierre Verger. Verger, who was popularly known by his alias Fatumbi, was a renowned photographer and self-taught ethnographer who devoted much of his life to the study of the African diaspora. In addition to ensuring that future generations will be able to see the works of this man, the foundation also establishes and maintains cultural exchanges between Brazil and Africa through many forms including events. You’ll be able to see over 63,000 photographs, negatives, and documents which he’d saved over his lifetime.
Address: 2 Travessa da Ladeira da Vila América, 6, Engenho Velho de Brotas, 40.243-340 - Salvador - BA, Phone: +55-71-32-03-84-00
15.Casa do Comercio
© Casa do Comércio
Casa do Comercio is an important cultural center in Salvador, Brazil, and houses several different establishments within it. Construction on the 14-story building ended in 1992, and at that point, it was recognized and awarded as “the best building of the year in Latin America”. Today, you’ll find so much to see and do within Casa do Comercio; you can spend your time in the in-house cinema, theater, opera, and/ or museum. It also houses a university as well as commercial offices for Salvador’s budding professionals. After hours of exploring, be sure to allocate time to have a delicious, authentic, local meal at one of the many fine-dining restaurants which are situated there.
Address: Edifício Casa do Comércio - Av. Tancredo Neves, 1109 - Pituba, Salvador - BA, 41820-021, Brazil, Phone: +55-71-32-73-98-52
15 Best Things to Do in Salvador
- Pelourinho, Photo: diegograndi/stock.adobe.com
- Baia de Todos os Santos, Photo: Anna ART/stock.adobe.com
- Cathedral Basilica of Salvador, Photo: Suzana/stock.adobe.com
- Nosso Senhor do Bonfim Church, Photo: paulovilela
- Elevador Lacerda, Photo: wtondossantos/stock.adobe.com
- Mercado Modelo, Photo: simonmayer/stock.adobe.com
- Feira Sao Joaquim, Photo: nathsegato/stock.adobe.com
- Farol de Barra, Photo: bonandbon/stock.adobe.com
- Museu de Arte Moderna, Photo: Museu de Arte Moderna
- Bale Folclorico da Bahia, Photo: PROBilder/stock.adobe.com
- Palacete das Artes, Photo: Palacete das Artes
- Fundacao Casa de Jorge Amado, Photo: Fundação Casa de Jorge Amado
- Rio Branco Palace, Photo: lazyllama/stock.adobe.com
- Fundacao Pierre Verger, Photo: Supak/stock.adobe.com
- Casa do Comercio, Photo: Casa do Comércio
- Cover Photo: Anna ART/stock.adobe.com