Salvador da Bahia Travel
Pretty pastel facades, Afro-Brazilian heritage and sea views all await you in Salvador de Bahia.
The city of Salvador is an intriguing and colourful place, cradling some seriously attractive architecture from the colonial period, African culture and traditions passed down through the generations, and music – plenty of it! Salvador was where the Portuguese established Brazil’s first ‘capital city’ (between 1549 and 1763), and they left their mark in more ways than one.
The Old Town of Salvador, or Pelourinho as it is known, is packed with an avalanche of beautiful colonial buildings all adorned in candy colours, alongside important monuments including the Sao Francisco Cathedral and other gold-clad churches. A walking tour in Salvador reveals breathtaking sights at every turn, not just ornate buildings but also promenades and even beaches, curved around the gorgeous Bay of All Saints – a must-see sight at sunset.
As Portuguese colonists established the slave trade in Bahia during their rule, oppressed Africans brought customs and culture over with them, and Salvador is probably the best place to experience it all. From the religious belief system of Candomblé, to street food, dance, and music, Salvador is rich with African influences that have shaped the city’s identity over the centuries. Be sure to catch a capoeira performance – a hypnotising martial arts dance – or mingle with the locals in a samba nightclub or during one of the many festivities taking place here, to get a feel for the rhythms and sounds that so brilliantly define this colourful coastal city.
Translating as 'Dance in honour of the Gods', Candomblé reached Brazil following the inception of the slave trade, which saw approximately four million Africans brought to the Portuguese colony. While widely practised across Brazil, the vibrant city of Salvador can be seen as the focal point of the religion, given that the first official temple or ‘terreiro’ was built there.
Bahia is perhaps the place with the richest and most varied cuisine in Brazil, thanks to its oceanfront setting, proximity to farmland and African influences. As such, a gastronomical experience in Salvador is one that tantalises the senses, starting with the bustling local markets where all manner of produce and cookware can be found.
Bahia folkloric performances
Bahia is well-known for its rich culture, shaped by many influences but none more prominent than African traditions, and during an evening show you can experience the rhythms and moves of dances and songs performed by the Bahia Folklore Company (‘Balé Folclórico da Bahia’), right in the heart of Pelourinho (Salvador’s Old Town).