Are you planning a trip to Brazil but don’t know yet which state to go to? Discover the state of Bahia and the best neighborhoods to stay in Salvador!
Salvador de Bahia lies on a small, roughly triangular peninsula that separates the Bay of All Saints, the largest bay in Brazil, from the Atlantic Ocean. This Brazilian megalopolis has 2,902,927 inhabitants and 3.2 million in the greater metropolitan area. The former capital of Brazil (1549-1763), Salvador offers a mosaic of cultures with multiple influences, inherited from the African, European and Amerindian presences that forged its identity. Brazil’s former economic and cultural center, Salvador now attracts many tourists who come to enjoy its magnificent beaches, the beauty of its historic center – listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1985 – and its Carnival (the world’s largest street carnival). Salvador is considered to be less dangerous than other major cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Accommodation-wise, you can find hotels or affordable homestay accommodation, even in the city center.
The city is divided into an upper part – the “Alta Cidade” – and a lower part called the “Baixa Cidade.” On the outskirts of the center, you will find diverse neighborhoods characterized by high social disparities (favelas, villas, and luxury buildings). Find out where to stay in Salvador!
Centro & Pelourinho
Located on a rocky promontory along the western shores of the peninsula and on the shores of the Bay of All Saints (Baia de Todos os Santos), the Historic Center of Salvador de Bahia is an open-air museum. It is a very colorful and authentic area, with streets and monuments dating back to the Brazilian colonial era (17th-19th century). Formerly a wealthy neighborhood, the Centro has become the vibrant heart of Afro-Brazilian cultural life, a haven for local music and capoeira. On Largo do Pelourinho, you will see a beautiful square that masks a painful past: this was the place where black slaves were punished when the slave market era was at its peak. The Terreiro de Jesus, the Praça da Sé, palaces and monuments such as Casa de Camara or the Rio Branco Palace, and the façade of the solar Ferrão are among Salvador’s must-see sites.
Home to several historic buildings as well as lively bars and terraces, the area regularly hosts percussion concerts in the street. Every Tuesday evening, the neighborhood festival is held on Terreiro de Jesus, or Largo do Pelourinho, where locals love to dance to the sounds of samba. Centro is an excellent area to stay in Salvador if you want to enjoy a lively atmosphere, replete with festivals, music, and culture.
Nestled between the Amarnath and Ondina quarters, Rio Vermelho – which means “red river” – is described as one of Salvador’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Located by the ocean – in the south of the peninsula – it is a vibrant, active and festive working-class district, a pleasant area to stay in Salvador. The quarter exudes a bohemian atmosphere which is bound to appeal to laid-back visitors who, after attending (or dancing) at a samba street concert, can go and taste the traditional “Acarajés de Cira,” a Brazilian specialty, in the neighborhood’s many taverns and joints.
The neighborhood of Barra is located in the southern part of the city of Salvador. Barra is one of the city’s most traditional quarters and is also one of the most popular haunts for tourists who come to enjoy its many attractions, such as the Barra Lighthouse (Farol da Barra), Morro do Cristo Park, and the beaches of Farol da Barra and Porto da Barra. You won’t get bored here: Barra’s many beaches, shops, cafés, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, fitness clubs, banks, parks, and historical landmarks will keep you busy! Barra is an excellent place to stay in Salvador if you’re keen to relax on the beach and indulge in a wide variety of activities.
Are you looking for luxury accommodation in Salvador? Graça is a wealthy, residential and bourgeois district of Salvador, offering upscale Western-style facilities. Located in the south of the peninsula and the center, not far from the Museum of Modern Art, the district of Graça provides a unique blend of colonial buildings and picturesque narrow streets. The main thoroughfare, Rua da Graça, winds its way through the area between Largo da Vitoria and Graça.
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