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Salvador is the capital of Brazil’s Bahia state and one of the largest cities in the country. Here, cultures melt together, creating a hybrid of cuisine, music, and dance. The city is renowned for its colonial architecture and pastel cityscape, and you’ll feel transported to the 17th century with every step along its hilly, cobbled downtown.
Experience UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the historic Pelourinho District, then lounge on incredible Brazilian beaches like Porto da Barra for well-earned time in the sun and sand. Discover the magic of Salvador on a transatlantic cruise with Celebrity Cruises.
While Salvador is home to over 300 churches, the São Francisco is one of its most opulent and unforgettable. The site was even deemed one of the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Origin, a global list recognizing the landmarks of the Portuguese Empire. Ornate chandeliers, gold-leaf carvings, and authentic Portuguese tiling form a stunning fresco from ceiling to floor. You’ll be left speechless among all the splendor.
Overlooking the scenic Bay of All Saints on the tip of Salvador is Porto da Barra Beach, a swimming and surfing hotspot known for its calm waters. The deep yellow sands are smooth, not rocky, making it easy to lay out a blanket and tan in the sun. After you’ve had your fill of fun, grab a bite and a cold drink at one of the oceanfront restaurants and bars.
This historical landmark is a must-see for anyone visiting Porto da Barra Beach and the surrounding areas. The surrounding Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra was built back in the 16th century to protect the Bay of All Saints and Salvador from invaders. Inside the lighthouse, take your time exploring a small museum filled with artifacts, like rare maps and sailors’ belongings, then stop by the on-site cafe for coffee or tea.
Art lovers will be enamored by Salvador’s Museum of Modern Art of Bahia, which is visited by over 200,000 visitors each year from all corners of the world. Contemporary art by Brazilian artists is just the beginning at MAM-BA. Sandwiched on the hilly coast in Dois de Julho, the museum is also known for its spectacular waterside views.
No cruise to Salvador de Bahia is complete without a stroll through its UNESCO World Heritage-designated historical center, which possesses some of the oldest traces of the city. This compact, walkable district is dotted with colorful colonial-style architecture, cobbled streets, and plenty of music and dancing. In many ways, the Pelourinho District is the beating heart of Salvador.
Built in the late 19th century, the Elevador Lacerda is one of the oldest elevators in the world. Elevador Lacerda was renovated during the 1930s, creating the stunning Art Deco structure we know today. Hop on and travel over 200 feet above the city of Salvador. You’ll be welcomed by sweeping, panoramic views of the Bay of All Saints below.
Experience Mercado Modelo, a sprawling bazaar of over 250 vendors, artists, and storefronts just steps from the Elevador Lacerda. This is the best place to shop for authentic handicrafts and souvenirs created by local artisans. Upstairs, you’ll find a couple of restaurants, and there’s a patio in the back where you can relax after your shopping spree.
Beach Stop Restaurante and Bar
Complete with beachside views, head to Beach Stop for a casual dinner in Salvador. Steak and seafood mains like shrimp risotto are menu favorites, though there is also lighter fare like salads and empanadas. Try one of several beers on tap.
Sanctuarium Atelier Gourmet
For a high-end experience in Salvador de Bahia, there’s Sanctuarium Atelier Gourmet. This contemporary restaurant is known for its experimental dishes, extensive wine list, and award-winning multi-course dining. The changing menu utilizes local ingredients, all imagined from the creative genius of its chef, Hugo Ribeiro.
Head to Donana if you want to try traditional Bahian fare. This family-owned restaurant has been serving regional favorites since 1988. Try the oxtail soup or classic moquecas (stews) like the hearty pork stew sarapatel. Seafood like oysters, shrimp, and lobster are also menu staples.
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind fusion of Brazilian and Mediterranean culinary traditions on the menu at Mistura, an award-winning restaurant in Salvador. Mistura has an elegant yet laid-back atmosphere, where the pasta al mare, lobster risotto, and octopus mains are must-try dishes.
Centuries before colonization by Portuguese explorers, the capital city of Salvador was the home of indigenous people like the Gé and the Tupinambá. In 1549, the Portuguese arrived at the Bay of All Saints and founded what we now know as Salvador de Bahia. Today, it’s famous for its historic center and unique music, culture, and dance.
Your cruise ship will dock at the Porto de Salvador, which is the third-largest port in all of Brazil. The port is situated on the eastern end of Salvador, where you’ll be met by views of the Bay of All Saints. The Tourist Terminal is equipped with a bathroom and a snack bar. Once you disembark, you’ll be only a few minutes’ walk from the Mercato Modelo and the city center. Ample cafes, restaurants, and shops surround the area.
Salvador has a vast system of buses and a metro used often by locals. Taxis are common in the area surrounding the Salvador cruise port. Ridesharing apps are also available. If you’re looking to go beyond the historic district, you’ll want to make transportation plans via taxi or bus before you head to the nearby beaches, or book a shore excursion.
The most famous shopping area in Salvador is the renowned Mercato Modelo, which is conveniently close to the Salvador cruise port. You’ll find over 250 shops and vendors selling their wares, including handmade arts and crafts and classic Brazilian souvenirs.
The official currency of the country is the Brazilian real. On a cruise to Salvador de Bahia, you’ll want to have some cash on hand to shop at smaller institutions or local boutiques at the Mercato Modelo. Tipping isn’t customary in Brazil, but leaving a 10% tip for bartenders and servers is appreciated. Tipping your taxi drivers isn’t a common practice in Brazil.