Another spectacular city. Salvador doesn’t get as many visitors as Rio, mainly due to the fact that most travelers focus on the more explored South of Brazil. That does not mean though that the city isn’t worth seeing. It is absolutely worth the visit!
The most recommended districts to stay in are Rio Vermelho, Barra and Pelourinho.
To sum it up, Vermelho has the night life, Barra has the best beaches and Pelourinho is the historical center of Salvador de Bahia. Prices for accommodation are a bit lower than in Rio, you’ll be able to find privates for 20€ and dorm beds for minimum 10€ a night. The city center is very beautiful, full of colonial architecture, impressive churches, cute shops and restaurants.
We can recommend all three districts, but for us the best beaches win and therefore Barra was the place where we chose to stay at.
While Rio is a mix of cultures, backgrounds and looks, Salvador is more influenced by the Afro-Brazilian culture. Especially music and food have their roots in African culture. While in Rio most traditional dishes are meat based, Bahia offers more fish and seafood. Amazing dishes to try are “Moqueca de peixe” and “Bobo de camarao”. Two fish plates cooked in coconut milk with several spices. Eating out will cost you more or less 4€-7€, depending on the restaurant you choose.
Transport. Same as in all bigger Brazilian cities you can either go for public transport (buses) or spend a bit more and go with the safest option, which is using Uber. A 15-20 minutes ride (enough time to go from one district to another) will cost you 2-4€.
We fell in love with Bahia, the locals have a very positive and open culture, the beaches in Barra were absolutely amazing for being in a city and the food was delicious. We definitely want to come back one day and maybe experience Carnival in Salvador, as it’s supposed to be as big as in Rio, but with more African influence.