Capital of Bahia state and former capital of Brazil itself, Salvador is one of the oldest cities in the country dating back to 1549 and a fascinating melting pot of history, culture and colour. Perched on the shoulder of Brazil, Salvador rises high over the “Todos os Santos” Bay and is split between an upper and lower city connected by a series of lifts and steep walkways. At its heart, the cobbled streets and ornate churches of the Pelourinho old town have been beautifully preserved and reveal some of the finest colonial architecture in all the Americas. Above all it is the city’s unique cultural heritage that stands out, a blend of Portuguese and African influences born on the back of the slave trade that has given Salvador its unique identity and creative energy. Wander the Pelourinho and you will stumble upon locals practising “capoeira”, the old slave martial art hidden in dance form. Or experience a traditional ‘candomble” ceremony, a religious fusion of catholic and tribal beliefs. Much of Brazilian art, literature and music owes itself to Bahia and no visit is complete without sampling the delicious local cuisine.
Salvador pulses with an energy to rival the likes of Rio and its carnival is something to behold! Close by, the city is ringed with palm-fringed beach resorts and idyllic islands, the perfect wind-down after the frenetic pace of Salvador.