Bursting with colour, energy and Afro-Brazilian culture, Salvador is a world of its own. This lively coastal city rivals Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival with its vibrant festivals and pulsing drumbeats that echo through the city streets regularly. Not only can you dance the night away here, but you can also learn about Brazil’s history at UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Or simply spend your days snoozing on a nearby beach.
Many of the hostels in Salvador are based at the city’s southern tip, within short walking distance of the coast. Typically housed in 17th- and 18th-century buildings, they often feature brightly painted walls and Portuguese baroque-style features. A cluster of Salvador hostels are in the historic centre which gives you easy access to famous churches and plazas, where you can munch on fresh pineapple and watch Capoiera dancers twirl over cobblestones. You can expect to find hostels with swimming pools, sunlit balconies or terraces, and lively on-site bars.
It’s worth exploring the different districts in Salvador, as each has its own unique character. Pelourinho, the historic centre, is the most iconic – it’s where you’ll find picture-perfect colonial houses and cobbled streets. In contrast, Barra on the southern tip has a wide stretch of golden sand and a bustling vibe. To see another side of the city, head to Rio Vermelho – the bohemian district – for contemporary eateries, outdoor drinks spots and vibrant parties.
There are tons of things to do here. If you're after a new, unusual experience, you can take a ride on the world’s first outdoor lift at the seafront. Elevador Lacerda is a fine example of Art Deco architecture and an inexpensive way to reach the top of the city if you’re not feeling up to the climb. Keep your eyes peeled for the city’s churches – there are hundreds of them! Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos is among the most photogenic in a pastel blue hue. Also worth checking out is Museu de Arte Moderna, a cultural space packed with exhibitions, a sculpture garden and live music every Saturday.
Salvador’s airport is about a 25-minute drive from the city centre. If you’re coming from elsewhere in Brazil, daily buses connect to major cities, albeit via long journeys (rides from São Paulo or Rio are around 30 hours). Getting around the city is super easy with its network of public buses. You’ll find two main city terminals in the centre, which can take you to Terminal da França in the Comércio, Lapa and Shopping Piedade.