The old historic center, Pelourinho, can only really be experienced on foot and is a stroller's dream. The narrow streets and cobblestone alleys open onto large squares with baroque churches; the stately mansions and homes now house shops, galleries, and wonderful little restaurants.
The Cidade Baixa, around the Mercado Modelo, and the commercial heart of Salvador in Comércio are also pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, but less safe at night and on weekends, when they get quite deserted. All the beaches make great strolls; just grab a bus or taxi to get out there and then hit the pavement or sand.
Be Kind to Your Feet in Salvador -- Wear comfortable shoes in Salvador; high heels are both imprudent and uncomfortable on the large, uneven cobblestones and steep streets.
Salvador's neighborhoods of interest all hug the ocean and are connected by one main avenue that winds along the coast and then leads into downtown, ending just steps from the historic center. Once downtown all the attractions are within walking distance of each other. As long as you have a general idea of the order of the beaches, you should be able to find your destination, as a bus from downtown traveling to the far-off beach of Itapuã via Ondina will automatically stop at all the beaches in between. Buses are marked by name; the main buses for travelers going from any of the beach neighborhoods to downtown are marked PRAÇA DA SE for Pelourinho or COMERCIO for the lower town. To travel to the city's main bus station (or the large mall across from the bus station) take buses marked IGUATEMI. When leaving downtown for the beaches, take a bus that says VIA ORLA, which means along the coast, and make sure that the bus's final destination lies beyond the beach neighborhood you want to reach. Along the coast, you have the option of taking a regular bus, for R$1.80, or an air-conditioned bus, called a frescão, for R$4 to R$6. These are more comfortable, but then again if there are three or four of you, a frescão is almost the same price as a taxi.
Local taxis can be hailed on the street or from any taxi stand. To book a radio taxi contact Radiotaxi (tel. 071/3243-4333) or LigueTaxi (tel. 071/3357-7777). You usually pay a surcharge of R$3 to R$5, but these taxis have air-conditioning and are usually new vehicles. Also, these two companies accept credit cards and can be reserved ahead of time.
There is no need to drive in Salvador; the historic center of Pelourinho has no parking, and many of the streets are closed for traffic. To get between the city and the beaches, buses are quick and convenient, and taxis are cheap and readily available. Outside of Salvador, a car can be useful.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.