If You Have 1 Day
If 1 day is all you've got, you better get moving! Exploring the historic center of Pelourinho is a must. You could spend hours here admiring the colorful colonial mansions and impressive baroque churches. Wander down and marvel at the gilded splendor of the Igreja São Francisco. See Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos, then take the Lacerda to the Cidade Baixa. Bargain hard at the Mercado Modelo. In the evening go munch on a moqueca or some other Bahian delicacy. Then wander the old town, enjoying the music and energy of Pelourinho by night.
If You Have 2 Days
Begin day 2 by viewing some of Brazil's best Catholic art at the Museu de Arte Sacra. Then for a taste of the faith that produced such splendor, visit the most famous church in Salvador, Nosso Senhor do Bonfim. Afterward go for a stroll along Boa Viagem Beach and Forte Monte Serrat for the best views of the city and -- if it's a weekend -- some great people-watching as well. Be at the Farol de Barra around about 5pm in time to grab a drink and admire what will almost surely be a spectacular sunset. Have dinner in one of Barra's many restaurants, or splurge on a waterfront dinner at SOHO or Trapiche Adelaide, or else wander down the shore a bit and have dinner on the beach.
If You Have 3 Days
Get some R & R by spending the day at one of Salvador's beaches enjoying the sunshine and fresh seafood at the barracas. On weekends, Flamengo and Stella Maris are the prime locations. Or take a schooner tour and enjoy the view of Salvador from the water, exploring the islands and beaches in the Bay of All Saints at the same time. In the evening head to the newly trendy Rio Vermelho neighborhood for a fine seafood dinner or casual pizza, then join the people-watching on Praca Brigadeiro arias Rocha, or if it's Tuesday night head to Pelourinho for the weekly Terça da Benção (Blessed Tuesday) party.
If You Have 4 Days or More
Catch a catamaran to the small beach community of Morro de São Paulo, where life is simple and the beaches are fabulous. Or to really get away, go one island farther down to the tiny, quiet, gorgeous beach at Boi Peba. For a more mountainous experience, head inland to the hills and trails of the Chapada Diamantina, which has great hiking and exploring.
Tip: Take It Easy on Sundays
Sundays are pretty slow in Salvador. Everyone's been up partying until 5 in the morning, so next to nobody is on the street. The Cidade Baixa and the Mercado Modelo are deserted, and even Pelourinho isn't much fun until the evening. In short, it's a good day to do as the locals do and head to the beach.
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.