Salvador, Brazil cruises
Our cruises to Salvador de Bahia promise a unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty.
A UNESCO-listed city, perched on the north-eastern coast of Brazil, Salvador de Bahia is bursting with historical charm, traditional Brazilian flair, and Western African influences.
Salvador de Bahia port guide
Pastel facades. Cobbled streets. Intoxicating music. Mouth-watering cuisine. This is what awaits you as you step off your Cunard Queen and into the bustling city of Salvador de Bahia.
Everywhere you turn you’ll encounter echoes of the city’s colonial past, complemented by vibrant influences from African culture; most notably in the kaleidoscope of music, food, dance, and entertainment on offer.
Top landmarks and sights in Salvador de Bahia
With breathtaking views, spanning across the shimmering blue waves of All Saints Bay, Salvador de Bahia is divided into two distinctive areas: the upper city and lower city - separated by an impressive 300ft cliff wall.
While the upper city is primarily home to administrative, religious, and residential districts, the lower city is a thriving commercial hub, with plenty to see and do from the moment you disembark.
São Francisco Church
One of the best known of Salvador de Bahia’s 300-plus churches, São Francisco Church was once one of the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Origin. Decorated in intricate gold leaf and constructed from Bahian sandstone, this Baroque jewel – located in the historic center – is a must-see if you’re a fan of opulent architectural style.
Towering above the 16th century Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra, the Barra lighthouse paints a bold silhouette across the horizon. Built to protect the Bay of All Saints and Salvador de Bahia from naval invaders, the building encapsulates decades of history. Entering the lighthouse, invites you to step back in time as you explore museum exhibits composed of artefacts used by sailors of a bygone age.
Porto da Barra beach
Silky smooth sands and warm blue waters await you on Porto da Barra beach. A paradise for surfers, swimmers, and snorkelers, the beach overlooks the mesmerising Bay of All Saints, with its calm, clear, waters and powder-soft sands.
If you’re in the mood for an afternoon spent basking in the glorious Brazilian sun, maybe even with a refreshing cocktail or some delicious local cuisine, Porta de Barra offers just the place. You’ll find the latter in abundance at the bars and restaurants that stretch along the beachfront’s promenade.
A ride on the Elevador Lacerda rewards you with unforgettable views. One of the oldest elevators in the world, Elevador Lacerda was built in the late 19th century and is a visually stunning example of Art Deco architecture, thanks to its 1930s renovation. Rising up over 200 feet, when you emerge at its peak you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic vistas, stretching across the city and into the inky blue depths of the bay’s glistening waters.
Things to do in Salvador de Bahia
Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, a culinary connoisseur, or an avid explorer, there is no shortage of things to do in Salvador de Bahia.
An impressive bazaar, home to over 250 vendors, the Mercado Modelo is a feast for the senses. From home-made handicrafts and authentic trinkets to local delicacies and mouth-watering produce, the Mercado Modelo immerses you in unforgettable sights, sounds, and smells. You may even pick up a souvenir or two.
Explore the historic centre of Pelourinho
A UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its maze of cobbled streets, candy-colored buildings, and lively atmosphere, the Pelourinho district offers you so much to discover.
Wander the winding streets, taking in the postcard-perfect architecture. Perhaps visit the picturesque Largo do Pelourinho square, where you’ll find locals enjoying live performances. It’s in the historic center that you’ll also find Casa de Jorge Amado; former home of the renowned Brazilian author and now a museum dedicated to his life and works.
Visit Santa Teresa and the Museum of Sacred Art
Built-in 1666 and modelled on the Gesó church in Rome, the church of Santa Teresa and adjoining former convent of Discalced Carmelites is where you’ll find the Museum of Sacred Art. If you’re a fan of sculpture you’ll be in your element here. The museum houses a vast collection of 17th, 18th, and 19th century sculptures, cast in clay, wood, ivory, soapstone, and lead. The star of this acclaimed collection? A 1630 reliquary bust of St. Lucia - one of the earliest examples of silver portrait sculpture in Brazil.
Catch a game at the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova
Built in 2013 to host the 2014 World Cup, this imposing 55,000-seat stadium has been graced by some of the most iconic football teams in the world. Home pitch for Esporte Clube Bahia, if you’re lucky enough to visit during a home game you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the palpable passion of the Brazilian people as they enjoy one of their most iconic and well-loved sports. And, if you want to see what happens off the pitch, you can also book onto one of the stadium’s exclusive behind-the-scenes tours too.
Eating and drinking in Salvador de Bahia
Salvador de Bahia’s European and African influences extend to its cuisine and the city offers a range of culinary delights to suit most tastes.
One of the most popular dishes locally is Bahia is Moqueca. Best described as a rich stew, you’ll find local variations of this dish served in restaurants and bars across the city. The traditional recipe combines shrimp or white fish with garlic, parsley, onion, tomato paste, coconut milk, and palm oil, served generously ladled over rice.
For a favorite local snack, try Acarajé. Comprised of ground beans and shrimp, liberally seasoned and formed into balls, this deep-fried delicacy is best enjoyed as the locals like it - washed down with an ice-cold beer.
If you have a sweet tooth, you may prefer cocedas. A soft and chewy snack made with shredded coconut, eggs, and condensed milk, these tasty morsels sometimes include toasted coconut flakes and brown sugar for an even more indulgent treat.
Shopping in Salvador de Bahia
If you don’t want to stray too far from your Cunard Queen, consider a visit to Mercato Modelo. Conveniently located close to the cruise port, this lively covered market is packed with over 250 stalls selling everything from arts and crafts to souvenirs and fresh produce.
Further markets selling an equally wide variety of traditional Brazilian handicrafts, jewellery, clothing, and souvenirs, are peppered throughout Salvador de Bahia. Don’t be at all surprised if you stumble across one as you explore the city’s characterfully winding streets.
Of these outdoor markets, Feira de São Joaquim is one of the most popular. Found in Salvador de Bahia’s Pelourinho district, it specializes in local wares and goods from across Brazil, all at very reasonable prices.
Getting around, Salvador de Bahia transport
You’ll find no shortage of transport to help you get from A to B in Salvador de Bahia. The city is easy to navigate on foot, although there are busses and a metro, should you need them.
Taxis can also be picked up immediately outside the cruise port, and popular ridesharing apps also operate in the city.
Salvador de Bahia port facilities
The lively Porto de Salvador is Brazil’s third-largest port. The Tourist Terminal is well equipped, with Wi-Fi, restrooms, and a snack bar.
The port itself is just a short stroll from the city center and the surrounding area is populated with plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Salvador de Bahia quick tips
The official currency of Salvador de Bahia is the Brazilian real. While many larger establishments accept credit cards, the majority of smaller retailers, boutiques, and eateries may only accept cash, so it’s useful to carry some with you.
If you don’t feel comfortable withdrawing cash from an ATM ashore, you can convert currency at Reception on board your ship.
Tipping isn’t expected or customary in Brazil, however feel free to leave a 10% tip at bars or restaurants if you receive great service.
Salvador de Bahia enjoys a tropical climate, making it a wonderful destination to visit all year round.
The most popular times to cruise are during the dry season, which spans from December to March. During these months, you can expect warm temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C, with abundant sunshine and minimal rainfall.