World Cup 2014

Top things to do in Salvador

Everything you must see and visit, from outdoor activities and postcards views to restaurants and museums

Old mansions in the Pelourinho area: not far from the Arena Fonte Nova stadium / Photo: Opção Brasil Imagens

Old mansions in the Pelourinho area: not far from the Arena Fonte Nova stadium / Photo: Opção Brasil Imagens

22.mai.2014 12:51:31 | por Redação VEJA Cidades
Receiving hordes of tourists is not much of a challenge to a city that loves to party as much as Salvador. This year´s Carnival drew a multitude of more than 500,000 people to follow the axé musical route behind the famous Carnival parade floats. The same is expected for the World Cup. Visitors will not only be able to cheer on their team in the Arena Fonte Nova stadium but also in bars and in front of big screens set up in tourist spots. One will be in the Largo de Santana square in Rio Vermelho. Along with programs directed specifically at the World Cup, there is plenty to enjoy in the capital of Bahia state. The city is full of personality, as are its warmhearted inhabitants, and it has a unique impressive historic center known as Pelourinho. Walks among the imposing houses and churches of the colonial period are as impressive as the many postcard views (most of them with the Baía de Todos os Santos bay in the background) and trying out the tasty typical dishes, marked by a mixture of influences such as indigenous, Portuguese and above all, African. However, like big cities everywhere, the traffic is chaotic and security problems are also part of the daily lives of the people of Salvador. However, these do not dampen the good feeling that reigns here.
 
HOW TO GET AROUND: The Arena Fonte Nova stadium is located in Ladeira da Fonte das Pedras, in Nazaré, an area that is easily accessed and is fairly near the Pelourinho. On match days, eight special bus lines will run from the main shopping centers and districts to the stadium. The regular fare is R$ 2.80. There is also a good fleet of taxis, with the initial fare of R$ 4.00 and R$ 2.04 per kilometer.
 
 
Matches schedule
June 13 (Friday) - 16:00 - Spain vs Holland
June 16 (Monday) - 13:00 - Germany vs Portugal
June 20 (Friday) - 16:00 - Switzerland vs France
June 25 (Wednesday) - 13:00 - Bosnia Herzegovina vs Iran
July 1 (Tuesday) - 17:00 - Last 16
July 5 (Saturday) - 17:00 - Quarter Finals
 
To support and celebrate
 
Pelourinho: While the Brazilian team is playing, the Olodum band will play in the Pelourinho to accompany the supporters´ shouts of “goal”. The games will be shown on a big screen. Rua Maciel de Baixo, 22, 71-3321-4154.
 
Largo de Santana: The bars around the square begin to fill up from 17:00 every day. Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina have some of the most popular tables. During the World Cup, supporters can follow the Brazil games on a big screen set up in the middle of this square. Rio Vermelho.
 
Boteco do França: This bar is famous for its appetizers such as crab in vinaigrette and cod balls. It has Brazilian flags on the popular sidewalk tables and a television that will show the games in the open air. Rua Borges dos Reis, 24A, Rio Vermelho, 71-3334-2734.
 
Caminho de Casa: This bar is open 24 hours a day and has been elected six times the best place to end the night in the VEJA COMER & BEBER (EAT & DRINK) guide. After the game, it is worth going there to drink a rosca (a caipirinha with vodka), accompanied by one of the snacks on the menu. Rua Anísio Teixeira, 161, Shopping Boulevard 161, Itaigara. 71-3353-7036.
 
The crowded bar Caminho de Casa / Photo: Ligia Skowronski
 
Near the stadium
 
Orixás plus history: An opening in the middle of the terracing in the Arena Fonte Nova stadium gives a view of the Dique do Tororó (Av. Vasco da Gama, s/n°), a lake with sculptures of African deities known as orixás who seem to dance on the surface. Supporters will find the city´s main attraction, the historic old houses of the Pelourinho, just over a kilometer away.
 
Eating the Bahia way: The Mouraria district that lies about 700 meters from the stadium has places that specialize in the traditional shellfish dish called lambreta. The Koisa Nossa bar opens at the end of the afternoon. Less than two kilometers from the ground are the restaurants Aconchego da Zuzu (Rua Quintino Bocayuva, 18. 71-3331-5074) and A Porteira (Av. Marechal Costa e Silva, s/n°, 71-3382-7808), both of which serve regional cuisine.
 
A perfect day...
 
MORNING:
Get up early for a must walk around the Pelourinho. If you don´t have a lot of time, go straight to the impressive Igreja e Convento de São Francisco church and convent (Largo do Cruzeiro de São Francisco. Entry: R$ 5.00). This 18th century building is ornamented with almost one ton of gold. Then go to the Terreiro de Jesus where the Catedral Basílica, which was built by the Jesuits, is located. Nearby Praça Thomé de Souza square is the entry to the Elevador Lacerda. Take a picture of Baía de Todos os Santos bay from there and pay R$ 0.15 to go down to the lower city.
 
AFTERNOON:
Right in front of the exit from the elevator lies the Mercado Modelo market (Praça Visconde de Cayru) which attracts tourists with its 260 stalls. Continue along Avenida Lafayete Coutinho, also called Contorno, towards the iconic Amado restaurant (n° 660, 71-3322-3520) of chef Edinho Engel. Or go a bit further on and have a more relaxed lunch at Paraíso Tropical which is headed by the famous Beto Pimentel. After dessert, cross the city once again and admire the sun as it sinks behind the Farol da Barra lighthouse(71-3264-3296).
 
Baía de Todos os Santos bay, the Elevador Lacerda and the Mercado Modelo market: icons of the cityFoto: Valter Pontes/Coperphoto
 
NIGHT:
Wait for the peak hour to pass and go to the Largo da Mariquita square in Rio Vermelho. Start the night in the award-winning Acarajé da Cira where the acarajé has won the title of the best in the city in the VEJA COMER & BEBER (EAT & DRINK) guide 13 times. After this generous starter, the main dish can be eaten at the nearby Casa de Tereza (Rua Odilon Santos, 45. 71-3329-3016). This restaurant specializes in Bahia cuisine and is run by Tereza Paim, another local gastronomic celebrity.
 
The best beaches
The busiest stretch of the long Salvador shoreline is in Porto da Barra, next to the Forte de Santa Maria fort. This half-moon shaped narrow stretch of sand has calm waters and is always busy. Many people go there at the end of the afternoon to watch the incredible sunset. On the other side of the city, around 30 kilometers away, the beautiful neighboring Stella Maris and Flamengo beaches await tourists who prefer a day on a beach where there is not a lot of movement. The traditional Barraca do Lôro (Rua Desembargador Manoel de Andrade Teixeira, 266, Flamengo, 71-3015-0140) and the Lôro Stella Maris outlet (Alameda Mar Del Plata, 593, 71-2137-5002) are well known in the region. Both serve fish and seafood right on the sand.
 

Porto da Barra: this narrow stretch of sand is always crowded / Photo: Divulgação

Museum, sea and jazz
This old house with a view of Baía de Todos os Santos bay is known as Solar do Unhão and used to be part of a farm. Nowadays, it houses the MAM, Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia (Av. Lafayete Coutinho, s/n°, 71-3117-6139. Free). On Saturdays, it has a three-in-one program. You begin the day visiting the works of art on show at the Third Bahia Biennale which will be on display during the World Cup. Then you take a break in the Parque das Esculturas park, with a view of the sea and end the walk by watching jazz shows that start from 18:00 (R$ 6.00 entrance fee). You don´t even need to leave the place to eat as the Solar Café (71-3329-1829) sells snacks and drinks there.
 
Good food
Recipes with African influence and a typical shellfish dish make up the hearty Bahia fare 
 
Moqueca
 
Donana's moqueca / Photo: Romero Cruz
 
This fish stew of indigenous origin is made with dende oil, extracted from an African palm tree, plus coconut milk — coriander and other seasoning, as well as seafood which are added to the dish. The dish comes to the table accompanied by pirão jelly, farofa flour and, sometimes, feijão-fradinho beans.
 
Dona Mariquita: Rua do Meio, 178, Rio Vermelho, 71-3334-6947.
 
Donana: Av. Teixeira Barros, Centro Comercial do Conjunto dos Comerciários, Brotas, 71-3351-8216.
 
Paraíso Tropical: Rua Edgard Loureiro, 98-B, Cabula, 71-3384-7464.
 
Acarajé
 
The deep fried snack sold by Cira / Photo: Leo Feltran
 
Women dressed in traditional Bahia costumes sell this typical snack made with feijão-fradinho beans in the streets throughout the city. It is a legacy of African cuisine and is a ball fried in dende palm oil, filled with vatapá paste, vinaigrette, dry shrimp and pepper. Abará is another typical Bahia snack with a similar dough but cooked in steam.
 
Acarajé da Dinha: Largo de Santana, Rio Vermelho; Rua Arthur de Azevêdo Machado, 3443, Costa Azul.
 
Cira: Rua Aristides Milton, s/nº, Itapuã; Largo da Mariquita, Rio Vermelho.
 
Regina: Largo de Santana, Rio Vermelho; Rua da Graça, 71-3232-7542.
 
Lambreta
 
Koisa Nossas's seasoned shellfish / Photo: Ligia Skowronski
 
This tasty shellfish is common on the coast of Bahia and Sergipe state and is prepared simply, usually cooked in a little water, with onion and parsley. It is generally served in bars, almost always in portions of a dozen and can also be served in gratin form or combined with coconut milk.

Don Papito: Av. Octávio Mangabeira, 6, Piatã,  71-3367-0104.

Koisa Nossa: Trav. Engenheiro Allioni, 1, Mouraria, 71-3266-5596.

Lambreta.com: Trav. Engenheiro Allioni, 5, Mouraria, 71-3321-8375.

 
3 good places for selfies
 
Farol de Itapuã: From here you can take a picture of the Atlantic Ocean and Itapuã beach which captivated Dorival Caymmi and Vinicius de Moraes. Rua Farol de Itapuã, s/n°.
 
Photo: João Ramos/Bahiatursa
 
Monumento da Cruz Caída: This work by Mario Cravo Jr. is a breath of modern air in the middle of the Historic Center. From there you can take a great picture of the sun going down over Baía de Todos os Santos bay. Pelourinho.
 
Igreja de Nosso Senhor do Bonfim: Lots of colored wrist bands hang from the grating of the Senhor do Bonfim church. Tie one tightly to your wrist with three knots, make three wishes and then take a picture with the church on the background. Largo do Bonfim.