SALVADOR DE BAHIA
A multicultured, multifaceted place, discover brilliant beach life, airy colonial plazas and infectious samba rhythms as you explore this Brazillian melting pot. Sat on a scenic peninsula, idyllic beaches coat the city on three sides, and a historic fort sits just offshore, watching the waters menacingly. One of the world’s biggest carnivals is thrown towards the end of February, but don’t worry if you miss it – there's always an excuse to celebrate something in Salvador de Bahia.
The old town – with its lemon and duck egg blue colours - rises above the city, peppered with gold-leaf flourishes and carved historical churches. Pelourinho street is one of the town's most dazzling - a picturesque gathering of bright hues and uneven cobbled streets. Bahia’s capital and largest city was Brazil's first capital, built on the backs of slaves imported from Africa. Since then the cultures have fused to create a vibrant Afro-Brazilian cocktail. Moqueca is the local flavour here, a slow-cooked stew of coconut milk, seafood and bell peppers, its a creamy and delicious indulgence with a chilli kick.
Enjoy a spot of relaxation on the city's beaches - and see a relatively rare phenomenon in Brazil - sunset dipping over the sea's waves, on the sands of the westerly facing Porto da Barra. Or, escape the crowds and recline below swaying coconut palms on the golden sands of beaches reaching up to the north, which are some of Brazil’s most picturesque and secluded.