City Orientation Walk, Salvador (Self Guided)

The main city of Brazilian state of Bahia, Salvador is a tasty cocktail of Portuguese, African and Brazilian cultures manifested in the colonial architecture set against a luring, tropical coastline. This walking tour takes you to the historic heart of the city which has retained much of its old-time atmosphere, reflected in the cobblestone alleys, large squares, colorful facades and numerous churches.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Brazil » Salvador (See other walking tours in Salvador)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Author: vickyc
1
Palacio Rio Branco

1) Palacio Rio Branco (must see)

Palacio Rio Branco, one of the oldest palaces in Brazil, was built in the 16th century. Formerly the site of the Bahia government, it has been used as barracks, a residence for Dom Pedro II when he visited in 1859, and even a prison. Designed in the French Neoclassical style, in 1984 the palace was completely restored as it was in miserable condition. Today it houses the Pedro Calmon Foundation, the Cultural Foundation of Bahia and the Memorial of Governors.
2
Camara Municipal de Salvador

2) Camara Municipal de Salvador

Camara Municipal de Salvador - The Salvador City Hall - was built in 1549, shortly after the foundation of the city, and initially incorporated legislative, judicial and executive powers under one roof, including a public prison which occupied the ground floor and the basement. The prison was divided into northern and southern wings – for women and men, respectively – and remained here until the first half of the 19th century when it was transferred to Fort Barbalho. Eventually, the judiciary also moved out. In the 1970s the building underwent renovation set to recover its original style, reflecting Portuguese mannerism of the 17th century. In 1997 the Salvador City Hall Memorial was established. However, it opened to the public only in 2001. The memorial houses a collection of artifacts pertaining to the history of Salvador, including paintings, photographs and more.
3
Elevador Lacerda

3) Elevador Lacerda (must see)

Elevador Lacerda connects the upper and lower portions of Salvador. This famous elevator will carry you from one section to the other in 20 seconds. At 70 meters high, it is one of the highest and largest public lifts in the world, with space for 120 passengers. It is the least expensive way to reach the lower city and see the port. In the past there had been a rope elevator built by Jesuits in 1610, later an iron lift, and in 1928 an electric elevator was built. It offers a magnificent view of the bay. It is open from 5:00 am until midnight each day.
4
Igreja da Misericórdia

4) Igreja da Misericórdia (must see)

Igreja da Misericórdia, built in the 17th century, is listed as a Heritage Building of the National Trust. It was the site of one of the most illustrious marriage ceremonies in the city. A major Salvador landmark, you will see colorful glazed tiles, called 'azulejos,' a rich interior and amazing religious paintings.
5
São Francisco Church and Convent of Salvador

5) São Francisco Church and Convent of Salvador (must see)

The São Francisco Church and Convent of Salvador is located in the historical centre of Salvador. The convent and its church are very important colonial monuments in Brazil. The current church was built between 1708 and 1723, but the interior was decorated by several artists during a great part of the 18th century. Most decoration of the church and convent were finished by 1755.

The friars of the Franciscan Order arrived in Salvador in 1587 and soon built a convent and church, but these were destroyed during the Dutch invasions of Bahia in the early 17th century. The works on the current convent began in 1686 under Father Vicente das Chagas following a grandiose design that took decades to complete. The current church was built between 1708 and 1723, but the interior was decorated by several artists during a great part of the 18th century. Most decoration of the church and convent were finished by 1755 as well.

The wooden ceiling of the entrance hall was painted with scenes in illusionistic perspective by José Joaquim da Rocha in 1774. The two-storey cloisters, finished around 1752, were decorated with monumental panels of blue-white tile panels. The tiles, with moralistic allegories based on 17th century-Flemish engravings and sayings by Roman poet Horace, were manufactured in Lisbon.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Catedral Basilica do Salvador

6) Catedral Basilica do Salvador (must see)

The Cathedral Basilica of Salvador, officially dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ, is the seat of the Archbishop of the city of Salvador. In its origins the present cathedral building was the church of the Jesuit Order of Salvador. The Jesuits arrived in the city still in the 16th century and built a first church and college.

In the second half of the 17th century the Jesuits built a new church - the one that exists today - in the Mannerist style then fashionable in Portugal. The façade is very similar to contemporary Portuguese churches like the Jesuit Church of Coimbra. The façade is made in light Lioz stone brought from Portugal and is flanked by two short bell towers.

Inside, the cathedral is a one-aisled church of rectangular shape, without transept and with a very shallow main chapel. The side walls of the church have a series of lateral chapels decorated with altarpieces. This floorplan scheme is based on the Church of São Roque in LisbonThe chapels of the cathedral offer an interesting showcase of altarpiece art from the late 16th through the mid-18th centuries, all decorated with sculptures and paintings. The sacristy of the church is richly decorated with Baroque furniture, 17th century Portuguese tiles and ceiling wooden panels painted with Mannerist motifs and portraits of important Jesuits.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Terreiro de Jesus

7) Terreiro de Jesus (must see)

Terreiro de Jesus, one of Salvador’s most prominent landmarks, is surrounded by many old architecturally stunning churches in the city’s historic center. This square contains an impressive fountain adorned with several sculptures.
8
Faculty of Medicine

8) Faculty of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine, Brazil’s oldest medical school, was founded in 1808 by a bishop. It is housed in a beautiful palace richly decorated with sculptures. Symbolizing the beginning of Brazil's cultural independence, it has suffered damage from two fires and was rebuilt in an eclectic style with Neoclassical lines. The first electric light in Salvador was on the porch of this building. It also contains a museum on its ground floor.
9
Largo do Pelourinho

9) Largo do Pelourinho

Largo do Pelourinho, a square in the historic district of the city, is where you will find artwork, crafts and other gifts created by local artisans, as well as numerous galleries. Be sure to check out this square and visit its many shops and vendors.
10
Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos

10) Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos (must see)

Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos, built in the Rococo style in 1704, is an impressive church with a bell atop its spire. Its windows and doors are finely detailed, with rich carvings inside and painted tiles depicting Biblical scenes. It also has a Neoclassical altar and fine 18th century statues of Our Lady of the Rosary and other saints. Behind the church is an old slave cemetery.
11
Igreja Convento do Carmo

11) Igreja Convento do Carmo

Igreja Convento do Carmo, located in Pelourinho, was a Carmelite convent and one of the largest and oldest of the Carmelite Order in Brazil. Construction was begun in 1586. It has served as shelter during war as it has fortified walls. This architectural masterpiece of incomparable beauty now houses Salvador’s first luxury hotel.
12
Igreja do Boqueirão

12) Igreja do Boqueirão

Igreja do Boqueirão, an architectural jewel in the historic center of Salvador, was constructed in 1726 in a combination of Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles. Recently fully restored, this beautiful church’s interior houses adornments in gold and amazing religious paintings.
13
Forte de Santo Antônio Além do Carmo

13) Forte de Santo Antônio Além do Carmo (must see)

Forte de Santo Antônio Além do Carmo is an old fort that defended the north entrance to the city. The construction of the present structure was begun in 1695 and ended in the early 18th century. Located on a hill, it protected Salvador from the sea and land. Built in the Vauban style, it is rectangular in shape with pentagonal bastions in the corners. It also served as a prison for African-Brazilians. In the 20th century a Neo-Gothic façade was added and today it is registered as a Heritage Monument.

Walking Tours in Salvador, Brazil

Create Your Own Walk in Salvador

Create Your Own Walk in Salvador

Creating your own self-guided walk in Salvador is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Everyday Life Tour in Salvador

Everyday Life Tour in Salvador

The modern part of the city is the best place to experience Salvador’s everyday life. You will find many locals walking in its parks, a Protestant church, as there are many Baptists in the city, and a beach that gets particularly crowded with locals, especially on weekends. Take the following tour to learn more about the everyday lives of Salvador’s citizens.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 km
Waterfront Tour in Salvador

Waterfront Tour in Salvador

Salvador’s waterfront contains numerous tourist attractions, including an old lighthouse, a city landmark, museums, art galleries and of course the beach. Take the following tour to discover the area surrounding Salvador’s waterfront.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Churches Tour in Salvador

Churches Tour in Salvador

Salvador’s historic district contains many old Catholic churches with wonderful architecture and history. It has so many that some joke that one can visit a different church in Salvador each day of the year. Take the following tour to discover the city’s best churches.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
Shopping Tour in Salvador

Shopping Tour in Salvador

Salvador is a paradise for shoppers where you can find arts, crafts and anything else for sale on its historic streets at very reasonable prices. Take the following tour to discover Salvador’s best stores, markets and shopping districts.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
South Salvador Tour

South Salvador Tour

South Salvador contains several great attractions worth seeing, with many architectural sites along the historic Avenida de Sete Septembrio. Several squares, monuments and sculptures can also be found in this part of the city. Take the following tour to discover the great attractions on Salvador’s south side.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Museums Tour in Salvador

Museums Tour in Salvador

Salvador has a very rich artistic, religious and cultural heritage that is represented in its diverse museums. Museu de Arte da Bahia, the city’s oldest museum, is a must-see, and its religious museums are famous for their priceless sacred pieces. The following tour offers a unique journey to Salvador’s most popular museums.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Salvador for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Salvador has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Salvador, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.