With its UNESCO-listed center and rich Afro-Brazilian heritage, Brazil’s third-largest city has plenty to engage travelers, but it’s also the gateway to Bahia’s beautiful beaches and historic towns. Here are your options for day tours from Salvador.
All Saints Bay—19 miles (30 kilometers) northwest
Salvador sits directly on All Saints Bay (Baía de Todos os Santos), whose glittering waters are dotted with sandy beaches and palm-fringed islands. Set sail on a schooner cruise and enjoy swimming off Ilha dos Frades, horseback riding on Itaparica Island, or sip caipirinhas on deck as you soak up the scenery.
Morro de São Paulo—37 miles (60 kilometers) southwest
A tropical paradise at the far end of Tinharé Island, Morro de São Paulo is the beach destination of choice for those looking to escape it all. Even getting to the remote island is an adventure, including a ferry ride across Camamu Bay, a bus ride across the island, and a speedboat transfer to the beach, where you can spend the rest of the day swimming, snorkeling, or enjoying water sports.
Praia do Forte—50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast
A scenic drive from Salvador takes you along the stunning Atlantic coast of Praia do Forte, where pristine white sand beaches are fringed by coconut palms, and the sun beats down all year round. Highlights of a visit include Forte Beach, Guarajuba Beach, the Sapiranga rainforest, and the Tamar Project, a sea turtle conservation program.
Cachoeira—66 miles (106 kilometers) northwest
At the heart of the Recôncavo region, the small town of Cachoeira has impressive colonial architecture and offers fascinating insight into Brazil’s history and cultural heritage. Full-day tours from Salvador often include a visit to neighboring São Félix, famous for its candomblé dancers and handicrafts, or a tour of a traditional tobacco plantation.
Mangue Seco—128 miles (206 kilometers) northeast
The tranquil fishing village of Mangue Seco offers welcome relief from the busy streets of Salvador, with dazzling white dunes, lush mangrove swamps, and an abundance of fresh seafood. To get there, cruise across the Royal River (Rio Real), then ride a dune buggy along the coast.