Cidade Alta (Upper City) contains Salvador’s largest concentration of sights. Perched on an escarpment and affording great views over the bay (Todos os Santos), it is here where you’ll find Pelourinho, Brazil’s original and restored colonial capital, Museo Afro-Brasiliero, and the São Francisco Church and Convent of Salvador.
Cidade Alta’s historic center, Pelourinho is also a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. Spread over several blocks, its cobbled streets contain many notable brightly-painted colonial buildings and the area is a magnet for visitors.
You could spend all day gazing at the colonial architecture and chocolate-box exteriors, but make some time to go inside a few of the more notable buildings here. A must-see is the ‘golden church’ (São Francisco Church and Convent). Its gold interior adorned with gilt woodwork and paintings is considered to be one of the best examples of Portuguese-Brazilian Baroque.
Also not to be missed in Cidade Alta is the Museo Afro-Brasiliero. This informative museum has some fascinating exhibits that will grow your understanding of the culture, religion and people of Bahia and their African heritage.
To get to Cidade Alta from Cidade Baixa (Lower City) take the Elevador Lacerda. An attraction in itself, the restored art deco elevator has been connecting the two cities since the 1930s.