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Pelourinho, Salvador, Brazil

A city within a city

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Pelourinho Salvador Bahia Brazil

Cobblestoned streets and colonial buildings in Pelourinho

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You can't go to Salvador, a major city located on a pensinsula on Bahia's coast, without spending time in the old city of colorful colonial buildings, cobblestoned streets and a sense of history clustered around the Largo do Pelourinho, also known as Praça José de Alencar. This part of Salvador is known as Pelourinho, the city within a city. (Read more about Salvador, Bahia in Exploring Brazil's Northeast.

Nicknamed Pelo by residents this area is in the older part of the upper city, or Cidade Alta, of Salvador. It ecompasses several blocks around the triangular Largo, and it is the location for music, dining and nightlife.

Pelourinho means whipping post in Portuguese, and this was the old slave auction location in the days when slavery was common. Slavery was outlawed in 1835, and over time, this portion of the city, though home to artists and musicians, fell into disrepair. In the 1990's, a major restoration effort resulted in making the area a highly desirable tourist attraction. Pelourinho has a place on the national historic register and named a world cultural centery by UNESCO.

Easily walkable, Pelo has something to see along every street, including churches, cafes, restaurants, shops and the pastel-hued buildings. Police patrol the area to ensure safety.

Getting To Salvador
Air:
International and domestic flights fly to and from Salvado's airport about 30 km from the city center. Check flights from your area. From this page, you can also browse hotels, rental cars, and special deals.

Land:
Busses run daily to and from other Brazilian cities, including Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Fortaleza, Belem, and Porto Seguro.

When to Go
Salvador is an all-weather city. The winter months, June through August, can be very rainy, and some days cool enough for a jacket. Otherwise, the city is hot, but the heat is tempered by ocean and bay breezes. Do not forget your sunscreen. Carnaval in Salvador is a huge event, and reservations are required.

Check today's weather in Salvador.

Practical Tips

  • Stay in a hotel or pousada anywhere in Salvador, perhaps in accommodations recommended by Frommers, and take a cab or bus around the city. You can reach both levels of the city by the Lacerda Elevator. Take a walking tour around the upper city.
  • Local cuisine is a mix of Brazilian and African cuisines, with an abundant use of the coconuts, ginger, hot peppers, shrimp, spices and flavorful dendê oil, made from palms. Go easy with dendê until your stomach is used to it.
  • Pelo has many restaurants, though for better value, you may be better off eating elsewhere in the city. No matter where you are, try as comida-a-quilo restaurants, where you serve yourself and pay by weight. Some suggestions from Fommers.
  • Pelourinho offers a variety of nightlife with bars and restaurants. Blocos practice almost every night in preparation for carnaval.
  • Shop for handicrafts in Mercado Modelo, Praça da Sé, Terreiro de Jesus and numerous shops and galleries in Pelourinho, but be prepared for inflated prices. Mercado São Joaquim, also known as Feira São Joaquim), is a better choice.

    Read page 2 for Things to Do and See!

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