Salvador’s model market is rich pickings for souvenir shopping. It has over 250 independent stalls under one roof, selling every kind of Bahian artisanal object, musical instruments, leatherwork, lace work, plus food and drink too. Given the number of different shops, it is a particularly good place to go to compare prices or browse for a certain design or size.
Praça Visconde de Cayru, Cidade Baixa, Salvador +55 71 98701-7013
Feira São Joaquim
You probably won’t want to take a chicken home with you, but if you did you could pick one up at the Feira São Joaquim. Open daily from 4.30am it is very much an authentic, locals’ market selling everyday goods and food, plus all kinds of unusual objects. It is rich in dried chillies and prawns, spices and herbs which can be scooped out of big sacks and bought by weight.
Malls are good one-stop-shops for big Brazilian brands like Havaianas flip-flops, Salinas bikinis or Osklen for high-end beach chic. Barra Shopping has all of these shops and many more, bathed in cool air-conditioned comfort. Salvador Shopping (shopping means mall in Portuguese), in the commercial centre, is another place that has all the high street shops and big names.
Avenida Centenário, 2992, Chame-Chame, Salvador +55 71 2108-8288
On the beach
Brazil’s tireless beach vendors tread the hot sands day-in, day-out bringing the shops to you while you sunbathe. They carry huge umbrellas strung up with snazzy bikinis; boards laden with jewellery or poles heavy with dresses and cangas. Usually depicting some local scene, the Brazilian flag or a colourful design, cangas are like sarongs. Light, multifunctional and cheap, they are essential for beach life in Bahia and make for the perfect souvenir.
Rio Vermelho, Salvador’s hippie district, has a great selection of second-hand clothes shops that sell fun and stylish accessories, as well as clothes and shoes. Many of the brands and designs are local to Brazil and so will remind you of your travels when sporting them back home.
Maybe you have been inspired to learn Portuguese, read tales of Bahian folklore or you would like a lovely coffee-table book of Brazil to take home. In that case one of Salvador’s bookshops will provide you with the perfect present. Boto-Cor-de-Rosa has a variety of English and Portuguese books, English-speaking staff and a small cafe and terrace.
Rua Marquês de Caravelas, 328, Barra, Salvador +55 71 3018-0006
In the Pelourinho, small shops and stalls start to unpack and open their doors in the morning, not shutting until the evening. Along the old town’s streets you can buy T-shirts, key rings, mugs and other souvenirs emblazoned with “Bahia” and “Salvador” and the suchlike. There are also places that stock the delicate white lace that’s made locally, as well as small painted wooden figures, paintings and other knick-knacks.
Art galleries and museums
Museums like the Fundação Casa de Jorge Amado have gift shops that sell lovely merchandise, books and posters to take home with you. The Museum of Modern Art sells CDs and DVDs of its JAM no MAM jazz nights it holds. Some artists sell their work in small shops in the Pelourinho or along the beach but it is always worth browsing galleries to see if anything catches your eye.
Largo do Pelourinho, 51, Pelourinho, Salvador +55 71 3321-0070