The Best Places to Buy Souvenirs in Salvador

Local art, Salvador © Paul White/Flickr
Local art, Salvador © Paul White/Flickr
Photo of Georgia Grimond
18 June 2017

Even if you only have room for something small in your suitcase, it is always a pleasure to have a memento of your travels to take home. Salvador has no shortage of gifts and souvenirs to buy but where is the best place to buy them? Our guide will help you shop efficiently and pick out the best of what’s on offer.

Mercado Modelo

Building, Architectural Landmark, Market, Bazaar
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Mercado Modelo
Mercado Modelo | © Rodrigo Suriani/Flickr
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.

Feira São Joaquim

Farmers' Market, Brazilian
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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.

Barra Shopping

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.

Havaianas © Kai Hendry/Flickr

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.

Brazilian beach seller | © Eduardo Rodrigues/Flickr

Thrift stores

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.

Pra andar por aí ! … #sandals #sandalias #shoes #shoesoftheday #brecho #bazar #upcycle #reroupa #style #bazarvemelho

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Book shops

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.

Old town

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.

Shopping in the Pelourinho | © Débora Araújo/Flickr

Art galleries and museums

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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.

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