Brazil’s north-eastern state of Bahia is a must-see. With everything from enchanting cultural traditions to unforgettable beaches, it is a paradise in its own right, and offers a different vibe of Brazil outside of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Discover Culture Trip’s top 10 things to see and do in beautiful Bahia.
Wander around Pelourinho
Salvador, the capital city of Bahia, is a top destination within the state, but not to be missed within the city is the Pelourinho. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a gorgeous cluster of colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. Locals and tourists alike love the Pelourinho thanks not only to its colonial ambiance but also to its cultural offerings like music, dance and capoeira schools, and some of the best bars and restaurants around.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Visit Morro de São Paulo Island
For a true escape from city busyness, head to Morro de São Paulo Island. Leave your car and your cares behind as you discover the island beaches and some favorite activities there like snorkeling, surfing and, of course, sunbathing. The island is located in an archipelago of 26 islands about 35 miles south of Salvador, making it relatively quick to get to from the capital. There are plenty of options from luxe hotels to economical hostels to suit every traveler, as well as places for solitude and a quiet vacation, or bars and nightlife for those looking to party.
Journey to Chapada Diamantina
One of Brazil’s best national parks is located in Bahia and it offers around 600 square miles of adventure with a wealth of activities to choose from. Get your adrenaline going with rafting or canyon climbing, or enjoy a peaceful hike in one of the park’s numerous trails. Ambitious hikers can opt for the Grand Circuit, an eight-day trek into the wilderness that offers stunning views of the park’s canyons, but it is essential to have a guide for this trek. Whatever way you decide to discover Chapada Diamantina, it is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Bahia.
Surfers should not miss a chance to explore Itacaré. With 15 beaches and consistent swells, Itacaré is easily one of the best places in Bahia to surf. The famous Boca da Barra break can run for a mile along the coastline and is what makes Itacaré popular among surfers. Other delights await like local forró music and dance in the evenings, and traditional Bahian food. Itacaré is a place to surf, chill and enjoy the relaxed Brazilian vibe at its best.
A martial art that often appears more like a dance, capoeira has grown in popularity throughout the world, but it is a sport that maintains its roots. With origins in the African slave trade in Brazil, capoeira is a beautiful and challenge mix of martial arts moves and dance moves practiced in pairs and always with traditional music. Hypnotic at times, capoeira is a fantastic cultural experience that will stay with you long after you leave Brazil.
Experience samba music and dance
Few things define Brazil and Bahia like samba. This music and dance is nearly the heartbeat of the nation, and is especially fun to enjoy during Carnaval. Travelers can find plenty of dance schools to learn the music and moves throughout the year. After a class or two try your new skills at a local samba bar, and don’t be afraid to let a local take the lead; samba practically runs in their blood.
The food of Bahia is known for its African roots, but it also includes indigenous elements and, naturally, Portuguese influence. One of Bahia’s star dishes is moqueca, a hearty fish stew that is available throughout the state. This is a dish that can be a little bit spicer than other Brazilian foods, and it is best enjoyed sem pressa, or without rushing, which is easy to do in laid-back Bahia.
Experience a candomblé ceremony
Candomblé is another result of the combination of cultures that gave rise to a new element in Brazil during the slave trade. Candomblé is a religion that melds together the traditions, customs and deities of African religions, Catholicism and even some indigenous beliefs. An opportunity to experience a candomblé service or ceremony is a fantastic way to see the Afro-Brazilian culture come alive, and the ceremonies often involve music and dancing and are held throughout the year.
This fishing town has much more to offer than just another beach view. Trancoso is described as one of Bahia’s most affluent destinations, thanks to chic accommodations and beachfront dream houses – some of which are available for rent. The restaurant scene is equally hip, offering modern twists on traditional seafood dishes. Best of all, Trancoso maintains the Bahian vibe of being laid back, making for a perfect combination for a vacation.
Delight in the colonial architecture
Salvador is one of Bahia’s best locations to appreciate colonial architecture, and about 100 churches scattered throughout the city offer some excellent examples of the Portuguese influence. The ones not to miss are Igreja do Nosso Senhor do Bonfim and Igreja de São Francisco, but don’t forget to meander and marvel at all the colonial houses as well. The architectural eye candy and dreamy sea views make for a winning combination.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.