Salvador

Berimbau, capoeira and Baroque churches 
The groovy old district of Pelourinho
The Palácio do Rio Branco

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Salvador de Bahia

Two worlds collide: Africa and Brazil

High above the enormous bay of Todos os Santos (All Saints), where your MSC cruise ship awaits your return, Salvador de Bahia has an electric feel from the moment you arrive. This is the great cultural and historical centre of Brazil, where Afro-Brazilian heritage is strongest and where capoeira, candomblé and samba de roda were created.

MSC South America cruises offer excursions to the centro histórico of this magical place, a melange of narrow cobbled streets, peeling purple walls, grand Baroque churches, kids kicking footballs, rastas, locals sipping bottled beer on plastic chairs, the wafting aroma of herbs and the almost constant beating of drums, especially as the sun sets. Beyond the old town Salvador is a vast, sprawling city, with a vibrant beach life, modern skyscrapers and plenty of favelas.

The centro histórico is the traditional heart of Salvador; it’s built around the craggy, 70m-high bluff that dominates the eastern side of the bay, and is split into upper and lower sections. Cidade Alta (or simply “Centro”) is strung along its top, linked to the less interesting Cidade Baixa (the old commercial centre, aka “Comércio”) by precipitous streets and the towering Art Deco lift-shaft of the Elevador Lacerda. Cidade Alta is the cultural centre of the city, and the section known as the Pelourinho is the groovy old district with colourful and hilly winding streets, its most vibrant and beguiling neighbourhood.

The best spot to begin a walking tour of the city is at the Praça Municipal, the square dominated by the impressive Palácio do Rio Branco, the old governor’s palace which was in use until 1979. The fine interior is a blend of Rococo plasterwork, polished wooden floors and painted walls and ceilings.

Must see place in Salvador

  • Pelourinho District

    Pelourinho District

  • Nosso Senhor do Bonfim Church

    Nosso Senhor do Bonfim Church

  • Carnival

    Carnival

Discover our excursions

10 results found

  • HISTORICAL SALVADOR

    SAL04

    This excursion will take you through the most interesting historic and cultural places of Salvador. Departing from the port in a motor coach we will make a stop at "Farol da Barra", the first military construction of Salvador and known as the city’s postal card. It includes a walking tour through the historic part of the city, starting with the "Praça da Se" and the "Municipal Square" overlooking the "Todos os Santos bay". The tour also includes an inside view of the "Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco", built in the XVII century and with a marvelous stone façade recalling the Spanish baroque style and one of the most important churches in Bahia state. We will continue the walking tour until reaching Jorge Amado Foundation for an outside visit. After the Pelourinho the tour will proceed to the lower part of town to visit the "Mercado Modelo" the famous handcraft shop before returning to the pier. Please note: We advise guests to wear hats and comfortable shoes. This tour includes walking on uneven path and cobble stones. This tour is not suitable for guests with physical challenges, wheelchairs and baby strollers. The itinerary and venues visited in this excursion may be altered in calls during the Brazilian Carnival period, please consult the Shore Excursion office once on board. On Sundays Mercado Modelo close at 13h00. This excursion will not be cancelled due to weather conditions (rain). This excursion is not available for calls: MSC Preziosa January 02nd 2017.
      • Duration
        00 m

    • PANORAMIC & HISTORIC SALVADOR

      SAL10

      An excursion designed for those whom wish to walk a little less in Pelourinho and for families with baby strollers and kids. In this combination tour you will visit the Bonfim Church, the historic district of Pelourinho and the Mercado Modelo. Please note: We advise guests to wear hats and comfortable shoes. Although tis tour is advisable for families; it still includes walking over uneven path and cobblestones. This tour is not suitable for guests with physical challenges. The Bonfim church is not wheelchair accessible. Lunch is not included in the excursion. In calls where the length in port is 6 hours, this excursion will be offered with the duration of 5 hours and the visit to Pelourinho will last 1 ½ hours instead of 2hours and the free time in the Mercado Modelo will be 30 minutes. The itinerary and venues visited in this excursion may be altered in calls during the Brazilian Carnival period, please consult the Shore Excursion office once onboard. The Bonfim Church is closed on Mondays and the visit will be exterior. On Sundays Mercado Modelo close at 13h00. This excursion is not available for calls: MSC Preziosa January 02nd 2017. MSC Orchestra November 22th 2017.
        • Duration
          00 m

      • PANORAMIC TOUR & BONFIM

        SAL05

        The city was founded in front of the bay of "Todos os Santos" and developed around it. Departing from the port we will head towards the traditional Bonfim region to visit the famous "Nosso Senhor do Bonfim Church" and its sacred steps. After the visit we will continue our panoramic drive passing by the downtown area and the historic market of Campo Grande before arriving in the "Cidade Alta" and the "Ondina Circuit" where the famous carnival of Salvador is celebrated for a photo stop of the "Farol da Barra" with its amazing view overlooking the city of Salvador. Before returning to the port we will have some free time at the "Mercado Modelo" the most famous handcraft market in Salvador. Please note: The Bonfim church is not wheelchair accessible. The itinerary and venues visited in this excursion may be altered in calls during the Brazilian Carnival period, please consult the Shore Excursion office once on board. The Bonfim Church is closed on Mondays and the visit will be exterior. On Sundays Mercado Modelo close at 13h00. This excursion is not available for calls: MSC Preziosa January 02nd 2017.
          • Duration
            00 m

        • PRAIA DO FORTE & TAMAR

          SAL03

          A panoramic 90 minutes scenic transfer to reach Praia do Forte, a famous, interesting and charming fisherman village, full of restaurants and local shops that become a must visit beach in the Brazilian coast. The tour includes free time at the beach and a visit to the "Tamar Project", the Brazilian maritime complex for the sea turtle preservation. During the visit, there will be time for souvenirs. Please note: The transfer from Salvador to Praia do Forte may take up to 90 minutes. The entrance ticket to the Tamar project is included in the value of the excursion. The itinerary and venues visited in this excursion may be altered in calls during the Brazilian Carnival period, please consult the Shore Excursion office once onboard. This excursion will not be cancelled due to weather conditions (rain). This excursion is not available for calls: MSC Preziosa January 02nd 2017. MSC Orchestra November 22th 2017.
            • Duration
              00 m

          • GRAND TOUR SALVADOR

            SOMETHING SPECIAL

            SAL25

            We will leave the port, to visit the Church of Bonfim and its sacred stairs. After visiting the Church of Bonfim follow up to the Memorial of Sister Dulce opened in 1993 one year after his death. Then depart with destination to the Farol da Barra, the first military construction in Salvador and the most famous postcard of the city with a photo stop and to enjoy a beautiful view of the coastline. Then we will follow the shore, past the neighborhood of Ondina (one of the places where one realizes the Carnival of Salvador), Campo Grande to the historic center of Salvador. Walking Tour of the towns historical part, starting with the Cathedral Square and City Square to admire the splendid panorama of the "Baia de Todos os Santos". Visit the beautiful seventeenth-century Baroque Church of San Francisco, one of the most important and beautiful churches of Bahia. Walk by the renowned Square "Pelourinho," the heart of Salvador, to admire the typical architecture "colonial". After our tour Pelourinho follow toward the Mercado Modelo to buy a Salvador’s souvenir (approximately 300 craft stores) before returning to port. The Church of Bonfim is not accessible to wheelchairs. This tour itinerary may change in the calls during the carnival. Please note: Guests are advised to wear a hat and comfortable shoes. This tour includes a long walk on coble stone and is not suitable for any guest with walking difficulties. Lunch is not included on this tour. If the length in is 6 hours, this tour will be offered with a duration of 05 hours, and the visit of the Pelourinho will last for 90 minutes and free time in the "Mercado Modelo" 30 minutes. This tour itinerary may change in the calls during the carnival. Guests must cover shoulders and knees to enter the churches. Shorts and skirts are permitted as long as they cover the knees. The Bonfim Church and the Memorial Irma Dulce are closed on Mondays and the visit will be exterior. On Sundays Mercado Modelo close at 13h00. This excursion is not available for calls: MSC Preziosa January 02nd 2017. MSC Orchestra November 22th 2017.
            • Long route by bus

            • Limited seats

            • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

              Difficulty Level
              Easy

            • Duration
              6 h

          • GRAND TOUR SALVADOR WITH LUNCH

            SOMETHING SPECIAL

            SAL25A

            In this combination tour you will visit the best that Salvador has to offer, the Bonfim Church, Pelourinho with lunch typically "baiano" and still have free time to shop for souvenirs at the Mercado Modelo. We advise guests to wear hats and comfortable shoes. Although tis tour is advisable for families; it still includes walking over uneven path and cobblestones. This tour is not suitable for guests with physical challenges. The Bonfim church is not wheelchair accessible. Lunch is included in this excursion into self-service buffet style and drinks are not included. The free time in the Mercado Modelo may vary depending on traffic conditions. The Bonfim Church is closed on Mondays and the visit will be exterior. On Sundays Mercado Modelo close at 13h00. This excursion is not available for calls: MSC Preziosa January 02nd 2017. MSC Orchestra November 22th 2017.
            • Long route by bus

            • Lunch or dinner included

            • Shopping

            • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

              Difficulty Level
              Easy

            • Duration
              6 h

          • Van with driver & tour guide (9 seats)

            SOMETHING SPECIAL

            SAL15

            Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver and gasoline included up to 150kms, it does not include tickets to any touristy attraction or lunch. The advertised price for this service is per vehicle, not per passenger. This service is available with or without a tour guide, depending on availability. The driver speaks only Portuguese and the tour guide (if requested) speaks English or Spanish. The service without tour guide is not available for Grand Voyages. The departure of service can be requested for any time during the time call. Service not available to Praia do Forte. This excursion is not available for calls: MSC Preziosa January 02nd 2017. ;;;;;;;;;;;;
            • Limited seats

            • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

              Difficulty Level
              Easy

            • Duration
              4 h

          • Van with driver & tour guide (9 seats)

            SOMETHING SPECIAL

            SAL16

            Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver and gasoline included up to 150kms, it does not include tickets to any touristy attraction or lunch. The advertised price for this service is per vehicle, not per passenger. This service is available with or without a tour guide, depending on availability. The driver speaks only Portuguese and the tour guide (if requested) speaks English or Spanish. The service without tour guide is not available for Grand Voyages. The departure of service can be requested for any time during the time call. Service not available to Praia do Forte. Service without tour guide is not available for Grand Voyages. Calls where the length of stay in the port is less than 8 hours but over 4 hours, the service can be available for the length of the call with the 8 hours price. This excursion is not available for calls: MSC Preziosa January 02nd 2017. MSC Orchestra November 22th 2017.;;;;;;;;;;;;
            • Limited seats

            • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

              Difficulty Level
              Easy

            • Duration
              8 h

          • Van with driver only (10 seats)

            SOMETHING SPECIAL

            SAL14

            Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver and gasoline included up to 150kms, it does not include tickets to any touristy attraction or lunch. The advertised price for this service is per vehicle, not per passenger. This service is available with or without a tour guide, depending on availability. The driver speaks only Portuguese and the tour guide (if requested) speaks English or Spanish. The service without tour guide is not available for Grand Voyages. The departure of service can be requested for any time during the time call. Service not available to Praia do Forte. This excursion is not available for calls: MSC Preziosa January 02nd 2017. MSC Orchestra November 22th 2017.;;;;;;;;;;;;
            • No guide available

            • Limited seats

            • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

              Difficulty Level
              Easy

            • Duration
              8 h

          • Van with driver only (10 seats)

            SOMETHING SPECIAL

            SAL13

            Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver and gasoline included up to 150kms, it does not include tickets to any touristy attraction or lunch. The advertised price for this service is per vehicle, not per passenger. This service is available with or without a tour guide, depending on availability. The driver speaks only Portuguese and the tour guide (if requested) speaks English or Spanish. The service without tour guide is not available for Grand Voyages. The departure of service can be requested for any time during the time call. Service not available to Praia do Forte. This excursion is not available for calls: MSC Preziosa January 02nd 2017. ;;;;;;;;;;;;
            • No guide available

            • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

              Difficulty Level
              Easy

            • Duration
              4 h

          The excursions in the programme are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
          Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
           
          Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

          Reach the port

          Port of Salvador

          This section contains information on how to reach the port.

          Cruise Terminal

          Codeba
          Avenida da França, 1551
          Comércio, Salvador

          Reach the port by

          • Plane

            Salvador International Airport (Deputado Luiz Antonio Magalhães Airport)

            Travelling by car, head northeast  on to Praça Gago Coutinho, then turn left to stay on Praça Gago Coutinho and turn left once more to again stay on Praça Gago Coutinho. Continue onto Avenida Tenente Frederico Gustavo dos Santos and take the ramp signposted Salvador. The road you are on will merge into Av. Carybé. Continue onto Av. Luis Viana and then Av. Tancredo Neves and Avenida Antônio Carlos Magalhães. Take the exit on the left signposted Retiro/Centro/Cidade Baixa. Keep right at the fork and join Avenida Mário Leal Ferreira. Continue onto Avenida Presidente Castelo Branco and follow this road through the Túnel Américo Simas-D/Av. Presidente Castelo Branco. Continue along Av. Presidente Castelo Branco, then turn left onto Rua Estado de Israel and left again onto Avenida da França. Now turn left onto Rua da Suécia and finally right onto Avenida da França. The port is approximately 28 km from the airport.
            Taxis and private cars are available to take you to the Port.
            The journey takes about 40 minutes, depending on the traffic. There is also a bus service which takes about 1 hour.
            Plane

          North Brazil

          Nature reserves and colonial atmospheres
          Nature reserves and colonial atmospheres

          Brazil’s north-east has definitely benefited from the nation’s economic boom and is now a region on the rise.

          Despite having the most dazzling coastline in South America, a buzzing beach scene and an exuberant culture that blends samba, reggae and African influences, the area, divided politically into eight separate states, has not been spoilt by tourism. 

          A cruise to Brazil’s north-east will show you the major cities along the coast: some, such as Recife, Olinda, São Luís and Fortaleza, have a deep colonial heritage; others, such as Maceió and Natal, have developed mostly in recent decades. All of these cities have their own city beaches plus more idyllic and deserted resorts hidden up and down the coast. The Ilha de Fernando de Noronha, hundreds of kilometres offshore, is one of the finest oceanic wildlife reserves in the world, an expensive destination but perfect for ecotourism.

          The smallest Brazilian states and long ignored by travellers, Alagoas and Sergipe have developed rapidly in recent years. Though lacking the romance of Rio and Salvador, the two state capitals of Maceió and Aracaju offer fine beaches and a smattering of history, while some genuinely well-preserved colonial towns are a short bus ride away.