Salvador Bahía, Brasil
One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahía in northeastern Brazil, possesses everything the Royal Holiday traveler could want in a vacation destination: a dynamic city filled with cultural traditions and welcoming locals, a home base for exploring the nearby Brazilian countryside, and all the beaches one could hope for. Only an eight-hour flight from Miami, it’s an incredibly accessible city, known throughout Brazil for its exciting Carnival celebrations and beloved by tourists for its wide range of cultural and natural surprises. Royal Holiday members looking for the perfect destination will find it in Salvador.
The city’s charms are emphasized by Royal Holiday’s excellent affiliate in Salvador, Sol Barra Hotel, a four-star luxury property with rooms boasting either ocean views or cityscape vistas. Located in the Barra neighborhood, Sol Barra sits close to the action no matter the time of year; the carnival circuit passes right by the hotel, and the historic wonders of the city center are within easy walking distance. Many travelers will come to Sol Barra, however, for the gorgeous beaches located right outside the hotel, and many will return for the hotel’s numerous convenient services, from an on-site beauty salon, lounge, and restaurant, as well as a pleasant outdoor pool and cool sun terrace. New to Royal Holiday in 2013, it’s an excellent opportunity for members to see this excellent city in comfort and style.
While most Brazilians refer to the city as simply Salvador da Bahia, its proper name, São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, or the City of the Holy Savior of the Bay of all Saints, hints at the city’s long history. First settled in the 1500s by the Portuguese, it quickly became the colonial capital, a position it held until the mid-1700s, when Rio de Janeiro took the title. The city’s historic center draws thousands of tourists every year; a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the “Pelourinho” contains numerous architectural wonders and is well worth a visit for Royal Holiday members looking to connect with the city’s fascinating history.
The musical styles of candomblé and samba will waft through the air as Royal Holiday travelers explore the city’s many outstanding cultural landmarks, from the handsome Senhor do Bonfim Church to the bustling São Joaquim Market. Visitors will want to sample the local cuisine, and while the most famous dish, the fried and delicate acarjé, is necessary to try, the peppery cuisine of the Bahía people is also not to be missed; dishes like abará and bobó de camarão will make any traveler’s mouth water. Likewise, the lively bar scene in Salvador is another of the city’s highlights, with Afro-Brazilian establishments offering an exciting mix of cultures as well as refreshing drinks.
The city’s historic center also includes the Lacerda Elevator, which transports people between the upper and lower sections of the city that are separated by steep cliffs; the view of Baía de Todos os Santos from the top cannot be matched. From there, it’s impossible to miss the feature that draws tourists to Salvador every year: its excellent beaches. Porto da Barra Beach is the perfect place in the city to enjoy a fine oceanfront restaurant and soak in the sun, and its clear, warm waters make for great swimming. Royal Holiday members looking to beat the crowds, however, should book a trip out of town; north of Salvador sits Imbassaí beach, a famously beautiful stretch of shore in the Linha Verde area, while other idyllic beaches can be found at Praia do Forte and Boipeba.