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

Find South America Cruises

Salvador de Bahia

Two worlds collide: Africa and Brazil

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

Discover our excursions

    Reach the port

    Port of Salvador

    This section contains information on how to reach the port.

    Cruise Terminal

    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.

    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.