Salvador Bahia Brazil no longer has any direct flights to the US and has limited direct flights to Europe (December 2020). Making this a layover 48 hours doesn’t provide much incentive for the US or European based travelers. However, that doesn’t mean Salvador should be overlooked. With short flights from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janerio, it may be worth a 48-hour trip to check out this lovely city and beautiful beaches.
You can check out which airlines fly direct to Salvador and from where by using Wikipedia.
Suggested Itinerary for your 48 Hour stays in Salvador.
I am going to assume you land before 10 AM and leave at 6 PM two days later, a total of 56 hours.
Day 1: Arrival & Cab/Car Hire (10:30 – 12:00)
Customs and baggage claim were pretty smooth in Salvador, expect about an hour and then five minutes to find a taxi/uber. You can certainly hire a car but I would stay away from hiring your car to drive yourself. Unless you’re a confident driver and are okay with other drivers ignoring red lights then go ahead. Otherwise taking a cab or uber would be best. Be sure to grab cash if you’re taking a taxi.
Arrive at Hotel & Check-in (12:00 – 13:00)
To get the most out of your short trip book your hotel in the Pelourinho district. This is a well-known tourist area. Great nightlife, beautiful architecture to view, shops, and the famous Elevador Lacerda! Alternatively, you can stay in Itapua where they have beautiful beaches, but it is a bit of a drive-in traffic every day to shops and sights.
For a small fee places in Salvador will let you check-in early, but you do need to ask ahead of time. Otherwise, you can certainly store your luggage and hit the town.
The drive from the airport to Pelourinho is about 30 minutes. The estimated Uber Fare is R$50 you can check out the estimated fare here.
Lunch & Shopping (13:00 – 16:00)
So many amazing restaurants in this historic city. I could go on with many suggestions, but I think Trip Advisor does it best. Especially since I have no idea what food you prefer. My favorite place to eat was Fogo de Chao, however, that chain is international so probably not the best suggestion.
After lunch, you have a few options for shopping. First, if it’s hot there is the reliable Salvador Shopping mall which is air-conditioned and very clean. However, that’s not why you come to Salvador, you came to support these small businesses and unique souvenir shops! If the mall isn’t your style and you’re looking for something a little bit more authentic, head over to Old Town Salvador for some independent shops.
Walk on over to Elevador Lacerada! (16:00 – 17:00)
Depending on where you ended up for lunch and shopping you can take the elevator down or up. The cost is R$0.15 and you do need to have the cash to pay for this.
At the top is a beautiful overlook of the harbor and Mercado Modelo. This is a great market for souvenir shopping with over 250 independent stalls.
Sunset & Drinks at the Beach (17:00 – 19:00)
Sunset in Salvador, depending on the time of year, is between 17:20 – 18:00. You won’t have enough time to head to the nice beach (Flamengo Beach) but that will be saved for later. You should head over to Porto da Barra Beach which is a short 12-minute drive from Elevador Lacerado.
There are a few bars along the beach. Be sure to have a Caprihina!
Dinner & Relax (19:00 – 22:00)
You can certainly hit the town for some nightlife, Salvador has plenty of clubs. I don’t do this so I have no suggestions. Otherwise, grab dinner near the beach or head back towards the hotel.
Day 2: Adventure & Beaches (07:00 – 20:00)
Assuming your flight ends up leaving tomorrow (Day 3), you have a few options for a full day in Salvador.
Option 1 – Head to Itaparica Island (08:00 – 20:00)
Spend the whole day relaxing on Itaparica Island. The ferry launches from the main terminal (Terminal Maritimo de Sao Joaquim). Departing every hour starting at 05:00 (Mon-Sat) and 06:00 (Sunday) last one leaving at 23:30 (Mon-Sun). The cost is low R$5.10 – R$6.70. This takes approximately one hour to arrive.
The island has a lovely beach, Ponta De Areia Beach, which you can spend all day relaxing at. It is a very calm tourist-friendly beach that has shallow water to swim in. There are plenty of areas to get food and drinks around this beach.
After spending time at the beach walk around the island and grab dinner at a nice restaurant before catching the ferry back.
Option 2 – Flamengo Beach (08:00 – 18:00)
I know, all day at the beach seems crazy, but trust me this is one of the nicest beaches I have ever been to. A 45-minute drive from Pelourinho. The beach does have some small natural pools to swim in and the waves are not super high.
After the beach, head back to Pelourhino for a nice dinner and don’t forget the Caprihinas, it’s your last night after all! And Don’t forget to stop and take a phot of Farol de Itapua!
Depending on the time of year and the schedule ending this night watching a football (soccer) match of the local club would be a bonus. Check out the team site here.
Final Day – Flight & One Last Adventure (08:00 – 18:00)
Your last day in Salvador, what a shame it’s already over, however, there is one thing you must do before saying goodbye. A short walk from the football stadium. You will find Salvador’s only natural water spring. The spring has 8 statues/sculptures “Orixá statues in the Dique de Tororô park” which represent important deities of a cult in “Candomblé”. This park is right next to the football stadium so if you have time you can check that out as well! Itaipava Fonte Nova Arena.
After this, I recommend heading over to Farol da Barra, which is a nice lighthouse on the peninsula of Salvador. After checking out the lighthouse head down to Praia do Farol da Barra beach. Enjoy a bite to eat and a drink before your flight leaves.
I hope this helps you plan your trip to Salvador, be sure to check out my tips and notes from my time spent in Salvador, you can read that blog post here.