A welcoming beach, where everything is celebrated in connection with nature
The sea breeze blows gently and makes the waves approach the sand in a more smooth way. The warm water is an invitation to an energizing dip in the sea. And the sun? Ah, this one doesn’t stop shining in the nearly 600 meters of sand strip of Porto da Barra, which is one of the most famous and cozy beaches in Salvador. If you have ever been there, you are certainly missing it just by reading this text.
We are in social isolation, we can only live in remembrance and plan the day when we will return there to ease this nostalgia called Porto da Barra.
From sunrise to sunset, Porto da Barra is a welcoming place, where everything is celebrated in connection with nature. The sun is so welcome on this beach that, when it goes down, there is always a round of applause, and the king star says goodbye, with the Bay of All Saints as a backdrop. This is one of the most beautiful moments of the day, especially for the orange tone that is above the waters. This beach is one of the few places in Brazil where the sunset happens over the sea. It’s a scene to remember (and also to make that photo to post on social networks).
A more than special place
If you like to dive in the sea, you need to take a long bath in the waters of Porto da Barra. They have no proven medicinal effect, but they are certainly great for the soul and heart. It is a unique sea bath in the whole world!
Porto da Barra is a special place. It is a Babel of languages. Preferred by Bahians and tourists of various nationalities who arrive in Salvador, it is the most democratic sand spot in the city. There, you meet people of all faiths, genders and backgrounds. Bahians and tourists settle down in its natural beauty. And, not infrequently, you still run into artists and celebrities. From Caetano Veloso to Maria Gadu, there is no one who misses a day in Porto.
Porto is more than a beach. It is a paradise that brings together a series of attractions for you to have fun inside and outside the sea. When all this is over, save some days to connect with the Porto da Barra energy.
A little history about Porto
This beach is a symbol of the Bahian capital. It was by the warm waters of Porto da Barra that the Portuguese Thomé de Souza, in 1549, arrived to officially found Salvador. He couldn’t have chosen a better place.
On the beach, there is even a monument in the shape of a cross, indicating the place where the first governor-general of Brazil landed. At the end of the sidewalk, there is a balustrade from where it is possible to see part of Ilha de Itaparica while cooling off with iced coconut water. You miss it, don’t you? But calm your heart down, because once everything is over, you have a list of cool things to do in Porto and the surrounding area.
To experience and take good photos
Porto da Barra and its surroundings are plural. Each space has a history and an invitation to contemplation
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to immortalize moments is by taking pictures. Check out the best things you can do there. Do you think our nostalgic list matches yours?
1. Porto da Barra trampoline, which is embraced by the sea, is one of the most beautiful spaces for contemplating the beach. At high tide, people make several jumps that attract the attention of many photographers. Have you ever jumped from there? You will love it!
2. You need to dive in Porto da Barra at least twice. The first time, connect completely with the sea. Enjoy every second of your contact with the warm and calm waters. Then, grab your cell phone (use the protective cover if it’s not waterproof) and take a super photo. It is worth keeping this record.
3. In addition to Porto, there are other cool places for a swim and good images. If at low tide, prefer the natural pools that are formed close to the Farol da Barra itself. If at high tide – and especially if you enjoy surfing – head towards Morro do Cristo and stay on the “Barravento” strip.
4. Take a bicycle in Porto da Barra and make your way to Cristo pedaling. Along the way, you can take great pictures.
5. Farol da Barra is a mandatory stop to take good photos. From each of the four sides of the fortification you will have good images to remember. Be sure to come in, it will be a pleasant surprise. From the highest point of the Lighthouse you will have a stunning view of the sea.
6. In the Fort Santa Maria, there is the Espaço Pierre Verger da Fotografia Baiana (Pierre Verger Space of Bahian Photography). On the other side, in Forte São Diogo, there is the Espaço Carybé. You will get to know Salvador through the works of these tourists (Verger, French and Carybé, Argentine) who, through their art, portrayed the culture of Bahia so well.
7. Cristo da Barra is a beautiful place for you to contemplate the beauty of the Bahian capital and also enjoy contact with nature. From the top of the sculpture, in addition to the beautiful view, you can feel the sea breeze with a different intensity. On the lawn, people practice slackline, stretch and relax.
8. Go on the zipline – for this photo, you will need someone’s help. Try to go later in the afternoon. With the less intense sun you can enjoy the view better.
9. Book a happy hour in one of the bars of Barra seafront, preferably one that serves typical Bahian food, so that the experience is complete.
10. The sunset in Barra deserves to be seen from several places and, in each one, you will have a stunning view. In Porto, it is unique. In addition to the beauty, there is a contagious energy in the place, as people greet with applause the farewell of the king star. From the Lighthouse, both at the back and on the lawn, you can also see a beautiful sunset, as well as at the top of Morro do Cristo. In other words: the late afternoon can be admired from different places and on different days.
Longing to exercise outdoors
In addition to bathing in the sea, Porto da Barra beach is a great place to practice many types of physical exercise at different times. The beach is within the All Saints Bay, which is the largest tropical bay in the world and the second in extension of the two hemispheres, with waters that are always warm, shallow and calm. These conditions provide several water sports practices.
We have prepared some itineraries for sportsmen on duty:
The beach also hosts swimming lessons, functional gym training, rowing, kayaking, Hawaiian canoe, volleyball and stand up paddle
By diving, you can get to know Salvador from a different perspective. The crystal clear waters of Porto da Barra are an invitation to practice diving.
Another activity that can start – or end – in Porto is the bicycle tour. On weekends, when traffic is closed to cars, a good idea is to take the bike and cycle between Morro do Cristo and Porto da Barra. In the end, a dip in the sea is the best gift to end the day and recharge your batteries for the new week.
Don’t you have a bike? No worries. You can use the bikes from the “Salvador Vai de Bike” project. There are also skate and skateboard rentals at Farol da Barra – you can mix sport and leisure with a stunning view of the sea.
If you enjoy surfing, Barra can also be a good option to practice this sport. See the tips from the World Surfing Champion, Armando Daltro at this link
Ah! How we miss Barra’s sidewalk!
To eat well …
Remember how good it is to spend the day sitting on the sand of Porto da Barra beach, where the only doubt is what to eat? We forget about the diet and get carried away by the great flavors of Bahia, without getting up from the beach chair. Throughout this sand strip, from Porto to Cristo, there are umbrella and chair rental services. What else do we need, right?
…on the beach
Baianas de acarajé prepare delicacies in mini-dumplings format served with vatapá, dried shrimp and salad. They can be served on plates and are great for sharing. A very cold beer is a good accompaniment.
Shrimp with garlic and oil, small pies, sururu broths and the famous grilled curdled cheese complete the gastronomic sand tour, sold by licensed street vendors. The green coconut water – cold – is a good option to drink while you enjoy the view.
… after beach
After a good swim in the sea, just off the beach, there is a set of snack bars and restaurants selling typical Bahian dishes, snacks and also ice cream.
For those who like açaí after the beach or after physical activity, the Sorveteria Doce Gelato (in front of the Santa Maria Fort) has one of the most delicious in the region. They have chairs on the sidewalk that are great for watching the sunset while tasting an açaí.
On the street behind Porto da Barra, Barão de Sergy, 37, there is a place that deserves your visit: Belle’s. Despite being famous for sweet cakes, they make one of the best savory pies with shrimp in Salvador. They are (huge) prawns accompanied with a cream cheese, wrapped in a crunchy batter.
… very hungry
If you are a hamburger fan, a good choice is Bravo Burger, which has a cozy space and tasty meat burgers. For vegans, a place worth visiting is B-Vegan Gastronomy (Rua Dias D’Ávila, 109) which has great options. A special highlight for the chickpea hamburger and the fries with sweet paprika. Also try falafel and natural juices.
The recently opened Berro D’Água Bar and restaurant is another good option for a happy hour with friends. The place was a meeting point for artists from the 70s and, in 2020, reopened its doors. The bar and restaurant brings together art, music and gastronomy in Porto da Barra. Be sure to try the Filet ao Berro D’Água, accompanied by potato au gratin.
Dona Xícara Café (R. Afonso Célso, 330) is another place in Barra that has tasty food with homemade food flavor. The traditional egg cupcakes are a temptation with a thin layer of sugar on top. It’s divine! They serve lunch too.
… with friends
To gather friends, along Barra’s seafront, there are bars overlooking the sea. They are great places to eat arrumadinho de carne do sol (a dish with sun-dried meat, beans, farofa and vinaigrette), shrimp moqueca and also crab, accompanied by a cold beer. The moqueca from Caranguejo do Farol (Avenida Oceânica, 235) is one of the best in Barra.
Inside Farol da Barra, one of the most beautiful architectural heritage of the city, Farol Café & Wine Bar is a place to taste many delights. On the menu, there are foods such as quiches, saltenhas, pies and the part of coffee with cakes and brigadeiros. The wine list is an attraction itself and has options for every type of climate. There are also cold plates that can be made by the customers themselves, by choosing from the diversity of cheeses.
In Porto, the Bistrô Mirante do Forte São Diogo is inside the structure of São Diogo Fort. It is an excellent place to meet with friends to have drinks and watch the sunset. The cod sandwich is one of the bistro’s specialties.
For lunch, dinner or happy hours, Pereira Restaurant is an excellent option for you to try contemporary cuisine. Because the space is so charming – and because of the privileged view to the sea – they also host wedding receptions.
By Jorge Gauthier
Porto da Barra. Salvador Bahia. Foto Tercio Campelo.