A melting pot of European, African and indigenous cultures, the town of Salvador de Bahia was the first colonial capital of Brazil and is renowned for its impressive Portuguese architecture. Renaissance, 16th- Century baroque palaces and colonial buildings with vibrant colourful façades line the streets of Brazil’s ‘Capital of Happiness’ and the annual carnival is perhaps second only to its more famous brother festival in Rio. Salvador also acts as gateway to the beaches of Praia do Forte which are just a 1½-hour drive away.
One of Brazil’s pre-eminent beach resorts, Praia do Forte has become synonymous with postcard paradise views and luxury beach resorts. Accessibility from Salvador makes the resort attractive as an easy extension to a South American adventure, but also as a destination in its own right. Developed with an ecological sensitivity, the village centre maintains a sleepy yet touristy feel, but the real attraction is the miles of white-sand beaches.
Trancoso sits on the stunning ‘Discovery Coast’ of Bahia, 430 miles to the south of Salvador. It is renowned for its tranquil, powdery beaches, some near-deserted while others offer a smattering of relaxed beach bars and guest houses. The town itself is centred around of the attractive ‘Quadrado’ – a square ringed by colourful houses and a 16th Century church, whilst the nearby Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves are amongst the world’s most bio-diverse, earning them UNESCO protected status.