Swim in refreshing water, visit an historic lighthouse, try water sports and admire the magnificent sunsets at this popular urban beach.
Take a break from the sights of Salvador’s Historic Center and spend a day at Farol da Barra Beach (Praia do Farol da Barra). This central beach is a seaside destination loved by both locals and tourists. Swim in the warm water, top up your tan, surf in the gentle waves and enjoy scenic coastal walks. Farol da Barra Beach takes its name from the lighthouse (farol) that sits atop a headland.
The beach is about a 0.6-mile (1-kilometer) stretch of golden sand that looks out over the Atlantic Ocean. Find areas with sun umbrellas and loungers available for rent. Alternatively, seek out an empty space and lay a towel down on the soft sand. The water is shallow and mild year-round, thus perfect for taking a refreshing dip. Splash around in the rock pools or rent a surfboard and ride the rolling waves, which break at the bay’s eastern edge.
Perched on a headland at the beach’s western tip is the 19th-century Farol da Barra, a lighthouse that protects ships entering the Bay of All Saints. It rises above Santo Antônio da Barra Fort, built in 1536. Inside the fort, the Nautical Museum of Bahia has displays of old maps, navigational equipment and Portuguese seafaring history.
At the opposite end of the beach is Morro do Cristo, a hill crowned by a statue of Jesus Christ. Both the hill and lighthouse are superb vantage points for watching the sun go down.
Go for a walk along the beach’s promenade and stop for a caipirinha, coffee or cold beer in one of the bars. Street lights illuminate the area after sunset and make it lively until the early hours. The promenade continues around the coastline to Porto da Barra Beach, another fashionable city beach.
Located in the Barra neighborhood, the beach is a 20-minute drive from Pelourinho. Public buses travel regularly from Praça da Sé. Parking is available, for a fee, on the streets behind the beach.
Farol da Barra Beach is known to experience petty crime so don’t leave your personal possessions unattended. Return to your hotel by taxi if you choose to stick around late at night.