Salvador da Bahia has an energy and unadorned beauty that few cities can match. Once the magnificent capital of Portugal’s great New World colony, Salvador is the country’s Afro-Brazilian jewel. Its brilliantly hued center is a living museum of 17th- and 18th-century architecture and gold-laden churches. More importantly, Salvador is the nexus of an incredible arts movement. Wild festivals happen frequently, with drum corps pounding out powerful rhythms against the backdrop of colonial buildings almost daily.