Trancoso is a small town located in the carefree state of Bahia, Brasil. Known for its hippie vibe and laid-back charm, tourism has transformed this once quiet fishing village into a popular holiday destination for all kinds of travellers, particulary those with fame and deep pockets. If you explore a little further you will discover that behind the expensive exterior there is something for everyone from the barefoot nomads selling handmade jewellery, the locals selling tapioca on the side of the street to the pop up trucks pumping music and making caipirinhas.
The most famous part of Trancoso is Quadrado, an open grassy field that ends with a steep cliff overlooking the beach. The rectangular space (not square as the name suggests) is lined with colourful buildings that are home to restaurants, boutiques and private accommodations. The most iconic is a sixteenth-century Catholic Church, São João Batista which is one of the oldest ‘Igrejas’ in Brazil.
Although beautiful in the day, the best time to appreciate its charm is in the evening. After the sun goes down, the huge trees come to life with bright lanterns and fairy lights, and the rainbow of surrounding buildings become enhanced with soft shades of light. Everywhere you turn is aesthetically pleasing. As you walk under a sky full of stars, your only worry is deciding where to eat.
Local delicacies, endless glasses of vinho tinto and wooden tables under the lit up trees make the most perfect setting to wine and dine.
Where To Eat:
Restaurante Vitória became my favourite restaurant due to its comfy chairs under the trees, great live music and delicious food. There is often a fantastic local band playing the guitar and singing different types of music such as Forró (pronounced fo-ho) and arrocha (a-ho-sha). One of the songs I heard a few times soon became my theme for my time in Bahia as I couldn’t get it out of my head.
Polvo ao Vinho: Fresh, local octopus cooked in a white wine sauce and served with warm, home-made bread. 1 serving is great to share between 2 people, which is enough to leave you content yet open to the option to try another dish too. Spoon some pimenta on top for an extra kick of flavour.
Vinho: There is a great selection of local wine from Brazil and its neighbouring countries of Argentina and Chile.
When to Visit: Any time of the year is appropriate due to the warm climate of Bahia. Dining here in April meant I never had to reserve a table. However, in November around summer it was a necessity with the huge amount of tourists, unless you wanted to wait for 30 minutes. There are great parties in the summer both in town and on the beachfront, meaning December and January are the most popular months if you are wanting to enjoy the impressive social scene and party to the music of famous Djs.
Trancoso is like no other place I have experienced. If you are going to Brazil I would make it a must-see to soak up the relaxed lifestyle of this quaint little town.