Trancoso: A pocket guide
Trancoso, a former fishing village founded by the Jesuits in 1586, is the ideal holiday destination for those looking to fly and flop. A thousand kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro in the state of Bahia, it is 40 years behind the times in terms of development and runs on its very own clock. Pistachio-colored buildings line lazy streets where white donkeys wander and shops open at 3 p.m. because mornings are spent at the beach. Often likened to St-Tropez in the 1950s, Trancoso is a place where celebrities and business tycoons come to mix with ordinary people. The tiny sixteenth-century church is one of the oldest in Brazil.
From December through to the New Year, the sleepy, shabby-chic village becomes a holiday spot for those in search of winter sun and boutique shopping. In the center of the village is the Quadrado, a rectangular patch of green overlooking the sea. Locals and tourists gather here to play football and discuss the day once the sun has gone down and the evening brings with it a cooling breeze.
The beaches of Trancoso are protected by the reefs and form safe swimming pools at low tide, ideal for families. Those with amenities are a short walk from the center of the village—the farther you go, the fewer people you’ll find. Praia dos Nativos, Praia dos Coqueiros, and Praia do Espelho have become more populated in recent years as a result of development in the hotel industry. Open-air bars, restaurants, exquisite boutiques, and candlight social evenings draw a well-financed flock of tourists.