Are you going on a trip to Cape Verde? A dream getaway in the Atlantic Ocean… Discover the best places to stay in Cape Verde’s magical islands!
Situated in West Africa, off the coast of Senegal and Mauritania, Cape Verde is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago’s total area is approximately 4,000 km². Cape Verde is divided into two series of islands with 538,535 inhabitants: the islands of Sotavento in the south (Maio, Santiago, Fogo, Brava) and the islands of Barlavento in the north (Sal, Boa Vista, Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau).
This former colony of Portugal – which became independent in 1975 – is characterized by a mixture of African and European influences. Home to beautiful beaches, volcanoes, and arid landscapes, Cape Verde is known for the hospitality of its inhabitants and its semi-desert tropical climate (75°F- 90°F all year round) offering 350 days of sunshine every year. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Cesaria Evora‘s native country attracts a growing number of international travelers. The archipelago has a unique environment and wildlife, a third of its flora is endemic, native and unique to Cap Verde. Contrary to what one might think, living in Cape Verde can be expensive: due to its few primary resources, the archipelago relies heavily on imported goods.
Whether you plan to stay in the islands of Sal, Santiago, Santo Antão, Fogo, São Nicolau, São Vicente or Boa Vista, you will find yourself in arid and lunar landscapes which are unique in the world, heavenly beaches, and breathtaking mountainous scenery. If you are wondering where to stay in Cape Verde, here’s our selection of the best places to stay in Cape Verde’s islands.
With an area of 991 km², Santiago is the largest of the Cape Verdean islands, located between Maio and Fogo. Home to Cape Verde’s capital city, Praia, Santiago island is the economic center of the country. With 273,919 inhabitants, Santiago is home to half of the archipelago’s population, including 127,832 inhabitants in Praia alone. Discovered in 1460 by a navigator named António da Noli, Santiago is sometimes neglected by the public. After visiting the capital, Praia, explore the center of the island, perched on a rocky plateau called Platô.
The liveliness you’ll come across in the streets of Praia differs from the tranquility that characterizes the rest of the island. The fishing port and local markets offer a picturesque and authentic atmosphere, free from mass tourism. Delicious grilled fish will be on your daily menu! In Santiago, take the opportunity to rent a scooter to explore the island and rent a room to stay in Praia for the evening.
The second westernmost island in the archipelago, Fogo is home to the only remaining active volcano in the country: Pico do Fogo. The large crater of Cha des Caldeiras, which rises to an altitude of 2,000 meters, offers beautiful hikes in a lunar setting. Pico do Fogo is Cape Verde’s highest summit, peaking at 2,829 meters: enjoy a magnificent panorama in clear weather! To find accommodation in Fogo, target the municipalities of São Filipe, Curral Grande, São Jorge or São Lourenço.
The second largest island in Cape Verde, São Vicente concentrates most of the archipelago’s social activity and is one of Cape Verde’s most popular islands. Home to 93% of the entire island’s population, Mindelo is known for its colorful and animated carnival celebrations, with roots in Portuguese traditions. The streets of Mindelo are packed with bars and nightclubs. Many shops are housed in former colonial buildings, exuding a picturesque charm. Don’t miss the National Crafts Centre, and of course, Mindelo, a city prized by artists. A lively place to stay in Cape Verde.
Santo Antão is the only Cape Verdean island offering green, mountainous landscapes. Santo Antão’s hillsides are covered in terraced fields for local agriculture. This island is an excellent place to stay in Cape Verde, especially if you are a hiking enthusiast. The island of Santo Antão is considered by locals to be Cape Verde’s breadbasket: the island derives its main resources from agriculture.
Sal is in many ways Cape Verde’s most attractive island, particularly favored for its flat and arid landscape. Offering unique contrasts between the black volcanic rocky scenery and the turquoise waters of the paradisiacal beaches, the island is definitely worth a visit. There are only four towns and villages to stay in Sal: Espargos, Santa Maria, Murdeira and Palmeira. Enjoy Sal’s pristine beaches, experience floating in a salt lake, learn to kite surf, and dive in Murdeira Bay.
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