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Islands In Cape Verde & Places To Visit In Cape Verde

Story Highlights

  • Islands In Cape Verde
  • Santiago
  • Boa Vista
  • Fogo
  • Sal Island

Cape Verde is an island country in the central Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago was uninhabited until the 15th century, when Portuguese explorers discovered and colonized the islands, establishing the first European settlement in the tropics. There are various Places To Visit In Cape Verde, the archipelago of Cape Verde is made up of 10 islands and several islets, divided into two groups:

  • Barlavento (windward) islands
  • Sotavento (leeward) islands

The islands in the Barlavento group are Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista. The islands in the Sotavento group are Maio, Santiago, Fogo, and Brava. All but Santa Luzia are inhabited.

Islands In Cape Verde

Santo Antão :

Santo Antão is one of the Islands In Cape Verde and home to some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll see anywhere on earth and it’s still one of the places to visit in cape verde that feels relatively untouched.

Islands In Cape Verde & Places To Visit In Cape Verde

An island where towering green peaks and fertile craters meet cliff-hanging towns, Santo Antão offers a new adventure at every twist and turn. An island that seems worlds away from the golden sands of Sal or Boa Vista, Santo Antão offers holiday-makers the opportunity to embark on hiking and sightseeing explorations, in a place relatively untouched by tourism.

Imagine breathtaking panoramas and deep ribeiras set against a bright blue sky – welcome to Santo Antão.

For those who prefer the less energetic option, you can still appreciate the stunning views with spectacular drives along coastal roads which provide access to the ravines and gorges that nurture the most impressive lush vegetation.

Islands In Cape Verde & Places To Visit In Cape Verde

Landscapes quickly change from being bare and arid to mountains which, as the road meanders exposes breathtaking views of verdant valleys at every turn with villages appearing either deep below or high into the distance.

São Nicolau :

São Nicolau is one of the Islands In Cape Verde. It is a quiet, tranquil island that remains relatively untouched. The island boasts some spectacular scenery, combining fertile hinterlands and dramatic mountainscapes.

Islands In Cape Verde & Places To Visit In Cape Verde

São Nicolau is a stunning, unspoilt island whose barren ranges boast some of the most spectacular scenery in the archipelago.

It is this tranquil atmosphere and the splendour of the landscapes that draw holiday-makers to São Nicolau, offering an escape into a sedate environment, yet always promising adventure in the shape of mountain walks or horse-riding trails. Beyond nature, the island’s capital, Ribeira Brava, is a colourful colonial town home to striking architecture and beautiful gardens which make it one of the top places to visit in cape verde.

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The smallest inhabited island in the archipelago, Brava is one the Islands In Cape Verde and it is quietly charming and known for its dramatic cliffs and heady mix of unique flora and fauna.

Brava is one of the places to visit in cape verde, it is looked upon as the secret island with towering lava cliffs that drop down into the sea and hiding the fertile hinterland that lay beyond.

Islands In Cape Verde & Places To Visit In Cape Verde

This tiny island, known for its rich assortment of flora and fauna is often referred to as the ‘island of flowers’. Brava is the smallest inhabited island in the archipelago and the southern most point in Cape Verde. Boasting deep gorges and dramatic peaks Brava is one of the archipelagos’ most mountainous islands.

Much of the coastline of Brava is dramatic cliffs and is thought to have once been part of Fogo which lies 20km away. The depth of the sea in the channel that separates them is only a few hundred metres deep.

Brava offers visitors rewarding walks through its beautiful landscapes. Walk up the Pico of Fontainhas, Brava’s highest mountain peak for some impressive panoramic views of the island, or visit Faja d’Agua, the greenest area of the island and one of the most beautiful bays in Cape Verde.

Brava is a place to visit for relaxation, to enjoy long walks and to marvel at the scenery.

Santa Luzia:

Santa Luzia is one of the Islands In Cape Verde. It is the smallest of the islands in Cape Verde, and the only one which is uninhabited.

The island was uninhabited until the 17th century from which point it was used for raising livestock. This continued up until the 1960s when there was a small community living on the island, however by the 1990s the island was once again uninhabited.

The only way to reach the island is from Calhau, on the east coast of São Vicente, where it is possible to charter a fishing boat for the day to take you to Santa Luzia. The crossing is approximately two hours in each direction.


Vila do Maio is one of the Islands In Cape Verde. It is a mix of Portuguese and British colonial style buildings that spread up a small steep hill to a huge Baroque church. To the north of Maio you will find a magnificent 5km lagoon surrounded by lush vegetation.

Islands In Cape Verde & Places To Visit In Cape Verde

Located 25 km to the east of Santiago, Maio is one of the places to visit in cape verde. The spectacular unspoilt beaches of Maio and terrain is similar to that found on Boa Vista and Sal although parts of the island have been heavily re-forested.

With a population of just 4,000 and untouched by tourism, the small island of Maio is a great place to escape, relax and take in the scenic landscapes, lonely beaches and mature forests that only Maio can offer.

Summer visitors may see some turtles on Maio’s beaches and there are some interesting birds on the island, in particular rare sea birds in the north of the island. Despite its isolation Maio is a beautiful island to visit and the perfect place to enjoy long uninterrupted walks along the deserted beaches and salt pans.

Sal Island

Sal is one of the Islands In Cape Verde. It is the archipelago’s most popular island for holidaymakers, and it’s no surprise why it is one of the top places to visit in cape verde. With golden sandy beaches sinking into azure waters, windows into the island’s past and some truly spectacular natural phenomena to admire, Sal successfully caters for many kinds of holidaymaker.

Islands In Cape Verde & Places To Visit In Cape Verde

Sal’s capital, Espargos, can be found in the centre of the island, but you’ll find the main resort area along the south of the island in Santa Maria. Here, you’ll find an endless expanse of golden beach which follows the coast all along the bay and around towards the western side of the island.

As the main resort, Santa Maria is where you’ll find all our hotels on Sal, and each is within a 20-minute walk of the variety of shops, restaurants and bars that also reside there.

Islands In Cape Verde & Places To Visit In Cape Verde

Not only does Sal Island cater for serious beach goers, but also those in search of something a little more unique. There’s lots of history to absorb in the form of the island’s once booming salt trade (from which the island takes its name), and heading inland will uncover a vast, barren landscape with exceptional features, poles apart from the sandy paradise at Santa Maria. Our variety of excursions will help you to discover as much or as little of the island as you please, but one thing’s guaranteed, a holiday on Sal will be a memorable one.

Boa Vista

Boa Vista is one of the Islands In Cape Verde. It is the perfect destination for a rejuvenating holiday. The island is home to some of the archipelago’s most beautiful and rewarding beaches, with the sands here stretching for 55km. On the beaches and the waters that surround them, holiday-makers can choose to either relax in the gorgeous sunshine, or alternatively get active across a range of water sports.

The same can be said for the great range of accommodation in Boa Vista, offering the temptation to recharge by the pool one day, and the chance to get involved in numerous activities the next.

Away from the coast, the interior of the island presents a luna-like landscape, home to desert and barren rock-filled vistas, dotted with date trees and the occasional ruins of an abandoned village or building. You’ll find the main town of the island, Sal Rei, in the north-west, a location gradually becoming home to more restaurants and bars, as well as showcasing some intriguing architectural landmarks. Boa vista is beautiful and one of the top places to visit in cape verde.

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Santiago is one of the Islands In Cape Verde. It is the largest island in the archipelago and the first to be populated, Santiago is rich in history and culture and known for its lively nightlife. The various mountainous peaks of the island reflect its volcanic origin.

Santiago is home to Cape Verde’s capital, Praia,  while also functioning as the main hub for inter-island transport across the country.

Santiago is one of the top places to visit in cape verde which offers green valleys and plush plantations meet rugged mountains and bustling African towns, offering visitors yet another side to Cape Verde’s impressive diversity.


Located in the south-west of the archipelago and famed for its dramatic and picturesque volcanic scenes, Fogo is one of the Islands In Cape Verde and it is a true highlight of any holiday to Cape Verde.

Thousands of years ago, Fogo rose from the sea in a volcanic eruption; a fitting introduction to an island that is renowned for its fiery activity, with its striking volcano, Pico do Fogo, standing at 2,829m and dominating the island’s landscape. Plus, since 1785, many smaller eruptions have taken place inside the crater, which now stretches a massive 7km wide and 10km long.

Beyond the volcano, you’ll find places to visit in cape verde Fogo, from its tasty local coffee and iconic wine, to its pretty Portuguese squares and fantastic trekking opportunities.

São Vicente:

São Vicente is one of the Islands In Cape Verde. It is home to Mindelo, the cultural capital of the islands and where you’ll hear music all day long and be able to explore the city’s fine architecture.

São Vicente is home to some of Cape Verde’s greatest musicians, writers and thinkers.

Considered to be the cultural hub of the island, São Vicente’s capital, Mindelo, is proud of its rich tradition of music and art and has a vibrant nightlife, with a lively buzz of music throughout the pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. If you’re looking for culture, a traditional experience & one of the top places to visit in cape verde then São Vicente will not disappoint.

Mindelo is a vibrant musical town where you can soak up the very best of Cape Verdean culture. By day, head down to Laginha Beach, where there’s a bay of white sand and a great beach bar, Kalimba. By night, with live music taking place most evenings across the variety of bars and restaurants, you won’t struggle to find several places to grab some tasty food and listen to the talented musicians. Casa Café Mindelo is one of our favourites, and be sure to taste the grogue, the local beverage, which comes in a variety of different flavours.

Apart from Laginha Beach in Mindelo, most of the other beaches on São Vicente are a real treat for windsurfers (best conditions Nov-Apr). São Pedro is arguably one of the world’s finest for speed windsurfing. In fact, in 1997 Sandy Beach at Calhau was included in the European professional circuit. Baia das Gatas in the north of the island which can be reached by four-wheel drive is great for swimming because of the natural lagoon. Many visitors to São Vicente choose to visit Santo Antão, the greenest island in the archipelago. An hour-long ferry crossing will take you to this beautiful island with rugged mountains and green valleys, a popular choice for hikers and a recommended highlight of any stay.

There is a golf course on the island of São Vicente, which is a simple dry course therefore not for a serious golfer!


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