WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Santiago is the largest island of Cape Verde, the first to be discovered and where today inhabits approximately half the population of the country. A mosaic made of Cape Verdeans from all the islands and emigrants from Europe, Asia and Africa make the island, and especially its capital Praia, a cosmopolitan territory, fertile in cultures, habits and traditions.
The island is served by an international airport – Nelson Mandela – which links it to Europe, America, continental Africa and all the islands of the archipelago. There is also an international port, which receives cruises and from which ships leave to the islands.
Santiago is a must-visit for anyone who wants to know the essence of Cape Verde. An island in constant pulsar, with its traditional markets, its history, breathtaking landscapes and a capital with activities throughout the year.
It is also here that Cidade Velha is located, Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, the first city built by Europeans in the South of the Sahara and that assumed the functions of capital of the country until 1770.
To know Santiago is also to venture into nature in its purest form. Walk along the rails of Serra Malagueta or climb the green village of Rui Vaz and be dazzled by the landscape. The island has an extensive coastal area, with slopes that bend over the sea providing breathtaking views.
And, why not finish the trip with an invigorating dip in one of the beaches of the island? Tarrafal, on the northern tip, beach area par excellence, has opened arms to welcome the bathers who visit Santiago.
WHERE TO STAY
Santiago has a wide range of hotels, guesthouses and boarding-houses. The main hotel units are concentrated in Praia, with diversified and suitable accommodations offers for short and long duration, business or pleasure. Inside the island you can find small charming accommodations that offer visitors different experiences and take advantage of local potential.
WHERE TO EAT
There are no limits to the taste of those who visit Santiago! The restoration of the largest and most cosmopolitan island of the archipelago has adapted to its population and offers an endless choice of restaurants. The traditional dishes are cachupa, cuscus, fish, and the seafood, obligatory in the Creole menus, but the visitor finds several other proposals of international cuisine or fusion.
WHERE TO BUY
Santiago offers several places to buy the traditional travel “souvenirs”. The handicraft of the island is rich and has the advantage of being able to be acquired directly from the producers. In the counties of São Miguel, Assomada and Santa Cruz, there are workshops of several artisans who dedicate themselves to weaving, basketwork, and costume jewelery. Tarrafal has a strong tradition in ceramics that can be bought at the Trás dos Montes cooperative. In Rui Vaz there is traditional goat cheese produced in the region. There is also a vast offer of handmade sweets and liquors that can be bought in the island’s markets.
Between the city, the countryside and the sea
Santiago is mixxed! Mix of people, environments, experiences.
One island and so much to explore. From the urban zone to the countryside, passing through the beaches or the built heritage, the slogan is diversity. In Praia, the capital of the country, tradition and modernity merge into a city where the architecture of the colonial period coexists with new buildings of modernist style. Plateau is a historic area par excellence. The city was born here more than 400 years ago and the heart of Praia is still located here today. In Plateau you will find the traditional market, a pedestrian street populated with bars, terraces, restaurants, handicraft shops; the mother church, the ethnographic museum, the central square and several other attractions.
NOT TO MISS
Pedestrian Street of Plateau – Praia, Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça – Praia, Maria Pia Beach – Praia, Art Street – Praia, Archaeological Museum – Praia, Cathedral – Cidade Velha, Royal Fort of S. Filipe – Cidade Velha, Calheta Bay of S. Martinho, Artistic Village of Porto Madeira – Santa Cruz, Community of the Rabelados of Espinho Branco – Tarrafal, Municipal Market of Assomada – Santa Catarina, Praia do Mangui – Tarrafal.