The Cape Verde islands are extreme divers and these differ significantly from one island to another. When booking a holiday you mainly would like to know which islands offers you the best activities. For example, on which island you can find the best beaches? Or which are the best islands to enjoy the beautiful nature? On this page you will find a short description per island and an overview of the most important activities per island you can do. The comparison helps you to plan the best holiday.
Island features and activities
The island with the most tourist facilities, mainly in and around the beach town Santa Maria. Sal is an ideal island to relax. It has superb water sports possibilities and white sandy beaches. During the season there are also turtles on Sal. The landscape of Sal is flat and barren.
This is an great island for (kite-) surfing, other water sports, beaches and relaxing. Boavista has many beautiful white sandy beaches, sand dunes and also small oases. The white sand is coming from the Sahara in Africa. The landscape is flat with desert influences. Boavista is a good place to spot turtles and you also have a great chance that you can watch whales as well.
Mindelo is the capital of Sao Vicente and also the culture capital of Cape Verde. This means, a lot of art, music and nightlife. The waters around Sao Vicente are famous for the blue marlin (fish). The landscape of Sao Vicente is barren with brown-red mountains and valleys. In the southwest and east of the island you have beautiful beaches with white sand coming from the Sahara.
Cape Verde’s largest and most versatile island. Santiago is the most ‘African’ of all islands and in the capital Santiago you will find a large amount of nice restaurants and live music. Historic highlights can be found here. For example, the ancient city of Cidade Velha an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island is also very mountainous which is ideal for nature lovers and hikers. The number of beaches in Santiago is limited.
On this island you will find the active volcano Fogo. You can hike / climb to the top of the vulcano. High-quality wine and coffee are produced on Fogo. The islands is attractive for stunning volcana hikes. Moreover, there are some historical sights and you have the sobrado architecture (from the Portuguese colony).
Do not forget you hiking shoes if you visit Santo Antao. This is the paradise for hikers with beautiful trails through the stunning mountains and green valleys. You will find here unspoiled nature, high mountains, impressive cliffs and fairytale-like villages like Fontainhas. The number of adventure sports and luxury resort hotels is limited. Santo Antao can be reached by ferry from Sao Vicente.
On Maio you can find peace and beautiful unspoiled nature. Maio is even a home for some endangered animals like the turle. The landscape is flat, deserted and barren with some beautiful sand dunes. You have great white sandy beaches and only a limited number of hotels. Maio is an island where you can discover deserted beaches, relax and enjoy of the silence.
This island is also called the little sister of Santo Antao. Due to the spectacular mountains, Sao Nicolau is especially suitable for hikers and nature lovers. In the southwest of the island you have kilometers of long sandy beaches. The beaches on Sao Nicolau have both white and black sand. However, water sports opportunities are limited.
In winter Brava is a green oasis with many flowers. Combined with the tranquility, pristine nature and mountains, Brava is a hiking paradise. Brava is the smallest island of Cape Verde and it is only possible to reach the island per ferry.
- Hikers: go to Santo Antao for at least three days or more for breathtaking views and Fogo (two or three days) to climb the impressive volcano and to enjoy the area. Also wonderful for hiking are Brava and Sao Nicolau. Moreover, in the midlands of Santiago you also can find some really great hiking trails.
- Watersports: stay on Sal or Boavista, you have got great conditions and possibilities. Boavista is some quiet and have some less facilities.
- All-rounders (general): go to one of the flat islands (Sal, Boavista, Maio), choose Fogo and Santo Antao to enjoy the beauty of the impressive scenery. Go to Mindelo (Santo Antao) and Praia (Santiago) to experience the city life.