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The versatile African island

Indulge yourself in the Cape Verdean culture on Santiago, the most African island of the archipelago. Face unspoiled natural parks, rocky coastlines, scenic mountain roads and African markets. Relax on the coconut-bounty beach Tarrafal and learn about the colonial past in Cidade Velha. Santiago island has all elements for a versatile holiday!



Praia is the capital and the most populated city of the country with 200.000 inhabitants. 

It’s a vibrant city with a mix of modern and historic architecture, as well as bustling markets,  restaurants, and cultural institutions. Some of the popular attractions in Praia include the Presidential Palace, the Praia Archaeology Museum, and the Municipal Market all located in the historical centre ‘Plateau’.

The untouched interior

The interior of the island is dominated by mountains, with the highest peak being Pico da Antónia, which stands at 1,392 meters. The mountainous terrain is ideal for hiking, with several trails winding through the countryside and offering stunning views of the island.

Serra Malagueta national park and the Gon-Gon valley offer great adventures for nature- and bird lovers.



Santiago has a volcanic origin like all the other Cape Verdean islands but is the most diverse one in terms of its landscape. The coastline is marked by sandy beaches, remote bays and wild ocean waters. The inlands are known for its mighty mountain roads and dry lands, but also for the fertile agriculture valleys. The landscape is dominated by 2 mountain ranges: the volcanic area of Pico d'Antonio around Assomada and Serra de Malagueta up North. Both areas are great for exploring the off-the beaten tracks. The whole island colors beautifully green in the period after the rain season in summer months and is a real delight to visit. 


Natural sweet water sources in the interior

Highlights of Santiago

  • Praia: feel the bustling activities in the capital city and explore the local lifestyle of the merchandisers. Best visited during a guided city tour of Praia. 

  • Quebra Canela beach: the hotspot in Praia for a fun day out by the beach and a meal in a beach club.

  • Tarrafal: the most beautiful beach on the island to drink from a coconut under a palmtree. Definitely recommended staying in one of the guesthouses in town when visiting Santiago. 

  • Assomada: this city is an important commercial area and a great place to immerse yourself in the African culture. Its famous market on Wednesday and Saturday has all local produce of fruits, vegetables and is great for souvenir shopping. 

  • Cidade Velha: the first settlement on the Cape Verdean islands was founded in the then very green valley around town. A place to learn about the slave trade in Africa, with well preserved colonial buildings and an authentic street: Rua de Banana.

  • Pico d'Antonio: the highest mountain peak on the island can be reached by an impressive hike all the way up to 1.392 meters. 

  • Park Poilão: visit the immense Baobab tree that is said that to be planted by Senegalese fishermen 500 years ago. The tree rises up to 40 meters.

  • Ribeira da Prata: a hotspot for refreshment in summer months by the natural pools between grey volcanic rocks.

  • Serra Malagueta: the most known area for hiking on Santiago is this natural park with stunning landscapes from coastlines to tropical valleys. The park is well looked after as it's an important ecological system for the island. 

  • Principal: this valley down Serra Malagueta is one of the most beautiful tracks you can follow. Follow the paths between plantations and end by the sweet water lakes by Barragem.

Where to stay

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