The cultural hub of Cape Verde
Welcome to the musical island of Cape Verde. São Vicente is the cultural centre of the country and home to artists, writers, painters and great musicians. Breathe in the Cape Verdean hospitality Morabeza as you wander around the colourful centre of Mindelo. It's a busy city with a tropical, island like atmosphere and a charming street life. Relax on the main beach Laginha with a rum based Caipirinha cocktail and enjoy your vacation!
All the daily activities happen in the capital Mindelo. The vibrant city with nearly 75.000 inhabitants is the beating trade centre of the Northern (Barlavento) islands. The musical and architectural heritage makes Mindelo so special.
Home town of the barefoot diva Cesaria Evora whose Morna's are still played everyday. Sit down a small cafe and listen to the melancholic songs full of Sodade.
During carnaval Mindelo turns into a dazzling spectacle. The parade is one of the most beautiful of its kind and attracts many visitors.
This artistic city will inspire and show you the diverse Cape Verdean culture!
San Vicente is characterised by impassable mountain areas, hidden sand beaches, inactive volcano views and steep rocky coastlines. The land is dry and even the highest peak (Monte Verde, 774m) is not high enough to stop the clouds' moisture from falling down and irrigate the landscape. Sao Vicente has beautiful, unspoiled white beaches and a natural pool in Baia das Gatas. Please be aware of dangerous currents, some spots can be tricky to swim.
Due to the dry lands, Sao Vicente was settled much later than the other islands. The sheltered harbour of Mindelo was often used by pirates as a hiding location, but the first real settlement only came in 1794. Nowadays the bay shelters the largest marine harbor of Cape Verde.
Laginha beach in Mindelo
Highlights of São Vicente
Mindelo: explore the historical city centre or the local neighbourhoods Ribeira Bote & Monte Sossego during a city tour.
Calhau: a sleepy fisherman's village with volcanic rocks and views on the uninhabited island Santa Luzia.
Vulcão Viana: an inactive volcano hidden in the landscape next to Calhau village. The volcano is well kept and the crater accessible for visitors. Best to visit with a guide on one of our hiking tours.
Monte Verde: the highest mountain of the island with agriculture areas on top. At 744 meters visitors are treated with a panoramic 360° view of Mindelo city and the wild East coastline.
Baia das Gatas: a cosy sunbathing village with great beach spots to relax. It's home to the yearly Baia das Gatas international music festival. The natural pool is easily accessible from the pier and safe for children to swim.
Sao Pedro: a fishermen's village growing in tourism development with a few cosy restaurants by the beach. For windsurfers and bodyboarders Sao Pedro is thé spot on the island. The hike to the Don Amelia lighthouse is worth the climb, but the real highlight of the bay is snorkeling with turtles.
Salamansa: a colorful fishing village with an authentic way of living. The beach is unspoiled and has 2 restaurants. On windy days in wintertime Salamansa is a great spot for kitesurfing.
Praia Grande: follow the scenery road along white Sahara sand dunes and spectacular ocean views. Swimming is not recommended due to strong currents.
Where to stay
Sao Vicente Airport: Cape Verde and Santo Antao Island
Sao Vicente Airport, named after Cesaria Evora, is one of Cape Verde's four international airports (VXE). It welcomes flights from Europe every day. The main flights come from Lisbon through TAP or TACV airlines. Airlines like Luxair, Transavia, and TUI Holland also fly here from Luxemburg, Paris, and Amsterdam. For local travel within Cape Verde, Bestfly offers daily flights to the capital, Praia, and four times a week to Sal Island.
Sao Vicente serves as the main gateway to Santo Antao, a famous island for hiking. To reach Santo Antao, you must take a ferry from Mindelo Harbour to Sao Vicente. The ferry operates four times a day.
Sao Vicente Airport and Island Connections
Are you planning to visit Cape Verde and looking for the best way to reach this beautiful archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean? Look no further! Sao Vicente Airport, named after the legendary Cesaria Evora, is your gateway to this exotic destination. Let's explore how you can easily connect to Sao Vicente and other Cape Verdean islands for an unforgettable journey.
Sao Vicente Airport - Your Arrival Point
Sao Vicente Airport (VXE) is one of the four international airports in Cape Verde, and it's buzzing with daily flights arriving from Europe. The primary connection is from Lisbon with reputable airlines like TAP and TACV. Lux air from Luxembourg, Transavia from Paris, and TUI Holland from Amsterdam also offer flights to this enchanting island.
Domestic Flights and Island Hopping
Once you've landed in Sao Vicente, you can seamlessly explore the beauty of Cape Verde by taking domestic flights. Bestfly offers daily connections to the capital, Praia, and operates four times a week to Sal Island.
Island Adventure - Santo Antão
Sao Vicente has daily connections to the picturesque Santo Antão island. For a unique island-hopping experience, take a ferry from Mindelo to Porto Novo. The ferry service, operated by Armas and CV Interilhas, is available four times a day and takes approximately one hour each way. You can easily purchase tickets at the Mindelo and Porto Novo harbours right before departure or a few days in advance. If it's not too much trouble, note that timetables might differ, so look at the most recent information.
Flexible Ferry Options
The ferry companies offer one daily AM and PM departure each and change their schedules every 45 days to compete effectively. This flexibility ensures you have options to fit your travel plans.
Exploring Cape Verdean Islands
While Cape Verde's islands offer an extraordinary and captivating experience, it's critical to note that travelling between them can take some time. Remember that the connections between islands aren't daily, so plan accordingly. For a smooth island-hopping experience, purchasing tickets from CV Interilhas in advance is best.
Travel Durations to Other Cape Verdean Islands
Mindelo, São Vicente - Sao Nicolau: 4.5 hours
Mindelo, São Vicente - Palmeira, Sal: 14 hours
Mindelo, São Vicente - Praia, Santiago: 15 hours