While on Santiago staying in Praia, you have plenty of time to explore this city, built on a plateau of rock and overspilling onto the lands below its steep cliffs. The main square on the Plateau houses some noteworthy buildings including the old Palace of the Council, the Presidential Palace and the old Catholic Cathedral. A statue of Diogo Gomes, one of the two discoverers of Santiago, stands just outside the square. Or you may wish to explore the large African markets. The Cidade Velha was the old capital of Santiago until 1770. Today, the villagers live amongst the ruins of the numerous churches with the great hill fort behind them. Excursions are available taking you to the through the dramatic mountainous scenery in the interior of the island.
On São Vicente, Mindelo is a vibrant and exciting city that is generally considered to be one of the cultural centres of the Islands and is rightly proud of its rich traditions in art and music. The cobbled squares, wide streets and 19th century European architecture is reminiscent of colonial times past.
The neighbouring island of Santo Antão is easily accessible by ferry for a day and is a popular island and boasts beautiful mountainous scenery, a popular choice for hikers.