Santiago - The Cape Verde Islands

The largest island in the archipelago and the first to be populated, Santiago is rich in history and culture and known for its lively nightlife. The various mountainous peaks of the island reflect its volcanic origin.

With a unique blend of diverse landscapes, volcanic rocks, green valleys, barren regions and beautiful beaches Santiago is aesthetically pleasing. Hiking is popular here as this is one of the few islands with a refreshing hinterland which can be very rewarding.

Ornithologists will be in their element as most of the species endemic to Cape Verde can be spotted here.


More about Santiago

In the islands’ capital Praia, a bustling African town with a clear Mediterranean flavour, you are sure to see Santiago’s vibrant culture and turbulent history. Old colonial buildings line the main square on the Plateau, where you will find the Presidential Palace and the Palace of Justice.

A day trip to the old capital of Cidade Velha (a UNESCO world heritage site) and Forte Real de São Filipe, the main slave trading point between Europe, Africa and America, provides an interesting insight into the island’s troubled past. This is where the history of Cape Verde began and the town has had many famous visitors over the years including Sir Francis Drake and Charles Darwin.

Festivals in Santiago

The following are just a couple of festivals that take place on Santiago:

Gamboa Festival - 17/18/19 May - Held in the bay of San Fransisco and arguably the biggest music festival in Cape Verde. Musicians from other countries come to Santiago to participate.

Tabanka - June/July - A celebration of the liberation of slaves which takes place in Assomada.

Santiago Market

Hot Tips for Santiago

For an authentic experience take an excursion that includes a trip to the colourful African market where you will see how the locals socialise and shop for their everyday needs.

For a restaurant serving local dishes with live music, Quintal da Musica is a wonderful option and has received some great feedback.

Please find below a selection of our hotels in Santiago.