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Cape Verde

Main attractions

Gorge in Santo Antão island, Cape Verde
Gorge in Santo Antão island, Cape Verde / Richard Leeming, / CC BY 2.0

Once upon a time Cape Verde islands were on the important way between Portugal and its far away colonies. Now islands are somewhat trapped in silence.

Highlights of Cape Verde are historical towns with numerous well preserved examples of colonial architecture.

Natural landmarks

Cova Rodela dragon tree, Cape Verde
Cova Rodela dragon tree / Torbenbrinker, / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Cova Rodela dragon tree - Brava. Large, old dragon tree (Dracaena draco) in the centre of picturesque village with cobblestone streets.
  • Neve Canyon and Neve Falls - São Vicente. Several hundred metres deep canyon with steep walls. At the beginning of canyon is 260 m tall waterfall - narrow stream sliding down along nearly vertical cliff.
  • Pedra de Lume saltworks - Sal. Saltworks in evaporated lake at the bottom of volcanic crater. Crater has a radius of some 500 m, base of crater is below the sea level.

Man made landmarks

Colonial towns

  • Cidade Velha in Santiago (Sidadi, formerly - Roberia Grande) - Santiago. Oldest European town south of Sahara, oldest settlement in Cape Verde. Town was founded in 1462, two years after the discovery of Cape Verde by Portuguese. Most of old buildings have been lost but street network and part of structures have been preserved, including the oldest colonial church in the world (1495) and marble pillar from the 16th century in the central square. Nearby Portuguese made agricultural experiments for successful colonisation of tropics.
  • Nova Sintra - Brava. Town with well preserved historical architecture and cobblestone streets.
  • Plateau of Praia - Santiago, Praia. Old city of Praia. Praia was founded in 1615 and in 1770 became a capital of Cape Verde. Contrary to other parts of Praia, Plateau has regular street network, lined with colonial buildings. Oldest buildings are from the first half of the 19th century.
  • São Filipe - Fogo. Historical town with beautiful colonial architecture and gardens. Founded in the 16th century, second oldest town in Cape Verde. In the town are located more than 50 ornate city mansions and many other fine buildings.


São Filipe fort over Cidade Velha, Cape Verde
São Filipe fort over Cidade Velha / BigMikeSndTech, / CC BY 2.0
  • Nossa Senhora da Luz church in Vila do Maio - Maio. Beautiful church in colonial style, built in 1872.
  • Nossa Senhora do Rosário church - Santiago, Cidade Velha. World's oldest colonial church, constructed in 1495 in Manueline (Portuguese Gothic) style.

Other architecture monuments

  • Palácio do Povo (former Palácio do Governador, Governor's Palace) - São Vicente, Mindelo. Gorgeous administrative building, constructed in colonial style.
  • Royal Fortress of São Filipe - Santiago, Cidade Velha. Oldest and most important fort in Cape Verde, built over the former capital of islands in 1587 - 1593. Fort protected the Cidade Velha from attacks of pirates.

List of described attractions by islands

Boa Vista
Santa Luzia
ArrowNossa Senhora do Rosário in Cidade VelhaChurches
Santo Antão
São Nicolau
São Vicente

Map of Cape Verde

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