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Cabo Verde

Main attractions

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

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

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

Natural landmarks

Cova Rodela dragon tree, Cabo 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 Cabo Verde. Town was founded in 1462, two years after the discovery of Cabo 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 Cabo 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 Cabo Verde. In the town are located more than 50 ornate city mansions and many other fine buildings.


São Filipe fort over Cidade Velha, Cabo 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 Cabo 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 Cabo Verde

Featured: Nossa Senhora do Rosário in Cidade Velha

Nossa Senhora do Rosário church in Cidade Velha, Cabo Verde
Nossa Senhora do Rosário church in Cidade Velha / LeRoc, / CC BY-SA 2.0

The oldest colonial church in the world is Nossa Senhora do Rosário church in Cidade Velha, Cabo Verde.

This austere, simple building marks the beginnings of the dominance of Western civilization in the late 15th century.

Recommended books:

Bradt Travel Guide Cape Verde Islands

The Cape Verde islands are a destination with a difference, a distinctive blend of European and African cultures whose unique hospitality is encapsulated in the Creole word morabeza. These magical islands are soaring in popularity, with property construction, flights and international arrivals rocketing.

Street's Guide to the Cape Verde Islands

Street's Guide to the Cape Verde Islands is the first and only cruising guide for the Cape Verde Islands. Printed in 2011 it is a completely up-to-date, full-color guide that includes charts and sketches not available through any other source, as well as GPS waypoints, harbor and marina information, local knowledge and much more.

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