Santiago Island - Cape Verde
The Origin
of the
Cape Verde


On the biggest island of the archipelago the first inhabitants settled!

Santiago - with its 991 km² - is the largest and the most inhabited island of the Cape Verde. Almost half of the country's total population lives here. The inner island is mountainous with deep valleys; the highest peak is the Pico d'Antonia at 1,392 meters. The coast is steep with some beautiful sandy beaches. There is only ample vegetation in the higher altitudes; otherwise the island is rather sparse and dry.

The capital of the Cape Verde is Praia on the southern coast of Santiago. About 100,000 people live there. Praia was built in the 18th century and is today the centre of economy and culture with an active night live.

Cidade Velha - the old capital - is only about 15 kilometres away from Praia. The city was once an important port of call on the African trading routes. The port's advantageous position boosted the flourishing slave trade between Africa and the "New World". You can still see the pillory at the market square, where slaves were sold. The Old Portuguese fort in São Filipe above Cidade Velha was built to defend against pirates, who often attacked the once rich town.

In the island's inland you can find villages with handcraft centres, rock formations and valleys, ample fields, coffee plantings and again and again paths for wonderful hiking tours. Assomada lies in the middle of the island, is the second biggest city and benefits from the high agricultural productivity of its hinterland. The city's large and lively African market (Wednesday and Saturday) is very colorful and worth a planned visit.

Further excursions lead through deep canyons and magnificent landscape to the fishing village Porto Rincao and its old Kapok-Trees, Vila Tarrafal with a beautiful palm-seamed bay, a hiking tour through the lovely Ribeira Principal or a ride along the most impressive coast towards the east coast.

Santiago Bicicle Tour

Santiago is an attractive island for freaky mountainbikers. But beginners may come fast to their limits. The island offers a variety of scenic and technically attractive routes.

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Karte Vista Verde Santiago