Walking holidays in Cape Verde

Bathed in year-round sunshine, this 10-strong cluster of islands off the coast of Africa is always a persuasive draw; not least for its volcanic landscapes, lofty green peaks, intriguing cities, and glittering sands. Most fabulously, all are in easy reach of each other by ferry or flight, making it ideal if you’re after an island-hopping adventure. 

Sightseeing in Santiago 

As the largest island, Santiago is home to Cape Verde’s capital city, Praia. All brightly-coloured buildings big on colonial-style, highlights include the Presidential Palace, Nossa Senhora da Graça (Cathedral of Our Lady Grace), and a statue of 15th century explorer, Diogo Gomes – a reminder of Cape Verde’s longstanding connection with Portugal since the Age of Discovery. 

Santiago’s real showstopper though is Cidade Velha – the archipelago’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. What’s most standout is its location; perched clifftop over the Atlantic, you can almost feel the maritime history. Europe’s first colonial outpost in the tropics and a key port in the slave trade, it’s full of tales about the famous pirates, plunderers, and seafarers that have all played a part in the island’s past. 

Cape Verde’s culture hub 

Cape Verde is a heady mix of Brazilian, Portuguese, and African influences known as Creole. So, if culture is high on your holiday tick-list, hop over to São Vicente. The port city of Mindelo is perfect for those wanting to eat like a local, feel the Rio-like atmosphere, and listen to traditional morna, funaná, and batuque music.  

Fabulous island hikes 

For those seeking walking holidays in Cape Verde, it doesn’t get much better than Santiago’s Serra da Malagueta Natural Park for trails that weave between sleepy villages and steep ravines that wind toward the Atlantic Ocean. Elsewhere, you can tackle the 1,392-metre heights of Pico de Antonia – Santiago’s tallest mountain and one of Cape Verde’s highest peaks.  

Over in Santo Antão, there are hikes over rugged hills and volcanic craters, all the way down into fertile valleys where farmers still plough their fields using oxen. Learn about local reforestation projects, marvel at huge sugarcane plantations, and enjoy superb scenery across the forest-carpeted mountains. And if the walks get tough, the promise of a cold beer and a post-walk dip in the pool are enough to keep even the most tired muscles moving. 

Featured holidays

Cape Verde Island Hopping