Cape Verde Island Hopping

Cape Verde Guided Walking Holiday

Serra Malagueta mountains in Santiago Island Cape Verde - Cabo Verde
Duration: 11 nights
Type: Worldwide Multi-Centre
Walking Grade: 3
from £2,129pp without flights FLIGHTS AVAILABLE

A range of scenery awaits on this vibrant archipelago, from the verdant terraces and plantations of the agricultural heartland of Santiago to the rugged mountains and extinct volcanoes of Santo Antão and São Vicente. Challenge yourself on walks in the Serra Malagueta National Park and an ascent up Pico da Antónia. Observe the bright, shimmering kingfisher, spot turtles from the spectacular coastal path and revel in the laid-back blend of African and European cultures.

Holiday Highlights

  • Santiago - Discover the charm of Cidade Velha fortress, one of the seven wonders of Portuguese Origin.
  • Serra Malagueta National Park - Look out for grey headed kingfishers as you wander through sleepy villages, tropical fruit orchards and the odd ‘grogue’ distillery.
  • Pico da Antónia - Enjoy the breathtaking scenery as you ascend the summit
  • São Vicente - Explore Mindelo, the ‘beating heart’ of Cape Verde. Soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere and the strong Portuguese influences which are still visible today.

What’s included

  • 11 nights ensuite accommodation in comfortable hotels on half board basis plus 8 lunches.
  • 8 days guided walks and tours
  • “With flight “holidays include return flights from UK and hotel transfers.
  • All transport, internal flights, ferries, and tips including.
  • Water on walking days and at evening meals
  • An experienced HF Holidays leader
  • The services of an English speaking local guide on Santiago, Sao Vicente, and Santo Antao; plus, additional local guide on longer/more challenging walks

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

On our Worldwide holidays, our day-by-day descriptions will help you understand where you’ll be exploring and what you’ll be doing. The itineraries are put together carefully to give you the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons. In the wake of disruption caused by the Coronavirus outbreak to planning, this is particularly relevant to itineraries in 2022.

After an early morning flight via Lisbon we arrive in Praia on the island of Santiago, and a short transfer will take us to our hotel.

This morning we explore Praia, the largest city in Cape Verde and capital, on a guided walking tour. We’ll see the old colonial-style buildings such as the Presidential Palace, City Hall and the Church of Nossa Senhora da Graca in an area of the city known as the Plato. The statue of Diogo Gomes stares out to sea, reminding us of the European explorer who first made mention of these islands in 1460.

Following a drive through pleasant countryside, we start our afternoon walk. We start above the Salineiro Valley where we descend a rocky sandstone path to the valley floor. Once in the valley we follow paths which run along the river bed, through small villages and fertile terraces where we’ll see tropical fruits growing and small sugar cane plantations. The sugar cane is used to make ‘grogue’, a local drink which offers more punch than taste, which some distillers mix with honey or fruit syrup.

Lunch is at a seafront restaurant in Cidade Velha, after which we visit the old fortress. Cidade Velha stands on the site of the oldest settlement in Cape Verde, Ribeira Grande. It was classified as one of the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Origin. Distance: 3miles (5km) with 650 feet (198m) of descent.

We start the day with a visit to Assomada and its lively West African style market with its smells, noise and mesmerising colours. We may do this visit later in the day, depending on local conditions.

We continue to the entrance of the Serra Malagueta National Park, where we walk through recently planted reforestation projects and down into the Gon Gon valley to the village of Hortelão. The path is easy to follow, though there are a few steeper sandy sections. The trail takes us through small villages, tropical fruit orchards and the odd ‘grogue’ distillery. Look out for grey headed kingfishers on this walk. Distance: 6½ miles (10½km) with 700 feet (213m) of ascent and 3,300 feet (1,000m) of descent.

After a journey of about an hour we start our walk to ascend to the summit of Pico Antonio, the highest mountain on Santiago at 4,560ft (1,392m). There are several routes which reach the top, but we usually take the same route up and down.

This is an optional walk; it can be challenging for some and the ascent to the summit is quite steep. Distance: 6 miles (9½km) with 2,300 feet (700m) of ascent. Please note, this walk is just outside the holiday’s general level 3 parameter and is a low level 4.

An extra local guide will offer an alternative easier walk which descends on forest trails through native bush and reforestation projects to the village of São Jorge. The village has several cafés and bars where you can purchase refreshments. Distance: 5 miles (8km) with 1,300 feet (396m) of descent.

Today we fly to São Vicente. After checking in to the hotel, we’ll discover Mindelo on a guided walking tour. Mindelo is the jewel of this island, with a cosmopolitan atmosphere and a vibrant cultural scene. With its sheltered deep port, the British installed a coal station in 1838 which supplied ships from all around the world, leading to the town’s prosperity. On our tour we’ll see influences from the British and the Portuguese in the Governor’s Palace, the City Hall and the replica of the Belem Tower in Lisbon. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

We take the ferry from São Vicente to the neighbouring island of Santo Antão (1-hour crossing). As you approach across the water, the scenery will take your breath away: a cross between Morocco and the Himalaya with volcanic walls, seemingly inaccessible ravines and perfectly farmed terraced valleys.

We’ll be met at Porto Novo and taken on a scenic drive to the start of our walk overlooking the Cova da Paul, a volcano whose caldera is situated at the centre of steep cliffs at over 4,600 feet (1,400m). Starting at this high point, our walk descends on a cobbled switchback track through fertile plantations into the Paul Valley. From here, we’ll continue to our hotel. Distance: 6 miles (9½km) with 800 feet (240m) of ascent and 3,600 feet (1,100m) of descent.

Today we fully appreciate our surroundings as we walk from the valley of Pinhao to Lomba Branco. We’ll traverse through several valleys and pass a deserted village before the final short steep ascent to Lomba Branco. Distance: 5 miles (8km) with 1,050 feet (320m) of ascent.

This walk is quite challenging, so an easier option with a second local guide will be available. We’ll walk from the valley of Cha de Pedras to the village of Coculi. We traverse between valleys on relatively easy cobbled paths through sugar cane plantations, farms and villages. We pass a grogue distillery and have the opportunity to sample and purchase locally made preserves. We finish our walk by descending on a small cobbled road to the main valley. It’s also possible for the walk to be extended by walking back up the valley to the hotel. Distance: 5½ miles (9km) with 985 feet (300m) of ascent and 1,640 feet (500m) of descent.

Today we walk the lesser known northwest part of Santo Antão. The walk takes us from the remote village of Alto Mira III to Cha da Morte and is interesting because of its impressive and varied rock formations and micro-climatic variations which affect certain parts of Santo Antão. Distance: 4 miles (6½km) with 1,200 feet (370m) of ascent and 1,650 feet (500m) of descent.

Today we walk from our hotel to the beautiful village of Cha de Igreja in the next valley. We walk along a road on the left-hand side of the Riberia Grande for about half an hour and cross the dry river bed to a small path up the right (north) side of the valley. The path is steep, and zig zags its way up the saddle at 830m. You might spot Egyptian vultures.

From here it’s a hard descent on a cobbled path to the edge of the remote village of Selada do Mocho. We continue until we reach the dry river bed of Ribeira Garca, where we can see the small village of Cha de Igreja on a promontory of land above us. A short but steep path leads to the village. Distance: 7½ miles (12km) with 2,000 feet (620m) of ascent and 2,200 feet (700m) of descent.

A more relaxed option is also possible: walking from the hotel, ascend through maize and sugar cane fields to the ridge visible from the hotel’s terrace before descending on cobbled tracks to the village of Cha de Pedras, seen earlier in the week.

A spectacular coastal walk today as we start from the fishing village of Cruzinha. We follow a dramatic coastal path which contours around to the village of Fontainhas and the former capital of Santo Antão, Ponta do Sol.

This is an undulating walk, with one sustained uphill stretch just before reaching Fontainhas. There is an option to finish here if you don’t want to continue all the way to Ponta do Sol. Distance: 9½ miles (15km) with 2,150 feet (655m) of ascent.

Today we take the ferry back to São Vicente and to Mindelo where we have an optional last walk and the rest of the day at leisure to relax or explore this vibrant cultural centre of the islands.

Transfer to the airport for the return flight from Sao Vicente via Lisbon back to London.

Cape Verde Itinerary Map

Hotel Praia Mar, Santiago - Cape Verde

The Praia Mar is a low-rise hotel occupying a headland in Prainha, the capital city's embassy district. It is part of a Portuguese hotel chain and as such it enjoys good standards and a decent range of facilities. The hotel is located only five minutes' drive from Praia International Airport, the 'Plateau' with its shops and market, and the administrative and financial centre. The Praia Mar has 123 rooms in total, including four suites. All rooms have air conditioning, satellite TV, telephone, room safe, mini-bar and hairdryer.

Hotel Porto Grande, Sao Vicente - Cape Verde

On the island of Sao Vicente, we stay at the Hotel Porto Grande in Mindelo. The Porto Grande sits elegantly on Mindelo's main square, a few hundred metres from the seafront and five minutes' walk to most of the principal restaurants, bars and nightspots. The town beach, known as Laginha, is a pleasant, 10 minute stroll to the east. As well a swimming pool and children's pool, there is 24 hour reception, a gym, evening entertainment, laundry, room service, WiFi (extra charge) and currency exchange. Porto Grande has 48 rooms and 2 suites, each equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV, hairdryer, phone, mini-bar and room safe. Each room has a balcony with views of either the main square or the swimming pool. Our final night is spent back on the island of Sao Vicente at the Porto Grande.

Mamiwata Ecovillage

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Mamiwata Ecovillage welcomes you. There are 20 rooms with private facilities, built into the rocks overlooking the sea.

Hotel Tiduca

The 4 star Hotel Tiduca is a comfortable, modern hotel, which first opened its doors in 2017. It is locate opposite the Boca de Pistla Harbour, which means you can make the most of the incredible sea and mountain veiws from the Hotels spacious rooftop terrace.  The hotel has 82 ensuite bedrooms, each room has airconditioning, hairdryer, TV, Telephone, wifi, safe and balcony. other facilities include: a restaurant, 2 bars, small spa, and gym. 

Essential Information

As you’ll be carrying your own luggage at airports and between your transport and hotels we recommend you try to keep your luggage to a minimum.

These items are a general suggestion of what to pack for an active outdoor and walking holiday; depending on your destination, you may need more of some things and less – or none! – of others. You’ll know best what you prefer to wear when out walking or while taking part in other outdoor activities.

  • Walking boots (worn in) with good ankle support and spare bootlaces
  • Lightweight waterproof trousers and jacket
  • Comfortable outdoor/walking clothing e.g. Long trousers and long-sleeved light-coloured shirts with collars to protect from the sun
  • Lightweight fleece
  • Shorts

We recommend wearing walking boots on all our walks, as these provide the best ankle support and grip. Modern ‘approach shoes’ offer appropriate levels of grip and may be worn on some low-level walks, but users should be aware that they offer less ankle support. Lightweight trainers are not recommended for any walks.

Your clothing should ideally be pre-treated with insect repellent and in-built sun protection (available from specialist clothing stores such as Rohan, Cotswold Outdoor).

  • Comfortable clothes and shoes for evenings and sightseeing
  • Sun protection – sunglasses, high factor sunscreen and sun hat
  • Water bottle – at least 2 litre capacity
  • Small/medium rucksack (30 litre) – a bin liner will keep contents dry if it rains
  • Insect repellent
  • Lightweight survival bag
  • Personal first aid kit including: personal medication, tissues, plasters, blister kit, painkillers, antiseptic wipes, Imodium, rehydration sachets

Essential: Passport (and copies); booking confirmation; insurance cover note; HF Holidays’ registration form.

Please ensure you have access to emergency funds should you need them; carrying a credit card is probably the most convenient method.

Optional: walking sandals, trekking poles, camera, umbrella, binoculars, swimming costume, towel.

 Please note that your HF Holidays’ leader reserves the right to refuse to take any guest on a walk should they consider that a lack of suitable clothing/footwear may affect safety.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

These departure dates can be booked with flights or as land only holiday options. All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised flight prices are based on UK flights departing from London. Regional departures and/or connections to London, if available, can be requested. Cabin upgrades may also be available on request.

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
05 Nov - 16 Nov 2022
11 Itinerary £2,629 Trip Notes Book Now
Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
05 Nov - 16 Nov 2022
11 Itinerary £2,129 Trip Notes Book Now

Important Information

  • Single room supplement £24 per night
11 nights
Worldwide Multi-Centre
Walking Grade:

11 nights from £2,129pp
without flights

...or call 020 3974 8865

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