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Sights, Cape Verde

Culture and history await you on Cape Verde holidays. Visit Africa’s oldest Sub-Saharan street and take in the amazing architecture of buildings, which have stood tall for centuries and educate yourself on the history of this remarkable place.

Cemitério do Mindelo

Cemitério do Mindelo is a graveyard located in Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente. While it is not your normal tourist attraction, it does draw many visitors from all around the world, on a weekly basis. This is in no small part thanks to the fact that Cemitério do Mindelo is the famous final resting place of Cesaria Evora, the Cape Verdean vocalist who was one of the most-loved artists the country has ever produced. So much so, that her image even featured on Cape Verde stamps and banknotes.

However, the rest of the Cemitério do Mindelo is also well worth a wander around if you have the time. The graves have been beautif maintained by family members and many of them feature gorgeous stonework and moving dedications.

Not too far from Mindelo’s centre, you can venture into the city after your visit and call in at one of the many eateries or bars.

Church of Nazarene

The Church of Nazarene is a simply beautiful quaint blue church, recently renovated to increase the beauty of the building and to suit its tropical surroundings. This church and local Cape Verdean attraction is located in downtown Santa Maria, coined as the largest Wesleyan-holiness denomination in the world.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons. Copyright Cayambe

The Church of Nazarene is truly peaceful, with a somewhat charismatic atmosphere filled with people coming together to pray and worship. Members of the church are commonly referred to as ‘Nazarenes’ and open up the doors to locals and travellers alike for prayer on Sundays. People even gather outside of the church to sing praise, which brings a sense of togetherness during your travels in Cape Verde.

The worship here is something that can only be truly appreciated when you see it for yourself. If you’re interested in witnessing and experiencing this inspiring service for yourself, head down to the Church of Nazarene as early as possible; it fills quickly for mass which takes place for 70 minutes.

Fortaleza Real de San Felipe

The impressive structure and amazing history of Fortaleza Real de San Felipe makes for a fascinating place to visit during your holiday to Cape Verde.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons. Copyright Erik Kristensen

Originally built to defend the Peruvian port and the city of Lima from pirates in the 18th century, today, it is one of Cape Verde’s biggest tourist attractions. The structure is extremely well preserved, still housing original cannons and artefacts. It is recommended you come with a guide, who can talk you through the many points of interest and provide you with an in-depth story of the fortress’s background and significance.

Aside from the centuries of history, Fortaleza Real de San Felipe has to offer, there are also sweeping views of the ocean, mountains and surrounding countryside. Not only does the site itself make a brilliant photo opportunity, the location is also incredibly photogenic. So, if you’re a photography lover be sure to bring your camera.

Konzentrationslager Colonia Penal de Tarrafal

Konzentrationslager Colonia Penal de Tarrafal was formerly a prison concentration camp for the Portuguese colony of Cape Verde, but now acts as a tourist attraction to educate travellers on Cape Verde’s impactful history.

Image source: Flickr. Copyright FMira

Prisoners were kept in Tarrafal from 1936 to 1974. Now, this camp remains as a memorial centre, paying respect to those who suffered and died there and helping travellers to learn more about their experience, the conditions and the victory when it was shut down in 1974.

For history buffs, or simply travellers looking to learn more about Cape Verde’s vast history and culture, dating right back to 1936, Konzentrationslager Colonia Penal de Tarrafal is a fascinating sight to see, and should definitely feature on your holiday itinerary.

Either pay your entry of 100 Cape Verdean escudo, and take yourself around the camp, or if you’re looking to find out more about the history of each room, you can pay extra for a guided tour.

Monumento de Diogo Gomes

Overlooking the coastline of Cape Verde’s island of Santiago is the Monumento de Diogo Gomes. Standing tall in Praia, the statue can be found at the south end of the Plateau. The structure represents Diogo Gomes, who was a Portuguese navigator and one of the first people to discover the island of Santiago, way back in 1460.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons. Copyright Ji-Elle

Understandably, he is an important figure in the island’s history and his monument stands at over three metres tall, on a 1.85-metre high pedestal. The beach of Gamboa can be found directly beneath the site.

The area surrounding the Monumento de Diogo Gomes is close to beautiful, well-maintained gardens. There is also a nearby restaurant, meaning you can enjoy a meal or quick bite if you wish to hang around for a while. During your trip to see the Monumento de Diogo Gomes, you can also take in the Presidential Palace, which is nearby to the statue.

Pedra Lume

Founded by Manuel Antonio Martins, Pedra Lume can be found on Cape Verde’s Sal Island. It is famed worldwide for its salt evaporation ponds, which have been exploited since the 18th century.

Visitors can float freely in the saltwater ponds, which is excellent for your skin. Set in the desert, the landscape is vast and sparse, making it an extremely remote and peaceful place to visit. There is a smooth path leading down to the crater, making it easily accessible for visitors of all ages and abilities.

Pedra Lume is a much-loved family trip for all the family, with all ages flocking to the ponds to take a dip in the refreshing water. Pedra Lume is listed on the itinerary of many Sal tour excursions, led by knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guides who are only too happy to share their expertise with holidaymakers. Be sure to take a look at the trips available during your Cape Verde holiday.


One of the most important monuments to be found on Cape Verde’s island of Santiago, the Pelourinho stands as a stark reminder of the slave trade which used to exist here. The Pelourinho was a symbol of municipal power and slavery; history differs as to when it was erected, but it is believed to be either 1512 or 1520, making it one of the oldest monuments in the whole of Cape Verde.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons. Copyright Ji-Elle

Restored at the end of the 1600s, slaves who were considered rebellious were publicly punished at the Pelourinho at the time of slavery. It is one of the most visited sites on any guided tour of the island of Santiago. The surrounding square offers charming views of the waterfront and, despite the Pelourinho’s sad history, the area around the monument is a very popular place for visitors to enjoy walks. It is also very easy to get to the pebble beach from here.

Porto Novo-Ribeira Grande Road

The coastal road of Porto Novo-Ribeira Grande can be found on the island of Santo Antao, in the city of Porto Novo.

This winding road takes you along the gorgeous coastline of Santo Antao, but you see a lot more than just the ocean along the Porto Novo-Ribeira Grande Road. Take in the astoundingly beautiful mountain landscape and also get a brilliant view of the desert, volcanoes, villages and much more. This is one of the most peaceful roads in Cape Verde, providing travellers with much more than just a glimpse of the true beauty of the island – you get to see it all.

Image source: Flickr. Copyright Patricksavalle

The Porto Novo-Ribeira Grande Road isn’t limited to just motorists, either. Many hikers and walkers absolutely love this route, which stretches for 34 kilometres. After walking in the mountains, the road gives you the option to head into the town and surf in the ocean, or just take a stroll along the beach.

Praia City Hall

Situated in the south of the island of Santiago, Praia City Hall can be found in the Plato area of the city. The City Hall was built in the early part of the 20th century and has been remarkably well maintained, remaining the centrepiece of the city.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons. Copyright Ji-Elle

Located in the main square, it is a popular stop on guided tours of Praia. Nowadays, it is mostly used for meetings and workshops, but it is still a popular stop for tourists who want to marvel at the beauty of the architecture of the building. Walking tours often call at this building, where the knowledgeable guide explains its history.

Close to the City Hall, there are various shops and places to eat. The local park is very restful, offering you the chance to sit on a bench and gaze up at the buildings. Vendors are there to sell everything from coco water to ice cream, ensuring you are properly refreshed.

Rue Banana

Rue Banana is a top attraction in Cidade Velha, located on Cape Verde’s largest island, Santiago. It is the oldest street urbanised by Europeans in Sub-Saharan Africa. Detailed information can be found on a board along the street, giving a great deal of historical background to this remarkable place.

Image source: WikiMedia Commons. Copyright Cayambe

This area has changed little in the past 500 years, offering visitors a chance to really experience what it was like to live here all the way back in the 16th century. Walk freely along the street and take in the quaint buildings, which are nestled snugly into the hillside behind Rue Banana.

Lined with whitewashed stone houses, which are topped with their original straw roofs, you are able to immerse yourself in the history of this beautiful location. The locals are very friendly and there’s even the opportunity to purchase refreshments from some of them who sell various drinks and snacks outside their houses.