If you are not sure what to visit in Cape Verde and you are on the island of Sal, you should start by exploring the capital city of Espargos, named after the bright yellow asparagus flowers that scatter the island. The most interesting sites worth seeing are the vibrant central square, full of bars, and the Jorge Barbosa library. In the surroundings, you should not miss Pedra de Lume, a tiny town of just 50 residents, from where you can access the most emblematic point of Sal: the natural salt marshes.
The largest island in the archipelago and the most populated, with around 260,000 inhabitants, is Santiago. It was there that the first Cape Verdean city was founded, and also where the slave trade began. Start your visit in the city of Praia, the capital of the country since 1855, which is home to more than 120,000 inhabitants. In addition to the hundred-year-old church of Nossa Senhora da Graça, the Palace of Justice, the Town Hall, the Presidential Palace, and the Palace of Culture, there are two museums worth visiting: the Archaeological Museum and the Ethnographic Museum of Praia.
12 km from Praia, there is another tourist attraction, the town of Cidade Velha, once called Ribeira Grande. Founded in the 15th century and with a colourful history of explorers and pirates, its old quarter was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2009. Once there, don't miss the ruins of the Cathedral, the convent of São Francisco and the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, the oldest colonial church in the world, built in Manueline Gothic style in 1493.
Another island that is worth exploring is Fogo, well known for its intense volcanic activity, and home to the magnificent 2,823 m high-active volcano, Pico do Fogo, and for the excellent wines produced there.
On the small island of Brava, you will find its charming capital, Nova Sinitra, located at an altitude of around 700 meters and considered by many to be the most beautiful village in the archipelago. Other must-see places are the village of Furna, and the gorgeous bay of Fajã d'Água, surrounded by mountains, which was an important stop for American whalers during the 19th century.
São Vicente is one of the smallest islands of Cape Verde, with a surface area of just 227 km², but it is also one of the most interesting and the second most populated. Its capital is the port town of Mindelo. Take the opportunity to visit the Mindelo Market, the simple church of Nossa Senhora da Luz, and, above all, the Museum of Traditional Art. In São Vicente, you should also visit the Monte Verde Natural Park, Calhau - a fishing town located under a volcano, from which you can see the uninhabited island of Santa Luzia - and the picturesque Baía das Gatas.
In Santo Antão, the westernmost and third most populated island of Cape Verde, you can visit Porto Novo, home to the largest harbour on the island, but also a strategic point for intra-island passenger transport. Visit Ponta do Sol, a small fishing town from where you can hike up to the settlement of Fontainhas, one of the most beautiful villages in Cape Verde.
On the island of São Nicolau, which can be reached by plane from São Vicente, Sal or Santiago or by boat from Sal and the port of Mindelo, you can visit its capital, Ribeira Brava, which has a marked colonial character. Wander the streets and stop off to visit the charming square, Praça Cónego Dias, the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário and the Town Hall. In the vicinity, mountain lovers will enjoy the protected park of Monte Gordo, which at 1,304 m is the highest point of the island.
Finally, we have to mention the island of Maio, which is less touristy than the other islands and, above all, the island of Boa Vista, where you will find one of the best hotels in Cape Verde: the Iberostar Club Boa Vista. The most important settlement in Boa Vista is Sal Rei, meaning "Salt King", placed next to the many saltpans where the salt that was produced on the island was collected.