Santiago Known as the ‘Fertile Island’, is the largest of the Cape Verde islands and also the most diverse in its landscapes. With beaches, mountains and valleys in abundance, the two volcanic mountain ranges dominate the islands’ structure with the highest peak being Pico d’Antonia. The island, with it’s chequered past, was once the capital of the African slave trade and has a population of over 100,000 inhabitants.
The capital Praia, is very much a busy, bustling city. As you would expect with its multi storey buildings and good transport links, it comfortably houses the 10,000 commuters who travel here to work. There are many spectacular buildings in the city such as the Presidential Palace, the City Hall and churches. For those who like history, there is the old town fortress of Bateira.
Praia Prainha and Quebra Canela are two of the most stunning beaches, and nearby a Music Festival is held every year at Praia Gamboa.
The islands’ nightlife such as bars, restaurants and nightclubs are located to the west of Praia.
UNESCO were responsible for the former capital city, Cidade Velha, being added to the World Cultural Heritage list in 2009.
Santiago is located between the islands of Maio (40 kilometres (25 miles) west) and Fogo (50 kilometres (31 miles) east) and is one of the Sotavento. It was the first of the islands to be settled, the town of Cidade Velha being founded as Ribeira Grande in 1462. It is also home to the nation’s capital city of Praia and to one of the islands’ four international airports, Praia International Airport, 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) from the capital.