A destination for the discerning traveller, Cape Verde is an archipelago of volcanic islands located more than 500 kilometres off the coast of Senegal. Its culture represents a fascinating mixture of West African and Portuguese, due to its colonial history. Meanwhile, the ten islands boast a remarkable range of landscapes and attract everyone from beach lovers to intrepid hikers and deep-sea anglers.
For those who want to experience city life and explore the archipelago while on Cape Verde holidays, a trip to Praia is a must. Praia is the capital city of Cape Verde and its largest urban centre. It is located in the south-east of the island of Santiago, which spans an area of 990 square kilometres and offers possibly the most diverse scenery of the entire archipelago. Outside the city, you will find mountains, dry grasslands, fertile plains and beautiful beaches.
In Praia itself, there’s plenty to see and do. The city has a population of around 100,000 and it buzzes with activity.
Visiting the old town
Located on a plateau, the old town boasts grand buildings that date from colonial times. Highlights include the Praça Alexandra de Albuquerque, the Palacio da Cultura and the Nossa Senhora da Graça church. You can also visit the Museu Etnográfico de Praia. This small but charming museum houses a collection of traditional Cape Verdean artefacts, as well as some treasures that have been reclaimed from sunken ships. Occasionally, the museum puts on temporary themed exhibitions too.
If you love a good shop, you’ll get opportunities aplenty to splash out in Praia. In the Mercado de Sucupira, located in the Várzea quarter, you can pick up everything from music and traditional handicrafts to household appliances. The city also hosts food markets. For instance, the Avenida 5 de Julio is the place to go to pick up your choice of fruit and vegetables.
When you fancy a break from shopping and sightseeing, you check the temperatures and hit the beaches, which are just a short walk from the city centre. Highlights include the Praia de Prainha and Praia Quebra Canela, which both offer good swimming and snorkelling. Slightly further out, you’ll find the Praia de Gamboa, which is frenetic with the activities of fishing boats and people.
Once you’ve experienced the delights of this city, and Cape Verde more generally, you’ll understand why it’s such a hit among vacation connoisseurs.
Disclosure: Collaborative post