The bustling capital of Cape Verde, Praia is a historically-rich city at the southern tip of Santiago Island. It’s home to charming colonial-era architecture, a fascinating ethnographic museum, eclectic neighbourhoods and sun-drenched stretches of sand.
Things to do in Praia
Wander through the historic streets of the Old Town, known locally as “Platô” due to its position perched on a plateau overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Admire the burnt-orange City Hall and opulent Presidential Palace, then visit the Monumento de Diogo Gomes, which honours the Portuguese navigator who discovered Santiago in 1560.
Discover the people and cultures that have shaped Cape Verde at the Museu Etnográfico da Praia, which occupies a colonial-era building in the heart of the historic centre. Musical instruments, including traditional cavaquinhos and cimboas, are on display, together with old cooking implements, tools and tobacco pipes.
Soak up the sun and Cape Verde lifestyle at one of the many beaches that surround Praia, including the wide strip of sand in the neighbourhood of Quebra Canela. Go surfing in the breaks off Praínha beach and take in the coastal views from the cliff-top lighthouse of Ponta Temerosa.
Shop for traditional handicrafts and African-inspired textiles in Mercado de Sucupira, which occupies the Várzea quarter. If you’re looking for evening entertainment, head to the quarter of Achada de Santo António to find lively restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Getting around Praia
Nelson Mandela International Airport is a 10-minute drive from Praia, while buses connect with towns across Santiago Island. Other than taxis, travelling by bus is also the main means of getting around Praia.