Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, is a vibrant city located on the southern coast of Santiago Island. With its beautiful beaches, lively markets, and historical sites, it is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a mix of culture and relaxation.

The city is home to several landmarks such as the Palácio da Justiça and the Presidential Palace, which showcase the architectural heritage of the region. Additionally, the lively music scene in Praia, influenced by African, Portuguese, and Brazilian rhythms, provides a captivating backdrop to any visit.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Praia offers a variety of activities including hiking, water sports, and fishing. Moreover, the local cuisine, a blend of African, Portuguese, and Brazilian flavors, is a gastronomic delight that should not be missed.

Attractions & Things to do in Praia

1. Quebra Canela Beach

Aerial view of Kebra Kanela - Quebra Canela beach in Praia  - Santiago - Capital of Cape Verde Islands - Cabo Verde
Aerial view of Kebra Kanela – Quebra Canela beach in Praia – Santiago – Capital of Cape Verde Islands – Cabo Verde.

Quebra Canela Beach is one of Praia’s most popular beaches, known for its golden sands and crystal-clear waters. It’s a great place for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The beach is also lined with cafes and restaurants, making it a perfect spot for a day out.

Travel Tip: Visit during weekdays to avoid the weekend crowds and get a peaceful experience.

2. Praia City Center

The city center of Praia is a bustling hub of activity, featuring colonial architecture, vibrant markets, and a variety of shops and restaurants. It’s a great place to get a feel for the local culture and pick up some souvenirs.

Travel Tip: Make sure to visit the Mercado de Sucupira, a local market where you can find traditional crafts and clothing.

3. Plateau

12/31/2016 - Praia, Santiago Island, Cape Verde
12/31/2016 – Praia, Santiago Island, Cape Verde Alexandre Albuquerque square is located in the “Platô” district, the historic city centre of Praia, close to the Presidential Palace. It is a popular meeting point, especially before and after service at the nearby church.

Plateau is the historic center of Praia, offering a glimpse into the city’s colonial past. The area is home to several important landmarks, including the Presidential Palace and the Alexandre Albuquerque Square.

Travel Tip: Take a guided walking tour to learn about the history and significance of the area.

4. Praia Harbor

Praia Harbor is not just a functional space but also a scenic spot to enjoy views of the ocean and the city skyline. It’s a great place to watch the sunset and see the boats come in and out.

Travel Tip: The area can get busy, so keep an eye on your belongings.

5. Jaime Mota Barracks

This historic site serves as a reminder of Cape Verde’s struggle for independence. The barracks are now a museum that offers a deep dive into the country’s history.

Travel Tip: The museum is closed on Mondays, so plan your visit accordingly.

6. Prainha de Muinho

This is a smaller, more secluded beach that offers a peaceful escape from the city. It’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling, with calm waters and abundant marine life.

Travel Tip: Bring your own snorkeling gear as there are limited rental options.

7. Farol de D. Maria Pia

This lighthouse offers panoramic views of the city and the sea. It’s a great place for photography and to watch the sunset.

Travel Tip: The climb up can be steep, so wear comfortable shoes.

8. Núcleo Museológico da Praia

This museum is dedicated to the history and culture of Praia and Cape Verde. It features a range of exhibits, from archaeological finds to contemporary art.

Travel Tip: Check the museum’s schedule for temporary exhibitions that might coincide with your visit.

9. Achada Santo António

This residential area is known for its beautiful parks and gardens. It’s a great place to take a leisurely walk and enjoy the local flora.

Travel Tip: Visit the Jardim Botanico for a peaceful escape within the city.

10. Sucupira Market

Sucupira is an active commercial area with a covered market and local shops.
Sucupira is an active commercial area with a covered market and local shops.

This bustling market is the go-to place for local produce, crafts, and textiles. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and do some shopping.

Travel Tip: Bargaining is common here, so don’t be afraid to negotiate prices.

Unique Activities in Praia

1. Tarrafal Bay Boat Trip and Beach Day

Tarrafal Bay Boat Trip and Beach Day.
Tarrafal Bay Boat Trip and Beach Day.

Embark on a boat trip to Tarrafal Bay and spend a day soaking up the sun on the beach. This water activity is perfect for those looking to relax and rejuvenate while enjoying the stunning coastal views of the island.

Day Trips from Praia

1. Cidade Velha

Aerial view Cidade Velha city beach  in Santiago - Cape Verde - Cabo Verde.
Aerial view Cidade Velha city beach in Santiago – Cape Verde – Cabo Verde.

Cidade Velha is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the first European colonial outpost in the tropics. The town is rich in history and offers several significant landmarks.

Travel Tip: Don’t miss the Fortaleza Real de São Filipe for panoramic views.

2. Tarrafal

Tarrafal beach in Santiago island in Cape Verde - Cabo Verde.
Tarrafal beach in Santiago island in Cape Verde – Cabo Verde.

Tarrafal is known for its stunning beaches and is a perfect destination for those looking to relax by the sea. The area also offers excellent hiking opportunities.

Travel Tip: Visit the local fish market for some fresh seafood.

3. Assomada

Assomada is a small town that offers a glimpse into rural Cape Verdean life. The town has a lively market and is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery.

Travel Tip: The town is known for its agricultural produce, so try some local fruits and vegetables.

Where to stay in Praia

Praia, the capital city of Cape Verde, offers a diverse range of hotels for travelers. Whether you’re looking for luxury, budget-friendly options, or something in between, Praia has got you covered. With its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant culture, the city attracts tourists from all over the world. Here are six hotels that cater to different needs and preferences:

1. Best Reviewed Hotel

Pestana Tropico Ocean & City Hotel (★ ★ ★ ★)

  • Description: Located on Santiago Island, this hotel is just 200 meters from the city’s main beach. It offers an outdoor swimming pool with sunbeds and meeting rooms.
  • Price: €105 per night
  • Rating: 8 (Very good)

2. Most Luxurious Hotel

Hotel Pérola (★ ★ ★ ★)

  • Description: Offering a restaurant with a panoramic view, this hotel features a spa bath and bathrobes in its private bathrooms.
  • Price: €83 per night
  • Rating: 8 (Very good)

3. Budget Hotel

Pousada Praia Maria (★ ★ ★)

  • Description: Pousada Praia Maria offers air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms. A continental breakfast is served every morning.
  • Price: €41 per night
  • Rating: 7.7 (Good)

4. Hotel for Families

Oasis Praiamar (★ ★ ★ ★)

  • Description: This hotel offers an outdoor pool and a fitness center. Free Wi-Fi access is available in all areas.
  • Price: €102 per night
  • Rating: 7.6 (Good)

5. Hotel for Couples

Hotel Cesaria (★ ★ ★)

  • Description: Located 500 meters from Sucupira Market, this hotel boasts a sun terrace and views of the city. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.
  • Price: €54 per night
  • Rating: 8.8 (Fabulous)

6. Hotel for Solo Travelers

Hotel Vip Praia (★ ★ ★ ★)

  • Description: Offering an outdoor pool, this hotel provides free WiFi access. The private bathroom comes with either a bath or shower.
  • Price: €79 per night
  • Rating: 7.4 (Good)

Did you know? Facts about Praia

  • Praia is the capital and largest city of Cape Verde, an island country in the central Atlantic Ocean.
  • The city is located on the southern coast of Santiago island, within the Sotavento Islands group.
  • It is the economic, political, and cultural center of Cape Verde.
  • The city has a desert climate with a short wet season and a lengthy, very pronounced dry season.
  • Praia was the first stop of Charles Darwin’s voyage with HMS Beagle in 1832.
  • The city is home to several educational institutions, including the University of Cape Verde.
  • The principal economic activities of Praia belong to the tertiary sector, including administration, commerce, services, and tourism.
  • The city is served by Nelson Mandela International Airport and has a port, Praia Harbor, with a ferry terminal linking to other islands.
  • The historic center of Praia is on the tentative list of World Heritage Sites.
  • The city is home to several sports teams, including football clubs Sporting, Boavista, Travadores, and Académica.

FAQ about Praia

What is the best time to visit Praia?

The best time to visit Praia is during the dry season, from November to June, when the weather is warm and dry.

How can I get to Praia?

You can get to Praia by flying into Nelson Mandela International Airport, which is served by several international airlines. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to the city center.

Is it safe to travel to Praia?

Praia is generally considered to be safe for travelers, but it is always advisable to take precautions, such as not walking alone at night and being aware of your surroundings.

What are the must-see attractions in Praia?

Some must-see attractions in Praia include the historic center of Praia, the Presidential Palace, the Monumento de Diogo Gomes, and the Museu Etnográfico.

What is the currency used in Praia?

The currency used in Praia is the Cape Verdean escudo (CVE).

Do I need a visa to travel to Praia?

Visa requirements for Praia vary by country, so it is advisable to check with the Cape Verdean embassy or consulate in your country before traveling.

What is the official language of Praia?

The official language of Praia is Portuguese, but Cape Verdean Creole is also widely spoken.

Is it expensive to travel to Praia?

The cost of traveling to Praia can vary depending on factors such as the time of year, accommodation, and dining options. It is advisable to plan and budget your trip in advance.