Walking Holidays in Cape Verde - Cape Verde - Multi Island - Southern Islands

Holiday Highlights
  • Journey across the charming islands of Praia and Fogo
  • Walk in lush green valleys, up into the mountains and to beautiful Botanical gardens
  • Take the opportunity to summit the imposing Mount Pico Volcano standing proud at 2829m

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Here is a brief description of the Southern Cape Verde Islands

Santiago, the largest island in the archipelago, it is host to the capital of the country, Praia. It is extremely mountainous with hardly any flat land on the island. The highest peak is nearly 1400m, which is the focal point of one of many natural parks in the country. The walking is varied with mountainous and historic walks available.  

Fogo, is one of the most geologically dramatic of not only this Cape Verdean group of islands but any worldwide. The island is dominated by a caldera, a partially collapsed giant volcano out of which is the relatively new volcano of Pico (2829m), the highest peak in Cape Verde.

Sal, You may have to travel via Sal and stay overnight as only this island has both a non stop air link with the UK and good air connections with the other islands. The island is flat and dull for a walker, but it does have some excellent hotels for overnight stays or a relaxing few beach days at the end of the holiday.

You can combine the North & South Islands and create a 14 night island hopping holiday

São Vicente, this island is the smallest Cape Verde walking island we feature and it has the closest link with the UK. Its beautiful harbour was a major coaling station for British vessels en route to all parts of its empire. When oil replaced steam the British departed but left behind their architecture and some of its culture and language still used today. Here there is a climb to the top of the highest mountain.

Santo Antao, this is the most famous Cape Verde walking island being the second largest and we concentrate on the north east. Here is a spectacular landscape of jagged peaks either side of deep valleys (Ribeiras) where people live and farm clinging to the valley sides on perilous terraces. Bananas, cassava and sugar cane are grown as well as other seasonal fruits and vegetables. The coastline is no less dramatic with paths clinging to the side of dramatic cliffs and offering one of the best coastal walking experiences imaginable.

Sal, You may have to travel via Sal and stay overnight as only this island has both a non stop air link with the UK and good air connections with the other islands. The island is flat and dull for a walker, but it does have some excellent hotels for overnight stays or a relaxing few beach days at the end of the holiday.

The Walking – Guided

We offer this holiday on a guided basis. The paths are generally good, and many are smooth cobbled mule trails. However, some can become overgrown or become indistinct amongst the terraces and vegetation. On Santo Antão a good head for heights is necessary both on the hiking trails and the mountain roads! This is a destination where a guide is a great asset to your Cape Verdian 'experience' as they can give so much local information and help you to experience island life (you will undoubtedly be invited for a delicious cup of Cape Verdian coffee at a friends' or relatives' house).  Guides are inexpensive and we offer a guided package where you will have your own private guide who will also ensure you receive all the necessary background to fully enjoy these islands. 

Walk Grading

We grade as Moderate to Challenging, however as you would have your own guide you can vary the walks to your own abilities.  Vertiginous sections do exist on Santo Antão but there is virtually always a small wall along the path side for comfort. The majority of paths are generally more than 1 metre in width and the local island council maintains the cobbled trails well - they are still used by locals interlinking villages as well as walkers!

Getting Around – Inter Island

We mainly use inter island flights as they are the most reliable and are the fastest way between the islands. Santo Antão has no working airport so we travel here by ferry regular from Sao Vicente and takes one hour.

Here is a typical itinerary which can be varied. Please note some changes may be necessary when flight times are known for your journey.

Day 1: Fly to Sal non-stop from the UK and connect to inter island flight to Praia or fly directly to Praia via Lisbon. Transfer to your hotel in Praia, Standard or higher grade. Overnight Praia.

Day 2: Today there are two short walks, the first is near the original capital Cidade Velha, walking in a lush green valley and finishing in the centre of the old capital which is now a village and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was evacuated after two attacks, the last in 1700. Then travel into the mountains for a short walk starting in the island’s Botanical gardens and finishing 300m higher in your hotel. This is your first introduction to the mountains of Cape Verde. Overnight Rui Vaz.

Day 3: Today you have a choice:

Pico d'Antonio

Either walk from the hotel nearly to the top (the last section is not for walkers) of Pico d’Antonio (1394m) the islands highest mountain. It is only a 600m ascent leading through tranquil green areas of woodland then out onto the open hillsides, which offer long views southwards on a clear day as far as the sea and across to the island of Fogo. Overnight Rui Vaz

Ascent: 600m Descent: 600m Distance: 9.5 miles Walking time: 5.5hrs


The Serra Malaguenta National Park

Travel to Santa Malagueta and take a walk towards the coast. This walk in the northern part of Santiago leads from the main north-south road across National Park landscapes. This is an area where threatened endemic species are protected and which with its open landscapes gives you fine views to the west coast. Return to your hotel. Overnight Rui Vaz.

Ascent: 200m Descent: 400m Distance: 7.5 miles Walking time: 5 hrs

Day 4: Early morning transfer to the airport for your inter-island flight to São Filipe, the capital of Fogo. In the afternoon take a walk around this small town and we will help you discover its history. Later take a walk along the black sand beach, it is only 1 ½ hours 3 ½ miles with negligible ascent and descent. Overnight São Filipe.

Day 5: Transfer to the Cha da Caldeiras situated at over 1700m. You are now inside a collapsed volcano, but over 100,000 years old. You walk the last section to your hotel - a unique walk, climbing to over 1900m to the summit of the area’s most recent volcano from where you can peer into the sometimes-steaming crater and gaze out far below at the now solidified lava flow. Overnight Portela.

Ascent: 200m Descent: 250m Distance: 7 miles Walking time: 4hrs

Day 6: Today, you have a choice!

Mount Pico 

Either walk to the top of the imposing 2800m Mount Pico, a child’s image of a volcano with its steep sides. A guide is essential for this trip which should be arranged with us to avoid disappointment. It is an early start and a challenging climb but exhilarating ascent down the ash screes, but you can come down the path. Overnight Portela or return to São Filipe (Higher grade).

Ascent 1100m Descent 1100m Walking time 5 hours.


From lava fields to the coast

Take a long but rewarding walk to Pai Antonio almost on the coast. You start from the hotel, after leaving the lava fields you are soon in cooler forest. This walk is a contrast to the climb of Pico. It offers a wonderful change of scenery as you walk down through banana and coffee plantations and fruit orchards passing as you pass locals at work. Overnight São Filipe.

Ascent: 0 Descent: 1,300m. Distance: 7 miles Walking time: 4 hours

If flying from Sal:

Day 7: Transfer to the airport and fly back to Sal via Praia and transfer to your hotel. Overnight Sal. 

Day 8: Relax in the hotel before your transfer to the airport. 

If flying from Praia: 

Day 7: Stay one more night on Fogo and undertake the alternative walks, or we have a third walk around the Caldera if in Portelo, guided only. Return to São Felipe, or relax in your hotel if you stayed in São Filipe. Overnight São Filipe.

Day 8: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Praia.

You can combine the North & South Islands and create a 14 night island hopping holiday

North & South 14 nights

Here is a typical itinerary. Please note, some changes may be necessary when flight times are known for your journey.

Day 1-6: As Southern 7 nights itinerary.

Day 7: Transfer to the airport fly to São Vicente via Praia and transfer to your hotel. Overnight São Vicente.

Day 8: Rest day on São Vicente in a small coastal resort hotel. 

Day 9-15:
 As Day 2 to Day 8 of Northern 7 nights itinerary.  

This map is for illustration purposes only and we cannot be held responsible for its accuracy.

Cape Verde Southern Islands

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Multi Centre – Southern Islands

We have personally stayed in or visited all of our accommodations. They have all been selected for their great locations, friendly atmosphere and traditional hospitality, as well as the warm welcome they offer to walkers. Below is a summary of our usual accommodations.


Availability Information

It is hot in the Cape Verde islands all year round with only a 6C difference between the highest (Sep) and lowest month (Jan). It is a dry country with almost no rain from November to June. Most rain arrives in September and one of the best times to go is October to December when the islands are at their greenest after the rains. 
Please note our best to go information is generally referring to the walking which may fall in the early or late season in some places. This may mean that not all tourist facilities will be open at the time you visit.

When to book your walking holiday in Cape Verde - Cape Verde - Multi Island - Southern Islands

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