Walking Holidays in Cape Verde - Multi Island - Northern Islands


Holiday Highlights
  • Island hop between cultural São Vicente and fascinating Santo Antão,
  • Begin in the tranquil centre of the island, cross over old volcanic craters and witness the traditions of simple mountain life
  • Experience an unbelievable coastal walk, where you can spot dolphins, turtles and whales along the way


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  • Overview
  • Walking
  • Pricing
  • Map
  • Accommodation
  • Info

Here is a brief description of the Northern Cape Verde Islands

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.

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

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.


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. 

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, some 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 São Vicente, or fly directly to São Vicente via Lisbon. Transfer to your hotel in Mindelo.

Overnight Mindelo.

Day 2: Transfer to port for an early ferry to Santo Antão where you are met upon arrival and transferred to the centre of the island at Cova de Paul. Start by walking across an old volcano crater now farmed as the soil is so fertile. After a short climb to the crater rim, descend on an amazingly steep, zig zag non vertiginous mule trail into the spectacular Paul valley passing farmer’s terraces clinging to the mountain side and with your first vision of Cape Verdean life and her happy, friendly people.  Walk to your chosen hotel. 

Ascent: 200m Descent: 1500m. Distance: 5 miles walking time 4 hours 30 minutes.

Overnight Paul Valley.

Day 3: Today is an easier day as you can take a circular walk from the hotel and discover the agriculture and people of this island followed by some relaxation at your hotel to enjoy the spectacular views and complete tranquillity.

Ascent: 500m Descent: 500m. Distance 5 miles walking time 3 hours.

Overnight Paul Valley.

Day 4: Start high in the centre of the island and walk down another steep valley going to the other side of the island. This walk has some vertiginous sections, but the trail is wide and with a small wall for comfort. As you descend you pass from the vegetated highlands through barren mountains sides to the fertile valley below. Return to your hotel. 

Ascent: nil Descent: 1200m Distance 7 miles Walking time 4 hours.

Overnight Paul Valley. 

Day 5: Morning transfer to Ponta do Sol and your new hotel where luggage is left and you set off on today’s walk - a complete contrast along the most spectacular coastal walk imaginable as you trek along an old cobbled path clinging to the cliff and often cut from the cliff itself. The sea crashes against the rocks below while turtles, whales and dolphins may frequently be spotted. Pass through villages clinging to the cliff side and at times descend to water level. Return to your hotel. 

Ascent: 800m Descent: 800m Distance 8 miles walking time 5 hours.

Overnight Ponta Do Sol.

Day 6: Today enjoy a wonderful undulating walk through fertile valleys and across low mountain ridges but never far from the coast.  The landscape is dramatic enhanced by friendly locals met on the way. The walk ends at an interesting place used by exiled Portuguese Jews and Lepers where you are met and transferred to the port for the late afternoon ferry to São Vicente. Transfer to your hotel. 

Ascent 400m Descent 800m Distance 9 miles walking time 5 hours.

Overnight Mindelo.

Day 7: Optional walk to the top of the highest point on the island (720m), a steady climb that gives you ever changing views as you spiral to the top with commanding views over the whole island. Ascent 700m Descent 700m Distance 8 miles walking time 4 hours. Or, take an easy coastal beach walk. In the afternoon, explore the historic city of Mindelo with its strong British connections. Transfer to the airport for your evening flight to Sal and transfer to your higher or standard graded hotel on Sal.

Overnight Sal.

If travelling via Lisbon, overnight in Mindelo.

Day 8 After a mornings relaxation or a visit to the Salt Pans, you are transferred to the airport for your afternoon flight back to the UK.

If travelling via Lisbon, transfer to the airport for your early morning flight.

 
You can combine the North & South Islands and create a 14 nights 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.

Walk Grading

Guided Walking

We grade as Moderate, 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!

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

Cape Verde Northern Islands

We offer a choice of Standard and Higher Graded hotels in most locations. In some there is no reasonable choice so we are just offering one category.

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North & South- All Grades

We offer a choice of Standard and Higher Graded hotels in most locations. In some there is no reasonable choice so only one category is available.

Here are the Higher & Standard Graded Hotels so you can compare, you can mix and match and we would put a quotation together for whatever combination you wish.

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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 - Multi Island - Northern Islands

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Good N/A Good Good Good Good OK OK N/A Best Best Best


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