Mindelo, Cape Verde

Mindelo from the sea Free image

How to Get There

Flying is the most direct way to get to Mindelo on São Vicente Island. The island’s own Cesária Évora Airport is your destination if you can find a direct flight from some European cities. If you’re coming from the UK, Europe, North America, or Australia, you’ll probably have a stop in Lisbon or another European city. 

Another travel option is to fly into Sal Island’s Amílcar Cabral International Airport and then take an internal flight to Mindelo. Many European Holiday companies use Sal making very reasonably priced flights. 

Once you’re on the ground, you can easily get into town by taxi or local bus. 

If you’re the adventurous type, consider taking a ferry from another Cape Verdean island.

What to Do in Mindelo

History

Mindelo offers a glimpse into history with landmarks like the Torre de Belém, a scaled-down replica of the tower in Lisbon. There are also various old colonial buildings that provide a window into the island’s past.

Culture

The city is often called the cultural capital of Cape Verde and for good reason. Carnival in February is particularly colourful and lively, filled with music and dance.

Sites of Interest to a Sailor

If you’re into sailing, Mindelo has a deep-water port and marina that have served as a launching pad for tall ships bound for the Caribbean and North America. The port’s history dates back to when Cape Verde was an important coaling station, making it an intriguing place for anyone keen on maritime history. Today’s Marina Mindelo is well-equipped for modern sailors, and you’ll find stunning coastal views as you navigate the local waters.

Santo Antão. 

Well worth a day of your holiday.

This is a ferry from Mindelo to the island of Santo Antão that takes about an hour. 

Walking in Santo Antão is a real treat for nature lovers. The island is a paradise of rugged landscapes, steep cliffs, and lush valleys. The trails wind through terraced fields, past small villages, and into the heart of the island’s tropical forests. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just someone looking to soak up natural beauty, the trekking options here range from gentle walks to challenging hikes. 

The famous Ribeira da Torre and Paúl Valley walks are particularly worth your time. The dramatic scenery changes from arid flatlands to lush green hills, making every step an experience. All in all, it’s a hiker’s dream with views that you’ll remember long after you’ve returned home. 

Been there, done that and would do it again.

 

Market and Town Hall

The Town Hall has been converted for occasional exhibition space. An exhibition of African tribal artefacts from doors, to helmets, clothing and tools I saw was first class.

There is a large Municipal Market which is a great place to get a flavour of the island.

 

Entertainment

Mindelo offers a solid nightlife with plenty of bars and clubs, especially if you enjoy live music. Musical styles range from traditional morna to the more upbeat coladeira and funaná.

Eating Out

The local food scene is rich with options. Seafood is plentiful, and you shouldn’t leave without trying Cachupa, a hearty local stew that can include fish, meat, or both.

 

Nature

São Vicente isn’t the lushest of the Cape Verde islands, where you can find spots of natural beauty. Monte Verde offers hiking opportunities, and beaches like Praia da Laginha are perfect for relaxation.

Unique Features

What makes Mindelo special is its combination of cultural richness and maritime history. It’s not just a stopover but a place that offers both modern comforts and a sense of history that adds depth to your visit. Particularly for sailors, the mix of maritime legacy and modern facilities make Mindelo more than just another port—it’s a destination.

Mindelo is a gem of a destination, worth every effort to get there.

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