most beautiful beaches

The 9 inhabited islands of Cape Verde have some of the most beautiful beaches you will find anywhere. The many pristine beaches, tropical climate, and beautiful scenery makes Cape Verde a perfect destination for beach vacations. This small island country also boasts world-class windsurfing and kiteboarding beaches for the keen water sports enthusiasts.

Because Cape Verde is less well known than the Canary Islands to the north, you can enjoy relatively crowd-free and unspoiled sands. It is difficult to list all the fabulous beaches in Cape Verde here, but read on for our selection of some of the best.

Sal

The island of Sal boasts over 350 days of sunshine a year and popular white sandy beaches. Here you’ll find luxury hotels and upscale resorts.

Crescent-shaped Santa Maria Beach on the southern tip is the most popular beach in Cape Verde. The town of Santa Maria is the main tourist hub on the island. You can stroll along the golden sands, swim in warm turquoise water, or unwind in beach bars. Santa Maria is the best place in Cape Verde to relax in a beach chair under a shady beach umbrella and enjoy a cooling cocktail.

A 20-minute walk northeast from Santa Maria is Kite Beach. Water sports enthusiasts flock to Kite Beach to enjoy kiteboarding, especially between November and March when the winds are strong. Kite Beach is also suitable for scenic walks.

Just to the west of Santa Maria, you’ll find Ponta Preta Beach. This peaceful and unspoiled beach backed by rugged sand dunes is a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy relaxing beach walks. This is a wonderful location for admiring the natural scenery of Sal, and there are several hotel bars and a restaurant. Ponta Preta Beach is also a great place to spot turtles.

Boa Vista

Boa Vista is the easternmost Cape Verde island and the closest to mainland Africa. This island is renowned for its traditional music, turtles, and sandy beaches. The beaches here are generally superb for water sports and sightseeing.

Santa Monica Beach on the southwestern coast offers 6 miles of light-yellow sand and crystal-clear water. The length of this unspoiled beach and the surrounding rugged landscape make it perfect for nature walks and whale spotting during the winter months. Santa Monica Beach is considered the best location for admiring sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean. Swimmers should watch out for strong tides off the coast.

Praia de Chaves on the western coast offers 3 miles of unspoiled beach and desert-like sand dunes that are perfect for leisurely walks. Strong winds and waves make this beach one of the most popular destinations for kitesurfing on the island.

Praia de Atalanta on the northern coast is famous for the exposed shipwreck of the Cabo Santa Maria, a Spanish cargo ship that ran aground in 1968. Many visitors to the island come to this beach to enjoy the scenery, watch the little crabs that scamper around in the shallows, and take photographs with the old beached ship.

Maio

Maio is noted for its stunning scenery, colourful fishing boats, local cheese production, and golden beaches.

The most interesting beach on the island is near Ribeira Dom João on the south-eastern coast. The village is renowned for its delicious goat cheese, and there is a scenic palm oasis. A clifftop road provides breath-taking views across the beach. The tides and wind make this beach perfect for surfing.

Praiona Beach, sometimes called Praia Gonçalo, is located on the eastern shore near Alcatraz. This beach is vast but deserted, even though it’s a wonderful location for swimming in the warm turquoise water. The lack of tourists means there are no bars or food outlets, so you’ll have to prepare well before setting out to sunbathe here.

Porto Inglês, also called Vila do Maio, near the southern tip is the island’s capital and boasts an interesting history with British connections. It is also where you’ll find Bitxe Rotxa Beach. This beach is a safe place to swim and a great place to watch colourful fishing boats. From the beach, you can see a pier, and behind that is another beautiful beach, which is great for walks and sightseeing.

São Vicente

São Vicente Island is one of the greener islands in Cape Verde. On the east side of the island, you’ll find Praia Grande. This is a vast, but little-known beach where you can enjoy spectacular views of the coast and mountains. You can enjoy a walk along the beach to Calhau where there are fabulous seafood restaurants, such as Chez Loutcha and Restaurant Hamburg.

Windsurfers should head to São Pedro Beach for strong winds and waves. If you’re interested in learning how to windsurf, the windsurfing school here has earned a good reputation. This beach is a great location for a leisurely walk along the trail to the lighthouse.

Mindelo is the capital of São Vicente and famous for its artists and music. A 10-minute walk from the city centre takes you to Laginha Beach, which features golden sands and turquoise water. This beach is protected from the wind and a great place for swimming. From the beach, you get great views of the mountains on neighbouring Santo Antão Island.

Santiago

Whilst the island of Santiago is best known for Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, it also has nice beaches. Tarrafal Beach in the north of the island is a beautiful crescent shaped white sandy beach with palm trees and with the backdrop of mountains. Just over 7km south west of Tarrafal is the black beach of Ribeira da Prata. This completely unspoiled beach is lovely for a swim and if you are lucky the small cafe will have fresh fish on the menu. Both these beaches should be on your itinerary if you are staying on Santiago rather than just passing through Praia.