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from £2575
The Cape Verde Islands offer a unique blend of African and Portuguese history. We go to the geologically younger, where the way of life is relatively untouched by the outside world

A day’s walking up the ribeiras on Santo Antao rewards you with stunning vistas over volcanic mountains, deep gorges and the bluest of seas. The prospect of a refreshing ocean dip, perhaps accompanied by a well-earned sundowner drink, entices you on the downward slope towards the white sand beaches.

Tourism is still in its infancy here, with the majority of the development in the eastern islands by the beach. Instead, we head for the geologically younger, more rugged islands where there is superb walking and where the way of life remains largely untouched by the outside world. We can enjoy the freshness of this new destination, while recognising that facilities are at times more limited.

Our introduction to the archipelago is with the largest island of Santiago. Here we first stay on the coast at Cidade Velha, before travelling into the mountains to Sao Domingos, to see a glimpse of life in the very African interior. We continue to the island of Sao Vicente where we explore the fascinating city of Mindelo, with its British historical connection plus a beach walk. We then catch the ferry to Santo Antão, the furthest island west in the archipelago, where we spend several days exploring the ancient cobbled pathways of this walkers’ paradise. This is one of the world’s most dramatic landscapes, with high cliffs, deep valleys and ravines. We’ll walk the ribeiras and appreciate the stunning scenery. We return to Sao Vicente for one night before we return to the UK.

Cape Verde offers beautiful landscapes, turquoise seas, exceptional walking and a warm, sincere welcome. Bring your sense of adventure and pioneer spirit, for a truly memorable experience. All groups will be accompanied by a local guide throughout.

By travelling with us, in addition to experiencing the joy of visiting new places, you can make a difference in the communities you visit. With your help Heart & Sole is able to make a positive impact to communities in need and in less developed countries.


Holiday Highlights

  • Explore Cape Verde’s dramatic canyons and fertile oases, ‘ribeiras’.
  • Dramatic island and mountain views as we hike cobbled pathways.
  • Discover Cidade Velha, the earliest colonial city and UNESCO site.
  • Savour the blend of African and Portuguese culture, music and cuisine.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Praia return Sao Vicente to Heathrow via Lisbon both ways (TAP Portugal)
      Inter island flight and ferries
      Airport/Port transfers
      En suite accommodation with breakfast
      Dinners taken at hotels and at local restaurants
      Local English speaking guide throughout
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 6

  1. Day 1

    Fly from London Heathrow to Praia on the island of Santiago (via Lisbon). We’ll transfer to our hotel in Cidade Velha for two nights’ accommodation.

  2. Day 2

    Today we’ll explore Cidade Velha, a historic village and a UNESCO world heritage site. Cidad Velha, once known as Riberia Grande, became the first European colonial outpost in the tropics. Two churches, a royal fortress and the marble Pillory square still remain. We will take an interesting walk through a surprisingly green lush valley, passing a Baobab or two on the way and the possibility of seeing a Kingfisher as we go. We will spend some time sightseeing around the area.

  3. Day 3

    Today we continue to Sao Domingos and Rui Vaz where we stay for three nights. En route we will visit Tarrafal in the north of the island where we enjoy a walk and have time for lunch. One of the walks we may follow will take us along the coast with fine views of Tarrafal. As our stay in Rui Vaz is in the mountains, you may find the temperature here cooler and the day often starts with misty mountains. 4 miles (6.5km) ascent/descent 250m, 2 ½ hours.

  4. Day 4 to 5
    From Rui Vaz we’ll see spectacular craggy mountains that offer a wonderful contrast to our time spent on the coast. There will be beautiful views across the island, the mountain peaks and plenty of opportunity to encounter local rural life and perhaps the odd donkey! Please see the walks below for an idea of the routes we may encounter during our stay here.

    Rui Vaz, Monte Tchota and Monte Gamboa: After a circular walk through the countryside south of our hotel in the mountains, we climb steadily to Monte Tchota and on along a ridge to Monte Gamboa with views of Fogo Island. 9 miles (14.4km), ascents/descent 550m, 5 hours.

    Longueira and Sao Jorge Dos Orgaos: A walk with great views of the surrounding jagged peaks. There will be a continuous descent where we will pass through eucalyptus and a small botanical garden towards the village of Sao Jorge dos Orgaos. 4.3 miles (7km), ascent 600m / descent 560m, 4½ hours.

  5. Day 6

    We’ll leave Santiago and take an evening flight from Praia to Mindelo, Sao Vicente. We will transfer to our hotel for two nights’ accommodation.

  6. Day 7

    We’ll discover Mindelo today with an orientation walk around the area where we’ll learn about the local history and have some free time to explore more of the area independently.

  7. Day 8

    We’ll take a ferry from Sao Vicente to Santo Antao for 6 nights’ accommodation (possibly with an early start depending on ferry schedules). Santo Antao is mountainous with high peaks, rugged cliffs and deep ravines. The island has a very diverse landscape and some areas are rich in vegetation whereas other areas are barren. The landscape is extremely dramatic and some of the best scenery of the holiday can be found here! In the afternoon we will take an introductory walk from Corda to Coculi. The route will take us on a long decent with some challenging stony sections but with spectacular views into the ribeiras on both sides. We will follow the windy gravel path down the mountainside on donkey paths. 5 miles (8km), ascent negligible / descent 850m, 2 ½ hours.

  8. Day 9 to 13
    During our time on Santo Antao, our walks will take us on cobbled paths with views into the ribeiras, past extinct craters, into verdant valleys and along coastal paths. We’ll get an insight into rural island life as we will pass small hamlets and cultivated terraces. We will enjoy a mix of hotel and local restaurant evening meals. Our walks may include one or more of the following examples:

    Cova and Ribeira de Paul: This is one of the most beautiful walks of the holiday with many contrasts. Starting high on the ridge, it passes an extinct crater before descending dramatically into the lush Ribeira de Paul. The descent is over the grade and the track is a cobbled path. Down in the Ribeira, the quiet road passes a series of interesting hamlets. 9 miles (14.4km), ascent 250m / descent 1350m, 5 hours.

    Cruzinha Coastal Walk: A picturesque coastal walk with ascents and descents through dramatic cliff terraces. This walk is part of the West Coast Trail where there are steep ascents and descents. We’ll walk on old cobble stoned paths connecting the hamlets and deserted houses. We’ll pass 2 small villages where there are usually shops to purchase snacks and drinks. 8.8 miles (14.3km), ascents / descents 500m, 4 ½ hours.

    Espongeiro to Caibros: A walk through the highlands that you’d never know existed into a stunning descent down a spectacular ribeira. The descent is over the grade so an easier alternative is possible. Perfect views for a picnic lunch. 9 miles (14.4km), ascent 100m / descent 1100m, 5 hours.

  9. Day 14

    Today we’ll return to Mindelo on Sao Vicente by ferry for our last night in the Cape Verde Islands. Depending on ferry schedules, we may have a morning walk on San Antao before we return to Mindelo on Sao Vicente or perhaps further exploration of Sao Vicente.

  10. Day 15

    We will depart Sao Vicente for our flight back to London Heathrow via Lisbon.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Praia return São Vicente to Heathrow via Lisbon both ways (TAP Portugal)
  • Inter island flight and ferries
  • Arrival transfer by road c.45mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Blue Marlin Hotel, Mindelo

The Blue Marlin Hotel is located in the bay of the city of Mindelo, and enjoys a panoramic view over the city and is only a 6 minute walk to the beach. The hotel has a restaurant and bar area. There is also a terrace area and an outdoor swimming pool.

Rooms are equipped with air conditioning unit, TV, mini-bar, telephone and free WIFI access.

The restaurant serves European dishes and we can enjoy a buffet breakfast.

Hotel Vulcao, Cidade Velha

The four star Hotel Vulcão is located close to the coast and within short walking distance to Cidade Velha. There is an outdoor swimming pool and small spa area offering relaxing massages and treatments using the most natural ingredients in relaxing surroundings. There is a fitness centre, a garden and a restaurant. The hotel also offers access to a swimming bay (salt water) which is ideal for snorkelling. Rooms are equipped with an air conditioning unit, a stocked mini-bar, flat screen TV, telephone, a hairdryer, and WIFI access is free for one hour per day. The hotel has a restaurant which is open to the locals. We will enjoy buffet breakfasts and delicious meals here.

Quinta Da Montanha Hotel, Rui Vaz

The three star Quinta Da Montanha Hotel is just a 10 minute walk from the centre of Rui Vaz and has private access to the beach. This small family run hotel has fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and green valleys. The hotel is an ideal location for access to great hiking trails. The hotel has a bar and a rooftop terrace allowing for fabulous views.

Rooms are equipped with an air conditioning / heating unit, a TV, telephone, hairdryer, and a minibar. Some rooms have a terrace area and WIFI is provided free of charge in the restaurant and reception.

We will dine in the hotel’s restaurant where we will enjoy delicious traditional dishes made from home grown ingredients with the beautiful panoramic views.