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Praia, the capital of Cabo Verde, is located on Santiago island. It is the country’s largest economic centre.
Like any developing city, Praia, has the sprawling suburbs. In the centre, standing on a large fortress-like plateau (hence the name Platô) and overlooking the ocean, is an attractive old quarter with enough to keep you happily occupied for a day.
Sights N Sounds in Praia
Praia is currently the country’s main musical centre, supported by the Atlantic Music Expo (AME), the largest music trade fair in the Atlantic region dedicated to promoting creole culture, the Kriol Jazz Festival and the Gamboa Music Festival.
Following the country’s independence in 1975, Praia implemented a promotion process for its musical genres, such as tabanka, batuque and funaná. This promotion played a role in the stylistic development of traditional music genres, such as morna and coladeira, which attained significant international renown in the 1990s.
While in Praia, make a point to visit Sala-Museu Amilcar Cabral.This small museum and foundation is dedicated to preserving the memory of freedom fighter Amilcar Cabral (1924–73). Photographs and other memorabilia shed light on one of West Africa’s great visionaries.
An intellectual, poet, engineer, revolutionary and diplomat, Cabral helped lead an independence movement for Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau, ultimately sacrificing his own life – he was assassinated in 1973.
It’s also well worth taking a stroll through Mercado de Sucupira, a bustling food market in the Platô.
Prainha is a subdivision of the city of Praia in the island of Santiago, Cape Verde. It is situated on the coast, south of the city centre. Adjacent neighbourhoods are Achada Santo António to the north and Quebra Canela to the west. Several foreign embassies are located in Prainha. The most notable landmark is Dona Maria Pia Lighthouse, located on Ponta Temerosa, the island’s southernmost point.
Nightlife in Praia
Overlooking scruffy Gamboa beach, Freedom bar is a buzzing eating and drinking spot draws a festive crowd, particularly on Thursday through Saturday nights when there’s live music (from 9pm or 10pm). The outdoor tables on the deck are a fine spot for a sundowner. Good menu too (mains CVE400 to CVE900), with seafood, grilled meats, vegetarian spaghetti and lots of snacks.
Just up from Quebra-Canela beach, Alkimist is a popular, low-key hangout. Grab an outdoor table for an afternoon pick-me-up, or come on Friday and Saturday nights when there’s live music (from 9.30pm).
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How to get to Praia
The main airports in Cape Verde are located at Santiago and Sal; they both handle flights to and from the UK and other international destinations. Nelson Mandela International Airport, also known as Praia International Airport, is the airport of Santiago Island in Cape Verde. It was opened in October 2005, replacing the old Francisco Mendes International Airport.
Where to sleep in Praia
On Santiago Island, overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean, Hotel VIP Praia is a 4 star modern, upmarket hotel with a glass facade offering great accommodation. It is a 14-minute walk from Prainha Beach and 7 km from Nelson Mandela International Airport.