Cidade Velha, which is Portuguese for “Old City” or simply “Sidadi” in Cape Verdean Creole is a city located about 10 miles from Cape Verde‘s capital city Praia on the island of Santiago. Cidade Velha is the oldest settlement in Cape Verde and used to serve as the capital city. The city was once called Ribeira Grande. As of latest measurement the city of Cidade Velha has a population as little as 2500 people.
Today, Cidade Velha is an Atlantic shipping stop and center for Creole culture. It’s an easy reach from Praia, alugeurs leave multiple times a day from the Sucupira Market located west of the Plateau. You can reach the city at very low costs. Once in town, there’s plenty of cultural and historical sightseeing’s. Still, keep in mind that Cidade Velha is a small town, with visiting all of the sightseeing’s, enjoy your dinner in one of the restaurants around main square, you would have explored the town in under a day. If you wish to stay overnight, please ask the tourist information center for accommodation recommendations.
One of the popular tourist attractions include a walking tour starting at the Fort, above the town. From the fort, you will continue to visiting and view the ruined cathedral at the shores of the sea. Further more it will take you the main square, where executions have taken place, and a beautiful monument is waiting for your camera; Pelourinho ou picoto. After, you will reach Africa‘s oldest European built street, Rua Banana leading towards the Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rośario chapel.
To visit Cape Verde, you need a passport valid for at least six months. You also need to present your return ticket or any proof that you are leaving the African country at a certain date, either to go home or to move on to the next destination. You need to have a visa to cross the border.