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Where is Cape Verde located?

· Travel

In this series of blog posts we're aiming to answer a few of the most important questions around Cape Verde. Where's Cape Verde (located) is probably the most asked question when it comes to the country. Continue to read to find out the answer.

Cape Verde has only become a popular holiday destination in the last 10 years. Before that, it was an unknown archipelago. Today, thanks to its popularity as a beach destination in especially Europe people are very aware of its existence. The country was by far the number one country that saw the highest surge in Google searches since 2004, according to a 2017 research by The Global Travel Search Index.

Although Cape Verde is not the same 'invisible' country it used to be, not everyone knows exactly where the beautiful islands are located. I remember certain old maps, on which the small country would not even appear. The tourism industry and Cape Verdean music (specifically Cesaria Evora) have completely turned that around.

Where is Cape Verde located?

Because of its colonial history, people often make the mistake of thinking that Cape Verde is part of, or located close to either Portugal or Brazil. The country was indeed a colony of Portugal, but gained independence in July of 1975. Cape Verde was used by the Portuguese during the transatlantic slavetrade, with Cidade Velha as a first settlement.

The 10 islands of the country, which together take up about 4033 km2, are located close to the coast of Senegal, West-Africa. The distance from the islands to Senegalese capital Dakar is approximately 500 kilometers. The islands of Cape Verde sit in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Spanish The Canary Islands are located to the north of the archipelago, about 2,5 hour flight away.

To the (far) West of Cape Verde you have the Carribean with the closest island being Antigua, Barbuda and Dominica, among others. Many people love making the cross by sailing boat from Mindelo, São Vicente. A trip that can take up to a week, in good conditions. The shortest distance from the islands to the west is that of the city of Fortaleza, in North Eastern Brazil.

Where is Cape Verde?

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Is Cape Verde in Africa?

Cape Verde is an African country. Not only are the islands located very close to the coast of Senegal, the country is also a member of different African (political) organizations.

Two of the most important of them are:

  • PALOP, the organization of Portuguese-speaking African countries.

    Other countries that are part of PALOP are Guinea, São Tome & Principe, Angola, Mozambique and Guinee Equatorial.

  • CEDEAO, the Economic community of West African states.

    Other countries that are part of the CEDEAO are (among others) Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Mali and Sierra Leone.

Cape Verde is also a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The country participated in its first African Nations Cup in 2013, when it went on to the quarter finals. In 2015 the country was able to qualify for a second time.

Location of the islands

The islands of Cape Verde can be devided in two groups: the Barlavento and Sotavento islands. The Barlavento islands are the islands located in the northern part of the country. The Sotavento islands are the southern part of Cape Verde.

Barlavento (translated: Windward)


Boa Vista

Two of the most eastern located islands, together with Maio which is a Sotavento island.

São Nicolau

Located in between Sal/Boa Vista and São Vicente/Santo Antão. Distance to São Vicente/Santo Antão is a lot smaller though.

Santa Luzia

The only uninhabited island of Cape Verde. There are a few other (very small) islands in the archipelago, but these are not part of the 'official' 10.

São Vicente

One of the smaller islands, but with a large population. Located across the bay from Santo Antão.

Santo Antão

The second largest island of Cape Verde, most western located island of the country.

Sotavento (translated: Leeward)


Together with Barlavento islands Sal and Boa Vista the most eastern located islands.


The largest island and home to capital Praia. Located between Maio and Fogo.


Located between the largest and smallest islands of the country, Santiago (to the east) and Brava (to the west).


Smallest island of Cape Verde. Most western located island of the Sotavento group, neighbor of Fogo (located to the east).

If you're thinking about visiting Cape Verde, my blog might be a good place to start doing some research. The biggest part of these blog posts are related to the islands of São Vicente and Santo Antão, but there is a bit of everything there. Please feel free to head out to the HomePage with the blog section. Thank you for reading!

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