About São Nicolau
São Nicolau (Portuguese for Saint Nicholas) is one of the Barlavento (Windward) islands of Cape Verde with an area of 388 km². Tourism is relatively undeveloped here and so the island still retains a genuine unspoilt feel. It is a mountainous island with stunning scenery, some of the most impressive in the archipelago.
There are steep mountain slopes with fantastic rock formations; little villages and fertile valleys that are waiting to be discovered. The highest mountain is Monte Gordo at 1312m. This peaceful environment and the beauty of the landscape are good reasons for visiting this lovely island. The island has an airport at Preguiça.
The island capital, Ribeira Brava, hugs the fertile slopes of the mountainside. Its colonial style, colourful houses and delightfully presented gardens make it a noteworthy place to visit. This little town is bustling in the mornings, with the shops busy. Since 1740 it has also been the home of the bishop of Cape Verde.
The beaches at Tarrafal are said to have healing powers, so don’t be alarmed to see locals burying themselves in the sand! However, São Nicolau is probably not the first choice for people wishing for a beach holiday. Some of the coast is quite difficult to get to. Tarrafal is one of the few areas on the island where the beach is accessible for bathing.
En route to Tarrafal, you should make a detour into the Queimadas valley. The ‘Blue Hole’, which is a gap in the cliffs with the sea surging below is worth visiting. When you get to Tarrafal, you will find more residents there than in the Ribeira Brava, together with the biggest harbour on this island. Tarrafal is also has a number of shops and restaurants.
If you are looking for natural beauty and a walkers paradise that isn’t quite as steep as Santo Antão then why not visit São Nicolau. It is a great destination for hikers and mountain bikers.