Flying to Cape Verde and Getting Around the Islands

Direct Flights from Europe to Cape Verde

As Cape Verde becomes more popular as a tourist destination it also becomes more accessible. You can fly direct to the Cape Verde Islands from a number of major European and North American cities. Cape Verde international airports are on Sal, Santiago, Boa Vista and Sao Vicente. Cape Verde Inter-island flights link Sal and Santiago to the other Cape Verde islands with functioning airports.

You can fly direct to Sal from Bilbao (4hrs 50mins), Birmingham (5hrs 30mins), Lisbon (4hrs), London (5hrs 30mins), Madrid (4hrs 30mins), Manchester (6hrs) and Milan (6hrs).

You can fly direct to Boa Vista from Bristol (5hrs 30mins), Brussels (6hrs), East Midlands (5hrs 45mins), Frankfurt (6hrs 30mins), Glasgow (6hrs 30mins), Lisbon (3hrs 45mins), London (5hrs 30mins), Madrid (4hrs 30mins), Manchester (6hrs) and Milan (6hrs 15mins).

Sao Vicente is served by direct flights from Lisbon.

Direct Flights from the US to Cape Verde

Cape Verde Airlines (TACV) fly once a week to and from Boston (BOS) to Praia (RAI). Departing Boston every Saturday at 10.30pm and arriving every Friday into Boston at 10.30pm.


Given Cape Verde’s nascent tourism boom and the associated infrastructure development it goes without saying that tourism numbers this far have tended to follow airport construction progress. Sal for a long time served as the only international link into the islands running from 1939 until 1985 as the sole server of international flights. With this back story, and no shortage of white sandy beaches, Sal quickly became Cape Verde’s primary tourist destination. Santa Maria, Sal, can be reached by taxi or hire car in around 15minutes from Amílcar Cabral International Airport along a new 4 lane highway which links to the two main towns on Sal, the other being Espargos.

Amilcar Cabral International Airport, Sal...

Sal International Airport Terminal

The second major airport to open was Praia International Airport (renamed to Nelson Mandela airport in 2012). The airport is 3 kms outside the capital of Cape Verde, Praia on the island of Santiago where the vast majority of the Cape Verdean population live.

Aristides Pereira International Airport on Boa Vista followed shortly after in late 2007. Located 5km south east of Sal Rei, the main town on Boa Vista, completion of the airport opened up the sandy beaches of Boa Vista to the world and various new luxury resort developments and hotels are planned.

The most recent and last, for now, international airport on the islands is Cesária Évora International Airport on Sao Vicente. It opened at the very end of 2009 and in doing so has opened a key international tourist route into the town of Mindelo, considered the cultural heart of Cape Verde and an ever present on any Cape Verde “must see” lists. The airport is located around 5 km from the centre of Mindelo.

Mindelo, the cultural capital of Cape Verde...

Mindelo vista with volvanic moutain in background

Other notable islands to visit are the dormant volcanic island of Fogo, the secluded sandy beaches of Maio and the stunning verdant mountains of Santa Antao, with the small completely unique private villa rental community of Lombo Branco.

So far nearly all international tourist flights are in to the international airports of Sal and Boa Vista but new carriers are adding routes regularly so travel options into the various islands continue to grow with luxury resort developments usually following close behind. For routes into the 4 main airports see the following pages: Routes into Sal / Routes into Boa Vista / Routes into Santiago / Routes into Sao Vicente

Getting Around

The easiest way to island hop is to fly. The national carrier TACV serves most islands except Santo Antao and Brava as there are no currently operating airports on these islands. For the latter two islands ferries are the best option but the island of Santo Antao is not to be missed and a day is a great option.