SAL Travel Guide

By | April 21, 2021

Sal is a barren beautiful beach destination. Cape Verde’s most popular island, Sal, is an always sunny holiday destination whose charm is based on miles of sandy beaches and a peaceful way of life.


A paradise for a peace-loving holidaymaker

The Cape Verde archipelago is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about 500 kilometers off the coast of West Africa at the height of Senegal. Sal is one of the thirteen islands of Cape Verde.

The sunny and warm climate, miles of white sandy beaches, water sports and authentic African-Portuguese culture enchant the peace-seeking traveler.

The name of the island comes from the Portuguese language and the salt mine once located on the island. The size of the island is relatively small, only 35 kilometers long and about 12 kilometers wide. Today, the barren beautiful, almost flat island is one of Cape Verde’s most popular destinations.

Sal and especially the city of Santa Maria are a choice for those looking for a relaxed beach holiday. The rhythm of life in the city is slow-paced, so it is easy to break away from the hecticness of everyday life. Santa Maria offers the tourist good restaurant services as well as great opportunities for water sports. However, after shopping and nightlife, it is not worth traveling there. There are also few actual attractions.

Always wonderfully sunny

Always wonderfully sunny

Cape Verde is known as a sun-friendly resort that you can travel to all year round. The warm wind from the sea always keeps the temperatures at pleasant readings. They range between 20 and 30 degrees and the air doesn’t feel as hot as on the African continent.

In the Cape Verde Islands, it rains only in the fall and even then rarely. In winter, the evenings may be a little cooler, so long-sleeved ones shouldn’t be left at home.

Relaxed beach vacation

Sal is above all a beach holiday destination. The local rhythm of life is slow and calm, so it’s good to escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. Music is an important part of the life of the islanders and the rhythms also become familiar to the holidaymaker.

The beaches of the Sal are kilometers long and at best up to 200 meters wide. On white sandy beaches you don’t have to lie side by side with your neighbor but find your own peace easily. Those looking for activities on their holiday can enjoy a variety of water sports. Surfing and kite surfing are popular. In addition, diving and snorkeling are possible.

The busiest center of the Sal is the city of Santa Maria. Its services are the most advanced on the island, but even for the discerning traveler, they remain modest. However, everything you need is available. Santa Maria has plenty of restaurants for tourists serving local food. The best are freshly caught seafood. The town’s shopping opportunities are modest, with mainly local crafts, jewelery and fabrics for sale. There are a few specialty shops for surf enthusiasts.

There are few actual attractions on the island of Sal. The charm of the place is based on the beaches, the authentic original culture and the relaxed way of life. The nightlife in the Sal is also modest, so it is not worth traveling to the island.

Good to know

A visa is required when traveling to Cape Verde and Sal. Up-to-date information on entry regulations can be obtained from the tour operator or the country’s own authorities, for example from the nearest mission.

Dengue fever and malaria occasionally occur in the islands of Cape Verde. It is therefore worth protecting against mosquitoes. Only bottled water should be drunk on the island. In addition, comprehensive travel insurance is recommended.



Arrived on a package or on your own

The island of Sal has an airport to which most flights to Cape Verde land. You can fly to the island on your own via several European cities. There is at least one stopover, sometimes several. At the shortest, the flight length will be about 10 hours. Round-trip flights cost around 800 to 1100 euros.

You can also travel to Sali Island in winter by package. The island is part of Finnmatka’s selection, for example. Finnmatkat flies to Sal via Tenerife.

Accommodation on the island of Sal

The largest supply of accommodation on the island of Sal is in the capital Santa Maria. The accommodations are mainly traditional hotels of different levels. Many also offer an all-inclusive option.

The price level of the Sal is cheaper than in Finland.

Getting around on site

You can get around the island by taxi and minibus. In addition, pallet trucks with narrow wooden benches operate between smaller destinations. They pick up passengers from all over and stop on request.

If you want to go from Sal to explore the other islands of Cape Verde, you can do so by boat or by plane. Both options are affordable, but you should be prepared for delays.



Santa Maria beach

Santa Maria Beach is located at the southern tip of the island of Sal. From the nine miles of white sand beach, it’s not hard to find your own peaceful place to sunbathe. The beach is worth seeing in its rugged beauty.

Santa Maria Beach offers great opportunities to try a variety of water sports. For example, you can surf and kite surf on a suitably windy beach.

Ponta Preta beach

Ponta Preta beach is especially popular with experienced surfers. It is located at the southern tip of Sal, just outside the village of Santa Maria. There are some big rocks on the beach, so swimming there is only recommended in calm weather.

The beach is an ideal place to watch the sunset as there are no other islands on the horizon blocking the view.

Boat trips to the sea

The turquoise sea is an important part of your holiday in Cape Verde and Sal. Sea can spend a whole day or just to make a half-day excursion.

Excursions by various boats are available. Those who appreciate relaxation will choose a sailboat or catamaran for the vehicle, a speedboat that needs speed. Excursions can also be combined with diving and snorkelling. If you don’t want to get wet, but are interested in the underwater world, you should go for a glass bottom boat.

The port city of Palmeira

Most of the island’s shipping traffic arrives in the port city of Palmeira. All boat trips also depart from there. The architecture of the city’s bars and restaurants still shows Portuguese influences.

To the north of Palmeira are the best dive sites on the island. About 5 kilometers from the city is Olho Azul, whose underwater world includes both magnificent reefs and handsome caves.

The village of Pedra Lume

Pedra Lume is located on the east coast of Sal. Pedra Lume is known for its salt lake formed in an old volcanic crater below sea level. There was once a large salt mine in the area, but today the village is almost abandoned. However, it is possible to go swimming in Salt Lake. There are also showers in the area.



The best beaches in the Sal

  1. Santa Maria
  2. Ponta Preta

The best activities in the Sal

  1. Sun worship
  2. Surfing and kite surfing
  3. Diving and Snorkeling
  4. Eating