Of the nine inhabited islands in Cape Verde Brava is the smallest, but also one of the greenest. The island does not have an airport; you can only get to Brava by ferry from São Felipe on neighbouring Fogo, or from Praia on Santiago. It is often called the island of flowers or alternatively, the garden island. You will not find crowds of tourists on Brava, which is an attraction for many. From the island you get views across to Fogo and the channel that separates the two islands. It is thought that these two islands might once have been joined. Eating out is relatively cheap compared with much of Europe. Fish is widely available and the local dish of cachupa (a stew with fish or meat) is found on many menus. The ferry arrives at Furna port from where a steep hairpin bend road takes you up to Vila Nova Sintra. This is the island’s main town and is located high on the mountains. If you like hiking, flora and fauna and are looking for a change of pace then Brava is exactly the right place for you.
Brava does not have miles of sandy beaches, as found on some of the other islands. However, there are some very attractive villages on the coast, such as Faja d’Agua. The bay there is frequently described as one of the most picturesque in the whole country. Just beyond the village, there are natural rock pools where you can swim. Much of the coastline is rugged with impressive cliffs.
Brava is a quiet island and is ideal for a peaceful holiday amongst attractive scenery. There are cafes, bars and restaurants, but they will be generally be quieter than on islands such as Boa Vista, Sal or Santiago. You will find live music as you will everywhere in Cape Verde. People don’t visit Brava for a lively nightlife.
Places to visit
Vila Nova Sintra is often considered to be the most picturesque town in Cape Verde. The sobrados (two-storey houses) with little gardens together with the attractive park and paving suggest that the town is a little more affluent than some others in Cape Verde. A wonder around this town is rewarding. Fajã d’Água is a pretty little village on the north coast. This little bay is reached by a narrow road with hairpin bends, but the trip is well worth making. At the far end of the road is the abandoned Esperadinha airport, closed because of dangerous winds and a short runway. Fajã d’Água was once the main harbour on the island. Whaling ships from America would call here and so whaling became a major source of income for the island. When the existing port was built at Furna, Fajã d’Água ceased to be important as a port.
Brava is in the south west of the archipelago. The island has some beautiful scenery including dramatic valleys and mountains. Monte Fontainhas (976 meters) is the highest mountain on Brava. Clouds form above Brava most of the time due to the slipstream of Fogo and Monte Fontainhas. The moisture from the clouds feeds various springs. This creates a plant-friendly climate supporting many species such as oleander, almond trees, date and coconut palms. From the island you get views across to Fogo and the channel that separates the two islands. It is thought that the two islands might once have been joined.