São Nicolau Island-You Have To Know



São Nicolau Island


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São Nicolau is a volcanic island located in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, north of Trindade Island. With an area of 137 km2 (53 sq mi), it is the smallest and easternmost of the five São Nicolau Islands.

Administratively, it is part of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, along with the other four inhabited islands. The capital is Praia. The population was estimated at 3,306 in 2009.

São Nicolau Island


The island was originally settled by the Portuguese in 1520. They named it after Nicholas of Cusa, a philosopher, and theologian who had died that year. In 1640, while seeking new lands to settle, the Dutch captured the island from Portugal and renamed it Sint-Nicholas (after their patron saint). The British occupied it during the Napoleonic Wars but handed it back to Portugal in 1815. It became an autonomous region of Madeira in 1976.

São Nicolau is one of five islands that make up São Nicolau e Vitória National Park, a national park in the Madeira island chain. The island has a harsh, wet climate, typical of a tropical island. Temperatures range between 22 and 27 degrees Celsius (72°F to 82°F) year-round but can be considerably lower during winter storms that bring over forty inches (1 meter) of rain in some months.

The area is commonly known as the “Rainy Isle” because of its weather patterns; often clouds form within minutes on São Nicolau following they have left highland areas.



São Nicolau’s climate is classified as a tropical wet and dry island. The average annual temperature ranges between 22-27 degrees Celsius, with an average of 26 degrees Celsius annually. January is the coolest month, averaging 18 degrees Celsius, and July the warmest with an average of 27 degrees Celsius.

Weather patterns are constantly changing due to the island’s close proximity to Africa which results in seasonal weather swings such as hot days during October–November transitioning into cold weather during February (due to easterly winds). São Nicolau experiences occasional hurricanes that can cause heavy damage onto concrete buildings , landslides, and loss of island vegetation.



The island has a Portuguese culture with influences from African slaves who were brought to the island in the seventeenth century. There is strong respect for elders and traditions, which can often be observed during traditional festivals such as Christmas or Easter where families attend church services together then enjoy a festive lunch afterwards.

Some unique aspects of São Nicolau’s culture include an interesting language called ‘malgache’ which is spoken by many people on the island, especially in rural areas and among fishermen; it is difficult to understand without learning basic greetings and expressions first.



The island is a self-governing state within the Portuguese Organisation for Development Cooperation. The president and cabinet are appointed by the Portuguese government, with elections taking place every four years.

The last election was held on 5 April 2013 and resulted in a victory for the Social Democratic Party which formed a coalition government with two other parties. The island’s economic development is reliant on tourism, with visitors drawn to its beaches and crystal clear water.

Government services

Government Services

The island has its own hospital, police force, and financial institutions. There are no airports or ports on São Nicolau, however ferries connect the island to Brava in the north and Vila do Conde in the south. Education

São Nicolau has a total of 20 primary schools, 13 middle schools, 2 high school and one secondary teachers training centre .The island enjoys free public education from early years to university.

Health services

Health services

The island also has two public health centres, a private hospital and doctors available in the various settlements. The island’s most recent government medical development, which was sponsored by the European Union and experts from Portugal, is a state-of-the-art bedside critical care unit that can receive patients at any of its facilities.

This new service seeks to provide onsite or nearshore specialist treatment for critically ill patients who require urgent assistance but cannot travel long distances either before or after diagnosis because they are too weak to move; such patients include those with conditions like cancer who require chemotherapy and those with eclampsia, severe pre-eclampsia or hypoxic disorders.



São Nicolau is a popular tourist destination, with visitors drawn to its beaches and crystal clear water. The island has many restaurants, bars and nightlife venues catering for all tastes and budgets. The island also has a wide range of accommodation, from basic hostels and pensions to luxurious five-star resorts.


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São Nicolau is well served with telecommunications networks, including satellite TV, landline telephone services, and Internet access. The island has several daily newspapers as well as magazines covering a variety of topics.



The island’s only public transport system is a small bus network that links the various settlements. There are also a limited number of taxis and private cars available for hire.

The island has a well-developed road network, with many kilometers of white sandy beaches accessible by car. The island has three airports – at São Nicolau, Praia do Forte, and Bocagrande – all serving flights to/from Europe, North America, and South Africa.


If you’re looking for a remote getaway with stunningly clear waters and absolutely no crowds, São Nicolau Island is the perfect place for you! This tiny island in the Cape Verde archipelago offers all the luxuries of a modern beach escape, with none of the hassles.

Whether you’re searching for an idyllic spot to relax or want to explore some of the world’s most dramatic coastline, São Nicolau has everything you need and more. With so much to see and do, there’s no reason not to book your trip today!


1 . What Is The Currency In São Nicolau?

The local currency is the euro.

  1. Is There A Airport On São Nicolau?

There isn’t an airport on-island, however, Praia does have regular flights to and from Funchal, Madeira’s main city. You can also fly into Portugal and take a connecting flight to Sao Nicolau island.

  1. Is It Easy To Get Around São Nicolau Island?

Getting around the island is easy with public transportation options that include buses and vans available 24/7 from Praia . Rent a bike from one of the many bike shops around town, or take a walk. You can also hire boats to explore some of the island’s hidden coves and reefs.

  1. What Are Some Recommended Places To Visit On São Nicolau?

Some popular destinations include Bioluminescent Bay, which is known for its dazzling blue waters; Silves, a picturesque village with stunning Portuguese architecture; and El-Rei Beach, which boasts dramatic cliffs and clear turquoise waters.

5 . What Are The Temperatures Like On São Nicolau Island?

The island experiences a moderate climate, with temperatures ranging from 18-28 degrees Celsius throughout the year.

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