As the capital city of Guinea Bissau, Bissau is the largest and most affluent city in the country. Direct flights into the city are readily available especially by the Senegal Airlines which have frequent flights from Dakar to the country. Once you have landed in Bissau, you can get around the city in the plentiful, cheap taxis. Despite being a huge city, don’t expect extraordinary attraction in Bissau but it is still a great city especially when you are planning an African trip. Perhaps the first thing to steal your attention is the Presidential Palace in the city. While the palace has almost been brought to its knees after multiple bombings during the many civil wars that characterize the city and country at large, it is still worthy of a visit even though bats have recently made the palace their home.
The Bissau Velho is a historical Portuguese colonial center and even though the area is not lively as such, it wouldn’t hurt spending a few minutes wandering around the area. There is a prison with some pink flowers around just next to a harbor and it’s worth a visit.
Porto Pidjiguiti is also widely known as the spot where the 1959 Pidjiguti massacre took place where at least 50 dockworkers on a strike were shot down by local police. This marked the beginning of an active fight against the Portuguese colonialists and towards the country’s independence. A monument was erected at the area to commemorate the massacre and has of late become one of the city’s landmarks.
Mercado de Bandim is the major local market that attracts a large number of locals and foreigners. The Fortaleza d’Amura is an old fort in the city which contains a mausoleum and tombs of the country’s nationalists and revolutionaries. The city also houses the National Ethnographic Museum where there are various collections of wooden masks, cloths, baskets, and statues. This museum is a must-visit particularly due to the friendly staff who will explain to you the various traditional and spiritual beliefs regarding the various artifacts.
Bissau also has a French Cultural Center featuring concerts, dances, movies, and French classes. Portuguese cultural center in Bissau is located near the Portuguese embassy and even though the surroundings are less inviting, you will still be fascinated by the various concerts held here. The Palace Hotel offers a great swimming spot and even though the area can be a little crowded and noisy the authentic African atmosphere created is something that you will not want to miss out on. A city gym and fitness center will also keep you busy as you undertake some exercises and you can as well decide to play tennis at Lino Correia Stadium.
Shopping in Bissau mostly involves buying of local wood carvings, handwoven textiles, cashew nuts, batik, and local CDs. Nightclubs and discos in the city are not many but some of them like Insomnia and X-Klub will guarantee you a momentous night thanks to cute dance floors and pool tables.