The Full Wiki

Bissau: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Coat of arms
Bissau is located in Guinea-Bissau
Location of Bissau in Guinea-Bissau
Coordinates: 11°51′N 15°34′W / 11.85°N 15.567°W / 11.85; -15.567Coordinates: 11°51′N 15°34′W / 11.85°N 15.567°W / 11.85; -15.567
Country Flag of Guinea-Bissau.svg Guinea-Bissau
Region Bissau Autonomous Sector
 - Total 29.7 sq mi (77 km2)
Population (2007)
 - Total 407,424 est.
 - Density 13,704.1/sq mi (5,291.2/km2)

Bissau is the capital city of Guinea-Bissau. The city's borders are conterminous with the Bissau Autonomous Sector. In 2007, the city had an estimated population of 407,424 according to the Instituto Nacional de Estatística e Censos.[1] The city which is located on the Geba River estuary, off the Atlantic Ocean, is the country's largest city, major port, administrative and military center.


History and landmarks

The city was founded in 1687 by Portugal as a fortified port and trading center. In 1942 it became the capital of Portuguese Guinea. After the declaration of independence by the anti-colonial guerrillas of PAIGC, in 1973, the capital of the de facto independent territories was declared to be Madina do Boe, but Bissau remained as the capital of the Portuguese-occupied regions, and the de jure capital of the entire Portuguese Guinea. When Portugal recognized the independence of Guinea-Bissau and pulled out in 1974 due to the military coup of April 25 in Lisbon, the two territories merged and Bissau became the capital of the new independent state.

The city is known for its annual carnival. Other attractions include the Portuguese-built Fortaleza de São José da Amura barracks from the 1700s, containing Amílcar Cabral's mausoleum, the Pidjiguiti Memorial to the dockers killed in the Bissau Dockers' Strike on August 3, 1959, the Guinea-Bissau National Arts Institute, Bissau New Stadium and local beaches. Many buildings in the city were ruined during the Guinea-Bissau Civil War (1998 - 1999), including the Guinea-Bissau Presidential Palace and the Bissau French Cultural Centre (now rebuilt), and the city centre is still underdeveloped.


View of Bissau from Rio Gêba

Bissau is located at 11°52' North, 15°36' West (11.86667, -15.60) [1], on the Geba River estuary, off the Atlantic Ocean.


The last time an official census was held in the country, in 1991, the city/region had a population of 195,389. However, by 2007, the city had an estimated population of 407,424 according to the Instituto Nacional de Estatística e Censos.[1]


Bissau is the country's largest city, major port, educational, administrative and military center. Peanuts, hardwoods, copra, palm oil, and rubber are the chief products. The airport that serves Bissau is Osvaldo Vieira International Airport. Poverty and lack of development is widespread.

Sister cities


  1. ^ a b Instituto Nacional de Estatística e Censos
  • Richard Andrew Lobban, Jr. and Peter Karibe Mendy, Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, 3rd ed. (Scarecrow Press, 1997, ISBN 0-8108-3226-7) pp. 91–96

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Bissau is the largest city in and capital of Guinea-Bissau.

Get in

By plane

There are direct flights Lisbon-Bissau with TAP [1] three times a week, all arrive currently at 01:10 am, returning the same day. TACV [2] have four flights each week from Dakar to Bissau, returning to Dakar the same day.

Get around

Shared taxis are cheap and plentiful. Stop taxis and tell them where you want to go (or tell the passing taxis by pointing), and they will either accept "no bai" (let's go), or decline "nao" (no) if people, already in the taxi, are going to another part of the city. Prices are more or less fixed, and you'll normally not get cheated, except when you're an obvious foreigner and taking a taxi from the airport or Hotel Bissau Palace.

Group travel is cheaper, for example:

1 person 250 FCFA, 2 persons 300 FCFA, 3 persons 400 or 500 FCFA, 4 persons 500 or 600 FCFA

There are also minibuses "toca-tocas" going on fixed routes, you'll pay 100 FCFA a person for the ride, but the buses are often very crowded!

Former Presidential Palace
Former Presidential Palace
Bissau Velho
Bissau Velho
Porto Pidjiguiti
Porto Pidjiguiti
  • The presidential palace - bombed-out during the civil war, but still standing, though now only inhabited by bats.
  • Bissau Velho - the old Portuguese colonial centre. Not much life there nowadays, but still a nice place to walk around. Don't miss the prison with pink flowers painted on its front (At the corner of the fort, close to the harbour).
  • Porto Pidjiguiti - walk out the little port and talk to the fishermen, watch the pelicans and see the city from a distance. The Pidjiguiti port was the site of the Pidjiguiti massacre on 3rd of august 1959, where police shot down some 50 striking dockworkers. This became the beginning of the active resistance against the Portuguese colonial power. There is a monument shaped as a gigantic black fist commemorating the massacre.
  • Mercado de Bandim - Bissaus main market.
  • Fortaleza d'Amura - old Portuguese fort, containing the mausoleum of national hero Amilcar Cabral and tombs of other revolutionaries. Inside is also Amilcar Cabral's car and a statue of him, given by Cuba some 20 years ago, but never raised, hard to explain why. Can be hard to get in, but possible, if you make friends with the soldiers or get a permission.
  • Museu Etnográfico Nacional (National Ethnographic Museum), on the university campus, opposite "Lenox de Bairro". Open mornings only, it has a small collection of Bissau-Guinean wooden masks and statues, baskets, cloths etc. The staff is very helpful and good at explaining the purpose of the different items, and connecting it to traditional spiritual beliefs.
Centre Culturel Franco Bissau Guineen
Centre Culturel Franco Bissau Guineen
  • The French Cultural Center in the Bayana roundabout often features concerts, movies, dance classes, french classes etc. Programme on their webpage [3]
  • The Portuguese Cultural Center (next to the Portuguese embassy, behind "Benfica") also hosts concerts, but in slightly less inviting surroundings.
  • Swim at Palace Hotel (5000 FCFA), Hotel Azalaï 24 de Setembro or Campo Sueco (3000 FCFA - somewhat more noisy and crowded, but more African atmosphere).
  • Exercise on the running lanes or in the gym in Estadio 24 de Setembro.
  • Play tennis in the tennis club at the Bandim Harbour (close to Estadio 24 de Setembro) or in Campo Sueco.
  • Wood carvings Try the Centro Artistico Juvenil, close to "Chapa de Bissau" with fixed prices and no need to bargain - or the market in front of Pensão Central (here you'll need to bargain).
  • Hand woven textiles Good shop underneith Pensão Central selling textiles from NGO Artiss@l in Quinhamel - or at the Bandim Market.
  • Batik Next to the Post Office.
  • Cashew nuts
  • Bissau-Guinean CDs
  • TINIGUENA in Bairro de Belém is an NGO working for sustainable community development, food and income security as well as a greater control over the natural resources on which the local population is depending. It has a little shop selling high-quality wall-calendars and postcards with Guinea Bissau motives as well as locally produced baskets, marmalade, rice, spices, palm oil etc.
  • Ponto de Encontro has a large selection of quality DVDs, that can be ordered from Portugal and picked up the following Friday.
Bissau Palace - restaurant and pool
Bissau Palace - restaurant and pool
  • Recidencial Coimbra has a good buffet every night at 20.00 - 7500 FCFA including starters, main courses, desserts, wine and water.
  • Palace Hotel [4] - probably the best restaurant in town. Has a swimming pool that non-guests can use for 5000 FCFA (eat lunch at the pool) - and wireless internet.
  • Hotel Malaika [5] - has a nice restaurant inside, but also a roof top restaurant for drinks and fast food style meals.
  • O Bistro - Belgian owned restaurant next to Mavegro, delicious food.
  • Hotel 24 de Setembro [6] - good restaurant, and excellent service, but somewhat overpriced.
  • Papa Louca Favorite place for pizzas and shawarmas. Very fair prices!
  • Le Grimaldi Restaurant of Hotel Kalliste in the Bayana roundabout, very tasty food and nice atmosphere.
  • Centre Culturel Franco Bissau-Guinéen open for lunch, has a nice courtyard for eating your morning croissants and espresso, or a good lunch.
  • Bate Papo very good for breakfast with croissants, pastries and sandwiches, coffee, natural juices etc. Located next to "meteorología".
  • Dom Bifana good steak-restaurant next to the parlament, having a live gazelle and a crowned crane in the restaurant.
  • Dragon Chinese Restaurant uphill from the Bayana roundabout. It is a nice change, once you get tired of portuguese and libanese style food.
  • Fernandas in Santa Lucia - famous for her Bica (Carpe Rouge).
  • Campo Sueco in Alto Bandim - good for lunch and a swim in the pool, while you wait for the food.
  • Ta Mar in Bissau Velho - nice place with outdoor serving in the street in the dry season.
  • Pensão Central - Fixed menu with soup, fish, meat and dessert for about 5000 FCFA for lunch or dinner
  • A Padeira Africana - Portuguese style food
  • Ponto de Encontro - same owner as "A Padeira Africana" - good for a beer and a snack on the sidewalk
  • Restaurante bar maroquino "Sara" - Moroccan restaurant close to Aparthotel Lobato, good fish, shawarma etc.
  • Lenox - Bairro de Ajuda Popular local place with internet café, loud music, beer, shawarma, pizza, goats meat, sandwiches and other fast food.
  • Lenox - Luanda Same concept, but without the loud music.
  • Phoenicia Libanese place for good sandwiches, shawarmas, burgers, pizzas, softice and wireless internet. No alcohol sold.
  • Ali Baba - libanese fast food and soft ice, no alcohol.
  • Bayana - a classic, nicely located, but food is nothing special.
  • A Creola - next to Bayana.
  • Magui - senegalese place above the closed cinema.
  • Monte Carlo - Hotel Jordani - food is nothing special.
  • Dom Bifana - airport located in the very airport, it is fancy looking, but not good value for money.
  • Adega do Loureiro on a sidestreet between Baiana and Benfica. Nice place with good and innovative portuguese food, but the service varies quite a bit.
  • Casa Santos in Santa Luzia
  • Cantinho da Mana M'Butcha Rua Domingos Ramos
  • Ruby Restaurant of the ApartHotel Ruby, next to the UN building
  • Chez Ami Rua Eduardo Mondelane
  • Darling - many Spanish brands, good value. One in the center, one in Estrada de Bor and one on the Airport Road, opposite Mercado de Bandim.
  • Bon Jour - tends to be somewhat expensiver than the others - with a big section of tableware, kitchen utensils, linen etc.
  • Mavegro - Dutch supermarket, northern european food, wall-calendars and postcards from "Tiniguena", creole books and cartoons, historic books on Guinea Bissau.
  • Bodem - supermarket with a big section of shoes and clothes.
  • Mini Marché Alvalade - opposite Dragon chinese restaurant - is the best place in Bissau to buy cheese and frozen meat.


There are quite a few discos and nightclubs, one nightclub popular with expats is X-Klub [7]. The club has pool tables and a small dance floor.

Discos include Plack, Bambú, Sonhos, Orio etc.


Hotels in Bissau are generally overpriced. There's hope that prices will lower as new hotels are about to open.

  • Pensão Central, Avenida Amilcar Cabral, +245 201 232. This Pensão, is a good first stop, with clean rooms (shared toilets howewer) available at a 10000 CFA. It's conveniently located just a few meters away from the port  edit
  • Pensão Creola, Av. Domingos Ramos 37, +245 663 30 31, [8]. Run by a Swiss-Bissau couple, this hostal is good value (if it's still open, website is dead).  edit
  • Hotel Kalliste (Former Casino/Galeão), Praca Che Guevara, Hotel Kalliste. Set in an old Portuguese colonial style building, that is repuditly under renovation. If that is not the case, you'll be pleased to know that the interior is in a much better shape. CFA 40,000 to 60,000 per nigh.  edit
  • Hotel Libya (Former Hotel Hotti Bissau/Sheraton), Avenida 14 de Novembro, +245 251 251. Former sheraton hotel that is now under Libyan management.  edit
  • Grande Hotel, +245 21 3437. are currently undergoing renovation, so it might or might not be open  edit
  • Hotel Ancar, 00245 320 76 33 (, fax: 00245 320 76 35), [9]. This hotel was renovated in 2009. In the center of Bissau  edit
  • Bissau Palace Hotel, +245 664 3000, [10]. A top range hotel and resort complex with swimming pool.  edit
  • Hotel Malaika, Rua Justino Lopes, +245 3207474, [11]. Used to be a good option hotel, but may be closed.  edit
  • 24 de Setembre (Azalaï Hotel), CP 85, +245 677 82 61, [12]. Fairly well maintained hotel, with rooms in better shape than the outside. On-site hotel and restaurant.  edit
  • Brazilian Embassy [13]
  • Chinese Embassy [14]
  • Cuban Embassy
  • French Embassy [15]
  • Portuguese embassy [16]
  • Russian Embassy [17]
  • Spanish Embassy (opening) [18]
  • US Consul [19] - 'Sitec'
  • German Consul - 'Sitec'
  • British Honorary Consul, Mavegro Int., CP100, Bissau [20]

Guinea Bissaus main hospital is Hospital Nacional Simão Mendes ... But if you really need to go to the hospital, probably you should try and get your insurance company to pay for you at least going to Dakar.

Pharmacies are on every street corner in Bissau, pharmacies Rama (there are three), Rina and Amilcar Cabral are usually well-stocked and the indian owners speak english.

Get out

Ilheu do Rei - a nice get-away for a picnic if you're in Bissau on a longer term. Go to Porto Canoa (behind Mavegro and the cemetery) and ask around for a canoa to take you to the island, it takes about 10 minutes and you should not pay much for the return ticket (1000 FCFA?). Once there, check out the abandoned peanut oil factory, and continue through the little village down to a little "beach" (ask people where it is), from where you can turn left and walk along the coast, if you don't mind climbing a little over trees and rocks. For once there is no mangrove, so you can actually get the feeling of strolling along the coast.

Volta de Bissau Starting at the Porto Canoa, this track goes around Bissau, passing rice fields and small suburbs, the big cemetery in Antula, São Paulo etc, and eventually you'll end up at the airport road close to Hotel Bissau Palace. A nice sunday walk, some 4 hours, not all stretches are suitable for vehicles.

Hotel Marazul [21], in Quinhamel. Makes a fine daytrip for swimming and lunch, and maybe a fishing trip. In the town of Quinhamel there's also an interesting weavery, "Artissal" [22], producing handwoven textiles.

Hotel Rural de Uaque [23] is also recommendable, if you need to escape from Bissau for a day, swim and relax.

Praia Suro in Prabis is the Guineans favorite weekend get-away in the dry season. The beach is a bit muddy, but there's always good ambient with music, people dancing, barbecuing, playing football and swimming. Just follow Estrada de Bor out of Bissau, continue when it turns into a dirt road, and eventually you'll reach the beach (might be a two-hour drive).

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:



Proper noun


  1. The capital of Guinea-Bissau.


  • Greek: Μπισάου
  • Japanese: ビサウ (Bisau)

Simple English

Bissau seen from Rio Gêba
Bissau is the capital city of Guinea-Bissau. It is also the largest city in the country; around 355,000 people live there. The city is where the Geba river flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

The city was built by the Portuguese in 1687. It became the capital of Portuguese Guinea in 1942, and has been the capital since independence was declared, except for a short time in 1973 and 1974 when the capital was at Boe. Bissau is famous for having a carnival every year.

The main things that come from here are peanuts, wood, coconut meat, palm oil, and rubber.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address