The Biggest Cities In Guinea-Bissau

A scene from downtown Bissau.
A scene from downtown Bissau.

Where Is Guinea-Bissau?

Guinea-Bissau is a West African nation encompassing an area of 36,125 square km and houses a population of 1,704,000. The territory of the country was once part of the Gabu kingdom as well as the Mali Empire. Later, the city came under the rule of the Portuguese Empire and continued to be under the Portuguese rule till the independence of the country in 1973. The name of the capital city of the newly independent country “Bissau” was added to the name of Guinea to distinguish it from the other African nation of the same name "Guinea." Guinea-Bissau has had a history of political instability since independence. No head of state in the country has served a term longer than five years.

The population of Guinea-Bissau practices African traditional religion and Islam as the major religions. The country is poverty-stricken, and the GDP is one of the lowest in the world. The urban centers in Guinea-Bissau are mostly underdeveloped compared to major cities in other parts of the world. Living conditions in these cities and towns are thus quite basic. Here, we discuss some of the biggest urban centers in the country and their major characteristics.

The Three Biggest Cities In Guinea-Bissau


Bissau is the most populous city in Guinea-Bissau and also the country’s seat of government. The city is located on the Geba River estuary on the Atlantic coast of the country. The city is a major port, military and administrative center in the country. The chief products produced in Bissau include copra, palm oil, rubber, hardwoods, and peanuts. The Osvaldo Vieira International Airport serves the city. Two international Portuguese schools serve the city of Bissau. The major attractions in Bissau include the local beaches, Amílcar Cabral's mausoleum, some Portuguese historical sites, Bissau New Stadium, and more. The Guinea-Bissau Civil War witnessed the large-scale destruction of large parts of Bissau city, and while some were rebuilt, others still remain in ruins. The city center of the Bissau is still underdeveloped.


Bafatá is located in central Guinea-Bissau and served as the birthplace of one of Africa's foremost anti-colonial leaders, Amílcar Cabral. Bafatá is currently the capital of the Bafatá Region and also the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bafatá. The town is noted for its brickmaking industry. Since the 1880’s, the Portuguese used the town as an established trade center. Peanuts, hides, cattle, and textiles were traded here. An airstrip, the Bafatá Airport, serves the town. Monkeys and antelopes thrive in the forests surrounding the city of Bafatá and tours are organized for tourists interested in wildlife-viewing. The town, though one of the biggest in Guinea-Bissau, is in a derelict state and lack proper infrastructure.


Gabú is eastern Guinea-Bissau’s largest town. It is also the Gabú Region’s capital. Islam is the dominant religion in this city, and the Falu people are the major ethnic group inhabiting Gabú. The region where the city stands was once the center of the Kaabu empire. Today, it is an important market town and trade center in the country.

The Biggest Cities In Guinea-Bissau

1Bissau , Bissau388,028
2Bafatá, Bafatá22,521
3Gabú, Gabú14,430
4Bissorã, Oio12,688
5Bolama , Bolama and Bijagos10,769
6Cacheu , Cacheu10,490
7Catió , Tombali9,898
8Bubaque , Bolama and Bijagos9,244
9Mansôa , Oio7,821
10Buba, Quinara7,779

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