Cape Verde Uncovered

Cape Verde is hotting up. A relatively new destination for UK travellers, the archipelago offers 10 islands with everything from pristine beaches and lively towns, to rugged mountains and rural villages. The former Portuguese colony may still be relatively unknown, but there is plenty to offer holidaymakers.

Just six hours from the UK and with temperatures hovering around 24 – 29°C year round, it’s no surprise people can’t wait to explore Cape Verde. Just off the coast of Senegal, you can expect a melting pot of Portuguese, Brazilian and African cultures in everything from the food, to the music to traditions.

You can fly to Cape Verde with TAP Air Portugal.

Sal

This is Cape Verde’s most popular island, largely for the expansive beaches and stylish all inclusive resorts. It offers excellent kite surfing and windsurfing facilities, and the opportunity to see local fishermen and women at work along the coast.

Sal’s colourful town of Santa Maria is where you’ll experience Cape Verde’s traditional restaurants, shops and cafés. By day, visit the Pedra de Lume salt mine or even enjoy the annual Santa Maria Festival of music and food in September. By night, experience Brazilian and reggae rhythms in local bars or head down to the shores for a beach party.

São Vicente

The port city of São Vicente is home to the cultural capital of the islands, Mindelo, a town packed with bars and clubs. A great choice for foodies and culture vultures, Mindelo has a thriving art and music scene too.

The island is largely dominated by the proud peaks of Monte Verde (Green Mountain). By day, head down to Laginha beach to soak up the sun, while evenings here are all about the local nightlife.

A short boat trip from here can take you across to Santo Antão, while the village of Baía das Gatas in the northeastern part of the island is just 12km away and hosts a full moon festival in August.

Boa Vista

Boa Vista translates to ‘beautiful view’ and rightly so. Like Sal, powder soft sand and clear waters are the main draw alongside idyllic beach resorts. With a round 55km of coastline, there is plenty to explore at your own pace but remains quitter than its neighbour. Chavas beach, Ponta Antonio and Estoril beach are all worth seeing.

The capital – the sleepy town of Sal Rei – is a sweet spot of rainbow-coloured houses, a harbour and cafés, while the bays of Sal Rei are perfect for swimming. For lunch, Eat around Praça de Santa Isabel.

Santo Antão

The island of wind, water and mountains. As the second largest island in Cape Verde, the striking landscape is vast with contrasting areas of dry, barren land and lush vegetation with citrus fruit trees and coconut palms.

With only around 50, 000 inhabitants on the island throughout the cities of Porto Novo, Ponta do Sol, Paúl and Ribeira Grande, Santo Antão remains rural and authentic. Small churches, shops, markets and guesthouses characterise the island along with its sweeping valleys.

One of the best ways to see Santo Antão is on foot. There are plenty of walking trails which allow you to explore the more remote parts of the island.