CAPE VERDE – Atlantic Archipelago With A Potuguese Twist

Why go? Ten volcanic islands make up Cape Verde – but most tourists see only one of them. Sal has an international airport and an awful lot of sand; the windsurfing’s good too. But there’s more to this Atlantic archipelago, lurking 570km west of Senegal. Santiago, the biggest island, has lush and craggy mountains, good for walking. Its UNESCO-listed Cidade Velha was the first city built by Europeans in the tropics and has impressive remains including a royal fortress and Pillory Square. Sao Vicente is the place to dip into Cape Verde’s musical heritage; hit the bars of its main town, Mindelo, to hear live morna and coladeira – the area’s creole-inflected music. Perhaps most worth a ferry ride is Santo Antao, a geological wonder of high peaks, where villages teeter on verdant valleysides and seemingly everything grows – from banana palms and pineapples to pines, carobs, eucalypts, dates and almonds. Driving the old road from Porto Novo to Ribeira Grande will showcase the island’s rugged richness.


You can seek out Vila das Pombas, where tiny pastel-painted houses line the promenade against a backdrop of coconut palms.

When to go: Cape Verde is sunny and warm year round. Rainy season is July-October.

How to go: Charter flights fly direct from UK airports to Sal and Boa Vista (6hrs); scheduled flights require a change in Lisbon. Domestic flights hop between islands (except Santo Antao and Brava, which don’t have airports). Ferry services operate but can be irregular; there is a daily ferry between Sao Vicente and Santo Anao.

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