The Cape Verde islands have historically been a stop-off point amid the lonely leagues of the Atlantic Ocean – a place for planes with dodgy engines to land and troubled ships to dock. But there’s plenty to distract those who linger: sandy beaches lined with nodding palms, and black volcanic hills with sleepy colonial towns perched in their shadows.
Go now to swap chilly British gales for balmy trade winds. Start in Santiago, the biggest island in the archipelago, and take a trip to Cidade Velha – the oldest European settlement in the tropics – with a whitewashed 15th-century church and a beach lined with colourful fishing boats; Vasco deGama stopped in this very spot en route to India, and Colombus stretched his legs in the town on his way to America.
To encounter intrepid seafarers of a different order, take a trip north to the island of Boa Vista, where companies run whale-watching tours in search of the humpbacks that gather here from February.
HOW DO I MAKE IT HAPPEN?
Naturalia offers whale-watching excursions in the waters around Boa Vista between February and May.
There are no direct scheduled flights from the UK to Santiago, however TAP Portugal offers flights from London Heathrow, changing at Lisbon.
Alternatively, Thomson offers flights from London Gatwick to the nearby island of Sal. Getting between all these islands entails taking short internal flights -TACV offers connections between Santiago, Boa Vista and Sal.
Stay at the Hotel Oásis Atlântico Praiamar – a mustard-yellow hotel in Praia, perched on a rocky headland, with attractive terraces looking out to sea.