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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Cape Verde Islands


Cape Verde Holidays

A castaway archipelago marooned off the west coast of Africa, Cape Verde holidays are one of the Atlantic Ocean's best kept secrets. A former Portuguese colony, the wonderful cultural mix shines through the towns, beaches and nature of these beautiful islands.

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The perfect year-round relaxation destination

If you're looking for a romantic getaway, or maybe just a simple holiday away from the crowds, look no further than Cape Verde. The place just oozes relaxation, and most visitors take advantage of the quiet coves and long sweeps of sand to top up their tan under the scorching African sun.

Nine of the ten islands in the archipelago are inhabited while Sal and Boa Vista are both popular tourist destinations that mix fantastic accommodations and towns with superb beaches and natural surroundings.

Where to stay in Cape Verde Islands

Boa Vista
Boa VistaView on Map

Not your typical tourist destination, the underdeveloped nature of this island is why it is so alluring. The miles of beaches and sand dunes across Boa Vista make it a spectacular destination for ultimate relaxation but the quality hotels and small towns of Santa Monica and Sal Rei provide for all your holiday needs.

The best way to view the varied backdrops will be by taking a quadbike tour around the small island. Boa Vista is one of the most important loggerhead turtle nesting spots on the planet, so try to catch a glimpse without disturbing this natural phenomenon.

SalView on Map

Cape Verde's most developed tourist destination still presents beautiful untouched landscapes alongside the popular hotels and towns of Sal. Above all else though, this island is proud to share its abundance of phenomenal beaches with visitors from all over the world.

The island is named after the natural salt craters found inland. Take a dip and float across the salt pools, it's almost impossible to get beneath the surface.

The beaches of Sal are the main attraction though with miles of smooth white sand covering the shoreline. This is the perfect quiet getaway that you've been craving.


Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Escudo
  • Portuguese
  • Approx 500,585
  • GMT - 1hr

350 days of sun a year

This is a group of tropical islands without the tropical wet seasons meaning that holidays to Cape Verde provide perfect days by the beach. The islands of Sal, Boa Vista and the town of Santa Maria are surrounded by fantastic shorelines with smooth sands and clear oceans. Wherever you choose to stay you'll be sure to find opportunities to utilise the ocean with diving schools, boat trips or water sports on offer.

There is interesting nature throughout the islands as Boa Vista is home to a desert landscape with mountains inland while Sal features salt mines and craters.

Unique blend of cultures

Whispers began to ripple through Europe in the '70s, telling tales of secluded shores and year-round sunshine, drawing curious holidaymakers to these volcanic isles. But even today few have heard of Cape Verde holidays, helping it remain an unspoilt paradise.

The Portuguese influence has also led to Cape Verde being one of the most developed African countries. It's known as a safe destination, the locals are generally very friendly and they'll welcome you with open arms.

Laidback days

Despite its quiet reputation, there are plenty of activities to keep you active – if you can peel yourself from your sun lounger or hammock.

Wind and kite surfers flock from all over the world to Boa Vista and Sal's west coast. The strong winds, especially in January and February, make waves here top-notch.

Although surfing here isn't advisable for beginners, the nearby beach bars are a great place to sit back with a cocktail and watch the professionals show you how it's done. The sunset's pretty spectacular too, so remember to bring your camera.

Chilled evenings

Cape Verde isn't known for its bustling nightlife and the majority of resorts and islands enjoy calm relaxing evenings listening to live music in warm friendly surroundings. The exception to this is Santa Maria which has a nightclub in the town but even the locals prefer the to enjoy themselves at cool cocktail bars.

Among the live music to find in Cape Verde, the island is known for its distinctive musical style called Morna, which expresses emotion in a similar way to Portuguese Fado music, giving visitors the opportunity to connect with the culture of the islands in the venues where it is performed.

Cape Verdean cuisine

The island's Portuguese influence is very evident in the local culture and food, though the extent does vary between the islands. Food is a delicious combination of Portuguese seafood, garlic and olive oil, and African stews, maize and beans.

The deserts usually incorporate the islands' home grown fruit such as coconut, papaya or mangos while cheese puddings and coffee puddings are also popular.

Forget about judging a book by its cover here as the restaurants will look peculiar from the outside but are home to delicious tastes and new experiences inside.

Island markets

Holidays in Cape Verde are still very non-commercial which maintains the islands' natural charisma and this is reflected in the shopping options where you're very unlikely to find any branded goods.

Markets are held around towns selling homemade crafts which reflect Cape Verde's Portuguese and African culture blend while there are small selections of clothes shops selling t-shirts and shoes but mostly surf and sportswear.

Getting there

Did you know Cape Verde is actually on the same latitude as Barbados? This means you get the island and sun combo, just without the price tag. The flight time is much shorter too, at just six hours from the UK, you can have warm, soft sand between your toes by the afternoon.

Once you've touched down in Amílcar Cabral or Rabil Airports in Sal and Boa Vista respectively, transfer times to your hotels are usually very short thanks to the small size of the islands. A taxi ride from the airports should never take longer than half an hour to reach your accommodation.