The unforgettable charm of Cape Verde comes from it exotic mix of African and Portuguese influences. Each island offers something a little different, but equally as stunning, to the others. The clear blue waters, lush green mountains ranges, exotic music and food, and striking architecture make the islands an interesting and relaxing place to spend a holiday.
For most visitors to the Cape Verde islands, Santo Antão is top of their list due to its spectacular beauty. Its vast mountains and rich vegetation provide papayas, oranges, almonds, pineapples, coffee, mangoes, lotus blossoms, wild figs and other exotic fruits and flowers. The bright colours, beautiful tastes and fragrances of the environment are enchanting. Head up into the mountains and experience some of the best hiking sights through the steep and striking valleys and gorges.
The highest point of the island is a whopping 1,979 high at the Topo de Coroa. The largest city in Santo Antão is Riheira Grande and has interesting markets and winding cobbled lanes to explore. For a unique, and authentic stay on the island, find a small guesthouse in the hills and sleep among the locals with spectacular views.
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Sal is for the sun worshippers. Its long stretches of soft golden sand contrast with the turquoise waters of the ocean to create a view that attracts beach bums every year. As well as sunbathing and floating about on lilos, there’s a great attraction for surfers on the island due to the trade wind blowing strongly from November to June. But that’s not all… Sal is the full holiday package. Off the coast are beautiful caves and reefs for divers to explore.
Santa Maria, Sal’s liveliest city, offers good restaurants, luxurious hotels and a pretty harbour. At the top of most menus is an array of delicious seafood to indulge on. The nightlife isn’t huge, but there is enough bars and a disco to give you a good night after your day chilling on the beach.
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It’s often said that São Vicente is the cultural island of Cape Verde. Most of its liveliness can be found in the city of Mindelo, once home to many great artists, writers and beautiful music. Mindelo is architecturally intriguing, with buildings and monuments reflecting the British work in colonial times.
The landscape beyond Mindelo is outstanding like the other islands in Cape Verde. The extremely high mountains offer views over the rest of São Vicente, and on clear days you may even catch glimpses of the other islands. On the north of São Vicente, near São Pedro are perfect conditions for wind surfers and there are also options for sailing and diving through the beautiful clear waters.
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Which island is catching your eye? Santo Antão for the mountain views, Sal for the sandy beaches, or São Vicente for its intriguing culture? Let us know in the comments below.