The Cape Verde islands have a fascinating history and the best place to discover it is at Cidade Velha, the Old Town found on Santiago, the largest island, which is the location of the first Portuguese settlement.
The town of Mindelo is on Sao Vicente Island and is considered the cultural capital of Cape Verde. Mindelo is famed for its beautiful colonial architecture and it's also a wonderful place to soak up the culture with some live music.
The most beautiful white-sand beaches can be found on Boa Vista. This is a great location for those with children, who can try and catch sight of the loggerhead sea turtles which lay their eggs here. It's also sometimes possible to see whales at the islet of Sal Rei from June to August.
The island of Sal, found to the east of the archipelago, is a place for those who are looking for seclusion and tranquillity. Home to a number of natural salt baths, the island is popular with couples looking for a quiet, romantic spot.
As you might imagine, cold wintry days are non-existent on the Cape Verde Islands, where visitors enjoy Caribbean-style weather. The islands boast an average of 350 sunny days each year, so holidays in Cape Verde can be taken anytime. The warmest months are August to October, when the average temperatures are 28 or 29 degrees Celsius. Even in the 'coldest' months of January and February, the weather stays at a pleasant 24 degrees.
The Creole Carnival in Sao Vicente takes place each year in mid-February and is the Cape Verde version of the famous Brazilian Carnivale. The biggest and most exciting of the celebrations can be enjoyed in Mindelo.
Baia das Gatas, also in Sao Vicente, is the August full-moon party and lasts three days and nights. Largely a music festival, it's a great place to catch some live Cape Verde sounds.
The Santa Maria Music Festival in Sal takes place on September 15th and is another great music festival.
The Gamboa Festival in Santiago is held in mid-May. This is the largest of the many music festivals celebrated on Cape Verde and it celebrates music from all over the world.
Santa Isabel in Boa Vista is the celebration of the island's patron saint held each year on the fourth of July. As well as the usual processions, the festival includes horse racing and a public ball.
Best of Cape Verde holidays for...
The best things in life are free, and you'll certainly agree when you spend a day at Estoril Beach on Boa Vista island. With its miles of golden sand and crystal-clear waters, you can enjoy your own tropical paradise without spending a penny.
Free & cheap:
Romance: For a dramatic date that will result in breathtaking views, don a good pair of hiking boots, book a guide and climb Mt Fogo - Cape Verde's active volcano and highest peak.
Kids & teens: Young nature lovers will enjoy spending a day turtle spotting on Boa Vista. Book an excursion to catch a glimpse of these endangered creatures.
Grown-up families: Take a trip to Mindelo, the cultural capital of Cape Verde, and spend an evening trying out the national dish, cachupa, in one of its many restaurants while listening to traditional music.
Nightlife: Santa Maria plays host to a variety of nightlife. Restaurants, beach bars and discos can be found here, so put on your dancing shoes and enjoy a night on the tiles.
Active: The combination of great waves and wind on Sal make it a wind- and kite-surfer's paradise. From beginners to the more advanced, the conditions here make it perfect for those looking for an active holiday.
Shopping: The African market in the main square of Sal Rei will present shopaholics with plenty of opportunities to get their hands on souvenirs.
Flights to Cape Verde
Cheap car hire in Cape Verde