Could it be the white-as-sugar sands? Perhaps it's the aquamarine waters? Maybe it's because attitudes in Sal are so totally chilled...
Whatever it is, more and more holidaymakers are discovering the charms of this Atlantic Ocean beauty - so you would be wise to find Sal island holidays now to stake your place on the near-empty beaches and within the turquoise waters that gently ebb and flow from the stunning shoreline.
Cape Verde is a little over 1,000 miles south of the sun-kissed Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa. Despite the distance, the Spanish holiday isles share many similarities with Cape Verde in terms of climate, landscape and, of course, the volcanic origin of the islands. But while the Canaries have been basking in the surge of mass tourism for decades, Cape Verde has remained on the edge of the holiday radar.
In recent years, Sal has emerged as one of the more popular holiday getaways in Cape Verde, together with Boa Vista. While the infrastructure has been improved and resorts have sprung up around the island, you can still enjoy an authentic experience on this island, where music nourishes the hearts and minds of the locals and forms a wonderful holiday soundtrack. Scuba diving is popular on Sal, while the Atlantic breeze makes the island a mecca for windsurfers.
Santa Maria is the main hub of Cape Verdean culture, music, nightlife and food on Sal. It's here that many of the island's hotels sprawl along the long stretch of beach. You can book cheap Sal island holidays and stay in some excellent hotels, including many four- and five-star hotels that have taken luxury and comfort to a new level in Cape Verde.
It takes around six hours to fly to Sal from UK airports. Practise your Portuguese lingo or have a go at Cape Verdean Creole. It doesn't matter if you're not a confident linguist, as English is widely spoken on Sal.
TravelSupermarket has plenty of Sal island holiday deals to tempt you with. Simply use the search tool to compare prices and book your next sunshine break.
Sun, sun and more sun - there's never a bad time to fly to the hot and handsome island of Sal...
Just like the Canary Islands, you can don your swimwear and hit the beaches of Cape Verde any day of the year. Imagine spending Christmas Day on the sands! The average daytime temperature stays above 20C from January to December, on rare days dropping to 19C around February time. Rain is almost non-existent, though the months of August and September see the odd flurry. Despite its location off West Africa, the climate in Sal is kept to a moderate level thanks to those Atlantic breezes.
The streets of Santa Maria usually host the hottest events and festivals in Sal...
Carnival; February/March: The Portuguese influence is seen at its most flamboyant during the annual carnival celebrations, which mark the beginning of the Christian period of Lent. Though the biggest carnival is on the island of Sao Vicente, there are some pretty memorable parades and parties in Sal.
Our Lady of Pity; August: This religious event sees locals going to mass before joyous processions and live music take over proceedings. Follow the sounds and end up on the beach during this one-day event to honour the saint.
Santa Maria Music Festival; September: Part of wider local celebrations, this feast of tunes of both the modern and the traditional variety is complemented by a display of fireworks and much dancing and drinking.
Sal is an ideal holiday destination for couples, groups and families. There's an experience to suit everyone here...
Kids & teens: Book a trip on a catamaran and go snorkelling in one of Sal's hidden coves. Riding on the nets as the 'cat' slashes through the waves is an exhilarating experience for older children.
Romance: Get closer on one of the dance floors in Sal. Influences here range from African and Portuguese to Brazilian - so grab your partner and try a little samba!
Relaxing: With miles and miles of pristine shoreline on Sal, there is certain to be a swathe of sand that is yours and yours alone. So stretch out, let the sun kiss your skin, and have the breeze carry off your troubles.
Active types: See Sal from a new angle when you join a thrilling quad-bike tour, scaling the island's heights and discovering new places.
Nightlife: Santa Maria is the undoubted darling of the nightlife scene in Sal. There are bars and clubs, though Sal isn't really a destination for wild all-night dancing and drinking.