Introducing holidays to Cape Verde
The cluster of islands known as Cape Verde is diverse, rich in culture and with stunning scenery, but that description doesn’t do them justice. From the volcanic landscape to delectable cuisine you won’t find at home, this small family of islands plays host to a wealth of activities and attractions to satisfy all the senses. There’s a strong Portuguese influence, and you’ll hear the language across the islands, as well as Cape Verde Creole. Those seeking warmer climes will be delighted to discover the weather across the islands remains wondrously warm and dry throughout the year, with just a few inches of rainfall in September. The landscape is flat and dry, and the islands each have their own sweeping beaches and quiet coves - ideal for explorers and sun loungers alike. You would be forgiven for thinking you’re in the Caribbean when island hopping around Cape Verde; the crystal blue waters and stretching beaches mimic the fair shores of the West Indies, and the culture and cuisine is as diverse and encapsulating. Whether you’re a guest of Santiago, Boa Vista, Sal or one of the 7 other islands of Cape Verde, you are sure to find paradise.
Top resorts in Cape Verde Islands
Santa Maria (Cape Verde)
from £370 pp
from £734 pp
from £752 pp
At a glance
- Language: Portuguese
- Time Zone: GMT +-1
- Average flight time: 6h 0m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Cape Verde deserves a visit purely for its unparalleled beaches, however, if you’re looking for a little more culture on holiday, these islands do not disappoint. Fogo Island is an adventurer's dream, with memorable views atop Mount Fogo – however, make sure you pack provisions as the hike is a solid 4 hours. Culture junkies will be excited to find that Santiago’s capital, Praia, is home to a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is sure to be a once in a lifetime experience.
Wine and Dine
If exploration and adventure works up an appetite, island hoppers won’t go hungry with the incredible offering of food and fun on the islands. Thanks to the location and fine water, many restaurants offer a sumptuous selection of seafood, as well as an interesting mix of South American and Portuguese cuisine. Exotic fruit is offered across the island - you’ll never have tasted anything quite like the delight of fresh papaya and mango straight from the tree! Around the islands you’ll also want to make sure your holiday takes in Mindelo for an evening stroll along the Praca Nova for its cafes, live music bars and scrumptious restaurants.
Family holidays in the Cape Verde Islands are a wonderful experience. Long, golden sandy beaches will not only wow the whole family but give hours and hours of fun and adventure. Hotel pools and organised games and activities will delight the little ones while mum and dad enjoy a cocktail or a well-earned nap! And the whole family will enjoy learning about and experiencing the island culture together. There’s loads of natural fun to explore on the islands, with horse riding, volcano hikes, meeting turtles and stunning hillside views out to sea making for lifelong memories and holiday stories to tell friends and relatives back home. Family holidays in the Cape Verde islands also offer the opportunity to mingle with Portuguese and Italian families among other visitors, as well as meeting local people and sharing in their unique culture. You’ll also find the hotels on the Cape Verde islands to be very family-friendly and with an abundance of child-proof activities. All in all, the islands are perfectly suited to family holidays, and you’ll find the experience memorable and long-lasting.
Action and Adventure
For such little islands, action and adventure holidays in the Cape Verde Islands are awash with variety, thrills and spills. Whether you’re a water dweller or more one for dry land, there’s a fantastic range of water sports, coastal challenges and dramatic scenery to make the most of during your Cape Verde holiday. Windsurfing is a natural pursuit on the islands, as the sails benefit from the Atlantic breezes– the island of Sal being a particular hotspot for perfect wind conditions and guided courses if you’re really intent on making waves! Kitesurfing is also a must-try for adrenaline on the sea, with help and support whether you’re a complete novice or a king of the kite. Fishing and diving are also superb experiences on the isles, with organised trips and charters available to your tastes. Back on land, you can explore the islands on a quad bike tour, stop off for a game of beach football or volleyball, and enjoy some absolutely magnificent hiking trails in the mountain mist and volcanic splendour the islands have to offer. Action and adventure is plentiful all across the Cape Verde Islands – your holiday will be non-stop (if you want it to be!).
Life's a Beach
The Cape Verde archipelago is a beach-seeker’s paradise, with stunning sands and dreamy waters on almost every stretch of coastline. There is a cluster of beautiful beaches around the nation’s capital, Praia, in Santiago, including the expansive sands of Ponta Negra, the rugged cliffs of Prainha Beach, or the relaxed cove of Quebra Canela. Away from the capital, your choices of beach will depend on whether you’re just planning to chill out, or whether action and adrenaline are the order of the day. The exotic paradise of Sal offers windsurfing, kitesurfing and snorkelling for the adventure addicts, or simply stunning sands and beach bars for the more laid back persuasion! You could also hop across to the stunning Boa Vista island on the far east of the archipelago for traditional food and music as well as the natural beauty of the marine turtles. Beach holidays on the Cape Verde Islands have that perfect combination of fun, relaxation and nature in one of the most idealistic settings in the world.
The islands do not disappoint when it comes to nightlife either. Santa Maria on Sal, Mindelo on São Vicente, Praia on Santiago and Sal Rei and Esplanada on Boa Vista are the hotspots when it comes to evening entertainment - particularly in the festive season when these cities come to life. Live music, entertainment and even discos and nightclubs are all waiting to be enjoyed in the main cities, and even the quieter areas have bars and restaurants where you can hit the tiles, should the mood strike. For such a small area, you’ll be amazed at the variety and passion for nightlife on your Cape Verde Islands holiday. In Sal there’s a fantastic range of bars and clubs including the well-known Disco Pirata for dancing the Atlantic night away. Plenty of the nightspots also have local bands playing their unique beats, and if you’re visiting in September you’ll love the Beach Festival of Santa Maria for its contemporary Zouk vibes. For the real night owls, there’s the Disco Galaxe, Cave or Astro clubs for chilling, dancing and chatting. No mention of Cape Verdean nightlife would be complete without Praia and its unofficial status of the capital of the islands’ nightlife scene. Whether you’re visiting for the huge Festival Praia da Gamboa in May or for the many great bars and clubs you’ll never be left wanting for nightlife in Praia. The Cape Verde Islands are where African nightlife meets Portuguese and South American styles, and the result is a truly different experience that make nightlife holidays on the archipelago totally unforgettable.
If families will love it here, the Cape Verde islands are simply a couples’ paradise. Whether you’re looking to explore the islands’ vast natural treasures such as turtles, volcanoes or coastal walks, or whether it’s a more feet up experience that’s on the cards, the islands make for the perfect couples’ retreat. Beachside resorts such as the Hotel Morabeza, Iberostar Club Boa Vista Hotel, Odjo d’Agua Hotel or Dunas de Sal offer partying by the pool, reflecting by the sea, reading while reclining and all the other perks you would expect from quality resorts. If you’re looking for that bit more freedom on your Cape Verde experience, try the Orquidea Guest House for a bed and breakfast package that will give you the flexibility to try some of the archipelago’s finest eateries and nightlife spots. You can also step back in time and indulge yourself in the Colonial Guest House for a traditionally-run treat. There are choices aplenty for couples on the Cape Verde Islands – you’ll be amazed at the variety of accommodation and activities and friendliness of the locals, and you’ll love your experience.
The archipelago enjoys a rich cultural heritage, with influences from Africa and Europe and South America contributing to a lively, diverse and fascinating environment. Praia is the cultural hub, with stage performances, musical performances and historical artefacts aplenty to be found at the Cape Verdean Cultural Centre. The islands are abuzz with local music such as the unique accordion and iron bar sounds of funana and its African flair, and the cafés and nightspots offer plentiful opportunity to sample it. European tastes are reflected in the morna style of music, which is a Portuguese-inspired ballad. The islands also have a budding scene of literature and arts, with the pride and varied ethnicity of the local people contributing in a big way to the experience you’ll take from your holiday. Whatever your personal taste, the Cape Verde Islands make for a unique setting to experience these cultural twists, and the combination of these and the natural beauty you’re immersed in will leave lifelong memories for you to treasure long after your holiday.