The archipelago nation of Cape Verde consists of ten islands, nine of them habitable. From the tourist hotspot of Sal to the dramatic volcanic landscapes of Fogo, each island has its own inimitable character. Here are five reasons why you should visit Cape Verde for a one of a kind experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Cape Verde
It’s a popular choice for winter sun
Just a six hour flight from London, the islands’ accessibility from chilly northern Europe makes it a popular choice for those in need of some winter sun. With temperatures well into the twenties year-round and an arid climate; there’s never a bad time to visit Cape Verde when it comes to weather. High winds make this a mecca for surfers and kite boarders, though the Harmattan brings dust from the Sahara from December to March dulling the light, to the dismay of photographers.
You can hike an active volcano
Fogo erupted in spectacular fashion in November 2014. By the time the volcano ceased spewing three months later, two villages had been engulfed by lava. Over a thousand people had been displaced and many hectares of fertile agricultural land had been buried. Today, the villagers are returning and rebuilding. It’s safe to hike to the crater and across the lava fields for dramatic and sometimes surreal views.
It’s home to the oldest colonial church in the tropics
If the whitewashed walls of Nossa Senhora do Rosário church look like they’ve stood there for centuries, it’s because they have. Constructed in 1493 by the Portuguese, it was expanded to its present size a couple of years later. You’ll find it in Cidade Velha, once known as Ribeira Grande. Mass is still celebrated every Sunday, where the town’s residents don their best clothes and cram onto its wooden pews.
You can float in nature’s own spa
Sal’s name translates as “salt” and the commodity was the reason settlers originally came to the island. Though the salt pans at Pedra de Lume closed as a commercial operation decades ago; the site has been repurposed as a tourist attraction, complete with spa and shop. Float in a salt lake situated in the caldera of a long extinct volcano but pack some shoes as the salt crystals can be uncomfortably sharp.
Let’s not forget its natural beauty
Whether it’s the wide swathes of powdery white sand on Sal and Boavista or the cobbled paths that lead through the mountains of tiny Santo Antão, Cape Verde’s natural splendour cannot fail to impress. Hikers, sunbathers and cruise ship passengers alike will find joy in the country’s landscapes which are as delightful as they are diverse.