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Cape Verde holidays: A West African beach paradise destination

Holidays in Cape Verde open up a paradise string of islands, with buzzing cities and sublime retreats among the glorious nature to choose from. A stable and thriving West African country, this former colony of Portugal is the ideal place to spend a week or more in the sun, exploring somewhere altogether different from the islands of Europe.

What are the 10 main islands of Cape Verde?

Santiago – Housing the capital, Praia, and its stunning colonial architecture and plenty of great beaches.

São Vicente – With the second city Mindelo which has markets and plenty of facilities but a quieter feel.

Boa Vista, Sal and Maio – All known for their popular and breathtaking beaches.

Fogo and São Nicolau – Ideal for a rural vibe by the coast.

Santa Luzia and Brava – Tiny pockets of paradise, with virtually no permanent dwellers and a real treat for nature lovers.

The cities of Praia and Mindelo

If you want to hit the beach but still want a feel for the culture and history of the country, the large settlements of Praia and Mindelo are the clear choices on your Cape Verde holiday. That said, you'll still have easy access by boat to the other islands, and so you can see the breadth of this gorgeous archipelago.

Visit the turn of the century Pro-Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace and the Town Hall, both reminiscent of Portuguese architecture. Also, walk among the plateaux which separate the different districts of the city and you'll be rewarded with magnificent views across the beaches and central Praia. In Mindelo, scale the Fortum d'El Rei, an abandoned fort which recaptures the beauty of the city's past and also gives a splendid vista.

Both Praia and Mindelo have plenty of bars and restaurants. Be sure to try the local rum and the national dish Cachupa on your Cape Verde holiday. It's a hearty meat or fish stew.

What makes Cape Verde holidays ideal for you?

The islands of Cape Verde enjoy a stable economy and political situation, and in fact it's often cited as one of the most liberal and welcoming countries in the world. Families, couples and groups of friends alike will find the country an ideal spot for a beach break that still feels distinct to the coasts of Portugal, Spain and the rest of Europe. You'll find that many Cape Verdeans love to mingle with visitors, and you can expect a friendly chat in the local bars or when browsing the markets.

An overview of Cape Verde's climate

  1. Generally very stable throughout the year, ranging from averages of 23°C to 27°C.

  2. Temperatures below 20°C even in winter are quite rare.

  3. March to June is the driest period with temperatures in the mid-20s°C.

  4. August to October is the warmest period reaching the high 20s°C, but rainfall tends to be heavier.