Sao Vicente © www.caboverde.com
Only six hours flying time from the major airports of Europe, the volcanic Cape Verde archipelago, lying in the Atlantic Ocean off the bulge of Africa, is rapidly emerging as an inspiring holiday destination for those seeking something different.
The nine inhabited islands are bursting with their own individual character and unique musical culture, besides offering plenty of opportunities for relaxation or active pursuits. The rapidly developing island of Sal is particularly popular, with long white sandy beaches luring European beach buffs and watersports enthusiasts. The main tourist town, Santa Maria, near the international airport, is earning its place on the global map as a surfing destination, and also as a major draw for windsurfers and kite surfers, with its trade winds and winter swells.
A former Portuguese colony, Cape Verde has made remarkable strides after independence to ensure that it is one of Africa's most politically and economically stable nations. Despite a lack of natural resources Verdeans have managed to focus their economy on the service industry, particularly tourism.
Most visitors utilise the inter-island ferries or domestic airline to explore more than just one of these ruggedly beautiful islands, each of which has unique sights or experiences to offer. Sao Vicente is the cultural hub of the archipelago, and it is here that visitors will encounter the music and nightlife for which Cape Verde has become rightly famous. Fogo and Brava are littered with volcanoes, while Sal and Mayo offer pristine beaches and undulating dunes.