Some countries shine brightly in the spotlight of the world. Your eye is consumed by them before your mind has clicked into gear. The US is one too. So is France. So is Italy, since it dangles its no-doubt shapely leg into the waters with the Mediteranean. Cape Verde, it's perhaps fair to state, isn't one of these countries. It hides within the mid-Atlantic, a 10-strong cluster of islands which, born of volcanic fury, are as beautiful because they are mysterious.
Where is he exactly? OK - let your gaze drift down Africa. Look towards the left flank on the continent. Go down through Morocco and Mauritania and soon you find Senegal - then drag how well you see 350 miles for the west.
There you're going, Cape Verde
So not probably the most famous or obvious of destinations, then? True. But today (September 12) is the Cape Verdean National Day. A good enough reason to offer 10 reasons that explains why you should pay it a try.
It's more accessible than you think
Despite the length involved - the funding Praia is 2,837 miles from London, as well as the journey goes most with the way to your Equator - Cape Verde is available with ease from your UK. In fact, you'll find direct flights. Thomson Airways (0871 231 4787; thomson.co.uk/flight) flies to your island of Sal from Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Gatwick and Manchester - and its neighbour Boa Vista from Birmingham, Gatwick and Manchester.
Portugal's national carrier TAP is really a further option, serving Sal and Boa Vista - plus sibling islands Santiago and Sao Vicente - from Lisbon. It offers UK connections to London City, Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester.
Its nearly year-round sun
The Canary Islands usually are Britain's go-to spot to decent dose of warmth from the depths of December, January and February. But those people who are prepared to fly an additional two hours to the Atlantic are rewarded from the Cape Verdean weather, which rarely shifts through the upper 20°C whenever you want of year. The nearest you are looking at a vast swing in temperature may be the five-degree gap between January average of 25°C and also the 30°C that defines September. Hours of sunshine? Between five and nine. Lovely.
To bag a fantastic package holiday
The presence of Thomson and Thomas Cook inside the list of travel options really should be a clue why these travel giants sell fly-and-flop escapes to Cape Verde along with flights. They give attention to Sal and Boa Vista, both islands the place you find the majority on the beach resorts. These are typically solid in lieu of spectacular, and dependable in lieu of deluxe - however if you want a children's pool and a balcony, they are going to do nicely.
Its intriguing colonial heritage
The anthropological good Cape Verde is undoubtedly an unusual one. Unlike most parts from the planet, that it was empty until colonialism gave it a population - the isles were uninhabited when Portuguese and Genoese sailors found them in 1456. Portugal deposit the first roots, founding what's now the capital of scotland- Cidade Velha, about the south coast of Santiago, in 1462. Praia followed in 1615, before becoming the archipelago capital in 1770. A small town of 130,000 people, it appears back into your past (Cape Verde gained independence from Portugal in 1975) through the Monumento de Diogo Gomes (a statue from the Portuguese explorer who discovered Santiago in 1460) plus the Presidential Palace (which had been built from the 19th century for your Portuguese governor).
Its unique music
Cape Verde's cultural gift to your world is morna - a lilting, rhythmic type of music which slipped into life for the archipelago (probably on Boa Vista) at some undefined point inside the 18th century. Its spiritual leader is Cesaria Evora, a singer nicknamed the "Barefoot Diva" who hailed from Sao Vicente - and was loved that, since her death next year, its airport has become named after her. Her powerful voice and grasp of melody lingers in their birthplace, this tropical isle capital Mindelo. Here is often a pleasant, picturesque small town where morna drifts out from the doorways of bars and cafes - for example the Casa Cafe Mindelo (casacafemindelo.com), the place you can witness live performances.
To explore Africa's most westerly point
São Vicente's neighbour Santo Antão is undoubtedly an outpost. It is considered the most westerly segment with the archipelago and - depending on how specific you wish to be about geography - probably the most westerly reason for Africa because of this. It certainly appears like the end of an continent. Home to just 44,000 people - many clustered from the town of Porto Novo - it is really a place of desolate grandeur, having its rocky interior rearing up through the water, coffee plantations strewn across its sides. You can only visit it by water, via ferry from Mindelo - in case you make the crossing you might have definitely left the beaten track.
Its incredible volcanic landscape
Santo Antao makes little seek to disguise its lava-fried origins - nevertheless its is beaten to your unoffical title of "Most Visibly Volcanic Island within the Cape Verde Archipelago" by Fogo. The giveaway would be the name - "fogo" is, needless to say, Portuguese for "fire". The island lives as much as its moniker, rising towards the conical summit of Pico do Fogo, which troubles heaven at an altitude of 9,281 feet (2,829 metres). It has erupted as recently as 2014. Not that this generally seems to worry the locals. You can drive as much as Chã das Caldeiras, a village of some 1,000 souls which, remarkably, is situated inside this kraken's crater.
To go island-hopping
Although strewn across some 1,500 square miles from the Atlantic, the archipelago results in multi-island journeys. Specialist operator Cape Verde Experience supplies a range of island-hopping breaks, including a 14-night "The Peaks of Cape Verde" package that can two weeks to tick off São Vicente, Santo Antão, Santiago, Fogo and Sal. From £1,869 a head - with international flights.
Tropical islands plus ocean also equals sailing escapes. So it proves with Cape Verde. Classic Sailing describes the archipelago being an "unspoilt alternative towards the Caribbean" - and has now an 11-day "Island Hopping in Cape Verde" voyage scheduled to exit from Sal on January 11 2018. The journey will likely be aboard the Oosterschelde, a 300-ton schooner. No prior experience needs to sign up for this near-fortnight under sail, and participants may help out just as much or as few as they like over a route that could also experience Santiago, São Vicente, Santo Antão, Sao Nicolau and Boa Vista. Berths are around for £1,486 (€1,650) per person. Flights extra.
Its eerie abandoned airport
If you wish to venture truly off-grid, the islet of Brava is the best obvious choice. "Port" being the pertinent word here because, similar to Santo Antão, you may only reach it by boat. Not that this doesn't happen have a runway. Esperadinha Airport sits on its west coast next towards the hamlet on the same name. It occupies one on the only flat waste land about the island - a precarious location on the narrow promontory about the edge on the water. Too precarious, the truth is. Opened in 1992, edinburgh airport ceased operations in 2004 for the reason that strong winds which swirl here help it become too dangerous for planes to land. You can, though, stroll along its deserted tarmac. Cue the Scooby Doo theme tune... Did you get this post useful? Please click the social network button below to share this article. You also can leave your comments from the space provided below.