Jutting up on the Atlantic, some 500km west of Senegal, this stunning island chain includes a captivating combination mountains, beaches and peaceful seaside villages. On Santo Antão, craggy peaks hide piercing green valleys of flowers and sugar cane, well suited for epic hikes. São Vicente houses the cultural capital on the islands, Mindelo, which throbs with bars and music clubs. On Sal and Maio, undulating windswept dunes merge with indigo-blue seas on unspoilt beaches of powdery pristine sand.
Meanwhile, far-flung Fogo and Brava within the southwest offer their unique enchantments, from surreal volcanic landscapes, to sparkling bays framed by towering peaks. Throw inside the constant beat of music that Cabo Verde is famed for along with the renowned morabeza (Creole for hospitality) of the people and you’ll understand why many have fallen - rather than left.
Pico do Fogo - Volcano in Fogo
Cabo Verde's highest peak (2829m/9382ft), the conical, cinder-clad Mt Fogo, rises dramatically outside the floor of your ancient crater often known as Chã das Caldeiras. A scenic, cobbled road, punctuated by hamlets with lava-block houses, encircles the city.
It's still a dynamic volcano and last erupted from late 2014 to early 2015, yet intrepid farmers expanding coffee, vineyards and fruit trees on its black slopes. The volcano's cone remains intact which enable it to still be climbed. However, you need a good pair of trainers and a guide, because the slopes are covered in slippery cinders. The taxing ascent takes around four hours, even so the view from your top is magnificent. Afterwards, it is just a gentle trot to have back down.
Dja'r Fogo - Gallery in São Filipe
A must-stop for visitors serious about history, culture and occasional, Dja'r Fogo operates by a local artist who splits his time between Lisbon, Paris and Fogo. It functions as art gallery, cafe, information point and launch pad for informal trips around the area. It's also where to taste artisanal Fogo coffee; the dog owner's family has brought a coffee plantation since 1874, and six generations later, he still roasts and packages it into neat little cotton bags.
If Agnelo, the property owner, is on Fogo, he organises personalised island circuits in addition to dinners at his 200-year-old family estate, Quinta das Saudades, inside village of Achada Lapa, 8km east from town within the mountains. This is a treat never to be missed, featuring traditional corn-based dishes prepared using a woman that has been cooking for the family for forty years. Email or call early in advance to arrange the dinner. If Agnelo is away, the gallery remains open; take it easy on the patio over the cup of coffee or read the old photos, art and jewellery created from recycled materials, and cards made out of banana leaves and black sand.
Tarrafal Concentration Camp - Historic Site in Tarrafal
On the principle highway about 1km prior to centre of Tarrafal may be the ominous former Tarrafal Concentration Camp. Here Portuguese authorities accustomed to hold and interrogate political prisoners through the 1940s. It turn off in 1975 and was later converted into a museum. Today it remains a haunting reminder of colonial abuses. You can wander with the former barracks, prison cells, library, the previous infirmary as well as a handful of other buildings, with signage in English, French and Portuguese giving information of life inside camp.
Pedra do Lume - Landmark in Sal
A great attraction are these claims surreal, lunarlike crater connected with an ancient volcano, where seawater is become shimmering salt beds. You can see the previous salt extraction machinery from the 1805 plant; float from the medicinal salt water; use a massage, salt scrub or mud treatment in the small Salinas Relax spa; and have a very meal for the restaurant.
Pedra do Lume is 6km southeast of Espargos; taxis from Santa Maria charge between CVE3500 and CVE4500, having a wait of a couple of hours. It's often mobbed with tour groups.
Museu do Mar - Museum in Mindelo
Inside the Torre de Belém, Mindelo's most intriguing museum gives a review of São Vicente's history, on the island's role inside the triangular trade to whaling within the late 1800s. Displays from shipwrecks reveal intriguing finds like 200-year-old bottles of port wine (still sealed) and massive elephant tusks (a jaw-dropping 820 tusks were logged about the 1743 wreck with the Princess Louisa).
Museu Municipal - Museum in São Filipe
Pop into this airy colonial mansion with two floors of exhibits, showcasing old photographs, traditional music instruments, sewing machines and sundry items. You can watch the 28-minute film around the 1995 volcano eruption (no subtitles), the most up-to-date eruption before the 2014 blast. It's also worth creating a peak in the funco, a conventional circular abode crafted from volcanic rock, inside leafy courtyard.
Sala-Museu Amilcar Cabral - Museum in Praia
This small museum and foundation is specialized in preserving the memory of freedom fighter Amilcar Cabral (1924-73). Photographs and also other memorabilia simplify one of West Africa's great visionaries. An intellectual, poet, engineer, revolutionary and diplomat, Cabral helped lead an independence movement for Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau, ultimately sacrificing their own life - he was assassinated in 1973.
Praia de Estoril - Beach in Boa Vista
A short stroll south from the Sal Rei town centre, this lovely beach has turquoise waters and white sands, so that it is a fine setting to get a day out. A couple of beach bars serve up seafood, snacks and several drinks, with tables and lounge chairs about the sand. Several places here hire out gear - stand-up paddleboards, surfboards, kayaks - and present lessons in surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing.
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