Small, stark and undulating, the region of São Vicente can be fairly forgettable were it not with the beautiful Mediterranean capital of scotland - Mindelo, Cabo Verde's prettiest city and the location of one of Africa's most raucous festivals. For an opportunity from the city, Mt Verde (750m), the area's highest peak simply touch of green, is a straightforward day's hike while offering panoramic views. There can also be windy but fine beaches at Baía das Gatas, Calhau and Salamansa.
The lovely bay from the latter offers windsurfing and kitesurfing classes - look for that Kitesurf Cabo Verde beach shack (two-hour windsurfing and kitesurfing classes €60 to €80). Another popular weekend escape is Baía das Gatas, 12km from Mindelo, which you could swim in natural pools and dine in beachfront restaurants. Near the airport would be the quaint fishing village of São Pedro, which has a pretty beach and harbour.
Museu do Mar - Museum in Mindelo
Inside the Torre de Belém, Mindelo's most intriguing museum gives a summary of São Vicente's history, from the region's role from 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 from the Princess Louisa).
Mt Verde - Viewpoint in São Vicente
For panoramic views of Mindelo, every one of São Vicente along with Santo Antão and Santa Luzia, hike around São Vicente's highest peak (750m) using a clear day.
Palácio do Povo - Historic Building in Mindelo
This cheery pink colonial confection and former government building today hosts changing exhibitions. Currently, its rooms receive over to a long-running show devoted to legendary homegrown singer, Cesária Évora.
Pont d'Agua - Marina in Mindelo
With its modern glass and concrete constructions, this swank new complex feels more like the south of France than Cabo Verde. Dotted with palm trees, it's several upscale restaurants and shops.
Centro Cultural do Mindelo - Notable Building in Mindelo
Inside the existing customs house, the cultural centre houses changing exhibitions of local arts and culture and possesses a tiny shop selling local crafts, music and books.
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Torre de Belém - Monument in Mindelo
Jutting out in the harbour could be the fortresslike Torre de Belém - a Disney World version in the 15th-century tower that guards Lisbon's port.
Fish Market - Market in Mindelo
The city's photogenic fish market lies just beyond Torre de Belém, which has a jetty right behind it where fishermen unload their daily catch.
Mercado Municipal - Market in Mindelo
The restored two-storey supermarket from 1784 is a good place to see sweet-talking vendors hawking local produce and medicinal herbs.