THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS
The Cape Verde islands are in the middle of the Atlantic, approximately 600km due west of Senegal. This small country is just a two-hour flight south of the Canary Islands, consequently, flight times from much of Europe are between six and seven hours. The country comprises 10 islands, 9 of which are inhabited, together with a number of small islets.
The islands vary considerably in character, from sandy desert plains to lush green valleys and mountains. This small archipelago provides the visitor with many superb beaches. The beaches are considered comparable with the Caribbean or the Seychelles; however, within a much shorter flight time from Europe.
There is a variety of terrain, and also a variety of beaches and the islands provide something for everyone. Some of the beaches are several kilometers long, some are small bays and some have black sand. People that enjoy a lively holiday with plenty of bars and nightlife might well choose Sal. Visitors that want a quiet, relaxing holiday, enjoying gentle walks and deserted beaches might decide on Maio. For those looking for mountains and more challenging walks and rugged coastlines, then Brava, Santo Antão or São Nicolau might be best. Santiago is known for the capital of the country, Praia, however, you will also find majestic mountains and and fertile valleys, as well as lovely beaches. If it is culture that you want then you may decide on São Vicente. Opportunities for live music and dancing are available on all islands.
The islands were discovered by sailors from Portugal and Genoa in 1456. The Portuguese founded Cidade Velha (originally Ribeira Grande) on the island of Santiago in 1462. Praia was established in 1615 and became the country’s capital city in 1770. Cidade Velha is now classified as a World Heritage Site.