Getting Away to the Cape Verde Islands

By Travel Writer Bradley Fink

When planning getaways, many tend to overlook the islands of Cape Verde. Butthis archipelago is one of the world’s most spectacular island chains.Magnificently scenic, exotic and diverse, Cape Verde is a great escapefrom the hordes of Paris and London.And what’s more, withbudgetbungalows,mid-rangehotels, and a growing number of resorts, there are great Cape Verde places to stay throughout these peaceful islands.

Located 570 kilometresoff the coast of Senegal, Cape Verde is an easy flight from Lisbon or the UK. Several flights arrive each week from London, Birmingham and Manchester. Most of these will take you to the Island of Santiago, which is the largest and most populated island of this little chain.If you like romantic landscapes, then you’ll love the vistas here, with sandy beaches, beautiful blue seas, and high volcanic cliffs.While the capital city of Praia has some restaurants and hotels, the interior of the island is a realm of natural wonder. National parks abound with mountain peaks and fertile valleys, where hiking is the best way to enjoy the high terrain. On the shores of Santiago, you’ll find fishing, diving, wind-surfing, sailing, and a number of other sports.

The other islands offer differentthings to see and do. For instance, Santa Antao is known for hiking, while Sal is known for its water sports and holiday resorts.  On any island you can find some top-notch ocean fishing, either from the shore, or by hiring a local fishing boat. But if you really want to escape, then make your way toSao Vicente, which is often thought to be the most enchanting of these islands.In Mindelo, which is home to most of Sao Vicente’s population, you’ll find a rich tradition of music, culture,restaurants and nightlife. The city has a vibrant buzz of pubs and entertainment, as well as several festivals that many come to see. In August there is a beach music festival during the full moon, and in February the city comes alivefor the annualcarnival.

Toeat in Mindelo, make your way to the food stalls of the QuiosquePraca Nova, where for 2 euros you can have a traditional local snack. Cachupa, a slow cooked stew, is famous in Cape Verde, and many people consider it to be the country’s national fare. This is made with corn, beans, and fish ormeat, which may be chicken, goat,or beef. Another delicious treat is the Portuguese dish calledFeijoada, which is also a stew of beans and meat, which is usually pork or beef.

Travelling in Cape Verde is a fairly simple task. There are ferries with connections to all nine of the inhabited islands.You may expect delays, however, as seas can become rough, but it’s a fast and easyway ofhopping in between the isles. There are also international airports on Sal, Boa Vista, and Sao Vincente, which are cheap and easy ways to make the trip from shore to shore.

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