Africa’s most popular archipelago offers idyllic beach holidays at a budget rate. Cape Verde matches the white sands of the Maldives and Seychelles but not the luxury price tag.
Tap Portugal (www.flytap.com) flies to Sal and Praia from London Gatwick. Thomson (www.thomsonfly.com) also flies direct from the UK.
Unlike the decadent resorts of the Indian Ocean, Cape Verde offers a little less luxury for a lot more value. Despite the economic downturn, long-haul winter sun can be reached for up to half the price of a beach holiday elsewhere.
Explore Cidade Velha in Santiago, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the first European settlement in the tropics. Close to the city ruins that survive from the 1600s, there is a dramatic cliff-side fort.
Witness the environmental diversity of the 10 islands – whilst Fogo has a beautiful volcanic peak with sweeping views, Boa Vista is desert-like with sand dunes and palm trees.
See the several pristine beaches – the white sand shores of Sal are a good place to wait for sunset. For a change, Sao Nicolau has salty black sand.
Listen to the sultry morna folk music for which the islands are famed. Cesaria Evora is a national icon.
Experience the eerie salt mines inside the dormant volcano on Sal.
Make the most of the water – Cape Verde has some of the best waves in the world. Surfing, sailing, fishing and diving are all on offer.
Cape Verdean food mixes flavours from Creole, Portuguese and African cooking, making the most of its fresh seafood. Celebrated dishes include canja, a thick chicken soup with rice, and catchupa, a slow boiled stew of corn, beans, vegetables and marinated tuna.
The best deal
Holiday Options (www.holidayoptions.co.uk) has a seven-night package at the 3-star Hotel Parque das Dunas on Boavista for £664.