When you’re interested in visiting the Cape Verde islands, you’re probably wondering, is Cape Verde a good place to go on holiday?
Cape Verde is a good place for a holiday. Its stunning beaches, diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and wide range of activities offer something to every traveler. Also, the pleasant year-round climate, with average temperatures (24°C/ 75°F), sea temperature (22°C/ 71°F), and refreshing ocean breezes, adds to its appeal as a good holiday destination.
Now, let’s dive deeper into all the reasons why this beautiful archipelago of 10 different and unique islands is a good place to visit. Plus, I share many travel tips so you can plan your holiday to Cape Verde effortlessly. So let’s go!
11 Reasons Why Cape Verde Is A Good Holiday Destination
Cape Verde is an ideal year-round summer destination. But what makes a country a good place to visit for a nice holiday? I think it’s quite simple; good weather, a safe environment, friendly people, exciting landmarks, and enough unique things to do. And Cape Verde has it all.
We traveled around the archipelago and visited 6 of the 9 inhabited islands during a roundtrip of 10 weeks. It was a unique experience, and I recommend planning a holiday to Cape Verde. But let’s get more specific about why Cape Verde Island is worth visiting.
1) Beautiful Beaches
Cape Verde is renowned for its breathtaking beaches with pristine white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Sal and Boa Vista islands are the most popular islands of Cape Verde, particularly famous for their stunning coastlines, making them ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and various water sports like snorkeling, diving, and windsurfing. These two islands are great for a sunny and relaxing beach holiday and some adrenaline-filled action if you want to take a break from the beach.
2) Diverse Islands
Cape Verde is an archipelago of 10 main islands and several smaller ones, each offering its own charm and attractions. You can explore the lush green mountains of Santo Antão, experience the vibrant culture of Santiago, celebrate tropical carnival on São Vicente, hike the active volcano on Fogo, or enjoy the tranquil ambiance of the hidden gem island Maio. Each island has its unique character, ensuring something for everyone. When you want to experience the different islands, we can highly recommend going island hopping around Cape Verde, as we did.
3) Cultural Richness
Cape Verde has a fascinating blend of African and Portuguese cultures. You can immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene, known for its traditional genres like morna and coladeira. The local cuisine, influenced by both cultures, offers a delicious fusion of flavors. When you’re visiting Cape Verde, you feel the mix of African, European, and Caribbean influences, making Cape Verde so unique.
4) Outdoor Activities
Beyond the beaches, Cape Verde offers plenty of outdoor activities. You can go hiking in the volcanic landscapes, explore the dramatic canyons, or enjoy water sports such as fishing, sailing, and kitesurfing. Nature lovers will appreciate the diverse flora and fauna in the islands’ protected areas, especially in the hiker’s paradise, Santo Antão.
5) Wonderful Weather
One of the biggest reasons why Cape Verde is a fantastic holiday destination is its wonderful weather. Although there is the best time to visit Cape Verde, the pleasant year-round climate with abundant sunshine, warm temperatures, and cool ocean breezes makes Cape Verde a great place to visit every month of the year.
Whether you visit during the winter or summer months, you can expect mild temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit (mid-20s to low 30s Celsius). This consistent and enjoyable weather creates the perfect environment for beach days, water sports, and exploring the diverse landscapes of the islands, making Cape Verde an ideal destination for a memorable and enjoyable holiday. And if you’re planning your holiday in a specific month, check out the weather in Cape Verde in one of these articles:
- Cape Verde Weather in January: Weather And Travel Guide
- Cape Verde Weather In February: Weather & Travel Guide
- Cape Verde Weather in April – Weather & Travel Guide
- Cape Verde Weather in October: Weather & Travel Guide
- Cape Verde Weather In November: Weather Info & Travel Tips
- Cape Verde Weather In December: Info & Travel Tips
6) Relaxed Atmosphere
Cape Verde is known for its laid-back and friendly atmosphere. The locals, known as Cape Verdeans, are welcoming and hospitable, making visitors feel at home. The islands provide a peaceful and relaxed environment, perfect for unwinding and escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The Cape Verdean even has a word for it: “Morabeza,” a Creole word meaning very friendly Cape Verdean hospitality.
Cape Verde is relatively accessible from many international airports. The main international airport, Amílcar Cabral International Airport (SID), is located on Sal Island and serves as a gateway to the archipelago. Several airlines offer direct flights from Europe, with a maximum of 4-6 hours of flight time to Cape Verde. This makes it very convenient for travelers, especially in winter when Europeans seek a sunny beach destination to escape the cold winter not too far away.
8) Diverse Landscapes
Cape Verde offers a diverse range of landscapes that will captivate nature enthusiasts. From the dramatic volcanic peaks of Fogo Island to the lunar-like landscapes of Boa Vista‘s Viana Desert, there is no shortage of stunning natural wonders to explore. You can also visit the Salinas de Pedra de Lume on Sal Island, where you can float effortlessly in the saltwater lagoons.
9) Water Sports Paradise
If you’re a water sports enthusiast, Cape Verde is a paradise for activities like surfing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. The islands boast excellent wind conditions, particularly between December and March, attracting professional kitesurfers and windsurfers worldwide to the islands of Sal and Boa Vista, which are particularly popular spots for kitesurfing.
10) Rich Marine Life
Cape Verde’s surrounding waters are full of marine life, making it an ideal destination for diving and snorkeling. The clear waters offer excellent visibility (especially the months between July-December), allowing you to explore vibrant coral reefs, encounter colorful fish species, and even swim with spot turtles and dolphins. Also, the shallow waters around Boa Vista are a haven for humpback whales who come to these waters in the months of March, April, and the beginning of May.
11) Ecotourism Opportunities
Cape Verde is committed to sustainable tourism and offers various ecotourism opportunities. You can visit protected areas such as the Serra Malagueta Natural Park on Santiago Island, home to unique plant species and diverse birdlife. There are also turtle conservation projects on some islands, where you can learn about and participate in efforts to protect these endangered creatures.
Best Cape Verde Islands For A Beach Holiday
As you’re planning your trip, you might wonder which Cape Verde island is best to visit. We want to remind you that not every Cape Verdean island is good for a beach holiday, but that’s not the case.
The archipelago consists of volcanic islands, each with a different landscape. Some of these islands are mountainous and rocky, whereas swimming in the sea is not advisable. So let’s share a list of the Cape Verde islands that are perfect for a sunny beach holiday:
Sal is by far the most famous and popular island of Cape Verde. The island is known for its golden sandy beaches and crystal clear seas. You’ll find the most luxurious and best 5-star hotels of Cape Verde on Sal.
When you’re looking for a beach holiday and want to relax most of the time, I would choose Sal as your destination. Santa Maria is the island’s main town; everything is built around this area. If you want to shop for souvenirs, relax on the beach, or eat in a nice restaurant, visit Santa Maria. And Santa Maria has amazing hotels and resorts that are right at the beach!
Fun things to do on Sal are visiting the Salt Lakes, exploring the Blue Eye, Swimming with Sharks, Scuba Diving and Snorkeling, and relaxing on the beach!
When Sal is the destination you plan to go for a holiday in Cape Verde, I recommend planning your trip with TUI. They offer amazing holiday packages to Cape Verde, including a stay at one of their resorts, direct flights from major European cities, and transfer to and from the airport.
Boa Vista is Sal’s neighboring island and is also great for a beach holiday. Actually, Boa Vista has one of the best beaches in Cape Verde. The island also has the longest beach in the archipelago, which is 22 kilometers long! And there are many other differences between Sal and Boa Vista.
The island is less developed than Sal. There aren’t as many resorts as on the neighboring island. So that’s simply the reason why many people are choosing Sal as their go-to destination. However, development in Boa Vista is growing quickly and has amazing 5-star hotels and resorts to have an amazing holiday as well.
Kitesurfing and windsurfing enthusiasts choose Boa Vista as their holiday destination because of the best surf spots. Boa Vista is known for its perfect wind conditions almost every day. But besides the surfing conditions, there are so many other adventurous activities to do on Boa Vista; spotting humpback whales in March-May, turtles visiting the island to lay their eggs, and you can go ride 4WD quads through the desert, and stargazing at night. That is why Boa Vista is also a perfect place to stay for couples.
Santiago & São Vicente
Santiago and São Vicente are both islands that are also interesting for a beach holiday. The don’t have the abundance of long-stretched beached as on the island of Sal and Boa Vista, but they both have some cool beaches plus, these islands offer much more than just a few beaches culture-wise. So if you’re looking for a more authentic Cape Verdean holiday with the possibility of enjoying a day on the beach or two, these two islands are also perfect holiday destinations.
Santiago is the main island of the Cape Verdean archipelago. You’ll find fantastic nature and authentic culture on this island. And in the bustling city of Praia, you can experience some of the best Cape Verdean music and food. The best beaches in Santiago are Quebra Canela, which is close to Praia. And Tarrafal, a village in the north of the island and a true tropical paradise.
When you’re visiting São Vicente, you also have a chance to enjoy a nice beach day. Close to the island capital Mindelo, you have Laginha Beach, which has a nice view over Boa Vista. But São Vicente is also a very interesting place to visit to get to know Cape Verde’s culture because the island is known as the cultural heart of Cape Verde.
Also, the islands Maio, and São Nicolau are known to have beautiful sandy beaches. However, these two islands are much harder to reach, so I wouldn’t recommend them for a beach holiday.
Best Cape Verde Islands For A Hike Holiday
Many people don’t know that Cape Verde is a hiking paradise. The islands Santo Antão, Fogo, and São Nicolau are perfect for beautiful hikes through amazing valleys, villages, and mountains.
São Vicente and Santiago are islands where you can explore Cape Verde’s nature and culture.
Hiking in Santo Antão
Santo Antão is the most western point of Cape Verde, and the only way you can reach the island is by taking the one-hour ferry from São Vicente.
The island is one of the most unique places that I’ve ever visited. There’s such a relaxing vibe in Santo Antão. Probably because there’s no airport on the island, and people are not used to the rat race we know in Western Europe or the United States.
Every island in Cape Verde is very relaxing. Still, Santo Antão is the best way to experience the Cape Verdean Lifestyle, better known as Morabeza.
Hiking in Santo Antão is the best thing you can do while visiting the island. The mountainous landscape offers beautiful hikes among authentic villages and green valleys. The valley of Paúl, Cova Crater, and the village Fontainhas are known to be among the most beautiful views in the world!
Hiking in Fogo
Fogo is another unique island in Cape Verde, which is fantastic for hiking. It is the only island where you still find an active volcano. And yes, it is possible to hike to the top! This hike must be done with a local guide for safety reasons, but it is still a unique experience!
The village where the volcano is located is also a unique place to visit. In 2014 the volcano erupted while destroying a large part of the town. Luckily most people got away in time. You would think that the people from the town would leave and find another place to live. But they all returned and rebuilt the town on top of the old lava streams. It feels like walking around in a lunar-like landscape! Chã das Caldeiras is a village you visit maybe once in your life, an experience I would recommend to everyone!
Both islands, Fogo and Santo Antão, are not suitable for a beach holiday. There aren’t many beaches on these islands because of the rocky landscapes, and the sea conditions make it difficult to go swimming.
Cape Verde Is A Good Place For A Holiday
Either you’re looking for a beach holiday, an active sports vacation for kite or windsurfing, a hiking holiday, or combining everything. It is all possible in Cape Verde. A round trip around the Cape Verde islands is also a great idea; traveling between the islands is easy, either by airplane or ferry.
To give you an overview, here is a list of Cape Verde Islands categorized by the type of experience they offer:
Best Islands for Beach Holiday:
- Boa Vista
Beach Islands for Hiking:
- Santo Antão
- São Nicolau
Best Islands for Culture:
- São Vicente
Best Islands for Watersports:
- Boa Vista
- São Vicente
Best Island for Whale Watching:
- Boa Vista (March-May)
Best Islands for Turtle Spotting:
- São Vicente (July – October)
- Sal (July – October)
Best Islands for Music Scene:
- São Vicente
Best Islands For History:
- São Vicente
Best Islands For Carnival:
- São Vicente (February/ March)
Still not convinced? Read our article “21 Reasons Why Cape Verde Is Worth Visiting.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Cape Verde safe for tourists?
Cape Verde is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. The crime rate is relatively low, and the locals are friendly and welcoming. However, as with any travel destination, it is advisable to take common precautions such as keeping an eye on your belongings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and following any local safety guidelines.
What is the nicest part of Cape Verde?
Determining the “nicest” part of Cape Verde can be subjective, as each island offers its own unique charm. However, many visitors find Sal and Boa Vista to be particularly appealing. Sal is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant tourist infrastructure, and water sports opportunities. Boa Vista is famous for its expansive sandy beaches, including the picturesque Praia de Santa Monica, as well as its diverse marine life and captivating sand dunes. Both islands offer a combination of natural beauty, leisure activities, and a range of amenities, making them popular choices among tourists. Ultimately, Cape Verde’s “nicest” part depends on individual preferences and the kind of experience one is seeking.
How many days should I spend in Cape Verde?
A minimum of 5-7 days is recommended to explore one or two islands and experience the highlights they offer. This timeframe allows for a balance of beach relaxation, cultural exploration, and outdoor activities. However, if you wish to visit multiple islands or engage in extensive exploration, you may consider extending your stay to 10-14 days. The ideal duration of your stay in Cape Verde depends on your interests, the islands you plan to visit, and the activities you want to engage in.
What are the hottest months in Cape Verde?
The hottest months in Cape Verde typically occur during the summer season. From July to September, temperatures tend to be higher, ranging from the mid-80s to the low 90s Fahrenheit (high 20s to low 30s Celsius). However, it’s worth noting that Cape Verde enjoys pleasant temperatures throughout the year, so even during the cooler months, visitors can still expect comfortable and enjoyable weather for their holiday.
Is Cape Verde expensive to visit?
Generally, Cape Verde is considered to be a moderately priced holiday destination. Accommodation prices vary from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts, with an average cost of around $50 to $150 per night. Dining options also cater to various budgets, with local restaurants offering affordable meals, while upscale dining can be pricier. Transportation costs within the islands are relatively reasonable, with taxis and local buses available. Budgeting around $1,000 to $2,500 for a 10-day trip, including accommodation, meals, transportation, and some activities, should provide a general idea of expenses.
Accommodation, food, and transportation options are available in various budgets to suit different travelers. While some luxury resorts and upscale restaurants can be relatively expensive, there are also more affordable accommodations, local eateries, and public transportation options that can help keep costs down. Also, the cost of visiting Cape Verde can vary depending on the time of year, the islands you choose to visit, and your travel preferences. It’s advisable to plan and budget accordingly, considering your desired comfort level and the activities you wish to partake in during your visit.
Cape Verde Travel Planning Guide
🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Cape Verde?
100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $2 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Safety Wing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.
💧Can you drink tap water in Cape Verde?
No — It is generally recommended to drink bottled water in Cape Verde. While tap water is generally safe for showering and brushing teeth, it may not be suitable for drinking. Bottled water is readily available and affordable throughout the country. Or you can buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water.
🚗 Is it safe to rent a car in Cape Verde?
Yes — Renting a car in Cape Verde is one of the best ways to see the islands. I always rent with Rentalcars, which checks international and local Cape Verdean companies, so you get the best rates.
🏩 What’s the best way to book places to stay in Cape Verde?
🛫 What’s the best site to buy Cape Verde flights?
⛵️ Where to book the best tours in Cape Verde?
For the best tours in Cape Verde, I highly recommend booking your trips at Get Your Guide.
🛂 Do I need a visa for Cape Verde?
Likely Not — U.S. and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Cape Verde. Most travelers will receive a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival.
😃 Which is the safest island of Cape Verde?
Santo Antão – Although all islands are safe to travel to, Santo Antão is the safest island of Cape Verde. It is known for “Morabeza,” a Creole word meaning very friendly Cape Verdean hospitality. In the capital Praia on the island of Santiago, you must be somewhat careful but not need paranoia.
🗣 Do they speak English in Cape Verde?
Yes – Most staff speak English, and some are multi-lingual. The official language of Cape Verde is Portuguese. The mother tongue of virtually all Cape Verdeans is Cape Verdean Creole. (Read more)
⭐️ What is the best time to visit Cape Verde?
The best time to visit Cape Verde is between November and June. The average day temperature is around 24°C (75°F), the sea temperature is 25°C, and there is almost no rain. Perfect for a white-sandy beach holiday. However, Cape Verde has many attractions and activities throughout the year:
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Hiking: November & December
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Snorkeling and Diving: July – December
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Kitesurfing: December – March
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Whale Watching: March-May
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Turtle Spotting: Mid-July – October
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Carnival: February/ March