The archipelago of Cabo Verde is the thinking traveller’s Canary Islands. The bone-white, empty beaches, soaring volcanoes and lush tropical vegetation on these 10 islands were kept a secret for years (although Cabo Verde always attracted a few Portuguese holidaymakers, thanks to the colonial connection), but now the year-round sun and blend of African, Portuguese and Brazilian cultures is even attracting package tourists.
The archipelago – 10 islands and eight islets – is located 604 km off the coast of West Africa. Visit Sal, famous for its 350 days of sunshine, one of the most popular resort hubs thanks to the lovely beaches of Santa Maria; on Boa Vista you can climb stunning dunes and dive to see marine turtles, and explore the ‘tropical Lisbon’ of Sal Rei, with its cobbled streets. Santo Antão is developing rural tourism – great if you want to meet locals and get away from the beaches. Santiago, in the leeward island chain to the south, is best known as the island where Darwin made landfall during his Beagle voyage.
Flights from Dhs9,500 return with British Airways and TACV via Heathrow and Lisbon, returning with Deccan and Emirates Airlines via Dakar. www.britishairways.com; www.flytacv.com; www.deccanairlines.in; www.emirates.com.