Cape Verde is a group of 10 islands off the western coast of Africa. It is situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. What’s so special about Cape Verde? It’s the closest holiday destination from Europe that’s still nice and warm when Europe is in deep winter. Like now. And the other advantage? Few people have heard of it, let alone consider going there.
Why Cape Verde?
If you are stuck in Europe in winter and are looking for some sun and sand, you’ll probably be looking far away to Florida or the Caribbean. These are invariably top destinations at this time of the year but they also cost a lot. Those who can’t afford it look closer to home, such as southern Spain, even Nice, North Africa such as Tunisia and Morocco or the Balearic and Canary islands.
The problem with Southern Europe and even Northern Africa is that they are still not warm enough for a holiday if you want to escape the cold. The temperature in the Canary Islands in mid-winter is on average 18 degrees and struggles to get above 20. In Tunisia, the average temperature in mid-winter is even lower, at 12 degrees. Who wants to spend good money to go to these places only to shiver again?
How does Cape Verde compare? The average lowest temperature is about 20 degrees, with a maximum of 23 degrees. Not perhaps the 30 degrees you seek but this is the best you can get without crossing the ocean. Cape Verde is 6 hours flight from London.
The other alternative is Egypt, in particular Sharm el Sheik deep in the Red Sea but the lowest mean temperature there is 18 degrees. Cape Verde still wins! In fact, the best time to visit it is between November and May, outside of the rainy season for maximum sunshine.
The bonus of going to Cape Verde is that you’ll avoid the boozing crowd of Shagaluf and Faliraki. You can look forward to some real peace and quiet, R&R, TLC, however you want to call it. Or be active.
What you need to know on Cape Verde
Cape Verde has pristine beaches with the usual watersports you can expect, kite and windsurfing in particular. Or simply lie on the beach and work on your tan. You can also go island hopping, bird watching and hiking the volcanic landscape.
Nightlife is not comparable to Ibiza, but then if you wanted an active clubbing scene, you wouldn’t go the Cape Verde. Instead, you’ll find a very strong African influence in the music on the islands and the tempo of the Creole music is very popular throughout.
You might struggle with communicating with the locals however: the official language is Portguese while most people speak creole.
You’ll need a visa to gain entry in Cape Verde as this is not part of the EU anymore. But the visa is not hard to get and you can even apply for it upon arrival.
It’s also not too late to plan your trip there this winter. There are plenty of great deals to be had for last minute travel if you know where to look.
Talking of money, despite the weak pound, it will stretch far on the islands, with GBP1 worth about 126 Cape Verdean escudo (CVE).
We’ll let you discover the rest but if you want more information, try these fast facts from the BBC.