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If you feel it's time to 'pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag' as the song goes and take yourself off for a well earned rest somewhere warm, exciting and exotic then why not take advantage of one of the newest tropical holiday destinations whilst the soft sandy beaches are still relatively empty and head for the Cape Verde Islands. The islands have been keeping a low profile, quietly sleeping and avoiding attention so they haven't featured highly on the list of exotic destinations until recently. Word's out and these islands are fast becoming sought after as the 'next big thing' in holiday destinations. The Cape Verde Islands are made up of ten individually exotic islands, nine of which are inhabited, but each of which offer a little piece of paradise. Mindelo is Cape Verde's second largest city and is known as the cultural capital of the country. Situated on the island of São Vicente, which is Portuguese for St. Vincent, the island took this name as it was discovered on St Vincent's Day, (22nd January) . With awesome beaches which are amazingly unspoilt, magnificent scenery and as much sunshine as you could imagine, Mindelo is loved by everyone who discovers it.
From the UK your flight to the Cape Verde Islands will take approximately six hours, depending on which airport you fly from. Flights to these paradise islands leave from a choice of UK airports including Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester and once you land in Sal, a domestic flight will transfer you onto Mindelo. Once settled in your accommodation, of which there are several well thought out hotels and holiday clubs to choose from, you can begin your adventure or simply take a deep breath, relax and soak up the wonderful charm and atmosphere that Mindelo has to offer. Travelling around this island can be done by foot, especially if you enjoy hiking as São Vicente is much hillier than the other islands and offers spectacular scenery for you to enjoy and explore. Cycling is also popular and for those who intend to take in as much as they can, other options include joining a jeep tour or heading off for day trips to some of the other islands using the ferry or short domestic flights.
Mindelo itself is a friendly and very picturesque town which is centred round its deep water harbour. Two extinct volcanoes stand either side of the town and if you enjoy walking, there is a road which takes you to Porto de Calhau and this walk will take you past an extinct volcano and also through two craters offering an amazing insight as well as unbelievable scenery.
If you are more laid back and enjoy people watching, Mindelo has a renowned café culture as well as many good restaurants so you could simply relax and take in the wonderful architecture and enjoy the music. Mindelo is the 'real Cape Verde' and is referred to as being the gem of São Vicente. Mindelo is the envy of the other islands when it comes to nightlife, so if you fancy socialising after taking in the wonderful sunset you won't be stuck, rather you will be spoilt for choice deciding where to go! Mindelo has music running through its veins and this is evident when night falls and if you are there at the weekend, you may even be able to watch a Capoeira performance which can be found in the main square. Mindelo also has plenty to offer if you enjoy shopping as there are lively markets and shops as well as churches, a bank and post office so you won't be stuck.
Places of interest also include a trip to Baia das Gatas which is a wonderfully romantic fishing village and is famous for having a natural swimming pool which is actually a lagoon which has been separated from the sea by a volcanic formation. Once you have explored the village, you can take a dip in the pool – truly unique.
Mindelo's biggest feature of course are its sandy beaches, however, you can see that there is a lot more on offer here than just the beaches, so relax and sunbathe one day, be more adventurous and try out the water sports another day, explore the local villages and capture some fantastic photographs of the craters or the lagoon, sit back and enjoy the café culture in the square, grab yourself a bargain at one of the buzzing markets, not to mention venturing further afield and visiting some of the neighbouring islands, whatever you fancy, you will not be disappointed by Mindelo.