Cape Verde is an archipelago located in the North Atlantic, about 350 miles off the western tip of Africa. While many people opt for the Caribbean or popular islands in the Mediterranean, Cape Verde is quickly rising in travel popularity, making the cut for CNN Travel’s top 18 places to visit in 2018.

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Cape Verde consists of 10 islands that boast dramatic landscapes, picturesque beaches, and a culture that is a fascinating mix of African and Iberian influences, with a touch of Brazil. Here are the top islands to visit.

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Sal and Boa Vista

With an international airport and trendy beach resorts, Sal and Boa Vista are often the most favorite options in the archipelago. The easternmost of the Cape Verde islands, Sal and Boa Vista offer world-class, white sand beaches, an abundance of sunshine, and plenty of outdoor adventure options. If you are stuck between the two, Sal is the most visited of all of the islands, offering a bustling resort atmosphere. Boa Vista is where you should head if you are looking for a more laid-back vibe with fewer crowds, nearly empty beaches, and less options for entertainment.

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Located in the south-west of the archipelago and famed for its dramatic and picturesque volcanic scenes, Fogo is a true highlight for anyone looking for rugged landscapes and outdoor adventures. Beyond the volcano, you’ll find tasty local coffee and iconic wine, as well as beautiful Portuguese squares and fantastic hiking opportunities.

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São Vicente

São Vicente is home to some of Cape Verde’s greatest musicians, writers, and thinkers. According to, São Vicente’s capital Mindelo, is considered to be the cultural hub of the island, with its rich tradition of music and art and its vibrant nightlife, with a lively buzz of music throughout the pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. If you’re looking for culture and a traditional experience, São Vicente will not disappoint.

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Santo Antão

Some of the world’s most imposing sea cliffs define the landscape of the island of Santo Antão at the western most point of Africa. An island where towering green peaks and fertile craters meet cliff-hanging towns, Santo Antão offers a new adventure for every type of traveler. Here you will be able to embark on hiking and sightseeing in a place relatively untouched by tourism. Long walks and scenic road trips will reveal breathtaking views of dramatic valleys and quaint villages at every turn.