Month: September 2022

Island by Island Guide to Sailing in Cape Verde

Santiago coast Cape Verde

Comprising of 10 individual islands, the sub-tropical Cape Verde archipelago lies some 500km off the coast of West Africa. With a unique geography, landscape and culture like nowhere else on earth, sailing in Cape Verde is the best way to experience all that life has to offer in this corner of the world. Explore Cape Verde in style onboard luxury yachts Chronos and Kairos, or experience traditional life at sea with historic tall ship Oosterschelde

Whilst a typical package holiday to Cape Verde may offer a day trip or two to the lesser known islands, a sailing holiday remains the best way to travel between the islands and uncover all they have to offer. Part of the magic of sailing in Cape Verde lies in its variation of landscapes and activities, meaning that there really is something for everyone to discover. Enjoy relaxing on golden sandy beaches, exploring a colourful African market or hiking through a volcanic forest landscape! With so much to discover, we have put together this handy island guide to prepare yourself for an adventure sailing in Cape Verde. 

Sailing in the Barlavento Islands 

The Northern band of the Cape Verde islands are known as the Barlavento Islands. They include Sal, São Vicente, Santa Antao, São Nicolaus and Boa Vista. Our luxury sailing yachts Chronos and Kairos usually depart from the Northern islands.

Sal Cape Verde
Local boats moored in Sal, Cape Verde

Sal

One of the most popular islands for holiday makers in Cape Verde, Sal is home to the majority of beachside resorts, restaurants and bars. The island also has the better transport options, with direct flights from the UK arriving here. This makes it the perfect starting point for sailing in Cape Verde. Oosterschelde’s voyages begin in Sal, providing plenty of time to explore the island before setting sail. Those who make the effort will be rewarded – the coastline here showcases an endless stretch of golden sands and crystal clear waters whilst inland offers a desert, a lunar-like landscape. It’s worth a trip to the hidden mirage at Terra Boa appearing as an ocean in the middle of the desert!

Santa Antao Cape Verde
A mountain village in Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Santa Antão

Considered the most beautiful island of the archipelago, Santa Antão is a paradise of lush mountain peaks and native flora. A must see destination, all our vessels sailing in Cape Verde call in to visit this beautiful island. Spend the day exploring the island at your leisure before returning to the boat in the evening. The adventurous traveller will particularly enjoy hiking the Riberia Grande trail. The trail dramatically winds its way along the edge of a volcanic crater providing stunning sweeping views across the island. 

Cape Verde Sao Vincente
The mountainous shoreline at Sao Vicente, Cape Verde

São Vicente 

Considered the cultural hub of Cape Verde, São Vicente has excellent international transport links. Along with Sal, this makes it a great place to start your venture sailing in Cape Verde. The capital Mindelo is home to the islands famous music scene, with a rich local culture and a vibrant nightlife. Join tall ship Oosterschelde to discover all that Mindelo has to offer. Take in the local cuisine with dinner in the city before a crew member guides you to the best spots for live music and dancing! Beach lovers will enjoy the world renowned wind surfing beaches, or the natural lagoon for swimmers at Baia das Gatas. 

São Nicolau 

An unspoilt paradise, São Nicolau is home to undoubtedly some of the most breathtaking scenery in Cape Verde. One of the least visited islands due to its secluded location, São Nicolau is a fine example of how sailing in Cape Verde can unlock the hidden gems of this diverse archipelago. Our luxury yacht Kairos has formed strong local relationships here and visits regularly when sailing in Cape Verde. Breathe in fresh crisp air on a mountain walk amongst sweet smelling pine forests or climb the inactive volcano of Mount Monte Gordo. Wander through volcanic landscapes, discover the islands beautiful national parks and meander through the colourful town of Ribeira Brava, before heading back to the ship.

Cape Verde Boa Vista
Sweeping sand dunes in Boa Vista

Boa Vista

One of the most visited islands, Boa Vista is home to dazzling sandy beaches and glorious landscapes. It’s name translates to ‘beautiful view’ and it’s little wonder why. Added to this, the island is undeniably a snorkellers paradise with plentiful tropical fish, native coral and mysterious shipwrecks to bubble down to. Both Kairos and Chronos sail with various water toys to make use of whilst you visit the best beaches in Cape Verde. Time it right and you’ll be able to admire the world’s largest Loggerhead Turtle breeding sites – a once in a lifetime experience and all part of the sailing adventures with Oosterschelde whose crew arrange for guests to meet with a local guide from the turtle foundation.

Sotavento Islands

The southern cluster of islands are known as the Sotavento islands. They are most often visited by tall ship Oosterschelde whose crew are familiar with the area and local population.

Santiago coast Cape Verde
The coastline of Santiago, Cape Verde

 Santiago

The largest island in the archipelago, Santiago is home to colourful local markets brimming with the unique Creole culture and a landscape bursting with lush green valleys. Santiago is often the first island sailed to from Sal, and with a crossing of 110 miles between them there’s likely to be night sailing, celestial navigation, and incredible starry skies! Following our arrival into Santiago – and a well-earned hearty breakfast on the boat – guests are free to step ashore and explore the island at will. We suggest taking in the peaceful mountain village of Rabelados as well as making a visit to the reservoir of Agua Barragem or The National Park of Serra Malagueta. 

Fogo Cape Verde
The volcano Pico do Fogo, Cape Verde

Fogo 

Thousands of years ago the island of Fogo was formed from a volcanic eruption, and remains known for its fiery landscape. The dramatic volcano of Pico do Fogo dominates the landscape with fantastic hiking opportunities. Pretty Portuguese squares, local coffee and traditional wine combine to create a fascinating island brimming with culture.

Santa Luzia

The smallest of the islands in Cape Verde and the only one that lies uninhabited. Santa Luzia is a mysterious place, with a wild and rugged north coast, and beaches and dunes to the south. Become one with nature as you experience the unique flora and fauna of Santa Luzia. Tall ship Oosterschelde often passes by the island which is well known for it’s plentiful fish. Guests are welcome to throw out a fishing line and you may even catch your own dinner!

Maio & Brava

Maio and Brava are two of the most untouched islands in Cape Verde, both brimming with flora and fauna. Our sailing adventures in Cape Verde tend to forgo these islands for the more dramatic scenery found elsewhere in the Sotavento islands, however be sure to look out for them on deck as you sail by!

With all this to explore and more, discover this tropical island paradise with us on a skippered sailing holiday to Cape Verde. Choose from a number of trips on our fleet, from a luxury voyage with 5* service, or an offshore expedition on a traditional tall ship, there’s an adventure for everyone.

View Cape Verde Sailing Schedule >

A Guide to Sailing in the Algarve

Algarve Portugal

Searching for an all inclusive holiday to Portugal? Why not try something new with a fully skippered sailing holiday in the Algarve. With around 200 kilometers of breathtakingly beautiful coastline, azure blue waters and warm winds, a skippered sailing holiday in the Algarve allows you to experience true, authentic Portugal. For those who have yet to be tempted, read on to find out more;

The natural beauty of the Algarve
From gentle golden cliffs sheltering sea caves to striking red rock formations and sand dunes, the coastline is ever-changing here and is best absorbed under sail. A tall ship sailing holiday in this region means you can soak in the natural beauty of the Portuguese coastline at all times, from dining alfresco, sunbathing on deck, or even using onboard kayaks to explore the coast.

The sheltered coastline and warm sailing winds create the perfect sailing area for beginners or old hands, and if you’ve been wanting to learn to sail on a traditional boat in warmer climates, Portugal may be the place for you. Historic tall ship Maybe offers taster sailing trips, perfect for a short break getaway from Portimão. Adventure travellers will love joining tall ship Blue Clipper for a longer open sea voyage around the Spanish and Portuguese coast. 

Beautiful Algarve Beaches
With miles of secluded coastline it’s little wonder that the beaches here are renowned for being some of the most beautiful in the world, with the region regularly voted the best beach destination in Europe. With gentle, secluded coves hugged by whitewashed pretty fishing villages, vast stretches of golden sands and white soft shores along the islands, variety is guaranteed. And the best way to discover as many as possible? By boat of course! Offering an adventurous twist on a typical Portuguese beach holiday, a sailing holiday in Portugal means you’re sure to find the best hidden beaches in the Algarve (and after a morning learning to sail a traditional tall ship, there’s no better way to relax!)

Ancient History

The history of the Algarve is extensive to say the least. The Algarve was once occupied by the Arabs and the name ‘Algarve’ actually arose from the Arab word ‘Al-Gharb’, which means ‘The West’. The Romans then settled here until their fall in the 5th Century which saw the region occupied by roman Visigoths. In 1755 Portugal experienced a huge earthquake which destroyed much of the Algarve’s then-infrastructure as the epicenter was close to Lagos. There is still plenty to see, including the Castelo de Tavira which dates back to the neolithic period, the Faro archaeological museum and Roman ruins in Vilamoura. A skippered sailing holiday with traditionally rigged tall ship Blue Clipper or historic ketch Maybe offers you the opportunity to experience Portugal as explorers would have done hundreds of years ago. Make the most of the warm winds at sea and ancient history on shore. 

The beauty of the sailing winds in this area means there’s plenty of time to explore ashore, with new destinations ready to be explored nearly every day.  Get a taste for authentic Portuguese culture, splitting your time between cultural highlights and hidden gems away from the tourist hustle and bustle. 

Fabulous Food

After a busy day at sea learning the ropes under the watch of the professional crew, you’ll be sure to work up an appetite. It would be impossible to talk about the Algarve without mentioning the incredible cuisine. An eclectic mix of seafood and meat dishes, both influenced by the Arabian and Portuguese ruling throughout the years, the local delicacies are a real highlight of this area. Although both Blue Clipper and Maybe offer all inclusive holidays in the Algarve, with an onboard chef ready to prepare delicious meals, there is still plenty of opportunity to experience the local delicacies ashore! 

Whales and Dolphins

Over 26 species of cetaceans pass through the Algarve waters with 5 calling the area home. Sailing in the Algarve provides an incredible opportunity to observe common, bottlenose, risso dolphins and even minke whales. It’s no secret that marine wildlife is best spotted from the water, and there’s no better place to watch than the deck of a tall ship. Channel your inner explorer with a sailing holiday and be ready to spot killer whales, pilot whales, humpback whales and schools of tuna. 

Explore Gibraltar and North Africa

The Algarve is a great starting point for those wanting to sail the Southern coast of Spain, or even venture down to Gibraltar. Sail with us down to the ancient port of Cadiz in Southern Spain to soak up over 3000 years of maritime history. Head to Gibraltar to experience the melting pot of English, North African, and Spanish cultures, before crossing the Gibraltar strait to visit Ceuta. Sailing holidays from the Algarve are able to reach some interesting destinations, with some breathtaking landscapes along the way.

With all this and so much more, sailing in the Algarve is the best way to experience this phenomenal region. Why not try it for yourself on board tall ship Blue Clipper. Take a break from the grey skies, soak up some winter sun and fall in love with a new destination!?