With white sands, top-notch diving and surfing, and a saltwater crater, Sal holidays add that extra oomph to a fly and flop break.

Small, but mighty Sal

Sal is a case in point that size isn’t everything. It’s the third-smallest of the Cape Verde islands – behind beefier Santiago and Boa Vista – but also the most popular. And it’s no wonder when it’s got so much up for grabs. You can top and tail beach time with dolphin-spotting trips, floating in salt mines and drives through the desert. There are plenty of hotels to choose from, too.

Dishy beaches

There’s no forgetting this place is plonked off the west coast of Africa. Its white, sandy beaches pull in most of the punters. Santa Maria’s the peppiest town, with a whopper of a beach and an upper-crust club on the sands. But sunbathing’s second to watersports in the pecking order around here. Surf shops pile up behind the sands on nearby Kite Beach, and kitesurfers cartwheel over the waves.

Salt, sharks and shipwrecks

As one of the dinkiest islands, Sal’s a doddle to explore. You can zoom over the Mars-like landscape on quad bikes, ogle desert mirages, or wade out to lemon sharks in Parda Bay. You can even float in a salt lake, in Pedra de Lume, which is saltier than the Dead Sea. Or, if you time your trip right, there’s the chance to watch loggerhead turtles hatch on the beach.

At a Glance

  • Go scuba diving in caves and shipwrecks
  • Learn to surf on Kite Beach
  • Float in the Pedra Lume Salt Crater