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Set around a moon-shaped port and ringed by barren mountains, Mindelo is Cabo Verde's answer to the Riviera, complete with cobblestone streets, candy-coloured colonial buildings and yachts bobbing in a peaceful harbour. Around a bend is the country's deepest industrial port, which in the late 19th century was a key coaling station for British ships and remains the source of the city's relative prosperity.

Mindelo has long been the country's cultural centre, producing more than its share of poets and musicians, including the late Cesária Évora, and it's still a fine place to hear morna while downing some grogue (a rum-like drink). Savvy locals, plus a steady flow of travellers, support a number of cool bistros and bars.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Mindelo.