One week

Fly into Sal and unwind for a couple of days on the beaches at Santa Maria. Next, head to Mindelo, located on São Vicente, the country's cultural centre and prettiest town, and spend an evening taking in the live-music scene. From Mindelo, an hour-long ferry ride lands you in mountainous Santo Antão, where stunning hikes cap off your trip.

Two weeks

After outdoor adventures in Santo Antão, head to Boa Vista (via São Vicente) for pretty beaches, great seafood and island rambles. Next head to Fogo (via Santiago) for hiking to the volcanic summit of Mt Fogo. Recover with a day on the black sand beach and pretty squares of São Filipe. Finally, take the ferry to Brava for spectacular hiking amid lush valleys and soaring peaks.

Three weeks

On your third week, take in the dining and drinking scene in Praia, the buzzing capital of Cabo Verde. After a night of live music, check out other parts of Santiago: head to the historic settlement of Cidade Velha, go hiking in Parque Natural Serra da Malagueta and relax in the pretty seaside village of Tarrafal. Afterwards, spend a few days on Maio, for easy-going beach action.