Have you heard of the Azores? Where? What?
Most people looked slightly puzzled when we said we are going to Azores. Not a surprise, it’s a best kept secret. Maybe is one that nobody you know has visited or heard yet.
The nine volcanic islands of the Azores lost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, an unspoiled paradise. Some scholars believe to be the remains of the legendary Atlantis. No matter which islands you select you can’t go wrong.
I could probably name a hundred reasons why…
Many visitors come to admire the hundreds of active and extinct volcanoes with wonderful lakes within the craters, as well as hot springs, geysers, fumaroles and mysterious volcanic caves.
Rugged mountains, imposing peaks, sheer black cliffs, waterfalls and tranquil valleys covered with exuberant vegetation, evergreen forests, and lush agricultural lands.
The volcanic activity made local soil very fertile which makes it possible to grow various plants here (including tea).
The Azores have a charm thanks to romantic architecture and wonderful landscape.
Numerous scenic overlooks offer spectacular natural landscape views of unique shades and colors. The contrast with the blue of the sky, lakes or ocean is incredible!
Take walks, study volcanoes, wildflowers, birds, explore the old towns with their cobbled streets, patterned pavements, and enjoy island fresh local foods (pineapples and tea!), wines as much as you can.
For those seeking a more adventurous, there is some of the world’s best responsible whale-watching tours to do, or diving, wind surfing, sea kayaking, paddling, canyoning, climbing and perfect routes for cycling or horse riding.
Whatever your interest, the Azores have an old world charm and dignity and that never fails to impress those who are happy to accept their values and slower pace of life.
Find your inner peace, stay in tune with yourself and mingle with the locals. This is the key for your authentic lifestyle experience in the most exotic European destinations. Well off the beaten track, the words “stress” and “pollution” are unheard. There is a reason why these islands still seem so untouched: it’s because mass tourism is nonexistent and hopefully never will…
Sounds like a plan? … but let's keep it our secret, ok?
How to get there?
5 airports, 1 own airline ( SATA Air Açores), but limited direct flights. Lisbon is the getaway for connecting flights to and from Europe and the world. Regular flights link the Azores to Madeira, Porto, USA, and Canada. From this summer you can fly low cost on EasyJet and Ryanair to the island of São Miguel (St. Michael). A new cycle breaking the monopoly of SATA and TAP as the only two airline companies which have been flown regularly to the islands. If you are planning to visit more than one island, maybe better to book all your flights directly through SATA —flight delays or cancellations due to weather conditions can be common events, so this way you guarantee that everything is taken care.
Boats and ferries: Atlanticoline (inter-island tours), Transmaçor (central group of islands routes)
All islands have public bus, except Corvo. This is a very inexpensive way to get around however, the service is definitely designed for the locals. So if you want to see all the sights in the most flexible way, you might be better off rent a car, especially if you have a tight schedule. Be warned roads are narrow, but driving overall is relaxed and it’s difficult to get completely lost :-D
Still confused? Then hire a taxi for drop-off and pick-up... or / and walk, walk, walk…
"The days of the four seasons". Remember that this is a group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Not a secret: the weather is unpredictable, shifts a lot throughout the day. Apart from that, the temperatures are relatively mild and tempered. Take this into account.
Sleep well and authentic?
Book an environmentally sensitive accommodation or rent a whole beautifully restored stone houses in a rural village.
Be prepared I have plenty more to share with you all in the coming weeks about the Azores. You will fall in love, it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before…