Faial - The Blue Island, known for its hydrangeas
An archipelago of 9 islands in the Atlantic, the Azores are only four hours from Boston. Not top of mind for many travelers, but maybe should be. Describe often times as the Atlantic's version of Hawaii, the Azores are under the radar and a real gem.
Europe's western most point is an autonomous region of Portugal, full of natural beauty, unique scenery, quaint fishing villages, historical centers and so much more. And with year round temperatures between 55-75 degrees (Fahrenheit), it is a perfect year round destination. April through November are the best months weather-wise; June through August the busiest.
The Azores really offer something for just about every taste - from foodies and history lovers to those interested in gardens, the outdoors, yachting and hiking. One can whale watch, golf, bike, horseback ride, scuba dive, walk along black sand beaches or simply enjoy a spa moment.
Sao Miguel, the Green Island, is the largest of all 9 islands, the most visited, the most accessible, and where the majority of the Azore's population live. Ponta Delgada, the island's capital, is the main base from which people explore the island.
Sao Miguel is known for a variety of experiences, from hiking and swimming to thermal spas, gardens and plantations, including a pineapple plantation and Europe's only commercial tea plantation. The region is one of the top 10 places in the world to see dolphins and whales year round. In the summer you can observe up to 14 different species of whales.
The beautiful green and blue lakes of Sete Cidades, one of Portugal's 7 Natural Wonders is also found here. Legend has it that the lakes were formed from the tears of a shepherd and princess who shared a forbidden love.
Pico Island, the Mountain Island, is the second largest island, and is dominated by crater remnants, lake filled cones and Pico Volcano, a 7700 foot high volcanic cone. Not to be missed is the longest lava cave in the Azores, the whaling museum and wine cellars.
A few miles from Pico lies nice and peaceful Faial Island, the Blue Island, named for the large number of hydrangeas that bloom in the summer months. The marina town of Horta is world famous and one of the busiest in the world with recreational sailors. It is also a strategic site for the transatlantic cables.
Terceira, named such as it was the third island discovered, is mostly about nature. Here too you can explore old lava tubes, including one that runs almost 300 feet underground.
The Portuguese built their first settlement here because of the protected ports.
Lesser explored but equally nice islands include Corvo, Flores, Graciosa, Sao Jorge and Santa Maria.
Foodies never leave disappointed either. Naturally, fish and seafood are quite common (and good). The volcanic soil (and all the natural minerals) help produce great vegetables, wines and pastures that keep all the cows happy. And happy cows produce delicious cheeses, milk and beef. Not to be missed on Sao Miguel is the Cozido das Furnas, a beef stew that is cooked in the ground through thermal heat for 6+ hours.
Ready to plan a trip?
Call us at 602.540.7338 to start the
discovery process or complete this simple form .