Azores Islands Discovery guide

the Azores Discovery Guide

Overview

The Azores is a beautiful and mysterious archipelago of volcanic origin, situated at 1,400 kilometers (almost 900 miles) off the coast of Portugal. The Azores comprises nine islands that are home to an extraordinary and lush nature. The floral splendor is enormous, especially in spring time. The Azores has a very diverse landscape, from beautiful forests and caves to crater lakes and volcanoes. Here one can still find pure relaxation and enjoy authentic villages as well as great outdoor opportunities!

The islands

The largest island, São Miguel, invites you with its spectacular crater lakes, geysers, and thermal springs. The so-called central islands of the Azores - Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, and Graciosa-are scattered in the blue sea home to many whales and dolphins.

The island of Faial is characterized by the bright blue colors of the hydrangeas and a picturesque marina. The mountain island Pico is rising from the sea, offering beautiful contrasts with its green vineyards planted into black lava fields.

The Azores, nine small islands of an unmatched beauty amid the blue ocean.

São Miguel, the “green” island

The main island of the Azores, São Miguel is not only the largest but as well the most renown island of the archipelago.

São Miguel seduces visitors with stunning vistas, volcanic craters and charming villages that are dotted around the island.

The capital city, Ponta Delgada, offers a mixture of modern buildings and historic monuments, plus excellent restaurants, unique boutiques, and a beautiful promenade. The island offers an abundance of hiking trails, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.

The crater lakes of São Miguel

The island of São Miguel is also home to several impressive crater lakes, the most famous and worthwhile seeing are:

1. Lagoa das Sete Cidades

2. Lagoa do Fogo

3. Lake of Furnas

Pico, the “mountain” island

The island Pico, the second largest of the Azores, is home to the 2.351m (7,713ft) high Mount Pico.

Don't miss a visit to the main town of the island Pico, Madalena, bordered by a vast landscape of vineyards, consisting of thousands of small rectangles of land, called by the locals "lajedos" (flagstones). Around the vineyards, you will see numerous lava rocks that protect the vines from the wind and the sea, creating a beautiful setting for a picture.

Pico island is also an ideal base for many adventurous activities. Go diving with mobulas and bonito sharks, swimming with wild dolphins or watch the whales from a safe spot aboard.

Besides the natural richness, offers Pico island also an excellent gastronomic heritage; fish and seafood are the main ingredients for many exquisite dishes such as the famous "Caldeiradas" (fish stews). Go to one of the excellent restaurants in town and enjoy home-made delicacies accompanied with a glass of local wine.

Faial, the “little blue” island

Wherever you go on the small island of Faial, you can see fields of hydrangeas in different blue colors. That's why this island also carries the name "little blue island”. From the 17th century, the island Faial became a safe haven between Europe and America, thanks to its favorable geographical location. Many sailors in history have been in the harbor of the principal city of Faial, Horta, where you find today a fascinating wall full of paintings of sailors that left a piece of art before they continued their journey.

From the quayside of Horta, you have a great view of the impressive architecture of the town. Imposing baroque church facades and 18th and 19th-century houses, with their generously decorated balconies, largely determine the panorama.

Faial’s North Coast

For a splendid scenery you can head up to the Island's North Coast.

Faial’s impressive pieces of nature

Mount Cabeço Gordo, located in the heart of the island, is with its 1.043m (3,421ft) the highest peak of Faial. From this fabulous natural lookout point, you can see on a clear day all the central islands of the Azores.

Nearby you can also find the huge Caldeira crater

How to get to the Azores?

In addition to a regular number of direct flights from the major European cities, the TAP (flag carrier of Portugal) and SATA (Azorean Official Airline) have frequent connections from Lisbon and Porto with the town of Ponta Delgada and Horta. The island Pico can be reached by a short domestic flight from Sao Miguel or by boat from the island of Faial (for foot passengers only).

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