We live in a world that continues to uncover hidden treasures – and it’s an exciting time to be alive. Although it’s amazing to think about exploring uncharted territory, there are hidden gems right under our noses that will more than satisfy any itch for adventure and grounding. The Azores is one of those places.
If you haven’t heard of the Azores, you’re in for a treat.
What are the Azores?
The Azores are a series of volcanic islands located 950 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. In this post, we’re going to explore all the reasons why this should be your next trip, but here’s the exciting part: Even many savvy travel bloggers have yet to hear about this amazing destination.
But more and more airlines are planning stops here, and so not only is travel more accessible, but it’s also becoming more affordable.
There are nine major islands and an islet cluster within the Azores. The islands are split into three groups: West, Center, and East.
- West Azores: Flores and Corvo
- Center Azores: Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial
- East Azores: São Miguel, Santa Maria, and the Formigas Reef
Every one of the nine islands was formed as a result of volcanic activity, but many of the islands haven’t had any activity since the islands have been settled.
Aside from the natural terrain of these islands, those in-the-know enjoy this destination because it has mild weather throughout the year (there’s no bad time to visit).
The unique landscape of the Azores
Many people describe trips to the Azores as grounding or spiritual. When you leave this vacation, you’re likely to feel recharged. And this isn’t actually something mystical. The natural beauty of the island draws and holds your attention, so you’re much more likely to remain mindful while you’re here. Whether you’re a fan of meditation or not, this is a natural result of visiting the Azores. You can’t help but sit in awe of the views here.
Regardless of the islands, you choose to visit (or if you visit them all), you can expect lush greenery for about as far as the eye can see. And in contrast, you can enjoy ocean views from many places around this island.
Unique experiences in the Azores Islands
You may find the landscape of the Azores to be similar among the nine islands, but the people and culture found within each island varies greatly.
On the island of Sao Miguel, you can watch locals cook locally-grown food in the ground using geothermal energy from the hot springs. And you’ll definitely want to explore how the famous Sao Jorge cheese is made when visiting that island.
Pico Island is known for its wine, and many of the wineries you’ll find here are also UNESCO World Heritage sites.
And while you’re here, you must taste a pineapple. You’ve never tasted a pineapple like an Azorean pineapple. This fruit was brought over from Brazil in the 19th century, and although it’s the same fruit you know and love, it has a distinctly different flavor. An Azorean pineapple is more acidic and less sweet than you’re used to, but they are surprisingly addicting.
Getting around the Azores
Most people who make this trip end up island hopping, and you can do this easily by plane or ferry.
There is public transportation available, but tourists find the timetable rather inconvenient. Because this isn’t a major tourist area, the public transportation system is setup for people commuting to work and school. You can take a taxi to get around, but you may want to do the math on renting a car. It’s often the cheaper and easier way to see any island.
With that said, explore your options for renting a car on each island. Oftentimes, this is better than taking the rental on a ferry. There are many advantages to renting a car over taking a taxi, and the only potential disadvantage is in the unlikely event you might have an accident. But the chances you’ll need a car accident attorney are slim. The roads are usually not congested, and people in the Azores drive on the right side of the road. Just avoid driving when you are tired (or after a visit to one of the world heritage wineries), and you should be fine.
Are you ready to book your trip to the Azores yet? Which island will you visit first?