Regarded by many as “Portugal’s Best Kept Secret” is the amazing Azores Archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands. This paradise is located in the Atlantic Ocean west of Portugal. It’s the perfect escape for travelers wanting to be in touch with the beauty of Mother Nature and those who seek the thrill of an amazing adventure. Little know about this wonderful paradise; so if you are looking for your next travel destination, be sure to include this on your list!
Natural Beauty and Adventures
We were not exaggerating when we said Azores is THE place if you want to experience the breathtaking beauty of Mother Nature.
When in the Azores don’t miss out on the magnificent Sete Cidaded Caldera located on the island of Sao Miguel, here you can see huge volcanic crates nesting exquisite twin lakes, which are surrounded by luscious green vegetation. It’s so picturesque; it’s like your looking at a painting.
Another breathtaking place in the Azores is Lagoa do Fogo or Lagoon of Fire. It is a crater lake in the center of Sao Miguel Island. It is a natural reserve being protected by the government in order to preserve its natural beauty. It’s also home to a lot of endemic plant species and a diversity of birds. Experience the serenity of this wonderful place.
Visit Lagoa das Furnas it is one of the famous lakes in the Azores. Volcanic activities can be observed on the northwest shore so there are multiple geothermal hot springs in the area. What’s special about Lagoa das Furnas is that some locals actually cook Portuguese Stew in pots that were immersed in the hot water of the springs, they leave it there for a couple of hours and return when the stew’s completely cooked!
Next stop would be the Capelinhos Volcano on Faial Island, which erupted from September 1957 to October 1958. It’s like being on another planet because of the presence of volcanic ash on the landscape; the colors of this beautiful landscape are quite vivid against the blue ocean.
Looking for a good hike? Explore the highest point of Portugal – the Montanha do Pico or Mount Pico with an elevation of 2,351 meters above sea level.
Another amazing place on our list is the Islet of Villa Franca do Campo – a small island that is just off the shore of Sao Miguel. This small paradise offers an exciting day for travelers. The islet is a result of a crater of an ancient submerged volcano, and believe it or not you can actually swim in the crater! Yes, you heard that right. With its crystal clear waters and a lovely beach it certainly is the perfect place for a swim.
Away from the sea is the wonderful Caldeira, a beautiful nature reserve in the middle of Faial filled with rare endemic floral species. Fun fact, this landscape used to be a lake before the eruption at Capelinhos in the 1950s.
Relax and unwind in Poca da Dona Beija, a hot spring complex located on Sao Miguel. The hot waters of the spring are therapeutic. Take a breather and experience what this place has to offer.
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, head down to Algar do Carvao, which is an ancient lava tube on the island of Terceira. What’s remarkable about this place is that you can actually walk down into the dormant volcano. Once inside you will be able to see a multitude of colors and the view from the bottom is just amazing.
Lots of sea activities to do in the Azores as well. Go over to the blue sea and swim with dolphins and go whale watching! The Azores is known as one of the best places on Earth to go whale watching as around twenty-five different species of whales can be spotted around the archipelago. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the Sperm Whale!
If you want a quick swim, you should visit Porto do Comprido, it is a swimming hole, which is located right next to Capelinhos with clear, refreshing water – be sure to bring sunscreen!
You can also go diving, experience memorable dives from June to October just when the temperatures of the water are higher. The Azores is also the perfect place for passionate surfers.
A Happy Tummy
For sure after all those sightseeing and adventure, you will work up quite an appetite. Head over to the capital of Azores, Ponta Delgada, which is known for its world-class restaurants, for an evening of fine dining and some delicious wine.
What to order? Here are a few suggestions: the Azores is known for their seafood – be sure to order Lapas or Limpet Clams, it’s a specialty in the Azores. Another Sao Miguel Specialty is Rump Stew (Azorean spiced beef stew). And the most famous dish in Sao Miguel is the Furnas Stew – this dish is specially prepared by slowly cooking (6 – 7 hours) a pot full of delicious meat and vegetables buried in the fumaroles.
Azores Travel Tips and Facts
Before traveling to the Azores, here are a few helpful tips to consider before visiting this enchanting place:
- The weather is unpredictable. So research.
- Signs of Volcanic Activity can be observed everywhere. It’s called the “Hawaii of Europe”
- Don’t leave your hiking shoes at home. You’ll probably do a lot of hiking all throughout the trip, so always bring them with you.
- Be a smart packer. As stated the weather can be unpredictable so pack accordingly.
- Get there before everybody else does. Currently, few people know about this paradise, so hurry!
- Make sure to bring your cameras and that they are always fully charged. Take lots and lots of pictures!
- Lastly… you will likely fall in love with the beauty of Azores.
The Azores has a lot to offer, so make sure to include this paradise in your future travels!
P.S. Do you love to travel and experience the less-traveled path? Does your soul seek for adventure? If your answer is yes, check out where we’re heading to next!