Reviewed on Oct. 1, 2020
Reviewed on Nov. 5, 2020
Reviewed on Sep. 15, 2020
Visit this beautiful archipelago off the west coast of Portugal where the sun shines over lush green landscapes and dramatic volcanos rise up from the ground. An Atlantic archipelago, the Azores have historically been a relatively unexplored region of Portugal and remain unknown to many tourists. While travelers have become increasingly aware of their incredible landscapes and nutrient-rich coastal waters, the Azores remain unspoiled. Take a whale-watching tour to see sperm whales and pods of bottlenose dolphins gliding through the water, go diving in warm waters or hike up Portugal’s highest mountain.
The capital of the islands, Ponta Delgada, sits on the island of São Miguel amid volcanic terrain and near scenic lakes such as Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde.
Continue your journey in Terceira Island, home to the oldest city of the region, Angra do Heroismo. This lovely city contains a sheltered harbor and offers incredible views of Monte Brasil.
It’s almost imperative that divers take advantage of the stunning marine experience awaiting in the waters surrounding the islands. All islands except for Corvo have dive centers. Journey to the depths of the ocean to come face-to-face with moray eels, loggerhead turtles and lobsters.
Strap on your hiking boots and head to the island to climb Portugal’s largest mountain, Mount Pico. It takes about 3 hours from the base to the top. Wander around Pico to discover its enchanting vineyards enclosed by stone walls.
Try the sport of canyoning in São Miguel, Santa Maria, São Jorge or Flores. Waterfalls run off into ravines, providing the perfect opportunity to test out your skills. Mountain biking is also a popular activity across the islands.
International flights arrive into Ponta Delgada, the capital of São Miguel Island. One of the fastest ways to continue your journey around the other islands is to book a domestic flight. A boat system also connects each island, but check ahead for route times to plan your daily schedule. For hassle-free transportation, rent a motorcycle and whiz around the winding roads.
Nature lovers looking to get active amid scenic surrounds will find fewer places more fitting than the Azores.