The Azores beckons. It's unexpected. Sometimes you think you are sitting on the lush volcanic cliffs of Hawaii. Sometimes it seems you just descended on the Irish countryside. Our white-washed towns could be at home in Tuscany. It's Europe meets the tropics.
WHAT TO DO
An outdoors paradise, the Azores the perfect off-the-beaten-path vacation destination. Enjoy the cooling Atlantic waters from natural rock pools in the summer and soak in volcanic hot springs in the winter. Take to the trails, surf the ocean, maneuver a mountain on a bike.
You can find a restaurant or tasca offering the most delectable local cuisine virtually everywhere around the island. Cafes They are plentiful! Stop in for an espresso, sandwich or dessert. Volcanic vent-cooked Best yet, in the town of Furnas you can eat food cooked under the volcanic soil (local restaurants will do this for you, for example, check out O Tony's
Hiking Some of the world's best hikesare in the Azores and there is something for everyone in terms of length, difficulty, and views. Volcanoes Furnas is an active, living volcano. Not to fear, though, you're safe visiting. Furnas is amazing, featuring bubbling geysers, Hawaiian-looking mountainscapes and a lake that wouldn't be out of place in a fairytale. Best yet, you can eat food cooked under the volcanic soil (you can cook it yourself but local restaurants will be happy to do this for you). Surfing The Azores are a highly sought-after destination for surfers; the WSP circus stops in S. Miguel every September and there are a number of local partners who can provide lessons and equipment.
This idyllic island-paradise mixes Portuguese culture with the allure of the Atlantic. Here are our favorites: Beaches Vila Franca is one of S. Miguel's most sought-after beach towns. The town features an off-shore islet with a round lagoon the size of a football field! An amazing spot for swiming and snorkling... or cliff diving. The City Ponta Delgada is the island's capital city. It's about 10 minutes from minuvida. The white-washed town is bustling and offers many fine restaurants, nightlife, interesting architecture, beautiful parks and waterfront activities. Check out the Portas do Mar district, which offers many places to book your next adventure.
WHAT'S IT LIKE?
Dark sandy beaches or craggy volcanic cliffs ascend to mountains as tall as 7,700 feet. It's a lush, dramatic volcanic landscape. While original laurel subtropical forest once covered most of the islands, today everything seems to grow here. The capricious Azorean landscape is dotted with white-washed Mediterranean villages, full of color and vibrancy. Locals drive fast, live slow and eat fresh.
how's the weather?
Everyone's #1 question: In short: Hard to define. It's spring-like most of the time; capricious, with days of sun interlaced with low clouds, a shower, a rainbow – and then sun again. Never too cold (seldom drops below 50 during the coldest winter nights) or too hot (rarely rises above 82 during the warmest summer days). Humid and often cloudy. Perfect for the outdoors. See how the Azores climate compares to Boston and Bermuda here A word about indoors temps: No ifs or buts about it, it can get chilly indoors during the cooler months (November through April) in unheated homes (which is the norm). With temps sometimes hovering around 15c (59F) during the coolest periods, layers are strongly advised. On the bright side, the warmer months are never stifling.
what's there to do?
If you love the outdoors, geothermal hot springs, the deep blue ocean full of whales and dolphins, the lushest forests and the greenest fields, rainbows and clouds, plus the most spectacular vistas, then the Azores is for you. Climb a mountain, or descend it on a bicycle, jump in the ocean from a cliff or simply fill your eyes and soul with the scenery.
hOW DO I GET THERE?
Azores Airlines offers direct flights from Boston to Ponta Delgada and Lajes (Terceira island) almost daily during the summer months but less frequently during the winter. SATA also flies out of Oakland, Calif., Toronto and Montréal, Canada. Check travel schedules and book flights here From Europe, both Ryanair and easyJet fly from London and Lisbon to Ponta Delgada.
where is it?
The Azores are a string of nine dark pearls in the North Atlantic, 900 miles west of Portugal and about 3,000 miles due east of Richmond, Va. We are in Azores Time (AZOT) GMT -1, or 4 hours ahead of New York.