Updated: Oct 24
In the early 1500s, the Portuguese were the first to find this distant archipelago, which was dispersed 800 miles west of their continent. The nine islands that make up the Azores are mystical, beautiful places full of volcanoes, thermal springs, rising steam, turquoise-hued lagoons, and bottle-green lakes. It is understandable that people would turn to the Holy Spirit for protection in such an environment as this, as seen by the numerous shrines and chapels that dot the cities and villages. More than anything else, a characteristic of being Azorean is devotion to the Holy Spirit.
In addition to their amazing and diversified landscapes, unique gastronomic characteristics, and top-notch wines, the 400-mile-distance Azores are such a pleasure to visit because of their authenticity. More and more upscale modern hotels are opening up old manors are being turned into hotels, and eco-lodges are starting up for walkers and nature lovers who don't mind the frequent rain. But the reason the islands are so green is because of this climate. The fact that they are home to the only tea plantation in Europe, that their little pineapples are incredibly sweet, and that their cows produce milk, butter, and cheese that is worth the trip alone.
Santa Maria, which is located 34 miles south of So Miguel, was the first island that the Portuguese found in 1427. Even though it is only 11 miles long, it features excellent sandy beaches and crystal blue waters because of the archipelago's hottest temperature.
This makes it one of the top diving locations in Europe, together with its closeness to the Formigas Natural Reserve and Dollabart Bank.
Sao Miguel, also known as the Ilha Verde (Green Island), is the largest island and the location of Ponte Delgada, the regional seat, making it an ideal place to start. Its cobbled alleys are surrounded with majestic basalt and whitewashed buildings that make it possible to envision the port's former role as a key staging area for ships traveling between Europe and the New World.
While there is a growing food scene in Ponta Delgada right now, if you're looking for traditional food, head across the island to Lagoa das Furnas, where cozido, a hearty beef and vegetable stew, is simmered for five hours underground. Steaming geysers and boiling springs may be seen across the lake, and beyond that is the spectacular Parque Terra Nostra, which was started in the 18th century by a wealthy Bostonian.
Warm, mustard-colored water holes where people bathe to absorb the rich minerals are surrounded by hibiscus, Japanese cedars, and gigantic water lilies. Lagoa das Sete Cidades, or "Lake of Seven Cities," is a lake in the crater at the base of a dormant volcano close by. It is divided in two parts and joined by a small straight. One side is a beautiful turquoise color while the other is a rich bottle green color.
One of the most tranquil islands in the Azores, Enchanting is also known as "The White Island" because to its white-rocked coastline, which is topped by red-turreted windmills. It is well-known for its cute dwarf donkeys and authentic artisanal cheesecakes, but the Furna do Enxofre, where visitors may enter the interior of a volcanic crater, is the primary draw. The island's geothermal waters are well-liked for treatments, and the deep waters surrounding it are perfect for expeditions to see dolphins or whales.
The American-run air station on the island makes it the most developed of the central islands, yet there are still twice as many cattle on the island as people. While its shoreline contains arid sections of black lava, its interior is a soft green color that makes Ireland come to mind.
A stopover location on the roads connecting Europe, America, and Africa for more than 300 years, the historic capital city of Angra do Heroismo is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Algar do Carvo, a volcanic crater currently containing some of the largest stalactites in the world, and the island's distinctive kind of bull racing, "tourada à corda," or bullfight with a rope, are also well-known attractions.
Here are a few more of the best Azores Islands waiting for you:
Many tourists travel here to climb Pico, the tallest mountain in Portugal. Others come for serious wine tasting or whale viewing in the summer (the Museum dos Baleeiros in Lajes has exhibits on the history of whaling in the Azores).
Black basalt-lined vineyards, which are regarded as UNESCO World Heritage sites, exist all throughout the island. The sleek, modern winery of The Azores Wine Company, is one of the reason, which is putting Pico on the oenological map with its new, superb wines, provides exquisite lodging.
Many towns on this less-traveled island, known as "The Dragon" because of its long and rugged nature, are hidden beneath steep slopes that provide stunning views and lie on flat regions that were originally debris fields or lava flows. You may go spelunking, hiking, kayaking, and canyoning at this popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
But set aside some time to savor the island's signature cheese, So Jorge. It is aged to have a peppery, acidic flavor and prepared only with raw dairy milk. Check the situation before going because there is currently some earthquake activity.
Faial - One of the best Azores Islands
This rich island, known for being a popular sailing location, in the summertime features an astonishing carpet of blue hydrangeas. The neighboring Museu dos Capelinhos tells the tale of the last volcanic eruption that occurred there in 1957–1958. The Scrimshaw Museum, which displays anciently inscribed whale bones and teeth, is another museum worth seeing.
The blown summit of the marine volcano Monte Gordo is the smallest island in the Azores. It is incredibly undeveloped, with only 400 residents, all of whom live in Vila Nova, the only community on the island, and whose homes are made of black basalt rock. Numerous migratory birds stop at Corvo, also known as Crow Island, which is a favorite among bird watchers.
The island of Flores, which derives its name from the pink and blue and goldenrod plants that grow there, was once a known haven for pirates waiting to raid Spanish galleons carrying valuables back to Europe. Its terrain draws trekkers eager to look at its waterfalls, lagoons, and enormous blue crater lake since it is designated as a Unesco Biosphere Reserve.