Close to 1000 miles off the mainland of Portugal, the collective Azores are some of the world’s most beautiful islands.
Lesser known as a holiday destination compared to popular winter retreat Madeira, the Azores offer travellers an amazing array of sights to explore during a time spent across the islands, often referred to as the ‘Hawaii of Europe’.
Here are 5 beautiful places to discover for yourself.
Referred to as the ‘Blue Island’, visitors to Faial will be welcomed by the spectacular sight of beautiful landscapes shaped by volcanic activity.
Bit of Trivia – the nickname ‘Blue Island’ is a nod to the vast number of hydrangeas found throughout the island.
The amazing volcanic features draw visitors from across the world, all seeking to experience first-hand the remarkable way the island has been shaped by erupting volcanoes.
A popular port of call for cruise ships and stopping point for planes looking to refuel and resupply, the island’s capital – Horta – can be found spread across a bay and is an ideal place to base yourself during time spent on the island.
Staying in Horta, the rest of the island and its lush vegetation await further exploration.
A key draw, the circular Caldeira crater is at the heart of these impressive wonders.
2. Pico Natural Park
Reached by a short ferry ride, one of the greatest places to visit throughout the collective Azores is Pico Natural Park.
The park, dominated by the mighty Mount Pico off into the distance, offers visitors a combination of moorland and small pockets of lakes.
A natural paradise, the park is the perfect setting to indulge in a spot of birdwatching as they fly around the relatively easy to navigate the terrain.
3. Ponta Delgada
A visit to the Azores would not be complete without experiencing the archipelago’s capital.
And what a capital it is! Found on the island of Sao Miguel, Ponta Delgada is a charming city where you will find some lovely examples of 18th-century architecture, cobbled streets and an Old Town definitely worth getting to know.
During a visit, we thoroughly recommend keeping an eye out (hard to miss!) for Ponta Delgada’s City Gates.
These amazing old stone archways are one of the most photographed locations on the entire island.
Exploring further, the city’s marina is the ideal place to head to for a bite to eat. After you have tried some local delicacies, a walk along the marina may just provide some memorable moments when looking out to sea.
The waters here attract a wide selection of impressive wildlife including whales and dolphins that you may just catch sight of as they skirt the shoreline of the island.
4. Sete Cidades
The beautiful twin lakes found at Sete Cidades are in many ways a symbol of the Azores.
Travellers reaching the famous lakes will find an exciting blend of everything these islands are famed for – jaw-dropping views, lush vegetation and amazing landscapes.
Set in the cradle of a volcano, the lakes, one green, one blue, are lined with thick greenery, including cedar and juniper trees, often stretching right up to the water’s edge.
The origins of the lake at once time shrouded in mystery, legends spread throughout the island tell a tale of the lakes being formed by the tears of a mythical princess and shepherd.
5. Terra Nostra
Tucked away on the island, Terra Nostra is one of the finest examples of a botanical garden.
Beautifully kept, the gardens offer a little more than an amazing collection of plants to enjoy and admire.
Throughout, visitors can enjoy a selection of thermal pools where you can unwind, admire the surrounding plant life and perhaps partake in a spot of birdwatching.