If heaven existed anywhere on earth and was accessible without any prerequisites to enter, then the pearly gates leading to the Promised Land, would dwell in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean 800 miles off the coast of Portugal. Remotely located in the middle of the Atlantic, the Azores Islands are an archipelago of nine islands geographical divided into three groups occupying a triple junction between the North American, Eurasian and African Plate.
An autonomous region of Portugal, suited for nature lovers, adventure sports fans and any traveller wishing to walk off the beaten path, these unique islands with exquisite and breath-taking views are referred to, as the Hawaii of Europe and are well – known for their lush green landscapes and volcanic turned lakes and lagoons. Designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve and a sanctuary of biodiversity and geodiversity, time has uniquely and distinctively moulded this volcanic hotspot leaving each island with its own unique identify.
With nature and maritime life as the key attractions of the islands, the Azores have sought to stand out as a prime tourist destination and with whale and dolphin watching trips and numerous walking trails carved alongside breath taking landscapes, the Azores also offer a trip back into time with ancient rural fishing towns and 15th century churches and manor houses.
WHAT TO DO
Alluring as ever, there is a bucket list of experiences to be had in the Azores with cultural festivals such as carnival, celebrated intensely on all the islands with music and dancing being the highlight and each parish having its own brass band. Encompassing the geographical architecture of the Azores, modernised religious traditions which still hold great fervour are still celebrated reminiscent of the time, inhabitants prayed for divine assistance to placate Nature’s wrath.
With a fervour of outdoor activities, catering to all physical levels, there are views of the famous waterfalls of Flores, magnificent coastlines and great hiking trails overlooking the ocean and the tops of volcanic peaks. Surrounded by palms and ferns hot springs are dotted around the islands with locations readily available for the best sites to spot whales and dolphins.
To find out more about the islands, Visit Azores.
The Azores islands are located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Temperatures are average and range between 13-22° C with sea temperatures slightly higher. Summer temperatures range in the highs of 30°C. The total flying time from London is 4 hours.
With flights from London Stanstead to the largest island group São Miguel, Ryanair and easyJet have regular routes.
Cover Image © courtsey of Azores GeoPark