The Portuguese island group of the Azores command an amazing Atlantic Ocean location 930 miles from Lisbon. The unspoilt islands attract mainly outdoor activity enthusiasts looking for isolated holidays in beautiful volcanic surroundings with verdant green farmland, amazing lakes and beautiful wild flowers. Most holidays to the Azores are taken on the islands of Pico, Faial, Sao Jorge, Terceira and Graciosa; however the lesser known islands of Santa Maria, Sao Miguel, Flores and the tiny island of Corvo are becoming more popular. The islands offer a very slow pace of life in a romantic atmosphere, tiny hamlets full of character, quaint old towns, intriguing churches and amazing festivals. As you wander through the beautiful farmland you will come across isolated farmhouses, fruit orchards and vineyards.
Along the dramatic coastline there are secluded bays and coves where the crystal clear calm waters are perfect for swimming or just relaxing under the beautiful blue skies. The Azores appeal mainly to walkers, nature lovers and outdoor activity enthusiasts. Walking or hiking on the islands will leave you with lasting memories of some unforgettable landscapes, especially the volcano on the island of Pico which reaches a staggering mile and half. Diving (mainly on the island of Pico), cycling, horse riding, golf, lake fishing, big game fishing and sailing are also widely available on the islands. The islands have quite recently gained a great reputation for paragliding, swimming with dolphins and whale watching.
The island is the second largest of the Azores islands and home to Portugal’s highest mountain. Pico makes an ideal base for island hopping with ferries to the islands of Sao Jorge, Faial and Terceira. Diving holidays to Pico are becoming increasing more popular with more than 30 easily accessible dive sites on offer. Located in the south central Azores, Pico enjoys warm to hot weather all year through with temperatures varying from 16C in the winter to 25C in August.
Known as the ‘blue island’ due to its summer hydrangeas, most Faial holidays are based around the island’s principal town and port, Horta. Faial is regarded as having the best beach and swimming options of all the islands with plenty of rock pools waiting to be explored by all the family. However the spa region of Varadouro is becoming increasingly popular for its naturally formed spas which bubble away at temperatures of 36C.
Sao Jorge enjoys a hot sub-tropical climate all year round with water temperatures between 17C and 23C throughout the year. The island offers some of the best walking and hiking opportunities of all the islands which focus on coastal plains (fajas) which are formed from flowing lava. Walking on the island offers a variety of different elements including volcanic peaks, amazing cliffs, green forests, waterfalls, vineyards, coffee and banana plantations and fruit orchards.
This is one of the larger of the Azores and one of the most popular. Terceira offers amazing walking opportunities featuring the dramatic mountains of the Serra do Cume, verdant green countryside and beautiful volcanic lakes. The island is also very popular with paragliders, cavers and golfing enthusiasts. The old capital of Terceira, Angra do Heroismo, is a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring baroque palaces, a cathedral, quaint old churches, 17th century forts and a charming harbour.
This small island offers peace and tranquility on the driest and sunniest island of the Azores. Santa Maria beaches are considered to be the best in the Azores, offering not only white sands and clear waters but also an array of water sports. The harbour town of Vila do Porto is the oldest settlement in the Azores and has an interesting historic centre and 16th century port. Santa Maria is popular with birdwatchers, cavers and big game fishing enthusiasts.
The largest of the Azores, Sao Miguel offers visitors a taste of real Azorean life. The island attracts golfing enthusiasts to its Batalha Golf Course and the scenic Furnas Golf Course. The highlights of any holiday to Sao Miguel are the amazing chain of emerald green lakes in the craters of Sete Cidades, Furnas and Fogo and the hot sulphur springs at Vale das Furnas and Ribeira Grande.
The isolated island of Flores offers a rugged coastline, vast cliffs, tiny coves, volcanic landscapes with amazing crater lakes and verdant green countryside. Visitors to the island can enjoy excellent coastal walks, walks through nature reserves, green countryside and forests, diving, sea and crater kayaking, dolphin and whale watching trips, bird watching, cliff and lake fishing and much more.