Our favourites of the nine islands that make up this intriguing
archipelago are São Miguel and Pico. São Miguel manages to combine
both a thriving foodie culture and bustling University City with
awe inspiring wilderness. No trip would be complete without a tour
of the capital, Ponta Delgada, exploring and sampling a variety of
typical and delicious tapas dishes.
The main attraction of The Azores, however, is its wild beauty
and to truly take it in it is necessary to venture into the wild.
São Miguel offers a plethora of activities, from all day canyoning
trips to Jeep tours around the island and rock climbing, or
channelling your inner Bond and taking a boat out to crater pools.
The islands' position at the meeting point of the Eurasian, African
and North American tectonic plates make it a hive of geological
activity. Even the least geologically minded will be in awe at the
hot springs, bubbling molten clay and rugged coastlines.
Pico, with its distinctive wine culture, is a designated UNESCO
World Heritage Site. The unique and world famous wines come about
thanks to the terroir; vines grow on volcanic soil and are
protected from the Atlantic winds and rain by basalt walls. More
than just a giant vineyard, Pico Mountain, which stands at 7700ft,
is the tallest mountain in Portugal and in 2012 was voted one of
the Seven Wonders of Portugal. For hikers it offers some truly
spectacular options, promising the most unbelievable views across
the other islands, an incredible sunset, and the chance to see
dolphins and even whales. The islands secret lagoons and caves can
be revealed to you in an all day tour, and of course there are
plenty of wine tastings on offer.