AZORES - visit each of nine islands with its astonishing beauty between the blue of the ocean and the green of ever-lasting nature. The archipelago is located in the middle of Atlantic Ocean, 1500km to west from Europe and it is considered to be “the most green place in the world”.

The islands are divided in three geographical groups: the Eastern Group, comprising Santa Maria and São Miguel, the Central Group, including Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial, and the Western Group, composed by Corvo and Flores.

The expression “nature all around you” could well be used to describe the Azores. The archipelago offers perfect conditions for nature tourism by virtue of its unique natural heritage. All of this bio and geodiversity, together with the islands' traditional towns and villages, present unparalleled opportunities for nature tourism.

The Azoran cuisine is full of culinary surprises. Each island offers so many different flavors that everyone will find something suitable for themselves. Most dishes are based on traditional Portuguese recipes, but through ages the dishes in the archipelago changed with the usage of local ingredients, in the end creating completely new and unique recipes and flavours.

© Associação Turismo dos Açores  

10 reasons to visit Azores

1. Sunshine Island
On the island of Santa Maria, the beaches of warm white sand are inviting, and the vineyards covering the slopes like an amphitheatre resemble giant staircases. Because it is the most southerly and easterly island in the Azores, Santa Maria’s climate is warmer and drier, which contributes to greater aridity on the land and dry vegetation with a yellowish tint.

2. Angra do Heroismo
Located on Terceira island - Angra do Heroismo is the example of the creation of a city closely linked to its maritime function and was an obligatory port of call of the fleets of Africa and the Indies. In 1983, UNESCO classified it as a World Heritage Site.

3. Birds watching on Corvo
The tiny island of Corvo has a broad, beautiful crater at its centre, and attracts many species of birds coming from both Europe and America. It is considered by UNESCO to be a World Biosphere Reserve. Its origins are volcanic, and it is the smallest of the nine islands, with an area of only 17.1km2.

4. Hotsprings and geysers
The hotsprings are a delight to swim in. Especially the thermal pool of Furnas Island. The pools are surrounded by palms, ferns and conifers of a subtropical Atlantic forest. Looking for some adrenaline, visit the geysers on Furnas, which are located on the crater of one of the most active volcanoes of the Azores.

5. Marina in Horta
It is a must for the excitement of seeing the yachts moored there and for the great open air exhibition of paintings made on the jetty by all the visiting sailors. This nautical amenity was opened in 1986. The marina is currently the fourth most visited ocean marina and certainly one of the most important in the world. It has held the European Blue Flag since 1987.

6. Pico - the mountain island
The immense volcanic cone of Pico Mountain, with its height of 2,351m above sea level is Portugal’s highest mountain. It is on Pico that one of the largest visitable lava tubes in the world is found, in the Gruta das Torres, which stretches for five kilometres and is embellished by various types of lava stalactites and stalagmites, and ridged walls.

7. Cosmopolitan Ponta Delgada
Ponta Delgada is today a cosmopolitan city, outward looking, with a lively economic and cultural life. The extensive coastline road, which borders the harbour and the sea outlining the city, is the expression of its dynamism, adapting to new times and also the access road to the city.

8. Island of Flores
Flores is an island of water: waterfalls, lakes, streams and wells form a catalogue of unforgettable experiences, which seem to concentrate within themselves all the natural beauty that is scattered across the other islands of the Azores.

9. Whales spotting
It is one of a few places in the world where you can watch whales during all year.
Physeter macrocephalus specie has circular migratory movements through the tropical and subtropical waters of the Archipelago of Azores in the North Atlantic Ocean.

10. Gastronomy
There are some typical Azorean dishes, such as “cozido das Furnas”, unique for being cooked under the ground, harnessing the heat that the earth. Other example of typical food is “alcatra” fish or beef casserole, well-seasoned as tradition demands. There are several variations on the recipe for yam with sausage. The bolo lêvedo (leavened cake) from Furnas is also very popular, and goes well with any meal, by itself or with butter or jam. Or with Azores honey, a Protected Designation of Origin product, owing its high quality to the diversity and richness of the flora.