One look at these islands and you’ll wonder why you didn’t get book a flight sooner! But if you’re looking for a reason to visit the Azores, here are six…

Amazing landscapes

The archipelago of the Azores boast some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. Spread across 9 volcanic islands, there are dramatic waterfalls, peridot-coloured pastures and glittering lagoons which can be admired on foot, bike, kayak or paraglide.

A must-see for first time visitors is Lagoa das Sete Cidades, which fills the crater of a dormant volcano, and is characterised by gleaming green and blue pools, either side of a bridge. Cross it for panoramic views.

Lagoa do Fogo and green valley on San Miguel island of Azores

Zany experiences

Hot springs here aren’t just for relaxing, it’s common to cook your stew in them! Imagine sinking into bubbling warm waters at Furnas, before sampling one of the parish’s local dishes, known as Cozido de Furnas’, cooked in the baked earth generated by the hot springs and geysers. You could call it the Azores version of from farm to fork’.

One of the many geysers hot springs and fumaroles scattered in the center of the village of Furnas Sao Miguel Island Azores

Old wine culture 

As a Portuguese settlement, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the land which bestowed the world with Port wine should carry its tradition some 1,000 km away from the mainland.

The Island of Pico is peppered with vineyards and wineries which offer tours, tastings and workshops, such as Cooperativa Vitivinícola da Ilha do Pico.

Red grapes at a Pico vineyard

Rich wildlife

Picture yourself on a boat surrounded by whales, dolphins and turtles. While under the sea, you’ll find a myriad of marine life so vast that the Azores has become known as one of the world’s best diving destinations! Not only can swimmers come into close contact with eels, hammerhead sharks and manta rays, but there is also a World War II shipwreck to explore. 

For those more interesting in getting closer to nature on-shore, there’s a mix of horse-back riding and bird watching opportunities, to see the beautiful Azores Bullfinch – endemic to the islands — and Monteiro’s storm petrel, one of Europe’s rarest birds. 

Family of short finned pilot whales underwater on Azores islands Portugal

Exceptionally good food

A fusion of natural bounty and Portuguese culinary traditions makes food in the Azores divine.

First, there is Pasteis de Nata, the famous custard tarts. Then, there are the regional specialities; the aforementioned, Cozido de Furnas’, as well as Alcatra’ and the giant, oddly-shaped scallop look-alikes, known as lapas’.

But perhaps the best thing about the cuisine here is how it’s cooked. From slowly-simmered stews in natural bubble baths to searing seafood on hot lava stones, the curious cooking methods are reason enough to visit the Azores! 

Traditional Furnas stew which is cooked for many hours in the volcanic vents in the ground It consists of various meats

Seriously beautiful architecture 

From custard and cream-coloured colonial buildings to fairy-tale like houses, frosted in pastel trimmings, the period buildings of the towns throughout the islands are stunning.

Something to look out for in particular is stunning azuelejos’ tilework in the town of Lagoa

Azulejo Azores

Tickled your taste buds? Check out our recommendations for where to eat in the Azores

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