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Travel News Meet the Azores: 9 Gorgeous Islands for Adventurers

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Meet the Azores: 9 Gorgeous Islands for Adventurers

The Hawaii of the Atlantic? The Azores are a remote Portuguese archipelago that offers visitors the chance to explore nine different islands by land, sea, and sky. Adventure opportunities are endless and the cities, harbors, and beaches offer a leisurely escape.

In partnership with Delta Air Lines

Intricately painted tiles cover Lisbon’s buildings, golden sands fill the Algarve’s beaches, and sugar sits atop fresh custard tarts. The beauty of Portugal is in its charming details.

But Portugal has another remarkable detail that few may have heard of: an archipelago of breath-taking, lush green nature in the middle of the Atlantic. Meet the Azores.

How to Get to the Azores

The Azores are a group of volcanic islands sitting far off the coast of Portugal, between New York City and Lisbon.

Delta Air Lines is offering direct flights to the Azores from New York City, making it easier than ever to explore this Atlantic wonderland. This seasonal route will run 5 days a week between JFK airport and Ponta Delgada, in one of the main islands of the archipelago.

What are the Azores?

The Azores are made up of nine islands that belong to Portugal but are scattered across 600km of remote Atlantic Ocean. The islands are divided into an Eastern Group, Central Group, and Western Group.

The Central Group

The Central Group includes Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial. Terceira and Faial are two of the most populated islands and Faial is home to bustling Horta Harbour, one of the busiest marinas in the world.

Angra do Heroismo – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is a historical city on Terceira with local cafes and shops housed in vibrantly colored buildings.

Montanha do Pico is Portugal’s highest point. It offers sweeping views from its peak over Pico’s UNESCO-protected vineyards. Planted in the dark, volcanic soil, these rows of vines are part of a viticulture on the islands dating as far back as the fifteenth century.

Image copyright: Inma Gregorio, A World to Travel

The Western Group

The Western Group is composed of Corvo and Flores. Unique windmills dot the landscape of Corvo while Flores is saturated by lakes and waterfalls. Twenty different waterfalls are visible from a single viewpoint on Flores.

The Eastern Group

The Eastern Group is home to Santa Maria and São Miguel, the latter being the biggest island and home to more than half of the Azores’ inhabitants. São Miguel is also home to the stunning Sete Cidades Lakes, one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal. Therapeutic springs, small fishing villages, and sixteenth-century castles are all nearby.

The Best Activities in the Azores

So what are these islands all about? If you think of the Azores as the Atlantic’s answer to Hawaii, you aren’t far off.

 Whale watching, hiking, surfing, and UNESCO worthy sites tempt visitors to this archipelago.

It’s a bit wilder here than in the lazy Pacific; volcanic black beaches outnumber white sandy ones. But you’ll be free from crowds in the Azores. These remote lands will give you all the charm and history of a European nation with paradisical nature to rival the world’s best.

The Azores are more than simply an unspoiled haven — the islands are a pioneer in renewable energy. They were recently named one of the World’s Top 10 Sustainable Destinations at ITB Berlin.

The Azores welcomes water-lovers with an abundance of aquatic options for things to do. Canoeing/kayaking, big game fishing, scuba diving, surfing, and yachting are popular activities. Canyoneering offers an epic adventure to those interested in rappelling down waterfalls, jumping off cliffs, and sliding down water chutes.

Head inland when you’re ready to dry off and experience the best of the Azores’ outdoors. Horseback riding, paragliding, golfing, hiking, mountain biking, and bird-watching are just a few of the popular pastimes here.

When to Visit the Azores

April to September makes up the dry season in the Azores when temperatures are at their peak and the sea water is warmer.

For travelers looking for adventure, the Azores roll out a grassy green carpet to welcome them. The perfection is in the seclusion here, so make sure to book your Delta flight while this archipelago is still undiscovered by the masses.