Experience nine lives in the Azores
With nine islands to choose from, each with their own character and charm, stunning natural beauty and vast array of wildlife, plus activities such as whale-watching, walking, cycling, golf, diving and canyoning, visitors are sure to experience nine different types of holiday.
São Miguel - The largest of the islands, São Miguel offers the greatest diversity of interests. Discover the Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire), have a refreshing break at Europe’s only tea estate or visit the small spa of Furnas with its 22 different mineral waters.
Santa Maria - Santa Maria is the oldest island of the archipelago. It is considered to be the sun island and is generally warmer and drier than its neighbours. It is also where Christopher Columbus sought refuge in 1493 on his return voyage from America.
Terceira - The 15th Century town of Angra do HeroÍsmo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-see with its cobble streets, townhouses, museum, cathedral and town square. It is also a good place to catch one of the 220 Azorean street bullfights (bulls are not harmed and never killed) or to visit one of 68 19th Century chapels dotted around the island.
Graciosa - Graciosa is relaxed island sprinkled with whitewashed villages, vineyards and windmills. Explore the 80ft cavern and underground lake in the very heart of the volcano. The inland is an excellent choice for the epicure, with its wine, cheese and famous cakes, Queijadas da Graciosa.
São Jorge - Formed by a series of successive volcanic eruptions, São Jorge’s craggy coastline plunges almost vertically into the ocean. The island is popular with walkers and for exploring the fajãs and settlements along the coast.
Faial - Thanks to the abundant hydrangeas, Faial is known as the Blue Island. Horta, the main port, is lively and cosmopolitan with excellent views of the volcano on Pico.
Pico - At 2,351m Pico’s volcano is the highest point in Portugal. It is also one of the most distinctive islands with its black and white houses and churches. Walkers can attempt the ascent to the summit of Pico and be rewarded with stunning panoramic views. Don’t miss the whaling museum in Lajas, the lava cave and 4,480m long lava tunnel or a visit to the vineyard to taste Pico’s famous fortified Verdelho wine.
Flores - This ‘Isle of Flowers’ offers spectacular natural beauty, seven lakes, several waterfalls, peaks and valleys and small pastures bordered by mile after mile of hydrangea hedges.
Corvo – Not just the remotest and smallest island of the archipelago but arguably one of the most isolated places in Europe. Corvo has just one settlement and 6km uphill along the island’s only road leads to the caldera offering views of Flores.
SATA Internacional offers a weekly flight departing from London Gatwick and Manchester to Ponta Delgada on São Miguel Island with prices from £296pp return.
The flight takes under four hours and includes a hot in-flight meal, bar service and a generous baggage allowance. SATA Internacional also offers the most comprehensive inter-island connections throughout the Azores archipelago and prices start from £32pp for each inter-island flight. SATA Internacional reservations: email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on SATA Internacional visit sata.pt.
Archipelago Azores (azoreschoice.com) is offering the chance to explore three islands Sao Miguel, Sao Jorge and Faial from £1,398 pp (two sharing). The price includes 14 night’s accommodation (4 star Hotel do Colegio on Sao Miguel, 3 star Hotel Sao Jorge on Sao Jorge and 4 star Hotel Fayal on Faial) with breakfast, return flights with SATA, all inter island flights, transfers, four days care hire on Sao Miguel and a whale-watching excursion.
Sunvil Discovery (sunvil.co.uk) offers a three islands itinerary to Sao Miguel, Faial and Pico from £1,067 pp (two sharing). The price includes seven night’s accommodation with breakfast at three-star hotels, return flights with SATA, all inter island flights, transfers and some excursions.