If you were given the chance to island-hop nine times and explore lands created by a volcanic eruption ages ago, would you grab it? If this idea thrills you, and would like to give it a try, then pack your bag and prepare to fly to Azores, Portugal!
The Azores archipelago is an autonomous region of Portugal scattered in the Atlantic Ocean. It is 930 miles from the European coast (Lisbon area) and about 2,400 miles from the North American east coast. This group of nine islands boasts of so many riches and much beauty that it was ranked as the second most beautiful archipelago in the world by the National Geographic Traveler in 2008.
The archipelago is divided into three groups based on their proximity: the Eastern, the Central, and the Western groups. The Eastern group is composed of Santa Maria and San Miguel. The Central includes Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico, Faial, and Graciosa. And the Western group consists of Flores and Corvo. The shortest distance between two islands is 3.7 miles (between Pico and Faial), while the longest is between Santa Maria and Corvo which is 372 miles.
As the archipelago lies on the Atlantic Ocean, oceanic conditions control the climate of the region. The average temperature is about 63 degrees Fahrenheit with the lows of 55-57 degrees during the colder months of January and February, and the highs of 72-73 degrees during the warm months of July and August.
If you are in search of magnificent landscapes with endless panoramic views, virgin nature, and unadulterated fauna, the Azores is really perfect for you. Each island has its own airport which enables you to hop from one island to another at your convenience. But since there’s so much to discover, make sure that you allot not less than two weeks for your getaway. Among the many things you can do here are whale watching, swimming with the dolphins, mountain climbing, fishing, scuba diving, golfing, boating, and everything else imaginable. This is truly a natural paradise.