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Our Best Kept Secret: The Azores Islands

By HarryFriday 14th November 2014

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Located off the coast of Portugal are the Azores Islands, an archipelago of nine volcanic islands; Corvo, Faial, Flores, Graciosa, Pico, São Jorge, São Miguel, Santa Maria and Terceira. With gorgeous landscapes, stunning beaches and amazing food, these little known Portuguese gems make for the perfect holiday, from summer to winter. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you find out more about these fantastic islands, so that all you need to do is book your dream trip away!

What to see

Image and video hosting by TinyPic After sailing into Ponta Delgada, the capital of São Miguel, a great place to start your Azores journey is with a visit to Portas da Cidade. This black and white gate is an iconic part of city, as well as its heart, so be sure to take a moment to admire it and the unusual patterns painted onto the tarmac, which wind in and around the gate. Image and video hosting by TinyPic Afterwards, make the trip to Lagoa Das Empadadas, an enchanting lake that is surrounded by hundreds of emerald fir trees. Take the time to wander around this gorgeous piece of land, and maybe even enjoy a picnic along the lake’s banks.

What to do in The Azores


Image and video hosting by TinyPic With nine islands to see and explore, you’ll never be stuck for things to do. The islands of the Azores were recently awarded the QualityCoast Platinum Award by the Coastal and Marine Union, and are often recognised as one of the best places in the world for whale watching. The best time of the year to spot whales is between April and May, when you’ll be treated to sightings of a range of different types, such as minke, blue and humpback whales. Image and video hosting by TinyPic  


Image and video hosting by TinyPic Activities on land are just as great as they are in the sea, and you’ll be spoilt for choice for what to do. If you and your family love exploring, then head over to the island of Terceira to wander around the breathtaking Algar do Carvão. The walls of this deep cave are covered by bright green moss, and lead all the way down to a beautifully clear pool of water – amazing!  


Image and video hosting by TinyPic Once you’ve clambered out of Algar do Carvão, make your way to the island of Pico, where you’ll be able to hike the tallest mountain in Portugal, Mount Pico. At a height of 7,713-feet above sea-level, a climb to the summit is not for the faint-hearted, so be sure to only go as far as you’re capable. But, if you do persevere to the top, you’ll be able to take in the amazing views of the island, beneath the clouds.  

What to eat

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Dig into a plate of delicious massa sovada The cuisine of the Azores Islands is very similar to that of mainland Portugal; however, each island has their own specialities, with seafood, spicy stews and sweet desserts being firm favourites.  Kale soup is a popular winter choice; it’s made up of large chunks of roughly chopped kale, boiled potatoes and linguiça, a type of sausage – pork is the best-loved meat in Azores. For dessert, the Portuguese sweet bread of massa sovada is something you’ll definitely have to try. Similar to France’s brioche, this delicious cake-like bread is said to have originated in the Azores, and is often made and decorated in time for annual celebrations, such as Easter and Christmas.

Are you a fan of the Azores Islands?

If this article has left you longing for more, then be sure to take a look at our fantastic cruises from the UK, to book your perfect holiday today. On a trip to the Azores, you’ll also be able to experience our newly enhanced Explorer of the Seas – WOW!

Have you ever visited the Azores Islands? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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