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6 reasons to travel to Azores (the)

There are as many excellent reasons to visit the Azores as there are islands in the archipelago itself! And because these reasons add up and combine so well together, the argument they provide in favour of visiting these islands is simply overwhelming.

Enjoy the ocean far from the crowds

It goes without saying that, as with any archipelago, the sea is an ever-present feature of the Azores! In essence, this collection of islands has the appearance of having been simply thrown out into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, like a handful of little pebbles. Even São Miguel is fairly limited in area, to such an extent that you are never far from the water there, with ocean extending out far as the eye can see everywhere you go. How calming and relaxing it all is!

Discover a wide range of admirably well-preserved architecture

Palaces and churches, manor houses and chapels, fortresses and country houses: what a rich wealth and variety of architecture there is to be found on these islands, especially on Terceira! Baroque and Renaissance styles dominate here, with beautiful white or brightly coloured facades and richly ornate religious decorations, an example of this being the Church of Santa Bárbara in Manadas on São Jorge. There are also the pretty impérios (chapels) to explore and compare too, which are brightly painted in colours strongly associated with the local festivals of the Holy Spirit. As for the islands' country houses, they are, of course, constructed from basalt.

Visit and admire the various volcanic craters scattered across these islands

The Azores are an archipelago that has emerged from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which lies at the junction where the American, African and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are several volcanoes dominating the islands, providing wonderful environments for walking and hiking. How about a trip to see and admire the turquoise water of Lagoa do Fogo, or to explore the legend of Sete Cidades, which are both located on São Miguel, or to see the Pico volcano, the top of which is sometimes shrouded in a beautiful white cloud?

Explore and examine the luxuriant vegetation

The mild climate, with its copious sunshine and humidity, together with the volcanic soil provide favourable conditions for the growth of a wealth of plants and flowers, and these make the trip worthwhile all by themselves. The original woodland cover has been much reduced due to human habitation, but the pastureland helps to contribute to the formation of beautiful terraced landscapes. But the most significant aspect of the vegetation are the more than 800 endemic or introduced plant species here, especially the magnificent hortensias, fuchsias, amaryllis, laurels, heathers and junipers.

Take part in traditional festivals and celebrations

Festivals and celebrations, most of which are religious in nature (Catholic in fact), play an important part in the lives of the Azorean people, as well as providing events that offer the kind of warm and friendly atmosphere that visitors to the islands are sure to enjoy. The Festas do Espirito Santo are celebrated across all the islands on the seventh Sunday after Easter and involve dancing, brass bands and distribution of bread. You can also attend the pilgrimage of the Romeiros during Lent, the festival of Santo Cristo dos Milagres on the island of São Miguel and those of São João on Terceira and Cavalhadas de São Pedro at Ribeira Seca on São Miguel… in fact check the calendar before travelling to ensure you find yourself in the right place at the right time!

Hike from village to village

If you like hiking or going for gentler walks, you'll find plenty to keep yourself occupied and entertained by simply exploring the islands of the Azores archipelago at your own pace. There are countless different routes and trails available, and along these lie various peaceful little villages and hamlets where you can spend time exploring rural architecture, pretty chapels, little churches, windmills, traditional workshops, little fishing harbours … and meet the Azoreans themselves of course, who are always friendly and ready to offer a warm welcome!
Marie TSOUNGUI
8 contributions
Updated 26 October 2018
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