The Azores are a chain of islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago is divided into three groups of islands. The Eastern Group includes Santa Maria, with sandy beaches and green hills, and Sao Miguel where the city of Ponta Delgada is situated.
The Central Group consists of five islands, Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial. These islands offer a variety of attractions, from the hot steaming geysers in Terceira to the volcanic peak in the island of Pico, and the yachting port of the city of Horta, in Faial.
The Western Group includes the more remote islands of Flores and Corvo, the smallest island, situated on top of a marine volcano with calm lakes and a green crater.
The Azores benefit from a temperate, maritime climate with mild winters and warm summers. The wettest months are October to March.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE
Whale and Dolphin Watching
25 of 90 species of whale and dolphin have been spotted off the Azores, including the giant Sperm whale. The best sightings are from June to September in the waters around Faial, Pico and Sao Jorge.
There are whale related museums on Pico and Faial.
The island has an abundance of marine life. There are many dive centres, including those at Faial and Sao Miguel, which provide easy access to some excellent dive sites.
The waves off Santa Maria and Sao Miguel are great for surfing. Windsurfing lessons are also available at the islands’ sailing clubs.
The Azores have charter boats available for fishing trips, including availability on Faial and Sao Miguel.
There are three 18-hole golf courses in the Azores, two are located on Sao Miguel, and one is located on Terceira.
Touradas á corda
Terceira is well known for bullfight by the rope (Touradas á corda). This is unique to the Azores, and has been practiced since the 16th century. From May to October there are about 250 of these bullfighting events.
The bull is let loose with a very long rope around its neck, usually in the main road of a small village. The release of a rocket signals that there is a bull on the street, and the game is ready to begin. The bull is guided by several experienced men and the local young men must try to get as close to the bull as they dare. Although it can be amusing it is very dangerous. After a while another rocket is launched to signify the end of the game.
Caldeira das Sete Cidades (Cauldron of the Seven Cities)
Situated in Ponta del Gada on Sao Miguel, this giant volcanic crater has a 7 mile circumference and sheer walls that rise above several lakes. The most beautiful of these are the Blue and Green lakes.
Furnas do Enxofre
Caldeira de Guilherme Moniz
Situated in Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira, this is an eroded crater and is the largest in the Azores. It has Furnas do Enxofre (sulphur), hot steaming geysers where the vapours are transformed into colourful formations.
Situated in Furnas on Sao Miguel, these botanical gardens contain an array of plants and animals and also a spring-fed pool, with warm mustard coloured water which has a fantastic effect on your skin.
Also found in Furnas, this is one of the world’s few hydropolises, an area where not only the normal hot mud springs rise, but also copper coloured waters rise in the same location.
Situated in Horta on Faial, Porto Pim is the site of Horta’s old harbour and is a great place for a swim. The water here is warm and the beach very gently shelving, making it safe for children.
Situated on Sao Miguel, Ponta Delgada, a former fishing village, boasts narrow streets, picturesque whitewashed houses and a waterfront promenade.
Furna de Enxofre
Situated on Graciosa is The Caldeira. Its interior, the Furna do Enxofre, has a 270ft spiral staircase which leads down to a small, warm sulphur lake concealed in a grotto beneath a crater.
Angra do Heroismo
The beautiful, historic old town of Angra do Heroismo is found on Terceira.
Algar do Carvao
Situated on Terceira, Algar do Carvao has fascinating craters, caves and tunnels to explore.
In the Azores, the sea is pure and clear with a constantly mild, warm temperature. The beaches are generally formed from black sand, however, the island of Santa Maria has beautiful white sandy beaches.
Sao Lourenco on Santa Maria has fine, clear sand and is excellent for surfing.
If you are looking for last minute holidays to the Azores, there are always lots of great offers throughout the internet.