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Azores Hotels and Apartments
Often called the Hawaii of Europe, the nine islands of the Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal. Located in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and the Americas, these emerald green islands are the perfect escape from the world. They’re made up of the exposed peaks of vast underwater mountains, driven above the surface by countless volcanic eruptions. This volcanic landscape has produced a breathtaking natural beauty, with majestic crater lakes, bubbling hot springs and mountains blanketed in lush greenery. The stunning scenery, mild climate and laid-back Portuguese culture have attracted a new generation of holidaymakers to this previously undiscovered Eden.
It’s possible to visit several of the Azores islands in a single trip and experience the distinct character of each one. The islands all have their own airfields, and ferries continually cross between ports. If you’d rather stay put, the larger islands of Sao Miguel and Terceira have enough to keep you occupied for your entire holiday. Ponta Delgada, the capital of Sao Miguel, is a beautiful port city with narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed churches. There’s plenty to do, and it’s well worth a visit even if you’re not staying there.
The Azores are in prime territory for dolphin and whale watching, with lots of organised excursions you can take part in. Diving is also a popular activity, as the waters around the islands are teeming with life – species such as manta rays, loggerhead turtles and barracuda are in plentiful supply. Water temperatures are comfortable, between 17 and 24°C.
If you’re an eco-conscious traveller, you’ll be delighted to know that the Azores islands have been named the world’s top destination for sustainable tourism. There are several areas in the region designated as protected biospheres, and due to their isolated location from mainland Europe, Azores residents produce as many goods locally as they can. This means fresher food and fewer air miles. The Azores is also the only tea-producing region in Europe.
· Currency – EUR
· Time Zone – GMT-1
· Travel Time – Madeira Airport (FNC) – 3 hr 50 min (London)