The Azores offer accessible adventures in one of the most affordable countries to visit
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -The Azores, a cluster of Portuguese islands in the Atlantic Ocean, are becoming more popular as a travel destination for Americans.
The Azores are a volcanic chain of islands with terrain resembling a combination of Hawaii and Iceland. The largest island, São Miguel, has a population of 140,000. The western part of São Miguel is famous for its hiking trails around a series of volcanic lakes, plus rocky beaches and natural pools. While most of the Azores beaches aren’t prime for swimming, they’re ideal for hiking along the cliffs and photography.
On the far west coast, you can also check out Sensi Azores, a unique resort that opened right at the start of the pandemic. A couple empty-nesters from Lisbon transformed an old farmhouse into a beautiful hotel. The Azores are full of interesting stories about local families. In the central part of São Miguel, you can visit a vineyard, which the owners created from an abandoned citrus farm. They offer free tours each afternoon, where you can learn about various wines produced in the Azores.
Nearby, you can stop at what’s said to be the oldest tea plantation in Europe. Gorreana is one of the only tea operations in Europe. They’ll give you a free tour of the tea-making process, but just as many people go to Gorreana to hike the famous Azores tea fields. Gorreana’s fields of sculpted tea plants are open to the public to explore for free anytime.
The hikes in the Azores, and viewpoints, are accessible to visitors of all ability levels. The biggest challenge is planning your routes and adventures around the fog that rolls in! The only significant sites you’ll have to pay an entry fee for are some famous Azores hot springs. Some hot spring pools are crowded and manmade, while others are more naturally-formed.
Rental cars in the Azores are reasonably priced, and São Miguel is very easy to drive around. In general, the Azores are becoming more people with American tourists, and it’s become easier for us to get there. Direct flights to Ponta Delgada’s airport (PDL) can now usually be found from Boston, Newark, New York’s JFK, and Toronto. The islands are also a good addition to a trip to a big European hub, like London, Madrid, or Paris.
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