In september last year I had a chance to visit one of the islands that belong to the Archipelago of the Azores. Located in the Atlantic ocean, nine volcanic islands are the perfect getaway to relax in the unspoiled nature. We visited Sao Miguel which is the largest of all islands.
1. Rent a car and cruise around the island
The best way to see the island is to rent a car. The roads are well maintained and there is hardly any traffic. Alongside the road there are many viewpoints where you can stop and admire the drop-dead gorgeous scenery. There are also many picnic places perfect to stop and have a quick bite.
2. Go whale watching
One of the most exciting things to do is to see these magnificent creatures. We were lucky enough to spot dolphins and false killer whales!
3. Hike to one of the many volcanic lakes
One of the more popular activities and best way to explore the island is to hike. Scenic hiking trails all over the island offer breathtaking views over the crater lakes.
4. Try delicious pineapple and visit one of the plantations
If you want something different then visiting pineapple plantation is a must! Small plantation with greenhouses is located a little bit north of Ponta Delgada and is free of charge to visit. The guide will talk you through the history and process of growing these delicious fruits that take two years to cultivate. You can see all the stages of growth and as many as 6000 glasshouses on the whole island! There is also a small shop where you can buy all the goodies made from pineapples, such as: pineapple jam, pineapple tarts, pineapple liqueur as well as pineapple itself. My favourite? Definitely pineapple itself! So delicious!
5. Swim in natural pools
The best way to refresh after a long hike is to jump into the cool Atlantic Ocean.
6. Visit tea plantations
Azores are home to the only tea plantation in Europe. In Sao Miguel island there are actually two plantations, both in close proximity to each other. We visited Cha Gorreana, the oldest and biggest plantation that started producing tea already in 19th century. The most fascinating thing is that even today they use the same technique and machinery. There is no admission, you can have a look at the factory and then later a nice cup of tea overlooking the tea plantations.
7. Sit back and relax in gorgeous scenery
Azores are a place where everybody can find something to do. From whale watching to hiking you can basically do anything… Enjoy the unspoilt nature, drink delicious tea and eat the sweetest pineapple. Azores will not disappoint you!