Sunday, 8 November 2015

10 Things to See and Do - Azores!

If the Azores are not on your bucketlist or even on your radar, they should be! Up until this year (2015) the Azores were a bit difficult/pricey to get to, but now with RyanAir flying to the main Island, and Sata's price drops they are much more accessible. The Azores are situated in the middle of the Atlantic so they may be closer than you may think. The flight from Toronto to the Azores is only 5-6 hours. The Azores are made up of 9 islands the largest and most populated being Sao Miguel. During my trip in October I was only able to visit the main Island, but I am itching to go back and see the rest! Here are my top 10 things to see and do on the Island of Sao Miguel, Azores!

1. Take in the Breathtaking Views:

From almost anywhere you look on the Island (Sao Miguel) you can see beautiful blue ocean, or green, mountainous volcanos! In fact the island is incredibly colourful, as they also have an abundance of wild flowers (especially in the summer time). Not to mention the beautiful waterfalls and lakes that you can venture out to find. They also offer lots of outdoor activities to enjoy nature such as hiking, kayaking, sailing. This place is a nature lovers dream come true!

2. Eat Volcano Cooked Food (Cozido):

In Furnas, you can eat a meal that is actually cooked from the earth! Cozido, a stew of sorts (lots of meat and hardy vegetables) is put into large pots and then buried in the geothermal soil. It is slow cooking as it takes around 5 hours to cook the food, but it is well worth the wait! It is the meal to try if you are in the Azores!


3. Visit Lagoa das Furnas

If you are in Furnas then you must view Lagoa das Furnas from the top. The area itself has so much to offer from gardens to churches and so much more.

4. Taste the Water in Caldeiras das Furnas

The small Town of Caldeiras is filled with Volcanic fumaroles (vents) which are really neat, but if you are looking for something all you have to do is taste the water. It is interesting to find the different tastes at each of the different water fountains (only use specified drinking safe ones). I'll leave you to find out what they taste like...

5. Bathe in Po├ža da Dona Beija

After all the sightseeing there is nothing better than relaxing in a natural Hot Spring! You come out of the water like a whole new person. Every muscle and inch of your body is relaxed. This is a Must-Do!

6. Swim in a Forest - Caldeira Velha

In case the other hot springs just wasn't "green" enough or you wish it were more natural looking... look no further. The Hot Springs at Caldeira Velha feels like your in the middle of a Jurassic Park movie.

7. Sip Tea at Cha, Porto Formoso

Although I usually stay clear of the Factory tours this one has unexpected bonuses. There are only two tea plantations in Europe, both being on Sao Miguel Island. Even if you have been to other tea plantations this one will offer something different.

8. Travel up, down and around Lagoa das Sete Cidades

You can see the twin lakes from so many different spots and they are breathtaking from every angle. The best view is of course from the top, where you can also find an abandoned hotel that you can walk through if your brave enough. Although they are called twin lakes they are definitely not identical as one is blue and the other is green. This is one of the most famous images of the Azores itself, so it is definitely not to miss!

9. Sit and Ponder Life at Lagoa do Fogo

This was my personal favourite (land) location of all the Azores spots. The Spot from the absolute top took my breath away (quite literally as it was insanely windy). But from anywhere around this lake you cant help but just sit, enjoy and take it all in!

10. Watch for Dolphins and Whales

Whale and Dolphin watching in the Azores is among the best places in the world to see them. There are many species of whales and dolphins that call the Azores home or that frequently pass through. Most operators will guarantee you a sighting (usually at least dolphins as they are more of a resident) and if you don't see anything they will offer you another trip out or a refund.

On my trip (in October) we saw Common Dolphins and Sperm Whales! Check out the Tour Companies blog post for more up-close pictures!!

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