Portugal Azores are located in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, between the continents of Europe and America. The holiday Azores are a year – round destination, and the archipelago is closer than you can imagine-just two hours from Lisbon and four hours from the main airports in Europe, the United States and Canada. There are dormant volcanoes, fumaroles, natural pools and magical lakes. The cuisine of the region boasts the aromas of the sea and land, which are mixed with delicious landscapes, tea and pineapple plantations. The Azores Islands is surrounding by Ocean is literally teeming with whales and dolphins.
Basic information about the archipelago
The Azores Portugal are part of the Macaronesia region. Thanks to these Islands, the country has become one of the most popular destinations for yachting. The archipelago was created as a result of volcanic activity. It consists of 9 large Islands, a dozen small Islands and reefs.
The Azores island stretch for 600 km from Santa Maria to Corvo in the North Atlantic Ocean. The territory of the archipelago is divided into several geographical groups:
- Central: Terceira, Pico, Faial, Sao Jorge and Graciosa
- The Eastern group comprising the Islands of Sao Miguel and Santa Maria
- Western with the Islands of Corvo and Flores
The largest administrative divisions of the Azores cities of Ponta Delgada, Madalena and Velas, located on the Islands of San Miguel, Terceira and Faial. In total, almost 250 thousand inhabitants live on the island territory.
In Azores Islands weather pleases visitors and locals all year round. The archipelago is located in the temperate climate zone of the Northern hemisphere. Cloud cover and rain are possible in any month, although the period between June and October boasts plenty of sunshine and stable warm weather. The average air temperature ranges from 13.6°C (min) to 22°C (max) throughout the year. In winter, strong northerly winds prevail, occurring near Newfoundland. In summer, waves from the South created by tropical storms are more common.
Yachting in the Azores
In the Azores travel routes are ideal for yachtsmen of all levels of training. Moving along the coastline of the Islands, you can see a surprisingly green landscape that descends to the bright blue waters of the ocean. Beaches and sheltered coves invite you to stop and dive into their waters. In the Azores trip immerses you in the atmosphere of the old days, when dolphins and whales accompanied the discoverers during sea crossings.
How to get
The Portuguese Azores has a convenient location that allows you to reach the archipelago by boat from any direction. These wonderful places lie at a distance of 1,600 km from mainland Europe and 2,454 km from the North American continent. Lisbon and Morocco are only 1500 km away.
It is possible to take a yacht to rent in the ports of Lisbon, Cascais, Portimao, Porto and Madeira. In marinas, you can rent a yacht with or without a captain. Sailboats and Motorboats can be adapted to meet a variety of needs, from simple walking to sport fishing. Many travel from the island of San Miguel. It is home to the main airport of the Azores – Ponta Delgada (PDL), which receives flights from most airlines in the world.
The Azores are well suited for yachting, with short and safe routes available. Comfortable marinas and numerous anchorages are located on all 9 Islands. Marina Porto de Ponta Delgada on the island of San Miguel – modern equipped parking in the city center, 5 km from the airport. For yachts with a draft of up to 9 meters, there are 640 seats. The Marina De Vila do Porto and anchorages are located in Sao Lourenco Bay and Praia Formosa on the island of Santa Maria.
Excursions and outdoor activities
The Azores archipelago is considered an ideal place for paragliding. Unique geographical features allow you to fly over the volcanic craters of Furnas, lakes Fogo and Sete Cidades. Favorite places for paragliders are the Islands of Flores, San Jorge, Santa Maria, San Miguel and Faial.
The Atlantic Ocean is a great place for fishing. Those who prefer to fish on their own can rent a boat and equipment to go in search of the coveted trophies. Warmed by the currents of the subtropical Gulf Stream, the coast of the Azores is an ideal habitat for a huge number of fish.
Diving and surfing
You can dive under water on all Islands of the archipelago. In some places there are impressive natural arches formed by ancient lava flows, in others-deep caves. Shipwrecks from the Second World War can be found on the ocean floor near the Islands. Divers can enjoy all aspects of diving - from exploring whale and blue sharks, to accessing isolated seamounts where huge flocks of rare pelagic fish are found.
Some seamounts, ridges, and volcanoes are very difficult to explore. Noteworthy: Princess Alice Bank, the DOM João de Castro Bank, the Formigas Islets and Dollabarat Reef. The Azores archipelago is an excellent region for surfing, bodyboarding, SUP and Windsurfing.
The volcanic nature of the Islands has produced a variety of black, white and yellow beaches, along with miles of scenic spots covered with frozen lava.
Água d'alto Beach is considered one of the best beaches on the island of San Miguel. Nearby is a beach with volcanic sand, a favorite place for surfers from all over the world – Praia de Santa Bárbara. Just to the North, in a sheltered Bay, lies the very comfortable beach of Praia dos Moinhos. It is also worth seeing the pride of the island of San Miguel-the giant Terra Nostra Park, surrounded by a variety of colors.
The most interesting thing in the archipelago
Majestic whales and friendly dolphins are the main attraction of the archipelago, as the world's largest whale sanctuary. Today, more than 20 species of cetaceans live and migrate here. In addition to local individuals (common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins), there are migration routes of some species of whales. In summer, spotted dolphins, sperm whales, and bearded whales are more common. Winter is more likely to meet blue whales.
The capital city of the island of San Miguel, Ponta Delgada, pleases with colorful hotels and picturesque restaurants, awakens the imagination with the volcano Sete Cidades, hot geysers, ancient mills and a lake in the shape of the number eight. The capital of the island of Santa Maria is the town of Vila do Porto, it is the oldest settlement in the archipelago, so it is here that the most interesting architectural monuments are concentrated.
Faial Island by the curious architecture of the administrative center, striking volcanoes, Caldeira and Capelinhos. Corvo is the smallest and most beautiful island. Lakes formed in the crater of the old volcano.
Angra, the capital of the island of Terceira, is protected by UNESCO. The unique lava cave Algar do Carvao is located here. The city center is rich in architectural monuments of the XVI-XVII centuries.
Graciosa is famous for its Sulphur cave with an underground lake, windmills and ancient architecture. The island-mount Pico – is the highest point in Portugal. Here are the best sites for whale and Dolphin watching. Madalena's fishing harbour is popular with tourists. San Georges - waterfalls, caves and villages in the mountains, the best place for walking with natural viewing platforms. Flores is an island known for seven picturesque lakes and the Ribeira Grande waterfall.
For many centuries, the islanders used Hiking trails for their daily needs. The inhabitants were accompanied by horses, donkeys, and mules. The trails were used for celebrations in the surrounding area, transporting food, fish, charcoal, and other goods. This network of trails was restored by the government and made available to all visitors to the island.
Culture and traditions
The inhabitants of the archipelago have created their own identity, culture, cuisine and traditions. This was facilitated by the chaotic settlement of the Islands over the course of two centuries. Today, the way of life of the islanders is strikingly different from the habits and characteristics of the inhabitants of the mainland.
An interesting modern event is the Azores paragliding Festival. It has been held every August for 20 years, gathering hundreds of local and foreign participants on the Islands of San Miguel, San Jorge and Flores. Known far beyond the borders of Portugal, such holidays as the Sea festival "da Maré de Agosto", it is held on August 15 in the city of Praia Framosa. Sea sports week in August - "Semana do Mar".
The Azores holiday calendar is based on a religious cult. Pageants, carnivals, and colorful parades are ubiquitous. From May to September, the feast of the Days of the Holy Spirit or "Espírito Santo"is celebrated.
The festival of the patron Saint of whalers lasts for a week, starting from the last Sunday in August. This is the festival of our lady of Lourdes, which is held in Lajes on the island of Pico. The day of the patron Saint of the Nose is widely celebrated on Corvo in mid-August. You can get to events such as bullfights in the Bullring and bull races on the streets of localities.
The population of the Azores earns money from tourism, agriculture, fishing and animal husbandry. In addition to fruit, tobacco, coffee and tea are grown here.
Fish and seafood are exceptionally delicious on the Islands. Sardines are served fried, almost without seasonings, preserving the natural taste. Local tuna has a delicate taste and a bright pink hue. Cod baked in the ashes of a volcano has an exquisite taste.
Popular dishes in local restaurants include mackerel, horse mackerel and sea acorns. In addition to tea, the Islands are famous for local wines, liqueurs and spirits.
The most famous local dish is Cozido Tradicional. This is meat with vegetables baked in the mouth of the Furnas volcano on the island of San Miguel. The island of Santa Maria is famous for its Caldos de Nobos soup, and the most popular type of cheese with spices is "Queijo de Sao Gordge". It is produced on the island of San Jorge. Here, in a very special way, the améijoa clam is prepared. On Corvo and Flores you can enjoy the best of caldeirada conger eel.
Those who travel on a yacht to the Azores need a valid skipper's license. For routes between Islands in the archipelago, you will only need a local permit. Cetaceans that cross the Azores Sea are protected species. People should minimize interference with their environment. A special set of rules has been developed to protect cetaceans.
It is absolutely forbidden to chase, disturb or feed cetaceans. Make noise, pollute the sea. When sailing along a cluster of cetaceans, it is necessary to observe the speed and move no closer than 50 m from adults and no closer than 100 meters if there are cubs nearby.
You will be amazed by the natural beauty of the Azores, the mild climate throughout the year, the hospitality of the islanders and professional services in all areas. Thanks to the high quality of hotel services, the Azores Islands are an ideal place not only for family and outdoor activities, but also for conferences, business meetings, seminars, exhibitions, award ceremonies and sporting events. Today, the Azores is a unique place where every day on a yacht will be different.