The Azores archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean is part of Portugal. It includes 9 Islands of volcanic origin with unique landscapes, flora and fauna. This is a special world, where mass tourism has not yet reached with crowded hotels and noisy establishments. Despite its remoteness from the mainland, the archipelago is popular among yachtsmen. This is a place where you can take a break from the noisy cities and worldly bustle, relax and recharge with positive energy.
Features of yachting in the Azores
The sailing season in the Azores runs from April to October. In the Azores, prices for Charter and other services do not differ much from mainland Europe. In autumn and winter, you can rent a boat with a good discount. Yachtsmen are waiting for routes of different complexity. But in addition to sea crossings and recreation in the bays of the Azores, there are many options for interesting pastime. Below is a list of things that you should definitely do during your vacation in the archipelago.
Drink some wine
The best Portuguese wines are made in the Azores archipelago. The center of winemaking is the island of Pico — a mild climate and basalt soil provide a generous harvest of grapes. Since ancient times, there has been an opinion that local residents have very few supplies of drinking water, and there is always wine. The vineyards look unusual — they are surrounded by a maze of stone walls, necessary to protect the plantings from the Atlantic winds. From the white varieties should be Fernao Pires, Riesling, Terrantez, Malvasia, Moscatel Graudo. Of the Portuguese red wines, Merlot, Argonomica, Tinta Barocca, Touriga Franca have proven themselves well. Also Pico Island Portugal to produce fortified wines, Arinto and Verdelho.
View the whales
One of the symbols of the island is Azores whales. Previously, professional whalers hunted here, but now hunting for sea giants is prohibited. The local waters are home to more than 20 species of cetaceans, but most often there are sei whale, fin whales, sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins. At one point, the yacht turns into a small boat compared to a passing giant — you need to experience this at least once in your life. In April and May, you can see the largest representatives of the species-blue whales. To do this, go to the Strait between the Islands of Santa Maria and San Miguel.
Enjoy the lakes
Portugal lakes is one of the natural attractions of country. There are many lakes in the archipelago, and some Islands even resemble Scotland. One of the most scenic places recognized by the Sete Cidades. In the crater of an extinct volcano, two lakes are hidden, connected by a Strait. You can cross it on the equipped bridge. On the island of San Miguel, you can visit the Terra Nostra nature Park, which includes Lake Furnas. On one of its banks there are bubbling fumaroles with a high concentration of hydrogen sulfide. In the North of the island there is a lake of Fire, which also occupies the crater of an extinct volcano. There are many Hiking trails and observation decks in the coastal area.
Climb the volcano
Pico Island Azores is famous for its volcano of the same name. It is the highest point not only of the archipelago, but also of the whole of Portugal. The main thing is not to let the weather down — its top is often hidden under clouds. On a clear day, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the archipelago and the Atlantic. The ascent takes up to 4 hours. Along the way, there are observation platforms where you can relax and admire the surrounding area. On the island of Faial, you can climb the Capelinhos volcano. Its gray-black surface resembles a lunar landscape — an unusual contrast against the lush island greenery.
Visit the caves
One of the most visited places is the Sulphur grotto on the island of Graciosa. The cave is located in the crater of a volcano. A spiral staircase leads inside, and tourists will have to overcome 200 steps. In the cave you can see huge vaults, a Sulphur lake and geysers. It is recommended to visit the grotto during the day, when natural sunlight penetrates into it. Graciosa Island is famous for its unique nature and has the status of a biosphere reserve. Another interesting cave of Algar do Carvao is on the island of Terceira. It is overgrown with moss and resembles a giant pipe. At the bottom of the cave is a beautiful underground lake.
Go for a walk on the island of San Miguel
The main city of the island of San Miguel is famous for its ancient buildings. The architecture combines Baroque and Manueline styles, and the facades are dominated by volcanic lava. Three-leaf gates built more than 300 years ago lead to the old town from the embankment. It is recommended to see the Church of St. Sebastian, the patron Saint of the city. Its interior is famous for its Golden tapestries and carved cedar altar. Connoisseurs of antiquity should take a look at the Carlos Machado Museum. The exhibition includes placers of jewelry, paintings, porcelain products, medieval toys.
Not far from the embankment, there is a colorful market where you can buy local delicacies and handmade Souvenirs. You can dock at the Marina located on the territory of the cruise port.
Visit the oldest settlement
The small village of Vila do Porto is located on the island of Santa Maria. The population is 5.5 thousand inhabitants. Unique houses and mansions have been preserved here. During the walk, you can visit the Nossa Senhora dos Anjos chapel, where Christopher Columbus once prayed, as well as the Church of the Holy Spirit, built in the Baroque style. If you want to explore the island's culture, you can visit the Santa Maria Museum, which displays ceramics, weaving products, and paintings by local artists.
Inhale the scent of hydrangeas
Shrubs are abundant in the archipelago, but they are especially abundant on the island of Fayal. They grow in the form of hedges near houses, they are dotted with hills and roadsides. You can enjoy the fragrance even at the top of the Caldeira volcano. An unusual sight — a black crater ringed with blue bushes.
On the island of Faial is of volcanic lakes, waterfalls, picturesque villages. You can visit the Rocha dos Bordoes rock complex. Basalt blocks are shaped like organ pipes. They are overgrown with moss and lichen, which looks very unusual. The complex has the status of a natural monument. If desired, you can climb to Cape Cabeza Gorda, which offers a panorama of the Atlantic and neighboring Islands.
Take a dip in the thermal pools
Due to its volcanic origin, the Azores have many natural pools with healing water. The most popular is Ponta da Ferraria. An inconspicuous-looking place is an ocean-washed pool. Hot volcanic mass constantly flows into them. The water is unsuitable for swimming, but it periodically mixes with ocean water and reaches a comfortable temperature of 30°C. Then you can relax in the outdoor hot tub with ocean views. There are thermal springs in the area of Terra Nostra Park on the island of San Miguel. They are located on the shore of a lake adjacent to the Park, and the water has an unusual red color due to its high iron content. After a health-improving swim, you can rinse off in a fresh shower.
Go on a picnic in the middle of the Atlantic
For this purpose, it is recommended to go to the island of San Jorge. It is famous for its small plains, which the locals call faijas. There are many Hiking trails leading to secluded lagoons. You can visit the Park with streams, waterfalls and lush vegetation. There are specially equipped picnic areas on site. You can bring your own provisions, or order ready meals in one of the restaurants.
You should try the local cheese "San Jorge". It is made from unpasteurized milk and attracts a delicious bright orange crust.
The Azores are a Paradise untouched by civilization. This is an ideal destination for yachting. Although the yacht infrastructure here is not as developed as in the countries of mainland Europe, if you want, you can still rent a boat at reasonable prices. The destination is suitable for those who are tired of tourist crowds and want a measured rest alone with nature. Travelers will enjoy scenic views, tiny ancient settlements, unique natural attractions and delicious local cuisine.