In our rental car, we took in villages, the ocean and an abundance of magenta and violet hydrangeas, which line virtually every roadside on Sao Miguel. After our morning swim, we drove upward on winding roads to Sao Miguel's most famous attraction: Sete Cidades, a three-mile, lake-filled volcanic crater. From the first scenic overlook, we hiked a steep, hydrangea-lined dirt road with sweeping coastal views on one side, and a lakeside village nestled in the bucolic caldera on the other. I realized that the trail we were walking was actually the rim of the volcano, which last erupted around the year 500. Three miles down the trail stands the Azores' most photographed overlook, the Vista do Rei. The view is dominated by a pair of glistening crater lakes, Lagoa Verde (green) and Lagoa Azul (blue). I was enthralled by the site's mysteriously abandoned modernist hotel, the Monte Palace, which nature has reclaimed and graffiti artists have turned into a work of art. … [Read more...] about Portugal’s rugged Azores isles are geothermal wonders
Some visitors consider the Azores a warm Iceland, which is only partly true. But as I hiked a rocky beach path on São Miguel Island, I briefly thought I was back in that subarctic country. All around me lay the kind of black and green landscape I had loved in Iceland: lunar fields of volcanic rock, covered in lichens. On one side, the azure Atlantic; on the other, a mossy cliff wall soared high above. Steam rose from the chunky ground. A faint scent of sulfur wafted in the air. Below me, people waded in a natural tidal pool. I climbed down a ladder to join them, bracing for a chill. Instead, the brackish water was soothingly warm — hot in places. Here at Ponta da Ferraria, a hot spring blends with ocean water at low tide, for a thrilling swimming experience. I frog-stroked my way to the mouth of the lagoon, where cool waves crashed into the rocks. Then I let the surf carry me back to the heat, past others clinging to ropes for safety. I was body surfing on ocean waves in a … [Read more...] about Portugal’s wild Azores isles are geothermal wonders — and relatively close to the U.S.
Nine glorious and distinct islands make up the Azores – a stunning archipelago in the mid-Atlantic an autonomous region of Portugal which is sometimes known as the Hawaii of the mid-Atlantic. Each of these islands has their own character, culture and charm and unique scenery including volcanic landscapes, green pastures, unusual crater lakes and hedgerows of blue hydrangeas. With so much to see and do, I’d recommend finding a car hire rental in the Azores and ticking off all the best places. From my time spent exploring this up and coming European destination, here are 12 of the most beautiful places to visit in the Azores… Sete Cidades This area could easily be part of one of the best road trips in the world. Sete Cidades is the central civil parish of Ponto Delgada and often described as a picturesque paradise. High praise indeed and certainly accurate this charming village on the west of the island of São Miguel is a must-see for nature lovers. … [Read more...] about 12 of the most beautiful places to visit in the Azores
PONTA DELGADA, SÃO MIGUEL, Portugal — I heard the comparisons, and I can’t say that I agree with them. “The Azores are the next Iceland,” someone told me. “The Azores are the Hawaii of the Atlantic,” I read in Forbes.They’re both snazzy descriptions — practically travel catnip. But after a week on São Miguel, one of the nine islands that make up the Azores, I found the Iceland and Hawaii analogies to be a bit, well, lazy and inaccurate. Yes, the Azores were created by volcanoes and have geothermal activity. Other than that, this place has its own pastoral personality, wonderful quirks, unique culinary offerings, and a lot of very narrow European city streets. If you’re gathering that I’m a fan, you’ve gathered correctly. I was told the wet and windy weather during my February visit was unprecedented. Yet even through the 50-mile-per-hour wind gusts and occasional downpours I could still see the beauty of the … [Read more...] about Discovering both the geothermal and the family warmth of the Azores
Sections SEARCH Skip to content Skip to site index Travel Subscribe Log In Log In Today’s Paper Travel | Hotel Review: Sleek Minimalism in the Azores Supported by Check In The White Exclusive Suites & Villas, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, brings a touch of modern style to the island of São Miguel. ByLynn Freehill-Maye Dec. 7, 2018 Rates Rooms from 200 euros (about $250). The Basics The Portuguese archipelago of the Azores has been getting more buzz and direct flights lately, but hotel offerings have tended to be on the old-fashioned side. The sleek, minimalist White Hotel, which opened in July 2017 on the main island of São Miguel, is a notable exception. Its whitewashed public spaces and its 10 design-centric rooms offer little in the way of color to distract from the ultra-blue ocean, vibrant greenery and volcano-formed caldera lakes of the North Atlantic islands. Though … [Read more...] about Hotel Review: Sleek Minimalism in the Azores