THE AZORES – A Very Different Europe


Azores Getaways

The Azores are a group of nine volcanic islands way out in the Atlantic Ocean.  The islands are an autonomous region of Portugal.  But because of their isolation, climate and volcanic nature they feel very different to the rest of Europe.

Pico from Sao Jorge, The Azores

Viewpoint on Sao Jorge, looking across to Pico

The predominant climate is mild and humid, and this results in a lush, green vegetation.  Some areas have a distinctly other-worldly appearance.

Tree fern, The Azores

Tree fern, Sao Miguel

Waterfalls on Flores, The Azores

Waterfalls on Flores.

Hydrangeas are very common on some of the islands.  Together with the abundant ginger lilies they provide lots of summer colour.

Hydrangeas by the track, Sao Miguel, The Azores

Hydrangeas growing by the side of a track, Sao Miguel

Ginger Lilies, Sao Miguel, The Azores

Ginger lilies

The islands rise from very deep water.  Unlike mainland Europe and islands closer to the mainland, there is no continental shelf.  This makes them an excellent feeding site for whales and dolphins, and the Azores are probably the best place in Europe to go whale watching.   Over 20 species of whales and dolphins are seen around the islands.

Whale watching tower, The Azores

Whale watching tower used to spot whales at sea, and direct tour boats to the best areas

Volcanic Features

The Azores contain a wealth of interesting volcanic features.  São Miguel has bubbling hot springs and fumaroles around Furnas.  Furnas itself is situated in a huge volcanic crater.

Hot springs near Furnas, The Azores

Hot springs near Furnas, Sao Miguel

Path down to Furnas, Sao Miguel, The Azores

Path down to Furnas, situated inside a huge volcanic crater

Throughout the islands there are ancient craters, lava tubes, basalt columns and various other evidence of past volcanic activity.  Anyone the least bit interested in volcanoes, like me, will be fascinated.

Lagoa Funda and Lagoa Rasa, Flores, The Azores

Lagoa Funda and Lagoa Rasa crater lakes, Flores

Pico do Pedro, Sao Jorge, The Azores

Pico do Pedro, Sao Jorge

The Azores are extremely beautiful, and because they are so unique they are fascinating to explore.  Every island has great walks, amazing sea views, fascinating geological features, and unique fauna and flora.  I can’t wait to go back!

Praia, Graciosa, The Azores

Praia, Graciosa

For advice on travelling to and within The Azores, and on our recommended places to stay, please see Azores Practicalities.

For guides to the individual islands of São Miguel, Faial and Pico, Flores, Sao Jorge and Graciosa please follow the links.

For a collection of our favourite photos see Azores Gallery.

Please remember that this site is based purely on our own experiences – therefore kindly note the Disclaimer.

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