One of the most unique places in the world.
If you crave for a place that has stunning natural scenery and is still untouched by mass tourism then head to the Azores.
This little group of islands gives you the chance to hike volcanoes and go whale watching in a place where the natives still go about their daily life the same way they have done for centuries.
This is one little corner of the world where tourism has not changed a place significantly even if it’s a world class tourist destination.
If you like volcanoes then you are in for a treat.
The Azores are formed by volcanic activity and the 9 islands have a total of 25 volcanoes, some active some inactive.
The highest one on the island Pico is standing 2351 meters high and is also the highest mountain in Portugal and it’s possible to hike it as long as you are reasonably fit.
The landscape on the islands vary depending on when the volcanoes last erupted.
On islands like Pico and Faial where you had fairly recent eruptions you have a lot of volcanic rock and the terrain can be very rugged while some of the other islands have not seen eruptions for a long time so the rocks have turned in to fertile soil that gives way to a lot of cattle.
It’s all about cows on the Azores.
The Azores is one of the places in the world where you have the most cows per capita and they are all free range cows as the climate is so mild that they do not need to be indoor even in the winter.
They are mostly used for diary production and the islands supplies most of Portugal with milk and yellow cheese.
You can not travel around the islands without constantly passing cows both on the fields and on the roads when they are going from one green field to another.
Home to a lot of whales.
The ocean on the Azores is one of the places in the world where you come across the most sperm whales.
You also have other whale species in the waters around the Azores but the sperm whale is the most prominent.
In the past there was a big whaling industry on the islands but since the 1980’s there has been no whale hunting on the islands.
These days the locals do instead have a growing income from tourists who come for whale watching so if you ever wanted to do that then head to the Azores for some world class whale watching.
The Azores is a hikers paradise.
I love hiking and have been to few places on the planet that is more suitable for hiking than here.
The islands are not build up at all and you have green fields, volcanoes with crater lakes and stunning coastline all ready to be hiked and you are unlikely to meet any other hikers in most places cause the masses have not arrived yet due to the isolation of the islands and the limited amount of flights going there.
People still off the land on the Azores.
One of the most charming aspects of the Azores for me is that the economy is still mainly fishing and farming.
Fishing on the Azores is done with lines and hooks and is very old fashoined and sustainable and this is one part of the world where you do not need to worry about the locals over fishing the waters.
Most other places with that kinda natural beauty have all turned to tourism as the main source of income, but on the Azores it’s still cattle and fishing vessels that dominates the local scene and that is maybe the main reason why I love this place so much, cause it still retains a lot of the original culture of the islands and it’s not just something that is on display for the tourists.
Some useful info if you are going to the Azores: