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The Azores.

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.

Volcanoes

Pico

Pico on the Azores.

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.

Cows on the Azores.

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.

Whale watching on the Azores.

Whale watching on the Azores.

 

Whalecome to the Azores.

Whalecome to the Azores.

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.

The Azores is hiking country.

The Azores is hiking country.

Sete Cidades on the Azores.

Sete Cidades.

 

Sao jorge island on the Azores.

Sao jorge island on the Azores.

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.

Fishermen on the Azores.

Fishermen 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:

Take it easy, you are on the Azores:

Take it easy, you are on the Azores:

 

 

Getting there is not that easy or cheap as there are few flight connections, but don’t forget that this is also one of the reasons why it’s so untouched by mass tourism.

The main airline to serve the islands is www.sata.pt which is the national airline of the islands with flights to several cities in Europe and North America.

It’s a very pleasant airline that I have flown several times and been very happy with.

Www.flytap.com and www.airberlin.com also serves the Azores as well as a few charter airlines, but it’s not many airlines you see out there.

Www.espacotalassa.com (On Pico island) and www.picosdeaventura.com (On Sao Miguel island) are some of the best places to go whale watching and hiking and I highly recommend both of them.

Azores.

Azores.

Azores.

Azores.

Lava landscape on Pico island.

Lava landscape on Pico island.

Crater lake on the azores.

Crater lake on the azores.

Sunset on the Azores.

Sunset on the azores.

16 Comments

  1. I want to go! Looks and sound beautiful.

  2. I completely agree with your sentiments about the Azores — it is an unspoilt gem in the Atlantic! Nature unaffected by mass tourism, people going about their daily business without huge tour buses descending upon the towns and villages, and so very green and lush. I got married on São Miguel last year, in Vila Franca do Campo, and now I live in Porto. Our plan is to visit other islands for future anniversaries.

  3. I have a friend who lives there, it’s so beautiful, I’ve always wanted to go! Your pictures are gorgeous! 🙂

  4. Great pictures! I have always been curious about the Azores but as you said, it’s quite difficult and timely to get there. Thanks for sharing, looks beautiful!

  5. Wow, this makes me want to go there very badly! The only thing I don’t know, is where they are! I know they are in the Atlantic, but where?!

  6. Looks like an amazing place to visit! Whale watching hiking lack of tourists, exactly the kind of island I would want to be at! Thanks For sharing 🙂

  7. “Getting there is not that easy or cheap as there are few flight connections” as an islander born and raised in the Azores part of me wants to it to be easier (and cheaper… let’s not even start talking about flight prices…) to get there, part of me wants to keep it a secret 🙂

  8. This is my homeland and I also feel divided about the increasing flight connections to the Azores. One one hand I want them to be more frequent and cheaper so I could go home more frequently and also for more people to get to know these fabulous islands. On the other hand, excessive tourism might put in jeopardy the sustainability and ecology of the islands. I don’t want it to be another Madeira islands full of hotels and casinos!

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures and for remembering my home! 😀

  9. Azores look stunning! And it’s a dream to go there, but want it in the summer, and that’s quite hard for us to travel that time of the year but we’ll make it one day. Beautiful photos!

  10. What a beautiful, peaceful location. Anyone reading this would want to go!

  11. Absolutely beautiful photos — what a gem!

  12. Dear Claus,

    Thanks for a fascinating story with breathtaking photos! I loved everything.

    I have one recommendation as regards the photos – I believe it is better if they open in a new window. In addition, you can reduce their size so your website loads faster.

    Thanks again for the great trip!

    Best regards,
    Svet

  13. Absolutely my kind of place! Thank you for the great article. Luckily, I’ll be in Portugal for 3 months this spring, so would have a chance to visit Azores. Booking flight now!

  14. We have been looking at the Azores recently. I love the look of those crater lakes.

  15. Pingback: Visiting the world's most famous sailors bar. - Travelling Claus

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