The Azores is one of the most unspoilt tourist destinations in the world, if you like nature based activities and enjoy being in a place where people mostly live from farming and fishing.
You should not go to the Azores if you like all inclusive resorts, shopping, casinos and amusement parks. there is not really much of that in the Azores.
But when it comes to green volcanoes that are perfect for hiking, botanical gardens, an ocean that is full of sperm whales, then we are talking.
Sete Cidades on the Azores.
Being located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, with hundreds of kilometers to the nearest neighbour, the nature is unspoiled. But the facilities for outdoor tourism is there at a scale where you can organise most outdoor things you want, but it never get’s overcrowded. It’s only when a cruise ship arrives to Ponta Delgada That things get a little crowded on that island.
The harbour in Horta, with Pico in the background.
The main reasons why the Azores is not a big tourist destinations is that the place is never really hot. Temperatures are mostly around 15 to 23 degrees celcius and you have light rain very often. And being in the mid Atlantic ocean, you should be prepared for some wind too at times. The Azores also has no white sand beaches, as they are volcanic islands that are not so old that the lava has turned in to sand yet.
I don’t mind that the coastline looks like this.
But I am quite happy with that, cause the place could easily have turned in to another Hawaii, full of big resort hotels, had the islands had white sand beaches and the temperature been 5 degrees higher.
Whale watching on the Azores.
The Azores consists of 9 islands and around 90% of the tourism is located on the biggest island Sao Miguel. It’s not that Sao Miguel is that crowded though, unless there is a cruise ship in the harbour. The other 8 islands has very few foreign visitors. It’s bound to go up in the near future, as it’s simply such a unique and high quality destination. But tourism can grow quite a lot there before it becomes a problem. As it is now, you are still touching virgin territory in tourism terms if you move away from the biggest island.
Capelinhos, where the last big volcanic eruption on the islands was.
But the small islands have a tourism infrastructure as long as you are a little flexible and ready to do a little planning.
So if you are in to things like hiking, whale watching, climbing volcanoes, fishing, visiting stunning viewpoints and eating fish for bargain prices, then there is a pretty good chance that you will like the Azores. As long as you can put up with a little rain from time to time.
Hiking on Sao Jorge Island.
And by the way: Did I tell you that the fishing in the Azores is done with lines from small boats that does not destroy the fish habitat like the big trawlers most other nations use. This also means that the fishermen in the Azores are quite poor, but their fishing is sustainable, so you should support them, so that the big Spanish and Korean trawlers do not take over the waters.
Fishermen on the Azores.
I will just post a few of my photos here from the island and I think they sort of speak for themselves. This is why i like the islands, even if I am not that much of a photographer.
The Azores is hikers paradise.
The Caldeira on Faial Island.
Cheese factory on Sao Jorge Island.
Scrimshaw art from the Azores.
Take it easy, you are on the Azores.