10 reasons why you must visit the Azores, Europe’s best kept secret paradise

I could probably name a hundred reasons why you should travel to the Azores. The Azores are nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Because they are so remote, mass tourism is non existent and nature is unspoiled. I never saw so many greens in my life! The hills and mountains are covered with grass, Japanese Cedars, Hydrangeas, Ginger Lilies and many other trees and flowers. The contrast with the blue of the sky and the lakes or ocean is incredible!

10 reasons why you must visit the Azores

Poco do Bacalhau Flores Waterfall Azores

1. Waterfalls

The number of waterfalls on the Azorian islands is countless. Sometimes you have to do some serious hiking to reach them, but the views are always worth it! If you’re not into hiking; no problem. There are many waterfalls just a few meters away from the road. But I do recommend to search for the hidden ones. You can even swim at some of the waterfalls!

Terra Nostra Park Furnas Sao Miguel Azores

2. Hotsprings

If you don’t like cold water you can try the hotsprings. The hotsprings are a delight to swim in. Especially the thermal pool of Furnas. The pools are surrounded by palms, ferns and conifers of a subtropical Atlantic forest, which makes it so surreal!

Caldeiras Furnas Sao Miguel Azores

3. Geysers

Yes, you can also find geysers at the Azores! The difference with Iceland is that these geysers are surrounded by tropical vegetation! I thought it was very fascinating to see the geysers at Furnas, which is situated at the crater of one of the most active volcanoes of the Azores! Knowing that the heat comes from deep under the ground, makes it a little scary!

Lagoa das Furnas, Sao Miguel Azores

4. Lakes

The lakes all look different here. You have blue ones, green ones,… even black ones! You can hike around most of them which will offer you wonderful views!

Sete Cidades Sao Miguel Azores

5. Hiking

The Azores are known for great hiking trails. At Sao Miguel only you can already find 21 official trails. Every hike has amazing sights and takes you along incredible places.

Lagoa Funda Lagoa Rasa Flores Azores




6. No mass tourism

Never in my life have I heard such silence. The only thing I heard at many places was the sound of nature; the wind through the trees, a waterfall, birds… not people, cars, airplanes,… what a relief! I often found myself in places without anyone else around. No waiting for a spot to take a picture, no loud tourists who scare away animals, no waiting for a table at a restaurant. Just perfect!

Ponta Delgada bag pipes Sao Miguel Azores

7. The people

The locals are so sweet and helpful! They even helped without asking. Example: at the airport of Faial there were no taxis when I arrived (can you imagine?). There was an old man sitting on a bench and he just grabbed his phone and called the taxi company to say there were 2 girls that needed a taxi! He said: “10 minutes”! This would never happen in Belgium! Also at the little towns with the tiniest streets, people were signing when we could turn with our car! I thought it was great to be in a place where everyone says hello to everyone! Also the tourists were different from others. Everyone said hello and had respect for the islands.

Ribeira Grande Sao Miguel Azores

8. Small towns

I needed to get used to the small roads, the non existent sidewalks, and the uncertainty whether a certain food product would be in store the next day or not (depended on delivery and the weather). At Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel there were some shops and restaurants but don’t expect a big city. It still was really small and quiet. It was the only town with a shopping mall, which wasn’t too big, but had a food corner, shops like Zara and a huge super market (I think the whole island shopped there).
I needed to adjust a little at the beginning but I loved the charm of these small towns with their cute little churches and squares. I even stumbled upon a few young guys who played bag pipes in the street at night. Everyone followed them and was smiling.

dolphins Sao Miguel Azores

9. Whales and dolphins

The Azorean Archipelago is one of the best sites to spot whales and dolphins. No less than one third of all cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in the world can be found here. According to the tour operators of the islands you have a 97% chance to encounter the mamals at their trips. How this is possible? At Sao Miguel these elusive species are spotted by people who are at a lookout on the coast. They use powerful binoculars and guide the boats from the shore to the location of the dolphins and whales. Be prepared for some amazing video footage in the near future!

Vulcao dos Capelinhos Faial Azores

10. Magnificent coastlines

Flying above the islands gives you the best idea of what the coastlines look like. Dark cliffs decorated with different greens, waterfalls that debouche into the ocean and massive rock formations formed by lava. Every island looks different with its own features.

I could give you plenty more reasons to visit the Azores, but I think I covered most of it. I have plenty more to share with you all in the coming weeks about the Azores! So stay tuned!

6 thoughts on “10 reasons why you must visit the Azores, Europe’s best kept secret paradise

  • September 28, 2015 at 4:07 PM
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    Hoi Joëlle!

    Ik heb in de laatste week al enkele keren je blogpost komen bekijken omdat ik sinds de 1e keer dat ik ze zag echt gefascineerd ben door die prachtige foto’s… Ik ben serieus aan het overwegen om volgend jaar jouw reis over te doen! Ik las dat je verschillende van de eilanden hebt bezocht. Als het even kan, wil je me eens inlichten over welke je juist bezocht hebt of welke trails/excursies je hebt gedaan en als het hotel waar je verbleef een aanrader was mag je het gerust ook laten weten. 😉

    Alvast super bedankt!

    Ondertussen blijf ik je blog + Facebook met veel nieuwsgierigheid volgen! 🙂

    Groetjes,
    Jill

    Reply
    • September 29, 2015 at 6:35 PM
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      Hi Jill,
      I’m going to reply in English because this info can be useful to others as well 🙂
      I visited Sao Miguel, Flores and Faial. I’ll write more about the hotels, trails etc in the near future, so I’d say keep coming back for more 🙂
      thanks for your great comments!
      And you really should go to the Azores, because it was one of my favorite trips ever!

      Cheers!
      Joëlle

      Reply
    • February 21, 2017 at 2:34 PM
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      Hallo Jill,

      Ik was het vorig jaar al van plan om naar de Azoren te gaan, maar ik kon toen niemand vinden om mee te gaan wandelen. Dit jaar heb ik mijn ouders zo ver gekregen. Ik kan al niet wachten.
      4 eilanden waaronder de mooiste Flores.

      Reply
      • February 21, 2017 at 2:39 PM
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        Hi!

        Glad you found someone to travel with!
        Don’t let anyone stop you from traveling.
        I just go by myself because that way I can enjoy nature more! 🙂
        Have a great trip and thanks for your comment!

        Reply
  • January 2, 2016 at 12:25 PM
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    Hi,
    I would just like to know in which month you visited. We are going in March to Sao Miguel. Loved the vids. Ta. Jo

    Reply
    • January 2, 2016 at 3:47 PM
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      Hi Jo,

      I went there in September and absolutely loved it!
      Thanks for your visit!

      KR
      Joëlle

      Reply

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