Discovered and inhabited by the Portuguese in the 15th century are the Azores, Europe's exotic jewel in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. A popular vacation spot of the Portuguese, in addition to many other European countries, these 9 volcanic islands are unknown by many Americans, yet a little research will be all it takes to convince tourists to learn more. This article will highlight the major landmarks, activities, hotspots, interesting tidbits and culinary delights.

The Azores authoritatively known as the Autonomous Region of the Azores is one of the two self-ruling districts of Portugal and is composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. Nine noteworthy islands make up the Azores and an islet bunch, in three primary groups. Toward the west there's Flores and Corvo; in the middle Graciosa, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico, and Faial; and São Miguel, Santa Maria, and the Formigas Reef toward the east. The islands are volcanic with Santa Maria having no recorded movement since the pioneers went to the islands.

'Azores' - Attribution: Abspires40

Temperatures stay mellow lasting through the year because of the islands separation to mainlands and the passing Gulf Stream. These warm temperatures make the Azores an all year around vacation spot.

Essential businesses incorporate horticulture, dairy cultivating, domesticated animals farming, angling, and tourism which is turning into the real administration action in the locale. The Azores was nominated as the best Island Destination in 2016 by a Nature Destination of Excellence.

Culture, dialect, cuisine, and traditions vary considerably because these islands once uninhabited were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries.

There's such a vast amount to do in the Azores with nine islands within miles of each other having their unique attributes. We should highlight a portion of the many things you can do in the Azores.

Investigating the eastern islands, you will discover white sandy shorelines awaiting you on the isle of Santa Maria. Wine tasters and land lovers alike will appreciate the vineyards covering the slopes. There's a lot to enjoy in Santa Maria having both gorgeous green hills on the east and flat western plains on the west.

Moinho do Frade
'Moinho do Frade' - Attribution: David Stanley

Moving to the center, everyone who likes marine life will appreciate spotting dolphins and whales which are the most popular tourist attraction in this area.

Dolphins, Sāo Miguel, Azores, Portugal
'Dolphins, Sāo Miguel, Azores, Portugal' - Attribution: Ravi Sarma

On the island of Terceira, you will feel as though you were in Spain as a tourist watching bull fighting and bull runs performed twice a year. If bullfighting does not suit your fancy, then you may enjoy golfing on the beautiful landscapes or journeying to see the largest crater in the archipelago.

Take an adventure walk on Faial island where you will see a spectacular sight. There are two craters which open to the waters that are surrounded by vegetation! This island also features churches and monuments giving you a look into the history that shapes the lifestyle fo the people who live there.

'Azores_7200' - Attribution: Luca Nebuloni

Graciosa ‘the white island,' has your pick of health spas with thermal water, small towns where you can enjoy delicious cuisine or dive off one or the rocky peaks.

Spend the day climbing the most noteworthy mountain because the Azores, are some of the tallest mountains on Earth. Or investigate the breathtaking caves scattered all through the island of Pico. On this island, you can visit the whale chasing historical centers.

'2010-07-19' - Attribution: Guillaume Baviere

São Miguel is the spot for underwater adventures. Here is the place where you can snorkel, scuba dive, see brilliant fish in all sizes. The major settlement in the Azores is Ponta Delgado where you will discover the island's best nightlife.

Miradouro do Cerrado
'Miradouro do Cerrado' - Attribution: David Stanley

The island of Flores gloats of its natural waterfalls and ravishing lakes cut out by volcanoes. Corvo, the littlest island of the Azores has a crater in the middle attracting various types of feathered species from Europe and America.

Ilha das Flores
'Ilha das Flores' - Attribution: Paulo Valdivieso

Each of the 9 Azores islands appears similar to each other at first glance, but a closer look will show you that each has their own unique characteristics that should be further explored. With a little planning, you will be able to hop from island to island, city to city, and see the best that each area has to offer. Try to be in São Miguel for the Festa do Chicharro in July and Faial for Sea Week. Enjoy the clams and cheese in São Jorge and Donas-Amelias in Terceira.

Whether you want to enjoy the picturesque landscape of these islands, take a hiking trail, go fishing, mountain climbing, or visit landmarks, you're sure to have the most fantastic time at the Azores.

A trip to the Azores can be an inexpensive, delicious and adventurous way to spend the summer.

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Hotels and apartments in Azores