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10 things you didn't know about the Azores

The Azores are full of natural wonder and each island is unique. Product Manager Vicky Garnett shares what she learnt about these mid-Atlantic islands from her recent visit.

Our Azores Island Hopping trip is a great introduction to these unspoilt islands, including the experiences below.

  1. On São Miguel Island you’ll find Europe’s oldest, and currently only, commercial tea plantation. Gorreana has been family run since 1883 and packing is still done by hand. You can take a tour of the factory, walk through the plantation and enjoy a free, fresh cup of tea!

  2. The landscape on the west coast of Faial Island is shaped from the eruption of Capelinhos volcano; the most recent volcanic eruption was in 1958. There is a network of trails on the black volcanic sand to explore, where you can walk to the abandoned lighthouse and visit the underground interpretation centre.

  3. Pico Island is covered in vineyards and has been producing wine since the 15th Century. These are not long neat lines of verdant vines as you may expect but small walled squares, holding two to three vines each. The remarkable dry stone walls are a main feature of the coastal plains, made from black volcanic basalt rock they stop the wind and trap the suns warmth around the vines creating ideal growing conditions and delicious wine.  

  4. Cozido is a dish unique to the Azores. This meat and vegetable stew is cooked in a pot under the ground by the geothermal heat at Lagao das Furnas. At 12.30pm each day, the pot is lifted from the ground and transported to restaurants and family homes; food simply prepared but really flavoursome!


  1. Horta on Faial Island is home to the world’s most famous sailors’ bar, Peter’s Sport Cafe!  The Azores are a natural stop over point for boats crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and established in 1981, the bar used to be a post office for sailors. It‘s now crammed with paraphernalia and decorated with hundreds of flags. Peter’s is still very much a popular haunt for anyone passing by, sailor or not!

  2. The Azores are one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries and many of the islands offer boat trips to see dolphins and whales off the coast. The whales are well-respected; it’s their territory and you’re a guest within it. The providers that we work with respect that; getting you close enough to really see them but far enough away so that they’re not disturbed. It really is an amazing opportunity to spot some incredible wildlife!



  1. You can walk into a volcano on Terceira Island. Algar do Carvão is a 90 meter deep volcanic chamber, accessible by a tunnel and staircase you can discover the unusual silicate stalactites and acoustics.

  2. Geothermal energy powers 40% of São Miguel Island, and visitors can even have a dip in the geothermal lake at Furnas. The Azores takes conservation pretty seriously; efforts are being made across the islands to invest in renewable energy, reduce waste and protect wildlife and the environment.


  1. The Azores history covers over 500 years with the oldest city on Terceira, Angra do Heroismo, dating back to 1534. The importance of this city as a cultural hub was recognised in 1983 when it was made a UNESCO World Heritage site. Thanks to its stunning renaissance architecture, built from the local volcanic rocks, and the incredible design of the city by the Portuguese to fortify this valuable outpost, Angra do Heroismo is truly unique.

  2. From May 2018 you can fly direct from the UK to the Azores making the islands easier to access than ever before. Sata Airlines are now operating a direct weekly flight on a Saturday from London Gatwick to Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island, also returning on Saturday. The direct route will run throughout the summer from 5 May to 13 October. Ryanair is also launching a direct flight from Manchester on a Thursday between June and October 2018.

Find out more about the Azores Island Hopping trip here

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