The hidden gem of the Azores

The following article is a guest blog by Lien & Cody. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

The Azores: a portuguese group of 9 islands in the atlantic ocean seems to be the perfect hideaway for nature lovers.

In only 4 hours from Brussels you will arrive in a tropical paradise. We went for a 12-day trip in the beginning of august.
The weather is quite unpredictable, and we did have some bad luck on that part. We heard from locals and visitors that every summer usually only has a couple of days of rain. They say  you can experience all the seasons in one day, that’s maybe the reason why you can’t really find mass-tourism yet. So pack your bags and go for it!

We rented a car with Sunny Cars, which provides an all-inclusive insurance, which gives us a one thing less to worry about 🙂 A car is a must have on all the islands as the public transport has a low frequency and won’t bring you to the hidden spots. Our trip started on the biggest island: São Miguel. You can easily enjoy yourself here for a week. We rented a house with Airbnb in Nordestinho and Vila Franco Do Campo, away from the hustle in the main city Ponta Delgada.

Favourite places near Nordestinho

  • Caldeira Velha: enjoy the hotsprings in the tropical forest. We did it in the pooring rain, w were already soaked before even going into the water, which made it probably all the better.
  • Lago a do Fogo: on the lowest lookout point you can descent to the lake and discover the area. Put on your hiking shoes as it is a challenging path down.
  • Praia Do Lombo Gordo: our favourite beach on the island! It’s on a remote place. The moment you think: “This cannot be the right path“, just go a bit further and you will find a little parking place. It’s a 10 minute walk to reach the beach itself.
  • The more touristic places: Furnas and Sete Cidades are also nice spots to have a swim, enjoy hotsprings and try some corn boiled in the boiling water of the caldeiras.  It gives a very moist, intense flavour!
  • Whale watching: an activity you can do on several places on the island. Quite a must do for your bucket list!

We also visited Ilha Terceira for 4 days. We went by ferry (Atlantico – the only company). Consider using seasickness pills as it can be a wobbly ride. It’s a 4,5 hours trip. It’s also possible to go by plane, but it seemed very convenient to take the car with you. And … probably better for the environment!
Angro do Heroismo is a beautiful ‘city’ (still small) if you want to enjoy some culture in your trip. We went on a whale watching trip, which is very nice. Try to book it on a sunny day, and don’t make the same mistake as we did 😉

If you’re looking for some adrenaline, while discovering the rainforest on the island, we highly recommend you to book an Adventure Trail with Rope Adventures starting from Praia da Vitoria. You will make your way trough a dry canyon by hiking, zip lining and rappelling. The tour is with a small group (max. 10 persons), we were just the two of us, and 2 guides to give information about safety.  The guides put you at ease, have a very big sense of humor and they let you take as much time as you need to. Along the way they gave us interesting information about the Azores as a whole, and the fauna and flora we were walking through. The organization provides a free photo service. If you want, they organize coasteering, snorkeling and canyoning  tours as well.

So, that’s our small recap about the Azores. A must see for everyone who wants to explore exotic islands in the west of Europe (yes you can pay with euros here) and enjoy beautiful sights and beaches, friendly locals and much more!

Disclaimer: We partner with activities and companies that share our vision on adventurous travel. As we were planning this trip to the Azores, we connected with the mentioned companies. In return we wrote this honest review on our experiences.

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