How to go off the beaten track in Europe: the Azores

If you fancy going off the beaten track while remaining within the Euro zone, you should really consider adding the Azores to your travel bucket list.

The Azores, an archipelago of tiny islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean about 1,643 km west of Lisbon, are an autonomous region of Portugal.
All islands have volcanic origin and the landscape resembles that of the Hawaii: green lush vegetation, hills/mountains/craters, ocean. Still relatively wild and unknown to the wider travel community, they are perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, kayaking and whale watching. Or if you are into it, also trail running!

Exploring the Azores had been a dream of mine for quite some time. Tales of sailors, windswept coastlines, well-known anticyclones – almost a mythical place in my mind. While I spent years travelling to more exotic countries, my fascination for a European destination that promised to be free from chaotic tourist masses and full of adventure kept coming back.

In summer 2019 I eventually booked a flight and a hostel stay for a week of solo travels.

Before we explore the islands together, here are some travel tips:

  • The Azores are made of nine major islands, quite far apart from one another, so bear that in mind if you would like to visit more than one (I chose to only visit the largest one, São Miguel)
  • Climate: oceanic subtropical with high humidity and mild annual oscillations, the Azores have the warmest winters in Europe! But bring an umbrella
  • Flights: you can fly TAP Portugal via Lisbon, which is well connected to most European cities, or fly direct from a handful of other cities too (during the summer months RyanAir has a direct flight from London Stansted to Ponta Delgada on Saturdays)
  • Accommodation: plenty of hotels and apartments available, fewer options when it comes to hostels (but they are pretty good and I always love staying in hostels)
  • Currency: Euros
  • Language: Portuguese is the official language but English is spoken/understood by many, especially those working in tourism

Now stay tuned for my next posts!

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