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One of the Atlantic's Best-Kept Secrets - Azores, Portugal
by Roy Witman © 2008

True adventurers have a deep curiosity about the world around them. While they might take pleasure in visiting more common destinations from time to time, something calls to them when they discover a little- known gem they can explore. Azores, Portugal is just such a place.

An archipelago (a large group of islands), the Azores are situated in the Atlantic Ocean halfway between Europe and North America's eastern seaboard. With a rocky history filled with pirate attacks and sea battles, this lively island mass has overcome the hardship of its founding in 1427. Today it is one of the Atlantic's best-kept secrets and a treasure in the chest of adventurers worldwide.

Delights to Discover

There are nine islands in the Azores collection, each with its own personality and unique traits. With unspoiled natural settings, lively folk dances, handmade crafts including bed linens and wood carvings, exceptional local cuisine and more, each island earns the right to entertain you while you visit.

During your stay, be sure to take part in the many ocean activities including whale and dolphin watching, swimming, sailing, scuba, surfing, fishing and many others.

Sao Miguel

The largest of the islands, Sao Miguel is absolutely regal. Palaces and museums grace the island as do local pineapple and tea plantations. With numerous lakes and flower varieties, the beauty seems never ending.

Santa Maria

Home of the chapel in which Columbus prayed on his return from America, Santa Maria holds a special place for those of religious beliefs. It also has a notable landscape with terraced vineyards throughout the island. Part of the success of the grapes grown here is due to the fact that Santa Maria receives the most hours of daylight of all the islands. That would also explain the attraction of sunbathers to local beaches!


A World Heritage Site, Terceira delivers old-world charm with whitewashed buildings that span the city. With a look reminiscent of the 16th and 17th centuries; palaces and fortresses still stand proud against a backdrop of lush, green countryside.


The most outstanding feature of Faial is its famous yacht marina. Here marlin fishing and underwater volcanic caves provide adventures for days. When you've had enough, move on to canoe racing, deep-sea diving and many other water sports.


At first glance, Pico looks uninhabitable. Black volcanic rock trim the edges of this rough island making it seem distant and barren. But further inland a delightful surprise awaits: Fig and grape vineyards! Home to farmers and fishermen, Pico is the most laidback of all the islands, but still has a warm welcome for those who stop by.

From the green hills of Sao Jorge to the windmills of Graciosa, each island has an opportunity to present something new and exciting to those who might be visiting this part of the world for the first time. Off the beaten path, the Azores islands are a truly unique location where you can find a little bit of everything.

Check with your cruise travel agent to find the best deals on voyages to the Azores. Chances are you'll discover a new vacation spot you'll want to return to again and again.

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