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
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.
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
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
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.
Read more about European Cruises.
Read more about Mediterranean Cruises.