…the Azores, Portugal.
This collection of nine tropical islands is located so far west of Europe that it is just a four-hour flight from the United States. It would actually take me longer to fly from Switzerland, but I’m absolutely enchanted with what I’ve seen of this place. Lush, verdant, vibrant.
Would it be wrong if I called the Azores the Hawaii of Europe? They have volcanoes, sandy beaches and even pineapple. But you won’t find sprawling resorts or manufactured tourist experiences here.
At 296 square miles, São Miguel is the Azores’ largest island and its capital city Ponta Delgada is the easiest port to fly into. A quick scan on Airbnb reveals several (very inexpensive!) homes to rent on the small island. You could stay in a romantic cottage for two on the coast…
…or in a cabin for four in the nearby spa town of Furnas.
You can hike, snorkel, swim and surf. You can visit green tea plantations. You can go whale-watching. You can soak in volcanic thermal baths. This appears to truly be the land of both relaxation and adrenaline…yet I never heard of it until a week ago.
If you have enough time to spend in the Azores, you can island hop and see some truly amazing aerial scenery. Like Villa Francas Islet.
As far as packing for this tropical vacation, I’m thinking:
For now, até logo and enjoy these links on Portugal’s most magical islands: