Secrets Itinerary: The Top Places In Azores ♦ In the blue immensity of the Atlantic, Mother Nature created a land full of natural beauty and ready to be explored: the Azores Archipelago. To the east, on the island of Santa Maria, the beaches are warm and of clear sand, and the vineyards that cover the slopes in amphitheatre resemble stairways for giants. São Miguel, the largest island, enchants with its Lagoas das Sete Cidades and Fogo. The force that the earth emanates is felt in the geysers, in the hot thermal waters and in the volcanic lakes, as well as in the tasty “Cozido das Furnas” slowly cooked inside the earth. The Azores are a breath of fresh air, they are the Hawaii of Portugal, and of course, the Secrets From Portugal could not fail to leave you a wonderful itinerary in which are mentioned the nine islands of Portugal insular. Keep reading and discover why we like this paradise so much.
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To the east, on the island of Santa Maria, the beaches are warm and of clear sand, and the vineyards that cover the slopes in amphitheatre resemble stairways for giants. São Miguel, the largest island, enchants with its Lagoas das Sete Cidades and Fogo. The force that the earth emanates is felt in the geysers, in the hot thermal waters and in the volcanic lakes, as well as in the tasty “Cozido das Furnas” slowly cooked inside the earth. In the Central Group, the Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, Faial and Graciosa Islands are harmoniously arranged in the blue sea where whales and dolphins lurk to delight visitors. Terceira speaks of history in Angra do Heroísmo, classified World Heritage, and also in its celebrations. Faial is the cool blue of the hydrangeas, the marina coloured by the paintings of the yachtsmen coming from all over the world and the volcano of the Capelinhos that, already extinct, resembles a lunar landscape. In front, the Pico, the mountain that rises from the sea with its vineyards planted in black lava fields. In São Jorge, the highlight goes to the Fajãs and its cheese, a unique speciality with an unmistakable flavour. Gracious in name and appearance, this green island has fields covered with vines that contrast with its peculiar windmills.
In the Western group, on Flores Island, the beauty of natural cascades and lagoons excavated by volcanoes dazzles us. Corvo, the miniature island, has in its centre a large and beautiful caldera and attracts several species of birds coming not only from the European continent but also from the American. These are the Azores. Nine islands, nine small worlds, which have both common and different, but where the sympathy of its inhabitants is shared by all.
WHERE TO GO
Located on the island of São Miguel, the Sete Cidades Lagoon is the largest freshwater lake in the Azores Archipelago, with a length of 4.2 km2 and a depth of 33 meters. Declared one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, in the category of Non-Marine Aquatic Areas, it is composed of two lagoons – Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul – linked together and surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Associated with such a beautiful place, in particular, the different colouring of the waters is the legend of the Princess of the Blue Eyes. It is said that, where nowadays is located the parish of the Seven Cities, existed a kingdom in which lived the young Princess Antília. During one of his usual walks through the meadows of the region, he meets a shepherd with green eyes. The days went by, and in each of them, the two young men met, becoming closer and more in love. The King, however, when he became aware of this love, forbade his daughter to meet the pastor again. Desperate, Antília asks for her last meeting with the young boy. And as they spoke and said goodbye, they wept for their sad fate, so that from the blue eyes of the Princess formed the Blue Lagoon and the green eyes of the Shepherd formed the Green Lagoon. Thus, and according to legend, even though separated, their heartfelt tears were forever bound in the Lagoon of Seven Cities.
Furnas are well known for their hot springs, namely the boilers, Poça da Beija and thermal pools. In addition, the Furnas is known by the Terra Nostra Hotel consisting of a natural thermal pool and a magnificent botanical garden, Terra Nostra Park and you can also visit the natural park where there are some animals and some plant species. Also in Furnas is a lagoon, the Furnas Lagoon. They are also traditional of Furnas, the pasty cakes and the curious stew where the ingredients are cooked under the earth under the heat of the volcanoes (the meat takes about 5 to 6 hours and the cod about 3 to 4 hours). This fact emphasizes an exquisite flavour.
Portas da Cidade de Ponta Delgada
“Ex libris” of the city, these doors are a symbol of the primitive earthly defence of the city, on the southwest coast of the island. They were erected in 1783, primitively opened on the walls of the eastern sector. The Portas de Ponta Delgada is located in the parish of São Sebastião (former Matriz), in the city and municipality of Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel, in the Azores.
Pico Alto – Ilha de Santa Maria
With a maximum length of 16.8 km, at the airport, the area is flat and relatively arid, but the scenery changes rapidly with the central peak, Pico Alto, its highest point (590 meters). Once again we find the refreshing Azorean forest with cryptomeria trees.
Reserva Natural da Baía de São Lourenço
The Bay of São Lourenço, located in the northeast of the island, is a unique landscape: a slope, similar to a volcanic semi-crater, full of terraces with vineyards. These vineyards are bordered by basalt walls, locally called “barracks”, which extend along the cliff to the beach of clear sand and clear waters. At the southern end is the Ilhéu do Romeiro, embellished by a curious grotto with stalactites and stalagmites, accessible by boat and with a natural interior pier where you can admire the only mammal endemic to the Azores: the bat Nyctalus azoreum The high quality of its natural and environmental heritage has led to its classification as Regional Nature Reserve and Corine Biotope of Community Interest for the Protection of Nature and Wildlife). Here are also some endemic plant species, such as heather (Erica azorica), white woodpecker (Picconia azorica), malfurada (Hypericum foliosum), milkweed (Euphorbia azorica), laurel azorica) and the beech (Morella faya). It is considered to be a very important habitat for the nesting of several protected seabirds, namely crayfish (Calonectris diomedea Borealis) and rosewood (Sterna dougallii).
Planalto da Ilha Terceira
The island of Terceira is the one with the largest flat surface of the archipelago. The plateau fills much of the interior of the island and can be sighted from the Serra do Cume. However, strolling along the regional roads connecting Angra a Biscoitos to the Altares (EN3- 1A) is one of the best ways to experience this landscape. Also, look for indications for Canada João Borges. Go slow, stopping to see the oxen and the cows, and do not be surprised if the animals are stopping you in the middle of the road.
WHERE TO SLEEP
With a strong connection to the sea and nature, Azor Hotel is the starting point for discovering the Azores. It comprises 123 rooms and suites with spectacular sea views, À TERRA restaurant, Lobby Market, gym, casino, Conference Center (with 7 rooms) and panoramic outdoor swimming pool. Taking advantage of the natural environment of São Miguel, Azor Hotel offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, adventures and local experiences.
Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa
Pedras do Mar Resort & SPA is situated on the north coast of São Miguel Island offering a privileged view of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the perfect choice for a romantic getaway or a family holiday. During the day, guests can enjoy our Pedras D’Alma Spa with beauty and wellness centre and our health club with an indoor pool with Jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath with chromotherapy and gym. Outside, guests can refresh themselves in the pool overlooking the sea, play a game of tennis and explore the natural pools of St. Peter’s Watchtower. Children have a guaranteed adventure in the playground and in the pools.
Angra Marina Hotel
Each distinctive and bright room offers stunning ocean views and modern, luxurious furnishings in rich hues of turquoise, chalk and chocolate. Wall-mounted LCD televisions and internet access (low-cost) provide a touch of luxury. The hotel’s leisure facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, a fantastic spa with hydrotherapy treatments and a sophisticated restaurant and piano bar with sweeping panoramic views of the ocean. Angra Marina Hotel is also an exceptional venue for business retreats and parties and offers a private shuttle to the island’s 18-hole golf course.
Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico
One of the most emblematic hotels in Ponta Delgada, well-known for its excellent location, close to the historical centre, facing the marina and benefiting from a great ocean view. The decoration is inspired by a classic concept, evoking the European style of “Grand Hotel”, assuming itself as the 5-star hotel of the main Azorean city, corresponding to all the expectations of quality and level of service that a unit should provide hotel in this category.
Hotel Verde Mar & Spa
The Hotel Verde Mar & SPA ***** located on the Monte Verde beach, on the island of São Miguel, offers unique views of the north coast of the island and the Atlantic Ocean. Between the picturesque town of Ribeira Grande and the sea, this new hotel is inspired by Azorean nature and volcanic origins, combining comfort with experiences. The 152 rooms and suites of the Verde Mar & SPA are designed to provide you with moments of pure relaxation, leisure and relaxation. We put at your disposal the best conditions for a memorable stay.
WHERE TO EAT
This is a place of obligatory passage in the archipelago for those who seek to find the next step in what concerns the regional gastronomy. First of all, it is the Application Unit of the local Tourist and Hotel Training School, which guarantees innovation and creativity. Then, due to the blood in the gill of the young trainees, it guarantees unique experiences. In the lounge area, on the ground floor or on the terrace you can try several snacks and lighter meals, from sushi to the provocative squid and burger. On the top floor, with a great view of the bay, the menus are true gastronomic essays from the excellent local produce that can be discovered through three tasting menus. Try the tender loaf slice of pasta with rouille sauce or the soups of the Holy Spirit.
Vale das Furnas
There are more famous steak restaurants: those where the tour buses stop, you know what they are. But the inhabitants of Furnas are twisting their noses at these overpopulated lunch-bars where the stew, they say, is not as good as they paint it. The most frequent suggestion is to go to the Camping and taste the said in the restaurant Vale das, Furnas. Meats and sausages make the difference in a family-cooked stew (€ 19 two people, they say) rich in everything he does well: two types of cabbage and carrot, yam, potatoes and rice. This restaurant also takes advantage of the heat of the boiler to make other dishes, but only to order: cod, feijoada and octopus coming from the fumaroles to the dish.
A great reference on the island of Pico is the Cella Bar. They have already been called “the most beautiful bar in the world”, but the sea seems to have involved with it – will it be jealous? In February a storm with 12-meter waves destroyed part of the establishment, which has since been re-erected.
Azor Hotel Restaurant
Get ready to try the best ingredients that a restaurant can offer: life and passion. This is what inspires us every day and we want to share with all those who visit us. We look at local products and the ecosystem that surrounds us. We are passionate about our gastronomic wealth. The letter reflects all this dedication to the Azores, Portugal and the World. To the best of the kitchen, the flavours of the sea and the fields, to the pleasure. With originality and irreverence! In an authentic harmony between the most traditional recipes and our creative combinations. Let yourself be seduced and prove these true temptations!