Friday, February 8, 2013

The Azores

An archipelago of nine volcanic islands approximately 1,500 km from mainland Portugal, The Azores are the remote western tip of Europe.They are the tops of some of the biggest mountains on the planet, mostly hidden under the Atlantic Ocean , but rising to a spectacular 2,351 m above sea level. Amazing!

All the islands are wildly beautiful with coastlines of cavernous cliffs, rocky outcrops, black sand beaches and sheltered bays. Traces of massive volcanic eruptions can be seen everywhere in the incredible scenery. Rugged mountains with deep ravines, crater lakes and curious rock formations. The islands vary in size from Covo, just 17 sq km to Sao Miguel, 759 sq km, each with its own unique characteristics, history and old island architecture.Rural life is the Azores is much as it must have been for centuries and there is a calm, unhurried atmosphere even in the main towns. As you explore the different islands, you become increasingly aware of the striking individuality and unique charms of each one – the pearls of the Atlantic.When to go: June to October are the warmest and driest months. November to January is pleasant but rather cooler. From February to May tends to be rainy but the azaleas are in bloom in April, which more than makes up for the showers. Population: 238,767. How to get there: International flights from Portugal to Sao Miguel, Terceira, Faial, or Pico.