I went recently to Azores and I came back enchanted by São Miguel, Azores.
Azores is compost by 9 islands, of which we can say that São Miguel is the biggest and Ponta Delgada is the capital.
Being my first time in Azores, I decided to start with São Miguel, that is where everyone advice me to go. I comeback so enchanted that now I want to discover what the other eight islands have to offer.
Being Portuguese, I always wanted to visit Azores, but surprisingly never was in my primary list of places to visit. But with the situation that we living, it seems like the Portugueses discovered that Portugal has islands and now everyone wants to go on vacation to Azores and Madeira. And I was one of them. (Shame on me, to put other cities and countries above Portugal islands).
This new discover has a reason and that is the first reason why you should visit Azores.
- Almost free of Covid 19
Azores belongs to Portugal, but although continental Portugal is in the red list of almost all European countries, Azores is not. An example is England – you don’t need to do the obligatory quarantine if you travel to Azores, on contrary you need to do it if you travel to Continental Portugal.
To enter in Azores without problems because of the Covid 19, you have two options : 1) do a test maxim 72 hours before the flight (Azores govern pays your test). If you do this option and your test is negative, then you can start the exploration right way. 2) do the test in the airport when you arrive to Azores. They won’t let you get out of the airport before you do the test, and then you need to stay in your hotel room in quarantine until the rest is known.
I think the first option is the most easy and safe for everyone, and it is the one I did. But even if you do the second option and you have a positive result, the case is a controlled case to Azores, because you weren’t in the streets propagating the virus.
So in closure, you have a safe feeling being on the streets of Azores. Even with this laws, you still need to use mask in close spaces, like restaurants an hotels, of course.
Azores is known as the Hawai of Europe. I never went to Hawai but I never saw such landscapes as a saw in Azores.
I advice you to rent a car, but be careful when driving because all the landmarks and visions of the island will take your breath away and distract you from the road.
Azores islands are made of Vulcans. In São Miguel you will see volcanic craters that created big lagoons like ” Lagoa das Sete Cidades” or “Lagoa do Fogo”.
You will also find outdoors hot springs made by nature without human hand. Can you imagine being inside a water with 40 degrees Celsius?! I went and is amazing.
The island is perfect for who loves being outside, you will find amazing view-points to see the landmarks of the islands. You will also have many trails for everyone, from the most sedentary person to the most active one.
Being an vulcanic island, you will notice different types of beaches and natural pools. There is a pool made by the ocean where, in the low tide, the water can reach 30 degrees Celcius, even in winter.
It’s still an almost intact island made by nature. Turism, still doesn’t affect the beauty of the island, it’s still raw. I hope it stays like this.
You will eat amazing well in Azores.
They are well known by their steaks, you see cows in every single corner of the mountains, sometimes you ask yourself, how the hell that cow is there without falling. Their tuna beef is incredible. I’m a fan of their tuna beef, and now I can’t find it anywhere. Their seafood is also incredible, the Lapas and Cracas is something that you need to try.
Fans of cheese – this is your place – you will find amazing cheese in every corner. In Portugal Continental we have some cheese that’s similar, called “Queijo da Ilha”.
In Azores we will find the only existing tea plantation in Europe. The name of this plantation is “Gorreana” and you can visit for free, see the plantation and how the tea is made, and of course you can also try some tee for free.
The pineapple of Azores is also famous, you can also visit the plantations and get to know how is the process of plantation and how long it takes for you to have an pineapple. It’s really good, I advice you to try it.
But the most famous dish of Azores and the one you can’t not leave without trying is the “Cozido das Furnas”. This dish is made without electricity and almost by the island itself. Every single morning the restaurants bring a pot with a mixture of vegetables and meat to the “Furnas” (very hot wells from the volcano). The pot is buried in the sand of the Furnas and stays there 5 to 6 hours cooking. The Furnas of the Volcano has sulfur, so the Cozido is different from every single place. It’s delicious, so try please. Not all the restaurants does this dish, the ones that I advice you are ‘Terra Nostra‘ or ‘Tonys‘. If you are vegetarian, that is not a problem, just call the restauramt 24 hours before asking for a vegetarian cozido das Furnas. Oh, you always need to do the reservation of the restaurant.
If you want more recommendations of restaurant to try in São Miguel, ask in the comments bellow.
If you think you live in a country with tropical weather, you nee to visit Azores.
It’s extremely difficult to know what to wear in a day in Azores. I will do a different post with the looks I used and advices that I have for you to survive fashionable in Azores.
But why is so difficult?! In Azores there is a popular expression that is “Existem quatro estações no mesmo dia”, the translation is ” There are four seasons in the same day”.
I never heard an expression that is so true like that one. You can in the same day have an hot day, rain, wind and cold, almost at the same time. I don’t advice you to look to the weather app, it doesn’t work there. I also don’t advice you to travel with a umbrella, it can start pouring rain but it will stop quickly.
I saw the most amazing rainbows in Azores, so spectacular and perfect.
5. Budget Trip
It’s a cheap trip. You don’t need to sell a kidney to have an incredible vacation in Azores.
The plains are not expensive and now there are a lot of airlines flying to there. You have many type of accommodations, since 5 star hotels, to hostels or apartments.
As for food, you can eat in a first class restaurant but also in a more modest one, and you still going to eat good food.
In resume, if you want to travel in 2020 or in the future, go to Azores. You won’t regret and you will feel so full of life and in communion with nature.