While watching one of my favorite food and travel shows: Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, I came across a colony of small islands that I hadn’t heard of before. Some of you may already be familiar with them. Some know the name but not the exact location… Once I read up on the islands and their individual names I was reminded of grade school lessons of Christopher Columbus’s travels and the relation to the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal.
I was instantly enamored with the videography the crew managed to get from the different islands and the towns that lie within them. What stands out about these islands is how extremely diverse each one is from the other. Here were the highlights I saw from each island:
- São Miguel: Largest of the Islands. Most Commercial. Great Beaches. Hub for cruise liners
- Santa Maria: 55mi from São Miguel. Warmer, drier climate. First to be discovered. Popular Beaches
- Terceira: AKA The Festive Island known for its traditions, hiking trails through lava trails, golf, sailing & scuba diving
- Faial: 3rd highest population. Lush vegetation. A visit here would put life in perspective for anyone I think as they are still rebuilding after a volcanic eruption years ago. You can hike from the beautiful cities to the ends of everything that is barren from the volcano that destroyed many homes. The bays are filled with tidal, lava pools and springs. Big game fishing here!
- Pico: (possibly my fave) is home to Pico Mountain which is the talest peak in Portugal. Most of the cities were carved from lava rock as well as the many vineyards. It’s home to Torres Cave, the longest lava cave in Azores. Whale watching is most popular here and if you go in September you’ll catch the Harvest Festival. Wine, cheese and local meets look absolutely delicious.
- São Jorge: If you go here, you have to look for Fajã da Caldeira do Santo Cristo, I’m pretty sure it’s the village that Bourdain visited and had the most amazing seafood spread with a local family that I have seen. Clams and shrimp are only found in this area of the island, carved out of lava rock and surrounded by coves where local birds nest. Its absolutely beautiful!
- Graciosa: Holds home to thermal springs. During the show, Anthony Bourdain said the smell was less than appetizing, but beautiful. Locals use areas of the thermal springs to cook food. Sulfur Caves…
- Flores: Covered with flowers, waterfalls, caves, and architectural churches. Great boat rides. The Albacore fish here is supposed to be like no other…
- Corvo: The smallest island. Has tons of rural landscape covered in giant hydrangeas, and a collapsed center that you can hike to for a better view. Boat trips and Diving are the main activities on this island. If you want unique meals mostly containing what is caught in the ocean or picked from the coves, this would be a great place to stop for a day on your travels through the island!
I hope this gives people some insight to this amazing place! I have to say I’m infatuated with this Archipelago, and it’s definitely going on my bucket list:) I’ve posted some photos so you can get a hint of what I saw on the show earlier today. All the hotels are reasonable. The investment (if you don’t have the air miles) would be in the flight arrangements. Travel seems to be most popular between July and the end of September.