When I booked my non-cancellable, spontaneous flight to The Azores a few weeks before take-off, I knew very few things: there would be hiking, swimming and I’d be surely avoiding New York’s most sweltering summer days.
As someone who has grown to enjoy a solid Google Map of recommendations, I knew little else and was content with traveling on a whim for the first time in what felt like forever.
Image: The author at Areias House in Furnas
There were, however, practical things I did quickly discover.
- Yes, you do need to rent a car.
- July is peak season – hotels (and cars) book up fast.
- Booking a few hotels/stays in different parts of the island has its perks!
- Don’t try to predict the weather, the SpotAzores app is your friend.
After our easy 5-hour direct flight from JFK, we landed in Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel in the Azores. Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and mostly known for its active volcanoes, wild hydrangeas and natural hot springs, it’s often called “The Hawaii of Europe.”
What we discovered was so incredibly different from any island we’d visited before.
Image: RIES at the ready
Read on for my favorite spots to stay, eat, relax and traverse:
Where To Hike:
Image: Swimmable waterfalls can be found along almost every hike
Where to Eat:
Image: Triggerfish at Bar Caloura
Where to Stay:
Image: Areias House in Furnas sits right behind the Terra Nostra Gardens
Image: The Poca da Dona Beija hot springs at midday
Image: Those PLUMS!
The fruit! Plums, passion fruit and the unreal pineapple were must-try
Snorkeling in Ilhéu de Vila Franca (book the 7 minute ferry in advance)