The Azores are a group of nine volcanic islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,500 km west of Lisbon, Portugal. These islands are known for their stunning natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture. Here are the top 10 interesting things you should know about the Azores:
The islands were formed by volcanic activity, and the last eruption occurred on the island of Pico in 1957. Visitors can still see evidence of past volcanic activity, such as craters, hot springs, and lava fields.
Unique Flora and Fauna
Due to their remote location in the Atlantic Ocean, the islands have developed a diverse ecosystem that is not found anywhere else in the world. Visitors can see rare species of birds, such as the Azores bullfinch and the Azores pigeon, as well as endemic plants like the Azores juniper and the Azores bellflower.
From lush green forests and rugged cliffs to black sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, the islands offer a wide range of natural beauty to explore. The island of São Miguel is particularly renowned for its beautiful lakes, including the twin lakes of Sete Cidades and Furnas.
The waters around the islands are home to a variety of whale and dolphin species, including sperm whales, humpbacks, and bottlenose dolphins. Visitors can take boat trips to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
Rich Cultural Heritage
The islands have been inhabited for over 500 years and have a unique blend of Portuguese and Azorean culture. Visitors can see traditional Azorean architecture, such as the iconic white-washed houses with blue trim, as well as visit museums and cultural centers to learn more about the island’s history and traditions.
From hiking and cycling to swimming and surfing, there is no shortage of things to do in the Azores. The island of Pico is particularly popular for hiking, with the Pico mountain being the highest point in Portugal.
The islands’ unique location in the Atlantic has resulted in a diverse range of seafood, including tuna, swordfish, and octopus, as well as traditional dishes such as cozido, a stew made with various meats and vegetables. Visitors can also sample traditional Azorean sweets like the traditional pastry, Queijadas de Vila Franca.
Great Destination for Wine Lovers
The island of Pico is home to the only wine-producing region in the Azores, and visitors can tour the vineyards and sample the local wine.
The islands are home to a variety of bird species, including the Azores bullfinch, the Azores pigeon, and the Azores sparrow. Visitors can take guided birdwatching tours to see these and other species in their natural habitats.
Due to their remote location in the Atlantic and low light pollution, the Azores offer some of the best stargazing opportunities in Europe. Visitors can take guided stargazing tours to learn about the constellations and see stars and planets that are not visible from more urban areas.
Overall, the Azores are a truly unique and fascinating destination, offering visitors a chance to experience stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and a wide range of outdoor activities.