Aspects of the Azores - View from the Inside

"My recent 4-day trip to these nine alluring volcanic islands, has ensured they are firmly imprinted in my memory."

November 2014 • Jules Verne

The Azores - View from the Inside

Even as a seasoned traveller I found it hard to pin point The Azores on a world map but my recent 4-day trip to these nine alluring volcanic islands, scattered like stepping stones in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, has ensured they are firmly imprinted in my memory.

The islands are home to the most breathtaking scenery - like Jurassic Park but without the dinosaurs. Thanks to our main carrier SATA, the islands are accessible directly from London Gatwick to Sao Miguel, flights are weekly and flying time is 3½ - 4 hours. When travelling internally between islands you can fly or make use of the car ferries which sail every hour between a number of islands.

The largest island is Sao Miguel which packs the best bits of this island chain into one enticingly volcanic bundle. We started our adventure with a whale watching boat trip, unfortunately we did not see any whales, the best time of year for this is between April to October, but, thanks to the lookout towers positioned around the islands, we did see a lot of dolphins. The whaling lookouts were originally built in the early 60s to help the whalers ship locate their prey. Whaling was a very important source of income to the islanders and in 1986 when the people of The Azores turned from whale hunting to whale watching the towers continued to be used to spot whale and dolphins for the tourist industry. Sao Miguel is also steeped in religious belief, it is a little known fact but pilgrims on Sao Miguel hold an eight-day procession around the island relying on the community for food and shelter. The pilgrims believe that if they repent their sins the volcanos will be good to the people of The Azores.  Sao Miguel is also home to a large number of thermal pools so why not enjoy unwinding after a long day in Terra Nostra Park.

Faial is the second biggest island and home to Peters Sports Café a world renowned institution and home to the islands Scrimshaw Museum. This bar has been open since 1918 ensuring all seamen passing through are fed and watered, we recommend dropping in for one of their famous G&T's. Upstairs is home to the unique Scrimshaw Museum detailing the history of whaling in The Azores. At the islands western tip is Capelinhos where the last volcanic eruption occurred in 1958, creating an eerily beautiful ashen landscape that falls abruptly into the ocean.

The Azores is Europe’s last great island adventure."

View our Azores tour