Next time you're trying to decide on a holiday destination, consider the utterly attractive and activity-rich Azores. This place consists of nine islands in the centre of the Atlantic Ocean. The area is called Macaronesia, which means fortunate islands. The islands are breathtaking, and easily visited from the mainland of Portugal or Madeira islands by boat or plane.
Here are some of the many activities available:
Take to the water
As an island group, there are a boatload of activities in and on the crystal clear water that is abundant with life!
The expanse of the surrounding sea, combined with consistently good weather and sea conditions make this area ideal for yachting. There are many circuits to choose from, with options for beginners and experienced yachtsmen alike. You can hire a boat or get a guide to show you around. Chartered yacht company Sailazores will take you through the waters and even into secluded lagoons.
This area is actually one of the world's largest whale sanctuaries – there are more than 20 different types of species in these waters, from common to rare, which is about a third of all of the species that exist overall. On your whale watching tour, you will see several varieties, including mighty whales and playful dolphins.
The Azores islands have a lot of springs, waterfalls, and iron water pools that are naturally heated and have been used for health and well being since the 16th century. Head on over to the thermal baths in Termas da Ferraria or the iron water pools in Furnas on the island of Sao Miguel for something extra special and relaxing.
The features surrounding the islands are also good for exploring underwater. See the hundreds of species of fish in day or night – both of which will offer a very different experience. You can explore caves and shipwrecks and see the thriving marine life in the clear blue waters. Again, there is an abundance of diving locations so you can find a spot that will suit you. Everyone is catered for, from beginners to those who have experience.
Explore the land
As with the waters, the land of these islands is picturesque and majestic.
Immerse yourself in the lush foliage and wild forests on a hike. As you make your way up mountains and through valleys, you will pass Japanese cedars, beeches, caves and lakes as well as luxurious coastlines and massive cliffs. Fancy a dip to cool off? There are a number of beautiful waterfalls you can dive into.
The bountiful birds will sing to you as you wander through the scenery. There are more than 200 species of bird here, both native and foreign. The Azores bullfinch is a rare bird that can only be seen in the hills of Serra da Tronqueira on Sao Miguel Island.
Golf is a great way to relax in this glorious location. The courses have the unique combination of greens with great expanses of flowers. The islands specialise in pasture golf, which allows for more fun and socialising. You'll find two courses on the island Sao Miguel and one on Terceira. All of them are par 72 and are bound to delight those who love the sport.
Take to the air
Witness the beauty of the islands from a birds eye view when you take to the air.
You can paraglide almost all year round because of the temperate climate and low winds. You will be able to soar through the skies with the birds above and witness breathtaking picturesque views. Fly from Sete Cidades, the town on Sao Miguel Island, which has been called one of the most beautiful places to fly from.
If you are someone who loves the outdoors, Azores is the place for you! Here you will be greeted with an abundance of activities to choose from that will take you from land to sea.