Azores – Secretplaces Guide

April 2, 2019

Up until two years ago, you would be forgiven for not knowing much or anything at all about the Azores, a Paradisaical archipelago situated 800 miles from mainland Europe. 

Fast forward to 2019 and these luscious green islands in the middle of the Atlantic seem to top every travel list for this year.

The Azores are a complex of 9 islands situated roughly halfway between mainland Europe and the East coast of America. Described by many as a mix of Hawaii, New Zealand and Ireland all in one, it isn’t difficult to see why these Portuguese islands have been catapulted onto the world stage. 

Map of the Azores

Azores: what to see and do

Part of the appeal of the Azores to so many is the fact that these islands cater for all interests and activities, from those who want an adrenaline-filled break, to those simply seeking relaxation and tranquility. Furthermore, nature lovers will be in heaven with the vast abundance of Flora and Fauna.

1. Diving

The Azores offer some of the best diving opportunities in Europe, especially in the summer months when visibility can reach up to 30m. Visitors will be able to find various dive centres and schools on most island.

Diving with sharks
Photo credit: Turismo dos Azores

2. Whale Watching

2 The Azores are one of the best places, not just in Europe, but in the whole world to observe whales up close. Indeed, up to a third of the world’s cetaceans can be found in the Azores. 

For more information regarding whale watching and booking tours, please visit: https://www.futurismo.pt/en/activity/whale-watching 

Whale watching
Photo credit: Futurismo Azores
Dolphin watching
Photo credit: Futurismo Azores

3. Hiking and Climbing

Pico Island is the second largest in the Azores. It is also home to the highest mountain in Portugal: Pico Mountain (2,351m). Hiking difficulty level is medium to hard but those who venture to the top will be rewarded with incredible views, sometimes even above the clouds. The climb itself takes 2-4 hours (fitness levels dependent).

Pico mountain
Mount Pico, Azores. Photo credit: Luis Silveira

4. Historical buildings

Explore a UNESCO World Heritage site — Terceira (Portuguese for ‘Third’) is the archipelago’s third largest island and home to the port city of Angra do Heroísmo which, in 1983, was designated a UNESCO World Heirtage Site for it’s immense beauty and historical relevance. Spend time getting lost along the narrow cobbled streets and taking in the magnificent historical architecture such as the Igreja do Santíssimo Salvador da Sé (pictured below).

Terceira island church
Photo credit: Manuel Gomes da Costa

Our hotels and lodgings in the Azores:

1. Santa Barbara Eco Beach Resort

Where: São Miguel island, Azores

Style: Selection of Eco Villas

Why we love it: Luxury accommodation options with the Atlantic Ocean as your backdrop.  You can stay in the Garden Villas, with views to the resort’s garden and invaded with its plants and flowers’ scent, many of them endemic. In the Blue & Green Villas, with spectacular views to the Santa Barbara Beach or the Serra da Lagoa do Fogo. And in the Retreat Villas, which offer the most exclusive comfort of the resort, where you will can enjoy amazing views from an outdoor Jacuzzi in the two-room-villa, or from a contemplation platform in the one-room-villa.

Santa Barbara Eco Beach Resort

2. Atlantic Heirtage Luxury Villas

Where: Pico Island, Azores

Style: Private Luxury Villa

Why we love it:

Ideal for romantic getaways, family holidays or simply a relaxed retreat. 

The stunning infinity pool has views looking out towards the ocean, whilst the telescope on the upper balcony is the perfect way to take in the Milky Way at night. 

Atlantic Heritage Luxury Villas

3. White Exclusive Suites and Villas

Where: São Miguel island, Azores

Style: Luxury Hotel

Why we love it:  On the ground floor, you’ll find the Unique Suites which occupy unique places, where remnants of the building’s history have been preserved. On the first floor, you will find the Ocean Suites that offer you a splendorous view on the surrounding nature. The suites are all equipped with balconies and windows with view over the ocean.

White Exclusive Suites and Villas

4. Furnas Lake Villas

Where: São Miguel island, Azores

Style: Modern Apartments

Why we love it: ‘Where nature meets comfort’….as their slogan suggests, Furnas Lake Villas offer the perfect combination of modern, luxury living whilst being completely surrounded by stunning flora and fauna.

Furnas Lake Villas

5. Azul Singular

Where: Faial, Azores

Style: Glamping

Why we love it:  We don’t have many Glamping sports on our Secretplaces website, so this must have really grabbed our attention. Guests can choose between a selection of nomad tents, cabins or Yurts.
Feeling adventurous? Then treat yourself by staying in one of the Asiatic Nomad tents inspired from the yurts and have a sleep over lying directly under the stars.

Azul Singular

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If you need any help or advice with booking and finding hotels whilst planning a trip to the Azores, then we can help you! Just contact us at www.secretplaces.com, by email to info@secretplaces.com or by phone +498980910934.