Have you ever heard of the Azores islands?
An off the beaten path destination, the Azores are still a relatively hidden gem, but travelers from all over the world are beginning to take note. And with landscapes like these, it's easy to see why.
Here are the top reasons you should explore the Azores before the secret is out.
1. A taste of european culture is closer to the U.S. than you think
The Azores are an archipelago of Portuguese islands situated in the Atlantic ocean between the U.S. and Portugal. From Boston, it's a short four to five-hour direct flight.
You'll still get amazing Portuguese food, cobblestone streets, and European charm.
And if you want to get the full European experience, it's easy to use the Azores as an excuse to break up your transatlantic flight to Europe.
2. THe landscapes will take your breath away
Beaches, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, even geysers – these islands have it all. You can spend a day hiking and then end it by relaxing in a hot spring. Or you can spend the whole day on the water – sailing, kayaking, whale watching, or deep sea fishing.
Hiking is the best way to take advantage of the gorgeous scenery. All of the islands have networks of footpaths, which have been used for centuries and since restored, making them an excellent way to see the islands.
3. There are vineyards on the island of pico
As I am a firm believer that vineyards are the best way to see a European country, the vineyards of Pico island are a huge selling point. Though you may have never had a wine from the Azores, wine has been produced here since the 15th century. Some have called Pico island the Santorini of Portugal, as the vines grow in volcanic soil. Most wines are dry with flavors of minerals and salt, pairing perfectly with the abundance of fresh seafood on the islands.
4. It's budget friendly
Though the Azores are slightly more expensive than mainland Portugal, they are still very cheap compared with all of Europe. As Portugal is one of the poorer European countries, you can expect to pay less for hotels, food, and activities.
5. most Locals speak english
Just like mainland Portugal, most locals on the islands speak English. This makes the Azores a great destination for a first European trip or for anyone who is apprehensive about language barriers in Europe.
6. Most people still don't know about the azores!
Many people who visit the islands feel as though they have stumbled upon Europe's best kept secret. Tourism is just beginning to boom on the island, so now is the prime time to enjoy the unspoiled treasures of the Azores.