The beautiful Azores are an archipelago of nine islands in the Atlantic Ocean that were created by 1,766 volcanoes, nine of which are still active today.
This Portuguese paradise is a perfect getaway, offering year-round mild temperatures, lush green and deep blue scenery and an abundance of things to do.
Here are some of the top things to do in the Azores:
1. Explore volcanoes, caves and ravines
Only a small number of ravines and caves are accessible to the public, although around 270 natural caves have already been mapped. Exploring some of these caves is quite a thrill and several companies based on the Azores offer geo-tourism.
The volcanic landscape of the Azores is incredibly diverse, featuring crater lakes, thermal water springs, submarine geothermal springs, dry calderas, ravines, cracks and almost otherworldly trails with stunning views of active volcanoes.
Local dive centres offer day and night dive excursions in sandy, rocky or mixed sea beds. There is a multitude of caves to explore and shipwrecks to discover.
The Azores have something for every level of experience, starting with simple snorkelling in shallow waters to professional diving level excursions in great depths.
3. Bird watching
The Azores are an important stop over for migratory species due to the archipelago’s central location in the North Atlantic. The islands boast the world’s most important nesting populations of Cory’s Shearwaters and Rosy Tern, as well as the Azores bullfinch, one of Europe’s rarest birds.
It is endemic to only a small area on São Miguel Island. Graciosa Island Islets is the place for a glimpse of Monteiro’s storm petrel, one of Europe’s rarest seabirds, endemic to this island group.
As one of the world’s largest sanctuaries for whales, the Azores boast both permanent residents and migrant whale and dolphin species. There are more than 20 different types of cetaceans in the archipelago that can be observed by joining special boat tours.
Head to São Miguel Island for some of the best whale-watching spots, such as Vila Franca do Campo and Ponta Delgada. In springtime, the magnificent blue whale comes to São Miguel and Santa Maria. Weighing 150 tonnes and reaching lengths of 30 metres – it is the largest mammal on Earth.
Other popular leisure activities in the Azores include horse-riding, golf, cycling, hiking, paragliding, yachting and big game fishing.
With specialised holiday companies like Saga Travel, you could be exploring the Azores and its natural beauty, watching rare birds and swimming around ship wrecks.
This post is contributed by Saga Travel. As always though, our opinions are our own.