Nine gorgeous, lush islands make up the Azores archipelago, situated in the North Atlantic Ocean approximately 1,500 kilometres west of Lisbon.
The city of Ponta Delgada is on São Miguel, the largest of the islands and home to the international airport. It is also where the Azores’ first Pride parade was held, on Sept 1.
São Miguel, commonly known as the “green island,” offers breathtaking views. The main attraction is Lagoa das Sete Cidades (aka Lagoon of the Seven Cities). Best viewed from the Vista do Rei lookout, these twin lakes — one green and the other blue — are situated in the crater of a dormant volcano.
The charming and quaint towns of São Miguel, especially in Nordeste, the northeast part of the island, offer some of the best views on the island.
Another must-visit is the town of Furnas, known for its thermal springs.
The islands are best travelled by car, which allows tourists to stop often to visit small towns and villages, meet locals and, perhaps, savour the delicacies of a home-cooked Portuguese meal.