The Azores are a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean and are an autonomous region of Portugal. It is an ultraperiferal area of the European Union.
These nine volcanic islands are situated in the northern Atlantic, about 1,500 km (950 mi) from the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula and about 3,900 km (2,400 mi) from North America. Seismic activity, though rare, still occurs on occasion.
The Azores islands have a subtropical climate with high humidity and often experience fluctuations in weather patterns.
It consists (mainly) of 9 islands:
Angra do Heroísmo - historic capital/diocese
Horta - legislative capital
Ponta Delgada - regional administrative capital
Praia da Vitória
The main hub is in Ponta Delgada(PDL)Airport.
Major carriers serving include
Azores Express (US tel.: 800-762-9995, Portugal: 351 296 209 748) connects New England with the Azores, mainly on the Boston-Funchal route. The carrier is part of the SATA Group, which connects the Azores with mainland Europe
SATA Azores Is both an Airline and a tour operator locally based on the Azores. Connects Azores with major European hubs like London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris, it also has a usefull connection to Gran Canaria and serveral other European destinations.
TAP Portugal's flag carrier, also flies on the major connections between Lisbon and Funchal
On most islands there you can rent a car. On most islands there are also bus services that run around the islands, crossing the main villages. On the smaller islands however, these may have only a few runs per day, or none at all on certain days (Sundays, holidays).
These being volcanic islands, in many places the terrain is steep and rugged. The roads wind around very steep hillsides. Cycling around the islands is possible if you are in great shape, and don't mind a lot of hill climbing.
This is a great place for going around island to island and even town to town by boat. Almost every town is on the shore and most have ports. One of the best known sailing ports in the world is Horta, on Faial Island. There is a large and fully equipped marina that has catered for many famous boats and regattas. The marina is ideally placed in downtown Horta. Some other islands have marinas, like Terceira and São Miguel. Even when a marina is not present many of the larger villages have a harbour suitable for mooring a sailboat or yacht.
Lagoa das Sete Cidades, a beautiful hour glass green and blue body of water known as a caldera northwest of Ponta Delgada. It is storied with myths and legends.
Lagoa das Furnas, an active caldera with steam vents, mud pots and geysers, locals cook food in earth ovens available in picnic areas.
Lagoa da Fogo (Fire Like) is a beautiful caldera lake high up in the mountain and know for it's dramatic views and white sand beach.
At Faial Island see Horta Harbour where all sail boat stop, Faial Caldera and Capelinhos volcano Pico Vulcano São Jorge green mountains and cows that produces the famous S. Jorge cheese.
Sao Miguel, fly to Faial from Ponta Delgada, take the boat to Pico Island, take a boat for Whale watching at Faial or Pico, climb the Pico mountain for if you are in good shape, take the channel boat to S. Jorge and then fly to Terceira Island. In each Island the best is to rent a car (cheaper) or to hire a taxi to see around all the Islands and enjoy the views.
Whale Watching . Every town with a Marina offers whale watching. They take you out on small boats and often get you within ten yards of the whale.
Angra, a historical city, an UNESCO heritage patrimony city, in Terceira island. (Airport: Terceira(TER)/ Lajes / Praia da Vitoria/ Angra).
Fresh fish is very good. There is also a large amount of cattle on the island and the local grass fed beef is very good. There is a "meat and potatoes" mentality when it comes to the cuisine and vegetables can sometimes be hard to come by. Sao Jorge is famous for its cheese and must be tried. Fresh pineapple from Sao Miguel is unbelievably good.
Sagres and Super Bock are the best Portuguese beers you can find on the island. Especial Is the Local Azorian beer, and is very good.
The official language in Azores is Portuguese. On most of the nine islands, the variety of Portuguese spoken is very similar to standard European Portuguese. The primary exception is the dialect spoken by many of the inhabitants of the largest island, Sao Miguel, where the many individuals employ a local "Micaelense" dialect very unlike that found on the Portuguese mainland. In fact, even the people from Portugal (Mainland) find it difficult to understand them at first. For those visiting the Azores on holiday, however, the good news is that most of the people involved with tourism speak at least enough English to be able to communicate with tourists.
There is very little crime in the Azores. What little crime exists is mostly drug related. There are no reports of crimes against tourists.
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