Are the volcanic Azores Islands in the middle of the Atlantic not on your bucket list? Or if they are, how close are they to the top? Well, if you are a lover of nature, breathtaking views and delicious dining, may I suggest the Azores move closer to the top of that bucket list…
I have to admit that the Azores were not at the top of my list either when the opportunity to lead last year’s group was presented. I thought to myself, this is a great opportunity to experience an area I never would have chosen as a first choice and a great opportunity to reconnect with a wonderful small group of Craig travellers. And am I ever glad I did!
Each of the islands was uniquely different from the last. The two things all of the islands had in common were the beautiful naturescapes and the friendly Azorean locals. The people of the Azores love travellers and having the chance to share their beautiful homeland and especially their food with you. And share they did! From the incredible octopus stew to the local beef dishes and the freshest fish, not a meal would go by without one of our group exclaiming “This is the best (soup; stew; fish; meal; etc) I have ever had!” Every meal was a new delight.
The group’s favourite island was definitely São Miguel. They absolutely loved the Terra Nostre Garden Hotel nestled in the crater of a volcano in the town of Furnas. The garden behind the hotel has a beautiful network of walking trails as well as a large mineral spring pool. We enjoyed it so much, that we have changed the 2019 and 2020 group to have more time here to rejuvenate. Nearby at Furnas Lake there is traditional cooking done in holes dug into the geothermal field every morning. Walking along the boardwalks and seeing the boiling springs of various colours with the steam billowing was mystical.
Personally, my favourite Island was Pico. The UNESCO vineyards of Pico that stretch for kilometres across the volcanic soil of the island were incredible. We were fortunate and had the chance to sample several different wines from the vineyards including the most delicious Port. I picked up a bottle for one of our couples that were celebrating their anniversary and were they ever delighted. Maybe this will be a trip for my next milestone anniversary.
Until then the Azores will be in my heart and soul calling for me to return to their natural paradise.
NOTE: Due to a recent cancellation, we now have one single room available on our September 14 – 23, 2019 tour. Call sales specialist Stacey Harper 1-800-387-8890 ext. 224 to grab the last space on this tour.
View our new 2020 journey to the Magical Azores - click here for inspiration!