Sao Miguel

Escape to the Authentic – The Azores

About 1400 km west of Lisbon, Portugal, lies the autonomous region of the Azores – a collection of 9 volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is, in fact, also known as the Hawaii of the mid-Atlantic. The Azores islands are consistently ranked as one of the best, most sustainable, and most affordable island travel destinations in Europe.

The natural beauty, uniqueness of scenery, and cultural variety will leave you breathless and longing to return.

Located between Europe and North America, the Azores are the perfect island getaway for those looking for a unique and beautiful destination.

Bruno, A proud Azorian who grew up on the islands and is now travelling the rest of the world, reveals why the Azores deserve a place on top of your travel bucket list.

 

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How was it growing up in the Azores?

As a child with a world to explore, it doesn’t matter if you grow up in a small village or island. As remote as it can be, any place feels huge. Being next to the ocean, waterfalls, and lakes felt normal to me because I didn’t have any terms of comparison. Then I started to leave the island once a year for a two or three week vacation. Going to the mainland, mainly Lisbon, was an event where I tried to take in as many experiences as possible that I couldn’t get back at home (including all the newest brands of ice cream and candy!). I think that’s where my love for travel comes from. But getting back to the Azores was always great too. Over the years, it turned into my safe place. It still is.

Because the transportation is not cheap, do you think only those with big travel budgets should visit?

I can see why some would be thrown off by the remoteness of the Azores, but on the other hand, the flight is likely to be the most expensive part of the trip. It’s relatively easy to find affordable accommodation, restaurants and activities.

 

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Which islands to visit in the Azores

What’s your most favourite travel memory from the islands?

Definitely visiting the island of Corvo. The smallest island of the bunch – only 400 people live there! – may be tiny in size, but honestly, it’s huge in the heart. Getting to know the day-to-day from that community was enriching, even for another islander like me!

One mistake tourists repeatedly make while visiting the islands

Overplanning and creating authentic rally courses, trying to visit 3 islands in 3 days or just having 24h to visit São Miguel. You’ll never experience the best of Azores (or any place, for that matter!). If you don’t return home relaxed and somehow re-energized to get back into your routine from a place like that, what’s the point?

12 travel tips to know before you go!

Should people always thoroughly plan their trip to the islands? Is it possible to go spontaneous and be crazy?

Well, I recommend booking your place to stay in advance, especially in the summer months. At the same time, it’s hard to keep a tight daily trip plan on the islands, primarily because of the weather. So what I always suggest is to wake up, have a chilled breakfast outside, and decide where to go for that morning. Do the same after lunch.

 

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One experience people should not miss when on the islands

I could suggest a specific place to go, but it would always be unfair to ten others. More than ticking places off a checklist, I would recommend experiencing nature, whatever that means to you. Go for a long hike, do a picnic, spend an entire afternoon learning to surf, meditate next to a lake, whatever you feel like doing the most.

Climbing Mount Pico: All you need to know for an epic hike.

You have travelled more than half of the world now; what’s the biggest lesson you have learned in your life that you would like to share?

I think, deep down, many people travel to escape something in their lives. Work, failed relationships, family issues, whatever. There’s nothing wrong with that, but make sure you’re in touch with your inner self too. Sooner or later, you’ll have to; you can’t escape yourself. And I feel travelling is much more enriching if you’re genuinely open and willing to learn and grow as a person.

 

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Why are the Azores are the next big travel destination?

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