Known for their natural beauty, awarded in categories such as Sustainable Tourism or Adventure Tourism, and memorable for the experiences they provide to their visitors, the 9 islands of the Azores make up an archipelago of singular beauty, which for centuries enchanted visitors and passionate residents.
Officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores, it is a transcontinental archipelago, of volcanic nature, and an autonomous territory of the Portuguese Republic, located in the Northeast Atlantic, endowed with political and administrative autonomy.
From the geographical point of view, the islands are divided into three groups: the western group, consisting of the islands of Corvo and Flores; the central group, formed by the islands Graciosa, Terceira, S. Jorge, Faial and Pico; and the eastern group, materialized by the islands of S. Miguel and Santa Maria. Its current population (data from 2018) is around 242,000 inhabitants.
Populated by the Portuguese since the middle of the 15th century, its location has made the Azorean islands a centuries-old crossroads on the transatlantic routes.
In the sailing phase, due to the regime of winds and currents, vessels from the South Atlantic made a wide rotation that brought them to the vicinity of the Western Group, then crossing the archipelago towards Europe. This is the route that still today uses for recreational navigation, using the port of Horta, island of Faial as a support point.
The Azorean population is remarkable for its hospitality, gastronomy, traditions, and for the historical heritage that marked the islands and that can be felt in its streets and in its people.
Nowadays, to travel to the archipelago, one can make use of the several existing air connections. There are daily connections to the Portuguese mainland, and weekly to other points in Europe and North America.
Daily inter-island flights are also available throughout the year and, in the summer, there is also the possibility of taking advantage of maritime transport for this purpose.
Cheeses cannot be forgotten, from fresh goat’s milk to cured cow’s milk. Passing through some of the factories is mandatory and the cheeses are tasted at their place of production.
To accompany all the dishes and sweets, from the Biscoitos wine region, marked by the vineyard arranged in “curraletas”, Vinho Verdelho was born. When you visit the Biscoitos Wine Museum, you will be able to understand, a little, the dynamics of the tradition and culture of the Biscoitos vine and wine. It is also possible to make organized tours to the cellars.
Organic production has gained weight in recent years and some open the doors for visits that show us the entire cycle from production to the table. Small local farms are more likely to use sustainable practices and to cultivate a wider variety of crops. They grow vegetables that are unique and inspiring to cook.
There are many reasons to buy local, the best reason of all is the taste. Food that doesn’t travel that far is fresher.
Gastronomy and wines are the golden key to a holiday full of nature, stories and flavors!