CSL’s Ultimate Resource Guide to the Azores, Portugal
Azores-based airline operating direct flights to São Miguel from Toronto, throughout the year, and from Montreal between July and August. Also offers convenient and frequent inter-island (Azores) flights. azoresairlines.pt
An archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean comprising 9 islands, these volcanic beauties are carpeted in green rolling hills, and feature distinct architecture, UNESCO World Heritage sites and a unique cuisine. visitazores.com
EAT AND STAY
Pousada de São Sebastião
Historic former 16th century fortress turned 29-room hotel with views of the sea. Rua do Castelinho, 9700-045 Angra do Heroísmo; +351 295 403 560; pousadas.pt/pt/hotel/pousada-angra
Verde Maçã Restaurant
Café serving local specialities and casual fare in a convivial atmosphere with musical instruments serving as decoration. Owned by a former national Portuguese basketball player. Rua Direita nº 111 – 113, 9700-066 Angra do Heroísmo; +351 295 218 294; verdemaca.pt
Tasca das Tias
Recently opened restaurant where wood features prominently in the industrial-chic decor. Its name refers to home-style cooking, here served with a modern twist. Try the almond tart with caramel and limpets. Rua de Sāo Joāo 113, 9700-191, Angra do Heroísmo; +351 295 628 062
SEE AND DO
Vaquinha Cheese Factory
The largest cheese factory on Terceira Island located in Angra do Heroísmo. Watch as cheese is produced into gigantic wheels and then sample it. exploreterceira.com
Algar do Carvão
Visit the 90 metre-deep lava tube, remnant of volcanic activity that occurred thousands of years ago.
Serra do Cume
Stunning lookout point from which the island’s verdant patchwork quilt interior where land is divided by volcanic rock walls provide the foreground to the glistening bay of Praia da Vitória.
Alto da Memória
Yellow obelisk dating from the 19th century to commemorate the visit of King D. Pedro IV.
Jardim Duque da Terceira
Traditional, manicured garden featuring flora from around the world, water features and relaxing resting spots.
The old square of the main town of Angra do Heroísmo where much night-time and daytime activity takes place. Also features the town hall with its famous tower.
Sé Catedral (Cathedral of Angra do Heroísmo)
16th-century cathedral of immense patrimonial importance which exhibits the arquitectura chã style.
Igreja da Misericórdia
Built in the 1700s, it features a striking blue and white facade.
A volcanic summit from which two bays, seaside settlements, a fortress, islets and the island’s highest peak come into view.
EAT AND STAY
Azoris Faial Garden
Near the marina, this 131 room hotel features a hammam, tennis court, pools and restaurant. A highlight is the stunning view of a nearby cloud covered volcanic peak towering over the Atlantic ocean. Rua Cônsul Dabney, 9900-856 Horta; +351 292 207 400; azorishotels.com/faialgarden/hotel
Sailor Genuíno Madruga twice circumnavigated the globe and his mementos decorate his eponymous restaurant. Specializing in seafood, the restaurant tells his story through amazing ocean-side views, Madruga’s friendliness and of course, the delicious food. Areinha velha, n.º 9, Angustias 9900-011 Horta, Faial; +351 292 701 542; genuino.pt
SEE AND DO
The Martian landscape, barren except for a lighthouse that has survived, is the result of a recent volcanic eruption where new land was formed. The newly opened Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre describes volcanic activity generally and the conditions that led to this eruption specifically. parquesnaturais.azores.gov.pt
EAT AND STAY
Aldeia da Fonte
Volcanic stone is an icon of the islands and it is thoroughly integrated into this hotel retreat featuring 6 cliff-side villas, a whale-watching tower, tai chi garden and restaurant. Caminho de Baixo, Silveira 9930-177 Lajes do Pico; + 351 292 679 500; aldeiadafonte.com
SEE AND DO
Criação Velha Vineyards
A UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of a unique (look twice to recognize them) system of viticulture whereby grape vines are planted in between volcanic stone walls that serve to protect them from wind and sea spray.
Azores Wine Company
Leveraging the unique vineyards of Pico, partners António Maçanita, Filipe Rocha and Paulo Machado’s winery produces red, whites and rosé including the first Azorean sparkling. Rua dos Biscoitos, 3 São Mateus 9950-542 Madalena, Pico; +351 292098070; azoreswinecompany.com
Whale watching is a must-do in the islands. Board a zodiac and search the Atlantic ocean for blue whales, sperm whales and several dolphin species with informative guides from this tour company. futurismo.pt
Enjoy one of the best meals in the Azores at this uber-modern restaurant. Standout dishes include Azorean stone crab paté with avocado mousse, grilled octopus with mashed sweet potatoes and tomato salsa and chocolate tart. An excellent wine list including local and Portuguese wines rounds out the experience. casaancora.eu
Tour the Island
Visit the parish of Santa Luzia with its typical volcanic stone architecture, the quaint village of Lajido with its markings of lava overflow and the craggy coastline of Cachorro.
EAT AND STAY
This newly-opened modern hotel across from the marina features a large breakfast buffet spread, an excellent restaurant and friendly staff. Av. Dr. João Bosco Mota Amaral, 9500-765 Ponta Delgada; +351 296 249 900; azorhotel.com
Terra Nostra Garden Hotel
Situated near Terra Nostra Park which features a thermal, iron-rich swimming pool and more than 2000 trees, the hotel’s restaurant provides local and international fare in a pleasant atmosphere.
Furnas Boutique Hotel Thermal & Spa
Incredible spa facilities that draw from the natural thermal springs on the island make this hotel ideal for wellness seekers. With a restaurant that specializes in delicious wood-fired dishes and a beautiful setting near a local park, it is a quiet retreat. Avenida Dr. Manuel de Arriaga, Furnas, 9675-022 São Miguel; +351 296 249 200; furnasboutiquehotel.com
Termas da Ferraria
On the island’s northwestern coast, this spa, restaurant and geothermal pool complex benefits from its stunning seaside setting. Rua Ilha Sabrina, 9555-102 Ginetes; +351 296 295 669; termasdaferraria.com
Caldeiras & Vulcoes Restaurante
Specializing in cozida (food cooked in underground thermal pits), this two-storey family-run restaurant has a modern feel. Try the queijadas de inhame (small cakes made with local taro). Rua das Caldeiras nº36, 9675-045 Furnas; +351 296 584 312; caldeirasevulcoes.com
Furnas Lake Villas
This family run boutique hotel within a 5-minute walk of Furnas lake features jeep tours on the extensive 103-hectare property (including beehives), cozida cooking classes, an excellent restaurant, and pool. Self-catering villas and the genuine warmth of the owners make this an Azorean gem. Estrada Regional do Sul, Lagoa das Furnas, 9675-090 Furnas; +351 296 584 107; furnaslakevillas.pt
SEE AND DO
Lagoa do Fogo
Mist regularly shrouds this lake which transforms from teal to navy blue depending on the light.
A waterfall of iron-rich water entices guest to soak.
Europe’s first and only tea plantation planted on slopes that gently caress the sea.
This volcanic crater is filled with two lakes connected by a land bridge. On a clear day, this is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the islands.
This original travel article first appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of City Style and Living Magazine