The Azores, officially called Autonomous Region of the Azores, is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal and along with the archipelagos of Madeira, Canary Islands and Cape Verde constitute the bio-geographic region of Macaronesia. Consisting of nine islands, the Azores are divided into three geographical groups: the eastern (Santa Maria and São Miguel), the central (Faial, Graciosa, Terceira, Pico, Sao Jorge) and the western (Corvo, Flores). The archipelago is located in the middle of the Atlantic about 1 360 km west of continental Portugal and about 880 km northwest of Madeira. According to 2011 data, population in Azores was about 246 000. All of the islands have volcanic origin, however, some of them have had no recorded activity since the islands were settled.
The islands enjoy year-round mild temperatures that benefit from the Gulf Stream. The air temperature averages between 11 and 26°C depending on the time of year. The average temperature of the surrounding ocean varies between 15 and 25°C. You can expect changeable weather with rainy days at any time of the year. There is saying that you can have all four seasons in one day. Do not give up if it is raining in the morning – there can be clear sky and sunshine by lunchtime.
Being called an unspoiled paradise, the Azores are best known for their beaches, dazzling blue lakes, verdant pastures, volcanic caverns, bubbling mud pots, beautiful flowers, sprawling sunrises and waterfalls cascading deep into ravines. There is no better place for nature lovers, fans of adventure sports, or anyone looking for peaceful place to have an active vacation. Here is the taste of the most popular activities that you can do in the Azores: hiking, biking, whale-watching, paragliding, kayaking, canyoning, surfing, diving, bird-watching.
SÃO MIGUEL ISLAND
São Miguel, the largest of the all islands, is 62.1 km in long and 15.8 km wide. The capital city is Ponta Delgada, which is also one of six municipalities of São Miguel. The others are: Ribeira Grande, Lagoa, Vila Franca do Campo, Povoação and Nordeste.
Given its diversity, São Miguel is an island with a lot of things to do. São Miguel provides plenty of walking trails allowing you to enjoy all beauties of the island. Another way to explore the island is by cycling, mountain biking or horse riding. Golf lovers will appreciate two golf fields allowing the practice of this sport and providing the contact with the unspoiled nature. For those who prefer water sports there are activities such as kayaking or canyoning that can be practiced on lakes located in the craters of extinguished volcanoes or river and numerous waterfalls. On both south and north coast of the island is possible to find a lot of spots available for surfing and body-boarding. Thanks to a huge variety of underwater fauna, São Miguel is a paradise for those who are keen on diving and fishing. Feeling tired? The beaches of Santa Barbara, Pópulo, Água d’Alto and Ribeira Quente and thermal spas at Ferraria and Furnas are perfect places to relax and to recharge your batteries.