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The Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal, comprising nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic.
They are commonly grouped together into three regions. The eastern group consists of Santa Maria and Sao Miguel, the central group: Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial and the western group: Corvo and Flores.
The islands’ scenery is characterised by sapphire blue lakes, vast fields and charming chapels.
You could spend an afternoon spotting whales, cycling across the dramatic landscape or relaxing in natural hot springs; the Azores have it all.
The largest island, Sao Miguel, offers everything that makes the archipelago so appealing. You can wander through cobbled streets, try some fresh octopus stew at a local restaurant, or simply gaze across the magnificent crater lakes. In the island’s capital, Ponta Delgada, there are a number of attractive old buildings dotted across town, most notably the Machado Natural History Museum.
A great time to visit Ponta Delgada is during the ‘Festival of the Lord Holy Christ of the Miracles’ on the fifth Sunday after Easter. The streets are decorated with flowers whilst a procession carries an image of Christ through the city.
Pico is sparsely populated but ideal for exploring. Be sure to visit ‘Gruta das Torres’, the longest lava tube in Europe. Or you can hike up the 2,351m dormant volcano, Mount Pico.
All nine of the Azores Islands are well connected by ferry. However, the archipelago is sparsely spread across the North Atlantic and so the average journey time between each island varies greatly.
These routes are operated by Atlanticoline, who provides a few sailings every week.
The trip itself went relatively well. However, there were some problems with functioning of the website and for a week we could not buy the tickets because the website was not active (in May). I strongly recommend reminding/explaining foreign tourists the car license issues. While buying the ticket online for some reasons there was no option for "car registration/licence no. is unavailable at the moment" or something like this in the beginning of purchasing process. Then it appeared. When we came in a rented car to get the tickets in Madalena, the staff member at the ticket office did not ask us for the car registration number, so we went to the ferry and got to Horta with no car registration number on the tickets but, going back we experienced a big stress, when almost 5 minutes to the departure of the ferry we were told that our tickets are not valid for this car, though we had come without any problems to Horta already. Your staff at the ticket office should be careful. But generally we found this way of moving to Horta and back to Madalena very good.Read More Read Less
"Booking Atlanticoline with Direct Ferries"
Booking with Direct Ferries resulted in major issues which we have had to rectify while on holiday. The Direct Ferries website failed to include a car on the selected ferry crossing. When I contacted Direct Ferries to request that a car be included, I was informed that they would address this within the next 24 hours. I did not hear from Direct Ferries until one week later, shortly before our departure for the Azores, to inform me, as I was already aware, that a car was not included in the booking 2. When I attempted to rearrange the booking, once on the Azores, it transpired that Direct Ferried, despite confirming the booking for the 7th August, had in fact booked the outgoing journey for the 22nd July. Since this date had now passed I had to forfeit the cost of this booking and rebook for the correct date. I was fortunate to be able to include a vehicle in this booking but had to rearrange to a 7.30am crossing which was far from convenient. I will be raising these issues with Direct Ferries on my return to the UK. My advice to other travellers in the Azores would be to book directly with Atlanticoline who proved to be very efficient and helpful while trying to rectify the problems, and on our first crossing the service was excellentRead More Read Less
departure right on time and quick checkinn. that is something your rarely see when travelling by plane. pleasant and beautifull trip sitting on deck with a Nice sunshine seeing all the islands by. What more can jou wish. Only thing to improve is the lunch and diner. Food is good but it is serves in a short periode so the line up is long. Sometimes to long. Why not a buffet??Read More Read Less
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