- Sao Miguel
The Azores Travel Guide
Graciosa © Xavier
The remoteness of the archipelago of the Azores in the North Atlantic has saved the beautiful green islands from becoming overdeveloped. International flights do make their way to the Azores, which lie 900 miles west of Portugal. But as of yet, tourism has not spoilt the islanders' traditional way of life nor marred the magnificent natural attractions, including the geysers at Lagoa das Furnas or the white sand beaches of Lagoa da Fogo.
Those who visit soon manage to drop the words 'stress' and 'pollution' from their vocabularies, and give in totally to enjoying the islands' year round subtropical climate with mild temperatures and high humidity. The only concern that might arise is the odd earth tremor: the islands are rather geologically unstable and pitted with volcanoes and hot sulphur springs. The 250,000 inhabitants seem unperturbed by this, however, and go about their daily rounds much as their forefathers did hundreds of years before.
The daily business is generally agricultural labour. The Azores is characterised by large tracts of farmland, sprinkled with little settlements of whitewashed houses. The gently sloping hillsides are carpeted with vineyards and fruit orchards. The coast of the islands is, in the main, rather rugged, but there are bays and inlets for swimming and sunbathing with the odd stretch of white sand. Island hopping is simple to achieve because all the islands are connected by ferry and local air services.