Nine islands make up this archipelago synonymous with natural beauty. To the east, in Santa Maria, the beaches are warm and sandy, and the vineyards that cover the slopes as an amphitheatre resemble staircases for giants. São Miguel dazzles everyone with the Lagoas das Sete Cidades and Fogo. In the Central Group, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, Faial and Graciosa are harmoniously arranged in the blue sea where whales and dolphins play. Terceira speaks of history in Angra do Heroísmo. Faial is the fresh blue of hydrangeas and the Capelinhos volcano, reminiscent of a lunar landscape. In Pico, the mountain rises from the sea, with vineyards planted in black lava fields. In São Jorge, the highlight is the Fajãs and its cheese with an unmistakable flavour. Graciosa has fields covered in vineyards contrasted with peculiar windmills. To the west, Flores dazzles with natural waterfalls and lagoons carved out by volcanoes and Corvo is a sanctuary for various species of birds from both the European and American continents.
With three Protected Designations of Origin, Graciosa, Biscoitos and Pico, the still wines of the Azores Demarcated Region reflect the maritime influence expressed in high rainfall and mild temperatures throughout the year. The very poor soils are of volcanic origin and extremely rich in potassium, giving rise to markedly iodised and saline wines. More than five centuries ago, it was realised that protecting the vineyards meant building basalt walls that not only protected them from the weather, but also released heat during the night. The predominant grape varieties are Arinto dos Açores, Boal, Fernão Pires, Terrantez do Pico and Verdelho. The liqueur wines offer remarkable freshness and acidity and at one point became famous for being the choice of the Russian Tsars.
3 REASONS TO VISIT
- Volcanic landscapes
- Whale and dolphin watching
- Adventures in nature