With Summer just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about how to spend your holidays. Sun, sea and sand, all the usual Summery stuff. But what if you’re after something a little different this Summer? What else is on offer?

While the Canary Islands remain hugely popular with holiday-makers the Azores are often overlooked. Just like the Canaries the Azores is an archipelago of small volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. Unlike the Canaries however, the Azores are still relatively untouched by the tourist industry.

Lakes

The Azores are home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the world and certainly in Europe. As the islands are volcanic most of these lakes have formed in volcanic craters left behind from eruptions over the centuries. Many of the lakes, or lagoa, are surrounded by high walls of volcanic rock draped in lush green vegetation. The lakes provide some unbelievable views for visitors, with a number of different ways to experience them, from hiking to kayaking and even paragliding in some places.

Best Lakes:

  • Lagoa do Fogo
  • Lagoa do Sete Cidades
  • Caldeirao
Thermal Springs

The volcanic nature of the islands also means hot springs are plentiful in the Azores. Sao Miguel in particular is home to a number of these. Poca Dona Beija is one of the more popular of these but Terra Nostra and Caldeira Velha are equally notable. Surrounded by rich wild forest landscapes, all three of these spots provide the perfect place to relax after a hike or any of your outdoor activities.

People Relaxing in a Hot Spring in the Azores
Caldeira Velha
Food

Portugal is well known for great food and the Azores are no different. Well…maybe they are a little different but only in that the food here is quite unique due in no small part to the natural landscape. One typical example of this is Cozido das Furnas, or Furnas stew. This is a stew which is cooked underground using volcanic steam.

Traditional Furnas Stew on a plate
Cozido das Furnas
How to Get There

Flights to Ponta Delgado Airport actually go frequently from Dublin Airport. This will land you on the main island, Sao Miguel. If you wish to go further afield to one of the other islands you may need to book additional flights between the islands.