Azores Islands Portugal

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The archipelago of the Azores is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, midway between North America and Europe and parallel with Lisbon. There are nine islands in total, the largest of which is São Miguel at 747 metres square and the smallest of which is Corvo at only 17 metres square. The islands have a population of around 250,000. The islands are São Miguel, Corvo, Santa Maria, Terceira, Faial, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico and Flores. Santa Maria was the first island to be inhabited.

The Portuguese discovered the islands of Santa Maria and São Miguel in 1427, on one of the many maritime expeditions that took place during that seafaring period in history. During the 16th and 17th centuries the islands were of strategic importance for trade routes between the Americas,Orient and Europe and also during several naval battles. They were beset with pirates at this time, who saw the potential for such a strategic stronghold. The Azores are now an autonomous region of Portugal with their own government and parliament.

As for climate, the Azores have a minimum of 14 degrees centigrade and a maximum of 25 degrees centigrade, so you are pretty much guaranteed fair weather whatever time of year you visit.

When travelling to the Azores from Lisbon you will arrive at one of the three airports: Ponta Delgada (on São Miguel), Lajes (on Terceira) and Horta (on Faial). Ponta Delgada also has flights to Funchal in Madeira and to Porto during peak season. There are regular ferries between the islands of Faial, Sao Jorge and Pico, which are all grouped together, and Terceira and Graciosa. In the summer there are ferries between all the islands, although Corvo is less well connected.

A whole host of sporting activities are possible on the Azores, with everything from spelunking on Terceira to whale and dolphin watching between Faial, Sao Jorge and Pico where these incredible mammals come to feed off the bounteous supply of fish from June until September. Sailing, fishing, diving, hiking, golf, and paragliding are all popular activities on the islands.

Accommodation in the Azores ranges from large hotel chains to hotel cum apartments, pensões to private rooms, and all come with a different price tag, so there is something to suit most budgets.