# Discover the Hidden Gem of Portugal: The Azores
If you’re looking for a unique travel destination that offers natural beauty, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures, you might want to consider the Azores. This group of nine islands located in the Atlantic Ocean is a hidden gem of Portugal that has yet to be overrun by tourists.
## Getting There
There are direct flights to the Azores from several European cities, including Lisbon, Porto, and London. If you’re coming from the United States, you’ll need to fly to Boston, then take a 4-hour flight to the island of Sao Miguel.
## Best Time to Visit
The Azores has pleasant weather year-round, but the best time to visit is from June to September when the temperature is warm and the skies are clear. Keep in mind that the weather can change quickly, so be sure to pack for all types of conditions.
## Things to Do
### Explore Nature
The Azores is known for its stunning natural landscapes, including volcanic craters, hot springs, and lush green hillsides. Hiking, biking, and whale watching are all popular outdoor activities in the Azores.
### Experience Culture
The Azores has a rich cultural history that combines Portuguese and Azorean traditions. Visit a local village to see traditional Azorean architecture and try the local cuisine, which includes fresh seafood and dairy products.
### Relax on the Beach
The Azores may not have the same kind of beaches that you’ll find in the Caribbean, but they do offer beautiful stretches of coastline that are perfect for relaxing and taking a dip in the ocean.
## Where to Stay
The Azores has a variety of accommodations to suit all budgets, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels. For a unique experience, consider staying in a traditional Azorean house, called a “casa de campo.”
1. Is it easy to get around the Azores?
Yes, there are rental cars, buses and taxi services available on all islands, which makes transportation relatively easy.
2. Can I visit multiple islands in one trip?
Yes, you can travel between islands by plane or ferry, making it possible to explore more than one island during your trip.
3. Do I need a visa to visit the Azores?
If you are a citizen of a country within the European Union or the Schengen Area, you do not need a visa to visit the Azores. Visitors from other countries may need a visa, depending on the length of their stay.
4. Is it safe to travel to the Azores?
Yes, the Azores is considered a safe travel destination, with low crime rates and a welcoming local population.
5. What should I pack for my trip?
It’s a good idea to pack for all types of weather, as the conditions can change quickly in the Azores. Bring comfortable shoes for walking and hiking, a waterproof jacket, and swimwear for the beaches and hot springs. Don’t forget sunscreen and insect repellent!
## Final Thoughts
The Azores is still largely undiscovered by tourists, which makes it a perfect destination for those who want to get away from the crowds and experience a different side of Europe. With stunning natural beauty, a rich cultural history, and plenty of outdoor adventures, the Azores is definitely worth exploring.