PHOTO: Lake at Sete Cidades. (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)
One thousand miles off of the coast of the North Atlantic, the Azores, a chain of islands, rise from the sea filled with Iberian charm and a dramatic volcanic history and these stunning islands are on their way to becoming the next big adventure destination, says Bloomberg.
“Like Iceland, the Azores offer gorgeous no-filter landscapes, a palpable not-in-America vibe (you're in Portugal), and an ultra-convenient stopover locale on your way to Europe,” writes Brandon Presser.
Presser also points out that like Iceland, the Azores are another great stopover destination for travelers on their way to Europe and, while they aren’t known for that now, that is about to change.
“Taking a cue from IcelandAir’s transatlantic strategy, the newly rebranded Azores Airlines (originally called SATA) is upping its connections to major European cities in 2017; in theory, the carrier’s ultra-affordable airfares should drive interest in an Azores stopover,” Presser notes.
Unlike Iceland, where tourism growth has been unwieldy, the Azores look to “boosts infrastructure without damaging both the tangible and intangible treasures that make the archipelago so unique.”
For those looking to get there before the rest of the world, Presser has a few recommendations.
“You wouldn’t go to Iceland and just stay in Reykjavik, so give yourself time to explore some of the outlying islands beyond Sao Miguel—a week is ideal,” he writes.
READ MORE: Which Countries Are Best for Adventure Travel?
In Sao Miguel, Presser recommends starting on Sao Miguel at Sete Cidades and, for those who can only get to one of the outer islets, he recommends Pico.
“Climbing Pico’s witch-hat summit remains the island’s most iconic experience—a trek that takes around six hours to the top and back—but there are plenty of other activities that make the destination worth visiting,” writes Presser.
Like what you see? There’s more about the Azores here.