The Azores are nine verdant and unspoilt volcanic islands in a subtropical remote spot of the North Atlantic Ocean, 1,500 km from Portugal and on the same latitude as Lisbon. The Azores were formed millions of years ago from lava bubbling up from the ocean floor.The climate here is mild, thanks to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream, but humid, and characterised by sudden squalls mixed by sunshine. Europe’s only tea plantations are here, on the north coast of Sao Miguel, as well as pineapple groves, orchards and vineyards.
With the deep water of the Atlantic around the archipelago providing a plentiful source of food, there is a rich marine life, with 25 species of cetacean recorded over the year including sperm whales, pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins. You can usually spot at least a few species on a whale watching trip, one of the archipelago’s top attractions, during the spring and summer, or by going snorkelling with dolphins.