The Azores Islands of Portugal are an archipelago out in the Atlantic Ocean. Although not well known yet, the Azores are a perfect destination for a family looking to take a fun and adventurous vacation. This is one of Thomson Family Adventures’ freshest destinations for families to explore.
These islands are ideal for active families who like to hike, bike, swim, kayak, snorkel, and explore the outdoors. But the Azores also offer much more than just outdoor exploration. They invite travelers to learn how to cook traditional meals and unique cultural delights, and for the adults, taste wine! There isn’t much more that you can ask for in picking a place to take your next family vacation!
Hike a Volcano
The Azores are islands born out of volcanic activity and it should come as no surprise that the islands are dotted with dormant volcanos today. Volcanos are incredible to look at, the sheer size and peaks reaching beyond the clouds, and they also provide wonderful hiking routes. On Faial Island you can venture to the westernmost point and see Capelinhos Volcano, the last volcano to erupt in the Azores. Those looking for a full day of hiking can climb Mount Pico, a stratovolcano, on Pico Island. This is the most challenging hike on the archipelago but offers the most rewarding views.
Go Whale Watching
The waters off of the Azores largest and most popular island, Sao Miguel, have some of the best whale watching in the world. You’ll have a good chance to have a front row seat to see whales, dolphins, and other marine life species go about their day. It’s always fun to challenge kids to see who can spot the most marine life. Keep your eyes peeled for bottle nose dolphins, blue and sperm whales, turtles, and sea birds.
Snorkel a Natural Pool
Vila Franca do Campo Islet is one of the most stunning places in the world to relax. It’s just as fun to relax and catch some sun as it is to walk down into this natural lagoon for a swim or a snorkel. This nearly perfect circular lagoon has crystal clear waters and is home to a breadth of protected fish species. This natural pool is in actuality a volcanic crater that has naturally filled with water. So you can go swimming in a volcano, how cool is that?
Explore Pico Island
Mount Pico is not the only thing to see on Pico Island. If you aren’t feeling that adventurous you can visit Azorean Wine Country. This region and these vineyards are a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their preservation of 15th Century wine making traditions. See how the wine is made in pots, protected by stone walls from wind and salt spray, smell its aroma, and best of all, taste how delicious it is! Walking through the vineyards is peaceful and fun, even if you don’t want to have a glass at the end! Kids can run through the fields, explore the vineyard, and climb to the top of a windmill, reminiscent of centuries ago, for an awesome view of the area.
Make Your Own Dinner
It isn’t just any dinner that you should make while on the Azores, but a classic, traditional dinner made in a unique way. Visit Furnas and make yourself a codizio. This style of cooking involves going to a site of geothermal activity in the morning and preparing a pot of vegetables, meat or fish, herbs, and spices. Once prepared, your family will lower the pot into the ground to cook all day long. When you return at nighttime to retrieve your dinner, you’ll be greeted with flavors that you never could have imagined!
Thanks to See the World contributor Nick Biblis, Thomson Family Adventures.