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The Azores: 1st Sustainable Tourism Destination

The Azores: 1st Sustainable Tourism Destination

July 13, 2015

Discover what makes the Azores the 1st Sustainable Tourism Destination, and travel now!

Only two hours flight from Portugal’s mainland, a wild and well-preserved archipelago is peacefully in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean: The Azores. The nine volcanic islands, considered as 1st Sustainable Tourism Destination, are a small paradise where nature, tourism and leisure co-exist…

The Azores is an autonomous region of Portugal, with its own Assembly and regional government. It is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, at 1,300 km from the Portuguese coast, 4-5 hours from most of the European capitals cities and not more from the east coast of USA. The archipelago, 600 km wide, is composed of nine islands, which are separate into 3 groups:

The West: Flores and Corvo

On the west side are located Flores and Corvo, the last islands of the Archipelago discovered. Both islands are nowadays UNESCO Biosphere reserve. Flores (flowers) takes its name from the great profusion of wild flowers, within many are indigenous and part of the original flora. The purple and pink of the flowers pop out the green vegetation to create a charming and colourful landscape. Corvo, the smallest island of the Azores, is actually a volcano. On the top of the island, the impressive volcano crater should not be missed. Then go down and enjoy the peaceful unique town of 400 inhabitants surrounding by nothing else but the wideness of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Centre: Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico and Faial

Graciosa is the flattest island of the Archipelago. Here, experience some maritime activity such as fishing, scuba diving or canoeing. In Terceira, you can choose to go underground in the old volcanic cave Algar do Carvão and being amazed by the world biggest stalactites, or you can climb the volcano Monte Brazil to admire the gorgeous view on the city and the bay of Angra do Heroismo. 

The central island São Jorgue counts more than 70 Fajãs, singular flat surfaces on the sea shore surrounding by impressive cliffs. The mount Pico, located on the island of Pico and the highest point of Portugal (2,351m), offers a stunning view on the greatness of the Atlantic Ocean. The last Island of the central group is Faial. The different shades of blue on the houses gives Faial the name of Blue Island. Here, an early morning awakening to watch the sunrise on the Mount Pico is definitely worth it!

The East: São Miguel and Santa Maria

Santa Maria Island has been the first Azorean island to be discovered. Some say the navigator Diogo da Silves found it in 1427 on his way to Madeira Islands; others that Gonçalo Velho Cabral made the discoveries in 1431. It is also the first island of the Azores which has been formed and emerged from the bottom of the sea, 10 million years ago. Its age and geologic history created those unique and impressive landscapes, from the Barreiro da Faneca, the “Red desert”, to the green vineyard on the São Lourenco Bay. São Miguel is the largest island of the archipelago where is located Ponta Delgada, the Azorean capital. Discover the island by VTT, 4x4 or foot, and be stunned by the kilometres wide natural crater lakes all over the place…

The 1st Sustainable Tourism Destination

With its wide range of landscapes and geologic characteristics, the Azores is one of the most beautiful archipelago in the world. Moreover its “authentic, unspoiled and likely to remain” environment and the great sustainable tourism policy of the local government allows it the title of “First Sustainable Tourism Destination”; indeed after being evaluated several times and keeping the highest grade in the Global Sustainable Tourism Review (GSTR), the Azores finally became the first QualityCoast Platinum Award winner. The National Geographic Traveller rewards as well the Azores as “Second best islands in the world for Sustainable Tourism”.

How can I visit the Azores?

The Azores is one of the treasure of Portugal. You can enjoy some hiking in the wild nature, doing speleology in beautiful caves or just relaxing and swimming in hot natural volcano lakes… Come and discover the marvellous island of Azores. Get your free quote now!