For several years, I had only heard about a mystical collection of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. A place that looked too perfect in pictures and could only be construed in one’s dreams. But I finally had the luxury of going to the Azores myself and experience the Azorian lifestyle and see the beauty with my own eyes.
The Azores fulfills every type of vacation desire one could imagine. Whether you go there for pure relaxation, outdoor adventures and exploration, family vacation, or you just want to eat your way through the 9 islands, the Azores will have something that can successfully check each box on the list.
I went to the Azores with friends to completely disconnect from my everyday life. The Azores provided the space I needed to unwind and just breathe a little easier. Life goes by a little slower over there. Dinners last for hours, but the bottles of wine and copious amounts of bread, cheese, and fresh seafood made it so incredibly enjoyable that hours felt like minutes.
The scenery was so breathtaking, it was difficult not to take a second to admire the views and be present in the moment. Madalena on the island of Pico happened to be one my favorite locations on vacation. It’s one of the main cities on that island and provided a simple city lifestyle that offered plenty of water adventures, some local beaches, and amazing views of Faial.
A major party of my vacation revolved around hikes, ocean activities, and taking in the local scenery. We hiked the military base at Mounte Brasil in Angra do Heroismo on Terceira, as well as watched their version of the running of the bulls. We swam with wild dolphins on Pico and stayed in a rural Air BnB, that offered spectacular views of Sao Jorge. Almost any type of outdoor activity is available, along with events that you didn’t even know existed.
While boarding the plane, I realized how many families were going over to the Azores. I bonded with a friendly 5-year-old girl who was going over with her parents, and sat next to a mother and her two well-behaved sons. Once you land, it’s easy to recognize that family is a major part of the culture. Beaches and natural pools were filled with families enjoying their time, whether they were tourists or locals. So if a family-friendly vacation is what you’re looking for, then the Azores can provide that also.
Food and Wine
I’m a sucker for carbs and cheese, so needless to say, I truly indulged myself in the Azores. Every meal was served with bread and cheese, and numerous bottles of wine were an obvious yes, with lunch and dinner. Everything was so fresh, even the milk tasted better over there. Not only was everything so delicious, but it was all relatively inexpensive. My friends and I were always surprised when the bill came because our wallets weren’t dented nearly as much as we anticipated.
The Azores completely shattered my expectations and I still feel like I haven’t seen everything it has to offer. If given the opportunity, I highly recommend taking a flight from the U.S. to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and landing on a little piece of Heaven known as the Azores.
Samantha Surface is a marketing professional, writer, and amateur boxer in Boston.