The Azores is made up of nine volcanic islands, 900 miles off the coast of Portugal. This natural haven is the perfect place to nurture your body and mind.
From geothermal spas to whale-watching, here are seven soul-reviving wellbeing activities in the Azores.
Being an island nation, the sea plays a vital part in Azorean life and culture. Once a safe haven for cargo ships journeying to and from Africa and the Indies, the islands’ ports are full of historical treasures.
The fortresses on Terceira, which date back to the 1500s, were originally built to keep a lookout for pirates.
If you want to have a go at sailing the high seas, boats are available to hire with or with you a skipper, so you can island-hop your way around the archipelago.
Explore unique UNESCO sites
The vineyards of Pico are a site to behold. These unusual structures were built to help protect the delicate grapes from high winds and seaspray.
An afternoon lazing among them (and sampling the produce) is well spent.
Wellbeing trail walks
A network of ancient herders’ trails has been recently re-established, giving modern explorers a chance to experience the Azores as its ancestors did centuries ago.
There are now roughly 89 different certified and signposted trails on the Azores covering a total of around 500 miles, so there’s plenty to satisfy even the most ardent tramper.
They’re accessible year-round, with or without a guide. Each season offers a different kind of beauty from the blue-purple pomp of the islands’ hydrangeas in summer to the stunning autumn foliage.
The trails are classified according to their level of difficulty, distance, and whether they’re linear or circular. See HERE to find the right trail for you.
The Azores is teeming with wildlife with around 64 species of the feathered variety calling the archipelago home.
Among these are the Azores Bullfinch and Monteiro’s Storm-petrel, both endemic to the islands and a draw for avid twitchers.
If you really want to take a step back in time, try riding the herders’ trails the old Azorean way on a well-trained Lusitano or Portuguese Cruzado horse.
There’s no better wellbeing activity to help you reconnect with nature than taking life at an animal’s pace.
The waters around the archipelago are home to around a third of the world’s 81 species of whales and dolphins.
As well as a relaxing boat trip around the coast, you’ll get to see these magnificent creatures up close while helping to preserve their marine habitat and support small local businesses. A definite feel-good activity that’s sure to boost your sense of wellbeing.
Natural hot springs
The Azores has many hydro-thermal resources, which have been used for their health and wellbeing benefits since the 16th Century. You’ll find various springs of natural carbonic water, waterfalls, and iron water pools throughout the islands.
The best and most well-known of these are the thermal baths of Termas da Ferraria and the iron water pools in Furnas, on the island of São Miguel, and Termas do Carapacho on the island of Graciosa.