This content is proudly presented in association with Visit Azores
Just a four-hour flight from the UK lies a collection of nine lush islands, each with a different character, offering dormant volcanoes, hot thermal springs and lakes rimmed by emerald fields, and flowered hedgerows, dotted with quaint villages and UNESCO world heritage sites.
Blessed with a wonderfully benign year-round climate, the abundant natural scenery of the Azores creates the perfect setting for outdoor enthusiasts, with activities to suit all tastes and abilities.
The Azores are especially renowned as a hiking paradise, with almost 500 miles of official tracks fanning out along about 80 signposted trails – many using a centuries-old network of well-trodden paths and trade or pilgrimage routes. This vast pedestrian network covers a variety of terrain from basalt stone and coastal scrub to rich areas of juniper and laurel forest.
At every turn you’ll find hidden places with waterfalls that flow into magnificent bays, natural coastal pools, striking geological formations called fajãs and unique fauna and flora, highlighting the islands’ rich biodiversity.
Here, you’ll find vast colonies of marine migratory birds, such as the Cory’s Shearwater and species of terns and land birds like the Azorean Bulfinch - a bird once believed to be extinct, but rediscovered in San Miguel, and now a protected species.
And for those who like a bit more of a challenge, the trails in Azores are the setting for many international running and mountain biking events, such as the Azores Trail Run and the Azores MTB World Series Marathon.
• The Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal, composed of nine volcanic islands, formed by successive eruptions over thousands of years.
• A stopping-off point for many an Atlantic sea crossing, the Azores are the westernmost point of Europe.
• Temperatures range from a low of 15ºC in the winter to an average of 25ºC during the summer.
• You can fly direct with Azores Airlines from Gatwick in less than four hours from April - October, or from Stanstead with Ryanair year round. There are also connections via Lisbon.
• Hailed as a world leader in Sustainable Tourism development, the Azores are included in the Global Geoparks Network, have 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, four of its islands are included in the world list of Biosphere Reserves and they have recognised 13 RAMSAR Sites.