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Trip Report Visiting the Azores Islands (Portugal) LOVELY LOVELY Experiences

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We have done 8 of the 9 islands this year and each island is spectacular in it's own right. I also noticed the Azores was voted 2014's Vacation Destination for Europe a few weeks ago on facebook. We found spectacular places to stay, great prices BUT, unlike what the books say, you should book in advance to get the best places with the best prices. Airbnb's service is one of the best for getting great places to stay. You can find rooms in private houses and houses at cheaper rates than staying in hotels. What do i like about each island most?
Sao Jorge - The hiking and vegetation is spectacular, probably the best hiking on all the islands. DiscoverExperience is a fantastic tour operator featuring a wide variety of experiences from Day Hiking Trips, Canyoning, not to mention a nice rapelling waterfall adventure hike. The guides are professional and knowledgeable and, have a lot of different language skills ie Portuguese, English, Spanish, French i believe. My husband and i did the Caldeira Hike and the waterfall rappel LOVED it! We also did others with them as well and have never been sorry. Pico, For me was more of a driving touring island as the island has fewer really nice hiking trails. It does feature some nice activities out of Lajes like Dolphin and Whale watching and, climbing Mount Pico is fabulous if you can do it on a clear day. Faial, is more of a touristy beach town, a lot of shops and some good restaurants. The island is pretty but it too is more of a driving tour island in my opinion. Caldeira on top of the island is pretty along with gorgeous views of the island and Pico on a clear day from there. Flores in my mind is undoubtedly the most beautiful island but, it is small and you could really see the most of it in 2 days time by car, unless you are committed to backpacking and carrying your food with you. I have great information on where to stay on Flores and an English speaking taxi driver for the Portuguese impaired visitor. Corvo, should be visited if you are going to Flores anyway but that depends on the Ferry running in between the islands there so you have to plan in advance. Graciosa, has some interesting caves and caldeira areas but, you can easily tour it by car and see everything really in one day. Terceira, our favorite place to stay is Praia da Vitoria.. wonderful little beach town with shops, restaurants etc. without it feeling like you are in a tourist trap. You can get a bus from Praia to Angra for a few euro and see some of the countryside along the way. Sao Miguel, Furnas is our favorite area but there's a lot to see. There's a beautiful park right in Ponta Delgada that we loved - Jose Garcia. Like some of the other islands, it is best to do this island via moped or via car. In the more hilly areas, mopeds go really super slow (you can walk faster) so I would advise you to enjoy your day and just do it by car. It allows you so much more time to stay longer in places you want to see. You can do taxi tours but they can be costly. I'm happy to share information on where to stay and what to see if anyone is interested... HAPPY TRAVELS, and get ahold of me if you want stay ideas or help getting around.

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