Portugal
Azores

Here you’ll find travel reports about Azores. Discover travel destinations in Portugal of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

62 travelers at this place:

  • Day20

    Whales!

    May 9 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Today we visited the north side of the island, just as beautiful as the south. We went to a second whaling museum, this one located in the old factory where the whale was turned into oil, vitamins, flour, and manure — all in one place. Post-industrial fabulous. The only parts of the whale that were not used were its heart and intestines. Those were rowed out to sea and dumped in the ocean, but they inevitably wound their way back to shore, bringing a huge stink with them.

    But the afternoon was for the real whales — we saw a bunch of sperm whales, whose tails flip up when they dive and it is beautiful. And the dolphins, must have been about 30 dolphins all leaping in unison. It was really something. And I now have an answer to the question — When was the last time you did something for the first time?

    I did not bother to try to catch fleeting glimpses of whales and porpoises with my phone camera. Much more enjoyable to just watch.
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  • Day15

    On the island of Pico

    May 4 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    By 10:30 am, we were in our rental car and driving around the island of Pico. Volcano in the middle and lava flows everywhere. Our hotel is amazing, Aldeia da Fonte. Five old village houses turned into a hotel “complex”. Right on the water, lots of walking paths.

    Weather was a little bit of everything-cloudy, rainy, and then spectacularly sunny.Read more

  • Mar19

    Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores

    March 19 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Today, as it is our last day staying in the city, we thought it would be good to go into town and take a few photos of places we had seen with our family when they first arrived. Look at the lovely patterns on the streets.

  • Day18

    Ferry to Faial

    May 7 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Days don’t get much better than this. Carpe diem!

    We took an 8 am ferry over to the island of Faial, a short 30 minute hop, where the sun shone all day and the views back over our island with its big volcano were amazing.

    We spent the day at two volcano sites, one recent (1958) (we could see orange roof tiles popping up from the ashes, a small whaling village was destroyed), and the other one hundreds of years ago with a huge green crater. And then just driving around, the island’s perimeter is only 50 km so we could deviate from the main circular road a lot. We have learned that whenever a sign points you towards a “miradouro” (scenic lookout), take the turn!

    And now here we sit out on our balcony with a glass of Douro wine, a view of the ocean, and listening to the waves crashing. Clouds are rolling in with a vengeance, so tomorrow might not be quite as perfect as today.
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  • Mar13

    Wed.-Remedios hike & Pinhal da Paz Park

    March 13 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    We were looking for a kids’ playground and happened to read about a 125 acre reserve in an old pine tree forest with the best playground on the island. It also has a high point where you can see both sides of the island and it is covered in azalea bushes, ferns, camellias, palms and cacti. It was only minutes away from Ponta Delgada. It would have been a great place to go for a picnic. What a find!

    The Best Experiences of the Day

    Nathan - going up the slide, on the teeter totter and swinging in the swing at the park

    Audrey - going down the fireman pole at the park

    Cal - going up and down on the bumpy bum ramp with the ropes

    Matt - swimming in the sea pool

    Amy - the sunny day and the flowers at the Pinhal da Paz park

    Tim - the run/crawl to the tip top of the mirador at Pico Funcha

    Caitlin - the happy face on the tree in the park

    Connie - the views of both sides of the island from the mirador at the park

    Chris - the hike to Remedios with Key and Tim
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  • Day52

    Praia Da Vitoria, Azores

    February 23 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    We left Bermuda in sunshine and warmth but had a very rough crossing to the Azores. A lot of crockery and bottles of alcohol have been broken in the storm. Wet and windy day in prospect but determined to see something of the town. Now been advised that because of the high winds the port has been closed to all traffic and so nobody is able to leave the ship at present! As luck would have it, during the morning the wind changed direction and lessened and so off we went. We needed the walk on ground that did not move. Very pleasant town and attractive in the sun. Very reasonably priced coffee and pastries! We depart early this evening and although the sea will be quite turbulent to begin with, the forecast is for it to calm down during tomorrow.Read more

  • Day17

    Loving Pico island

    May 6 in Portugal ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

    So far, not much rain, and even one whole day of sun! We have walked and walked, along the coast and up high near the volcano. Today we took a long guided walk through a “lava tube”, formed about 1500 years ago when the volcano erupted and some of the lava pushed out sideways. Very different from your average cave. Joe was almost the oldest person to have ever walked through, but last year an 82-year old did it. It was a very difficult rocky path, no lights, slippery, but he made it!

    The vineyards are a UNESCO world heritage site. The vines are all in very small handmade rock enclosures, built hundreds of years ago. The vines grow right on the lava. I have never seen anything like it.

    In a little chapel to Our Lady of Compassion I lit a bunch of (electric) candles on the theory that we could all use a little compassion. Very nice place for some reflection.
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  • Day19

    No whale-watching today!

    May 8 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    We woke up to rain and wind, and no surprise, our whale-watching trip was cancelled. They re-booked us for tomorrow afternoon, fingers crossed. Staying with the whaling theme, we went to the whaling museum and saw a fascinating documentary. Pico was the last place on the planet where they still went out in a small boat with about 8 men to harpoon whales. The movie was filmed in 1970 and shows it all, start to bloody finish. Pretty amazing feat of courage, no matter what you think of the practice itself. The year harpooning stopped, about 1987, a German man opened up Pico’s first whale-watching business, employing many of the men who would no longer be hunting whales.

    The rest of the day alternated between foggy/windy/rainy and occasional bursts of sun. We got out and walked whenever we could, lots of empty country lanes near the ocean. Nothing but grape vines, bright green fields, and cows. All in all, not a bad day, finished off with a trip to the pretty basic fitness center.
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  • Mar17

    A Daytrip to Sao Miguel's West Coast

    March 17 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Note - I am behind in the blogs with the kids but the footprints are coming soon ...

    The island of Sao Miguel is beautiful. Driving for a half an hour west of the capital city of Ponta Delgado will take you to the most westerly point of the island. In half an hour! And in that half an hour the island constantly changes. It is one of the most diverse places that we have ever visited - the flora, fauna, landscapes and even its climate changes dramatically during the short drive. Within the space of just twenty minutes, you can go from soaking in a hot spring in the sun to having your head in the clouds on top of a mountain looking down on a volcanic crater. It's this diversity and dramatic scenery that we have really enjoyed. There is a T-shirt that I like that says, “Four Seasons in One Day”, and it’s true.

    On the west of the island is an enormous volcanic crater with a large lake nestled inside of it. The road that crosses the lake creates the impression of twin lakes. To see it in its full glory, we took the road to the top edge of the crater.

    Last week, Tim, Caitlin and Matt went to visit this volcano and happened to see a trail, or what appeared to be a trail going up to the Vista Do Rei viewpoint. They parked the car and had to bushwhack their way up. When they got to the top they were surprised to see an abandoned hotel that looked more like a concrete prison that the 5-star hotel that was once voted the finest in all of Portugal. They went into it and were awestruck by what they saw.

    Built in the late 1980s, the Hotel Monte Palace was intended to be the ultimate in luxury travel for the Azores. Back then, it was more expensive to fly from Europe to North America than it was to these beautiful Portuguese islands so investors invested and builders built, and this 5-star resort was open for business in 1989. The large complex featured two restaurants, a bar, a nightclub, a beauty salon, a bank, and 88 rooms that overlooked the Atlantic Ocean or the twin lakes nestled in the caldera of the volcano.

    Ironically, the Monte Palace hotel received the award for being Portugal’s finest on the same week that the hotel closed its doors for good. Just 18 months after it opened, the owners declared bankruptcy, and the building was left to the elements.

    So what happened?

    Opening this hotel was a poor business decision. It didn’t make sense to build the Monte Palace in either this location or at this time. Back in the 1980s, the Azores wasn’t on anyone’s radar when it came to international tourism. On top of that, its location on the island was remote, which meant guests would need to hire a car to get there, and there wasn’t anything within walking distance. Once you were there, you’d have to amuse yourself by either driving yourself around the island or by sitting on your balcony and gazing out at the gorgeous views.Those views, however, would have been rarely visible. Most days, there is a heavy fog and this windy area experiences a whopping 200 days of rain per year. Many guests would have been paying a lot of money to shiver on their balcony and experience what it’s like to be engulfed in clouds. I am sure that most people would not chose to have that experience. But we have head rumours that a Chinese company has bought it and want to renovate it.

    Tim, Caitlin and Matt went inside the building to explore it and said that it looked like a disaster zone. Piles of plaster and wood lay on the floor while parts of the ceiling were falling down above their heads. They could see signs of previous grandeur - some mosaics on the bathroom walls and some marble in the algae, but there wasn’t any glamour remaining. It was a dump. Thieves, vandals and want-to-be graffiti artists have left their marks.

    As we were driving up the road to the viewpoint, we happened to come upon the hotel too. As it was the weekend, there were several people wandering around the outside of the building and heeding the ‘Danger’ signs so we didn’t go in, but it would have been super interesting.
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  • Mar22

    The Boiling Sulfur Pools of Furnas

    March 22 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    On we drove and back to the hot springs we had visited with the kids in Furnas. This time we stopped, not to swim in hot waters but to see the boiling, smoking hot springs in town and tried not to breath in the sulphur smells. We did have a late lunch here but not eat the famous stews that cook for 5 hours in the hot springs. The smell was a bit overpowering so we headed home. It was a great day.

    When we got back, we saw the tire tracks from the morning rally and decided to follow them to check out the route. Not a good idea! Even driving at 5 km/hour we were so afraid that our rented car would have a flat tire or get stuck or hit a wall. It was brutal and they go down this lanes as fast as possible. Argh! We only did a section of the route and as soon as we could, we headed home. This time for real!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Azores, Azoren, Açores, Asorane, Asorene, Azzorre, Região Autónoma dos Açores

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