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Discover The Azores

The Best Sustainable Destination in Europe

Come and discover the best sustainable tourism destination in Europe. This green paradise, known to hiking enthusiasts, nature enthusiasts and travellers in search of sustainable adventure and ecotourism, is what you need now: a digital detox to reconnect with nature.

 

With its breath-taking landscapes ranked among the most beautiful landscapes in Europe, its commitment to respecting the environment (rewarded by the European Commission but also by Green Destinations, Quality Coast Award and others), the Azores are the number 1 sustainable tourism destination in Europe.

 

In our globalized world, you can still live unique experiences. Meet others and discover yourself by pushing your limits and recharging your batteries in the middle of nature.

 

From natural pools to tea plantations, protected forests to the most beautiful caldeiras, from whale watching to diving with sharks, a world of sustainable discovery and adventure awaits you in the Azores, the last green paradise in Europe.

 

Discover 17 reasons to visit The Azores, the best sustainable destination in Europe. Reconnect with nature and yourself – Discover the Azores »

 


Best Sustainable destination in Europe - Azores - Santa Maria Island Lighthouse - copyright Anibal Trejo - European Best Destinations
Copyright Anibal Trejo

Maia Lighthouse

Santa Maria Island

Known for its beautiful white sand beaches, Santa Maria is a paradise for nature lovers, beautiful landscapes, leisure and relaxation as well as for surfing, sailing, windsurfing, paragliding and diving. Do not forget to treat yourself to a day of relaxation on the famous Praia Formosa, a fine sandy beach which is rather rare in the Azores.

  

If you long to immerse yourself in nature, calm and observe breath-taking landscapes, wear good shoes and set out to explore the Santa Maria lighthouse."Farol de Gonçalo Velho" is one of the most beautiful lighthouses in Europe and it offers incredible views.  If you want to visit the lighthouse come on a Wednesday (otherwise it is open by appointment). It is one of the many 100% natural landscapes that will bring you memories for a lifetime.

 

 How to get there:  Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island) as well as a flight to Santa Maria (30 min).

 

 Where to stay: "Quinta de Sao José" to recharge your batteries in the middle of nature.

  


Best sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores - Caldeira Velha - Sao Miguel Island copyright Jan Jenka  - European Best Destinations
Copyright Jan Jenka

Caldeira Velha

Sao Miguel Island

The Caldeira Velha Environmental Interpretation Centre is a green paradise dedicated to the protection and education of the natural heritage of the Caldeira Velha's area, classified as one of the Natural Monuments of Portugal.

 

What better way to disconnect from social networks, professional emails or city stress than spending an afternoon in a magnificent natural park with natural thermal pools, heated by nature. Enjoy, relax, and live unforgettable memories. 

 

We advise you visit the interpretation centre to learn a little more about this incredible natural phenomenon that makes the Azores one of the rare destinations. 

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island), Caldeira Velha is located just a 20 minutes’ drive from Ponta Delgada. You can also book your activities and tours in the Azores such as a visit to Caldeira Velha.  

 

 Where to stay: "Quinta do Passo". Stay near Caldeira Velha. 

 


The Best Sustainable destination in Europe - The Azores - Mount Pico - Copyright HeadSpinPhoto  - European Best Destinations
Copyright Head Spin Photo

Pico Mountain Trail

Pico Island

Imagine an island. The second largest island in the Azores. Named after Pico, a volcano as beautiful as it is bewitching. On this piece of land which appeared several centuries ago under the impulse of nature in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, men have achieved great things.

 

Respecting the land, nature and working with what they had on hand, they built volcanic stone walls to protect the plantations from the salty wind and imported earth to plant vines. They now have been producing their unique wine for generations of courageous and daring women and men.

 

This island of rare beauty is a true gift of nature. Located between the islands of Faial and Sao Jorge, it is one of the pearls of sustainable tourism, a symbol of cohabitation of man and nature.

 

Pico is an ideal place to recharge your batteries, reconnect with nature, meet locals, taste their produce, walk along the island or hike to the top of the volcano.

 

You won't see another landscape like this in Europe so don't hesitate a second and plan your sustainable tourism vacation in one of the best ecotourism destinations in Europe.

 

Do you need another reason to discover Pico? You will find incredible underground caves formed by the lava flows at the origin of this magnificent volcano. 

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel, the main island) as well as a flight to Faial or Sao Jorge and make the crossing by boat (30 min). 

 

 Where to stay:  “Baco's Resort” offers views of the volcano.

 


Best sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores Stand up Paddle Copyright RavenEyePhoto    - European Best Destinations
Copyright RavenEyePhoto

Stand-up paddle

Sao Miguel Island

There is no more gentle, eco-friendly, and healthy way to discover one of the beauties and riches of the Azores, its magnificent coasts.

 

Live the experience of a calm sport, suitable for all, and which will reconnect you with nature, calm and silence. Stand up paddle has virtues close to meditation. You are calm, focused on your body, on your balance and on the outside world.

 

You can rent stand up paddle in most of the islands of the Azores or be accompanied by a guide by booking your activities in the Azores at the best price.

 

Goodbye city trip and hello nature traveller. Treat yourself to memories of a lifetime by discovering the Azores. 

 

 How to get there:  Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel).

 

 Where to stay: "Santa Barbara Eco-Beach Resort" located on the North coast of the Island of Sao Miguel.  

 


Best sutainable destinations in Europe - Azores - Corvo Island - Copyright Matthew_K  - European Best Destinations
Copyright Matthew_K

Corvo Crater

Corvo Island

If you want to experience ecotourism adventures and immersive cultural discoveries, the island of Corvo is for you.

 

The name of this island is a promise in itself. Corvo means Crow but its full name was "Corvo Marinho" which means cormorant. This small island of landscapes of rare beauty is a paradise for travellers in search of authenticity and who wish to get away from crowded places: Corvo Island is populated by only ... 430 inhabitants.

 

Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this green paradise is quite easy to access because it is well connected to the island of Flores (40 min by ferry), itself well connected to the other islands of the Azores (regular departure from Ponta Delgada / Sao Miguel Island, 1h30 by plane).

 

You will adore Corvo if you are an off-the-beaten-track traveller and nature lover. Do not miss the crater: 300m deep and 2.3km in diametre; it is said that once inside you can see the other 8 islands of the Azores archipelago.

 

Corvo is a destination of choice for recharging your batteries in the middle of nature, far from the crowds, for bird watching and soaking up a culture unique in the world, that of a community of inhabitants who live permanently connected with nature.

 

Discover one of the most beautiful landscapes of sustainable tourism in Europe and treat yourself to a trip made of adventure, nature and discovery in the Azores.

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada where you will stay for a few days (the island is beautiful). You will then take a flight to Flores and a ferry ticket to Corvo (40 min by boat). 

 

 Where to stay:  “Casa Via D'Agua” (Flores Island) featuring a restaurant, barbecue facilities and a terrace.

 


Best sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores - Sete Cidades - Copyright hbpro   - European Best Destinations
Copyright HBPRO

Sete Cidade

Sao Miguel Island

These are the kind of landscapes that you see on screen savers: pure nature, breath-taking panoramas, wild flowers and protected biodiversity. Here, the air is pure, the limpid water of the lakes is turquoise and the flora and fauna are lush.

 

Leave your pc and disconnect from this stressful life to reconnect with nature. This landscape is very real and awaits you on the island of Sao Miguel, the largest island in the Azores. 

 

Sete Cidades is considered one of the 7 wonders of Portugal. You can discover the Green and Blue lakes, some of the most beautiful sustainable landscapes in Europe. Legend has it that a shepherd and a Princess fell madly in love, but the King forbade them to meet again.  They were so inconsolable that their tears formed two beautiful lakes, one green, for the Princess's eyes were green, and the other blue, for the shepherd's eyes were blue.

 

Emblematic place of the Azores, Sete Cidades has also been elected as one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe.

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada as well as your activities and tours in The Azores such as a Sete Cidades tour. 

 

 Where to stay:  "Casas do Monte" offers accommodation with Atlantic Ocean views.

 


Best sustainable destiantions in Europe - Azores - Sperm whales - copyright Willyam Bradberry   - European Best Destinations
Copyright Willyam Bradberry

Whale Watching

Faial Island

Faial and the port of Horta are synonymous with stopovers, discoveries and encounters for the most daring and courageous sailors, those who cross the Atlantic alone or with their family. They will rediscover there, for a few days as a stopover or for a lifetime if they settle there, the joy of a welcoming lush island.

 

Here, nature reigns supreme and is protected by an army of botanists, geologists and experts in flora and fauna. The island of Faial forms a triangle with Sao Jorge and Pico; travel between the 3 islands and discover breath-taking natural landscapes, culinary specialties unique in the world, wines matured at the foot of the volcanoes of Pico, wild flower honey and Azorean cheese.

 

There are 1000 things to do in Faial for nature lovers. Do not fail to visit the botanical gardens of Faial and see the endemic plants of the Azores (you will not see hydrangeas which are invasive, even though they are very beautiful). Faial is a sustainable tourism destination awarded by the European Commission for its commitment to the protection of nature. It is, therefore, a prime destination for a sustainable tourism vacation to reconnect with yourself, your family and nature.

 

Be sure to visit "Capelinhos", an incredible interactive museum on the history of the incredible volcanic eruption that took place only a few decades ago in Faial. Finally, treat yourself to the dream of a lifetime and discover dolphins and whales in this sanctuary.  If you are lucky, they will greet you with their tails. In Faial as everywhere in the Azores, the real spectacle is nature. Come and experience strong emotions in one of the only true sustainable tourism destinations in Europe.

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island) as well as a domestic flight to Horta (Faial). There are even direct Lisbon-Horta flights. 

 

 Where to stay:  "Quinta das Buganvilias" if you want to enjoy tasty breakfasts with 100% local produce and wake up in a gigantic garden with views of Pico, this is the place for you.

 


Best Sustainable Destinations in Europe - Azores - Terceira Island - Biscoitos pool - copyright  Francesco Bonino - European Best Destinations
Copyright Francesco Bonino

Biscoitos Pool

Biscoitos - Terceira Island

Biscoitos’ bathing site is one of the best places on the island of Terceira for sustainable tourism experiences and adventures in the heart of nature. Biscoitos (‘biscuits” in Portuguese) is the name of the village where this natural swimming pool is located. Deep black rock formations contrast with the blue of the ocean.

 

During your stay in Terceira, you must taste the local wine "Verdelho Wine" and visit the Museu do vinho dos biscoitos.

 

This island, one of the most populated of the Azores, is also known for lovers of surfing, birdwatching, canyoning, horseback riding, scuba diving, paragliding, whale watching and yachting... an excellent destination for eco-responsible holidays in the protected wild nature of the Azores.

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (Island of Sao Miguel) as well as a domestic flight to Terceira (40 min). 

 

 Where to stay:  "Caparica Azores Ecolodge" located in Biscoitos.

 


Best Sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores - Flores - Pozo Ribeira do Ferreiro copyright Mikadun    - European Best Destinations
Copyright Mikadun

Cascata da Ribeira do Ferreiro

Flores Island

The island of Flores is the ideal destination for a digital detox and reconnection with nature. Fairly easy to access from the main island of Ponta Delgada (1h15 by plane), Flores is with Corvo, the westernmost island of the Azores archipelago.

 

Cascata da Ribeira do Ferreiro (Poço da Alagoinha) is a must-see during your stay in Flores. Meditate with your eyes wide open, watch the different shades of colours, the thousand variations of green, the sunrays or clouds that can change the landscape in the blink of an eye. Garden of Eden? Jurassic Park? don’t think too much about what that might look like or surf the Internet, just go (be sure to wear the right shoes)!  Park your car upstream, walk for a while then sit on a tree trunk or the luscious grass and watch the landscape: you will remain speechless. 

 

During your stay at Flores we recommend the "tortas de erva patinha", a typical local dish; this "duck leg pie" is neither a pie nor duck meat: it's a tasty omelette mixed with coastal seaweed. The Azoreans who live on the continent all have the “saudade” (nostalgia) of this typical Azorean dish.

 

Do not miss the delicious jams from the guava tree and the honey which owes its intense taste to the thousands of flowers that grow on the island.

 

Want to live real adventures and connect with nature? Book your stay in the Azores, Europe's green sanctuary.

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (Island of Sao Miguel) as well as a domestic flight to Flores (1h15 - 90 €). 

 

 Where to stay: "Aldeia da Cuada", all units come with a patio with ocean views.  

 


Best Sustainable Destination in Europe - Azores - Cha Gorreana in Sao Miguel Island - Copyright  HeadSpinPhoto    - European Best Destinations
Copyright HeadSpinPhoto

Gorreana Tea Factory

Sao Miguel Island

You love to start the day with a cup of tea and end it with an infusion? Save space in your suitcases and stock up on the only tea produced in Europe: "Cha Gorreana". Lightly perfumed, with a subtle taste, the Azorean green tea is famous for its virtues.

 

Founded almost 150 years ago, the Gorreana Tea factory located in the middle of tea plantations on the heights of Sao Miguel, allows visits to the delight of tea lovers.

This is not a museum, but a real manufacturing site where you can see tea leaves drying, then sorted, bagged and ready to sell. Look out and see the magnificent tea plantations as far as the eye can see and be enveloped in the sweet scent of tea throughout your visit.

 

Admission is free and it's even possible to taste (for free) green or black tea at the end of your visit. Feel free to take the tour on your own. Come and experience a pure moment of detox by reconnecting with yourself and nature.

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island) as well as your tours and activities in the Azores. Cha Gorreana is located 30 minutes by car from Ponta Delgada. 

 

 Where to stay:  "Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa" featuring ocean views. 

 


Best Sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores - Santa Maria Island - Swimming pool in Maia - copyright Karol Kozlowski - European Best Destinations
Copyright Karol Kozlowski

Maia Natural Pool

Santa Maria Island

The Maia bathing site is one of the most beautiful natural swimming pools. Bathe in a 100% eco-friendly swimming pool with water constantly renewed by the ocean’s waves. The Azores are truly Europe's best destination for sustainable tourism experiences and wilderness adventures.

 

From your natural swimming pool, you can admire the Maia Lighthouse, one of the iconic places of the Azores, one of the most beautiful landscapes of this archipelago of 9 islands of rare beauty.

 

Treat yourself to a pure moment of detox and reconnection with nature for an eco-responsible holiday in one of the best green destinations in Europe.

 

Be sure to visit Praia Formosa, one of the few white sand beaches in the Azores. During your stay on the island of Santa Maria, also set off to discover "Baia de Sao Lourenço" one of the most beautiful bays in the world, overlooked by a vineyard from which comes a wine to be enjoyed with a great meal in the evening. The bay also has a beautiful small beach and natural swimming pools.

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (island of Sao Miguel) as well as a domestic flight to Santa Maria (30 min).

 

 Where to stay: "Casa dos Tomarinhos". Couples particularly like the location.

 


Best sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores Mosteiros Beach on Sao Miguel island copyright Nessa Gnatoush  - European Best Destinations
Copyright Nessa Gnatoush

Mosteiros Beach

Sao Miguel Island

Come surf all year round in one of the best sustainable destinations for outdoor sports. Although this surf spot is famous, it is never overcrowded as there are many spots like this one in the Azores. This beautiful black sand beach is also a perfect place for a relaxing day by the ocean. The black basalt rocks in the ocean make this place uniquely captivating.

 

While children, friends or parents are surfing, you can enjoy lunch in one of the two snack bars (toilets are also available) or simply lie down on the beach and rest.

 

Pack your suitcase for the Azores now, bring your eco-friendly sunscreen and dive into the blue waters of one of the best sustainable destinations for outdoor sports in Europe.

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada Airport (Sao Miguel Island), your activities and tours in the Azores. 

 

 Where to stay: "Mosteiros Place" for its breathtaking views over its gardens and the ocean.   

 


Best sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores - Furnas - Sao Miguel Island - Copyright  Cicero Castro  - European Best Destinations
Copyright Cicero Castro

Parque Terra Nostra

Furnas - Sao Miguel Island

Bathing in the thermal waters of "Parque Terra Nostra", one of the emblematic places of the Azores is a unique experience.

 

This park, built in 1780, is famous for the thermal waters of its beautiful and gigantic swimming pool, unchanged since 1935. You will not only bathe in waters rich in minerals but also in the Azores ‘past and in one of the most emblematic sustainable tourism destinations in Europe.

 

Reconnect with nature and recharge your batteries with the minerals of its exceptional thermal waters. The magnificent gardens are there to contribute to your well-being and relaxation.

 

Staying at the iconic hotel located in this park has to be a great experience; but you can also come for a walk or a tasty meal at the restaurant.

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island). Furnas is only a 40-minute drive away. 

 

 Where to stay: "Terra Nostra Garden Hotel" nestled in one of the world's best "green retreats", this art deco hotel is perfect for a relaxing and well-being stay in the Azores.

 


Best sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores - Faial Island - Caldeira - Copyright  Mariano Villafane    - European Best Destinations
Copyright Lina Balciunaite

Caldeira Trail

Faial Island

9 trails await you in Faial, one of the islands of the Azores archipelago. Easy to access (direct flights from Lisbon or domestic flight from Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island), Faial is also accessible by boat from the island of Sao Jorge. With Pico and Sao Jorge they form a triangle of islands that offer a wide variety of landscapes and experiences.

 

Dive into the Caldeira of Faial. A trail in the reserve will take you to the heart of a 2k diametre crater formed by several eruptions over the past centuries. The trail starts from the viewpoint of Caldeira: enjoy the breath-taking landscapes and discover endemic species of the Azores such as the Azorean blueberry or the Azorean euphorbia. You will find more information on this trail and on all the trails of the Azores on the official website trails.visitazores.com.

 

Want to gain strength before the trail or to rest after it? We particularly liked the restaurant & bar "Peter Café Sport" very much appreciated for its generous cuisine; it is also explorers’ favourite place. The "Genuino" restaurant located in Horta also caught our attention; do not miss to taste the delicious « gin dos Açores".

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island) as well as a domestic flight to Horta (Faial). There are even direct Lisbon-Horta flights. 

 

 Where to stay:  "Quinta das Buganvilias" if you want to enjoy tasty breakfasts with 100% local produce and wake up in a gigantic garden with views of Pico, this is the place for you.

 


Best Sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores - Sao Miguel Island - Pocas da Dona Beija - Copyright Cicero Castro - European Best Destinations
Copyright Cicero Castro

Poca da Dona Beija

Furnas - Sao Miguel Island

For a holiday in the heart of unspoiled nature, there is no hesitation: the Azores will be your green paradise. In contrast to a globalized and standardized world, the Azores offer unique experiences, sustainable tourism, tasty local produce, meetings, laughter and memories for a lifetime.

 

Come reborn, reconnect with yourself and with nature by treating yourself to sustainable holidays in the Azores. Naturally warm waters rich in minerals (especially iron) will dissolve all your worries and reconnect you with nature.

 

Furnas is a site renowned for its hot springs and their benefits for body and soul. The springs are warmed by the bubbling activity of one of the most active volcanoes of the Azores. After a few relaxing moments in its thermal waters you can taste delicious dishes cooked by the inhabitants of Furnas, either boiled directly at the exit of the geysers, or cooked in the earth. Restaurants near the geysers offer dishes fully cooked by nature. Green and eco-responsible holidays, but also relaxing and tasty await you in the Azores. 

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Ponta Delgada Airport (Sao Miguel Island). Furnas is located on Sao Miguel, the main island of the Azores. 

 

 Where to stay:  "Santa Barbara Eco-Beach Resort" located on the North coast of the island of Sao Miguel.

 


Best Sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores - Diving in Pico Island with sharks - copyright wildestanimal - European Best Destinations
Copyright wildestanimal

Diving with the sharks

Pico Island

You can scuba dive in all 9 islands of the Azores Archipelago. This green destination, renowned worldwide for sustainable tourism, is a destination of choice for nature lovers and outdoor sports enthusiasts.

 

Pico Island bears the name of "Whale Island", which is a real pride for the inhabitants of this island; it is also called "The Mountain Island" because of its magnificent volcano, the highest point of the island. 

 

For divers, Pico Island offers a golden opportunity to swim with sharks. The boat will take you 10 miles off Pico for an unforgettable shark dive.

 

Come and live unforgettable sustainable tourism experiences in the heart of Europe's green paradise.

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Sao Jorge Airport (Sao Jorge Island) or Horta (Faial Island) and reach Pico by ferry (30 min). 

 

 Where to stay: "Portal dos Vimes AL" offering ocean views.

 


Best Sustainable destinations in Europe - Azores - Sao Jorge Island - Poca das Fadres pool in Velas - copyright Emma Jones - European Best Destinations
Copyright Emma Jones

Poca das Fadres Natural Pool

Sao Jorge Island

 

There are dozens of natural pools formed by volcanic rocks in the Azores. This one, located in Velas on the island of Sao Jorge is certainly one of the most beautiful.

 

After a long day walking, the invigorating water of the ocean will do your legs, muscles and mind a lot of good. This is exactly what you need to recharge your batteries and discover new exceptional places in the Azores, the green paradise of Europe.

 

 

 How to get there: Book your flights to Sao Jorge via a domestic flight from Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel) or Terceira. 

 

 Where to stay: "Memoria Boutique Hostel". Perfect for a 4-night stay.

 


 

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