The Azores is such a well-kept secret most travel guides on Portugal don’t even cover the archipelago of nine scenic, quiet, agriculturally-based islands where the people are friendly, the prices are reasonable and the roads are uncrowded.
Most who visit the Azores tack a couple of days on San Miguel to a mainland-Portugal trip. But true Azores exploration is a trip unto itself. The islands are widely separated from one another, located about 800 miles west of the mainland. Most of these island feature forested interiors and quiet coastal beaches. Towns are small and quaint, and fishing and farming are the main industries. The islands are paradise for hikers and trekkers.
Pico was once a major whaling center and now is known for wines, historic villages and handicrafts. Terceira includes Angra do Heroismo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating to the 16th century. Terceira combines golf and other recreational options with history, scenery and an almost uninterrupted string of local festivals. Flores and Corvo offer the ultimate escape from modern life.