Portugal has won a number of awards this past year, named as one of the hottest destinations in the world, and one of the reasons is because of the stunning Azores. Your clients who have been there and done that are sure to relish a destination like the Azores.
Located in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Europe and North America—it’s a 6-hour flight from New York—this island group offers bewitching landscapes, natural parks, marine reserves, hydrothermal waterfalls, gardens, whale watching, white- and red-sand beaches, and the list goes on….
It’s also Europe’s answer to Hawaii when it comes to surfing, and it’s considered one of the top 10 places in the world to see whales. Its underwater world is a treasure trove with dolphins, manta rays, shipwrecks and a colorful landscape. Trekking enthusiasts, meanwhile, can climb Pico Island’s volcanic crater that soars 7,713 ft., from where they’ll have a stunning view of the Faial and Sao Jorge islands.
Its culture, too, is wonderfully refreshing, as its spans five centuries and has been influenced by people from around the world who have come here since its origins…on Graciosa, your clients will find Flemish windmills, for example, while on Faial, they’ll find an open-air art gallery along the marina. There are UNESCO sites, and vineyards; crater lakes and lava tube caves. And the food…oh, the food: The staple is seafood, of course, but the cuisine is quite diverse as it’s based on the different cultures that have come to call the Azores home. Recommend clients try the traditional, local dish cozido (meat and vegetable stew) that’s cooked in the soil’s geothermal heat for seven hours.
Home base should be Ponta Delgada, a perfect jumping-off point for trips to the other islands, and home to historic monuments and cobblestone streets that are interlaced with a modern marina, oceanfront cafes, lively bars and one-of-a-kind boutiques. Recommend clients venture outside the city for a dip in the Caldeira Velha Waterfall’s natural pool, or to take a hike in the Lagoa de Fogo Nature Reserve, where they can visit Europe’s oldest working tea plantation.
Where to Stay
You can book your clients to the Azores through Delta Vacations, which uses such partner hotels as the five-star oceanfront Azor Hotel, located in the Ponta Delgada city center on Sao Miguel. The property has a rooftop pool and bar overlooking the marina and ocean, and is well-suited for couples and families. The five-star Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa, also located in Ponta Delgada, offers a stunning backdrop of lush landscapes and coastal cliffs, and an outdoor infinity pool overlooking the sea. It’s well-suited for guests looking for a relaxing nature retreat. Other Delta Vacations partner hotels are Antilla Aparthotel; Azoris Royal Garden Hotel; and Neat Hotel Avenida.
Delta Vacations has 11 optional tours in the destination, including swimming with dolphins…in their world, led by a marine biologist; wine tasting; whale watching; a lake perimeter tour; and hiking in the canyons.
For more information on booking a trip to the Azores with Delta Vacations, visit worldagentdirect.com. For information on the Azores, go to visitazores.com. For more information on Portugal in general, click here.