If you can imagine a paradise off the coast of Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean then you are dreaming of The Azores! This archipelago of nine islands formed from volcanic eruptions is one of the most incredibly beautiful and unspoiled spots I have ever visited.
The largest of these islands is Sao Miguel, home to Ponta Delgado, capital of this sublimely beautiful group of islands. After five full days crossing the Atlantic Ocean on our Royal Caribbean Cruise, you can only imagine how thrilled we were to be approaching land….and what a delilght this spot turned out to be!
We awoke before dawn to get our first breathtaking view of the magnificent Azores and the port of Ponta Delgado. The city stretches along the beautiful bay, with numerous churches and houses sprawling on the gently sloping hills. The black and white color scheme of the buildings adds a relaxing harmony.
As we stepped off the ship to explore the city, the air was fresh and cool, definitely cool enough for a jacket or sweater. If felt divine! The first thing we did was to hop on an open air double decker bus to take a quick tour of Ponta Delgado. I was captivated by the lush, green foliage and colorful flowers. No wonder this island is known as the “Green Island.”
After our quick tour of the city, we took a bus tour up the mountain to Sete Cidades and the two crater lakes. It was as if we were headed into the clouds surrounded by a tropical paradise.
Our first stop was to view the charming Sao Nicolau Church built of white stone with black trim in Neoclassical style and featuring Gothic windows. The cobblestone path that leads to the entrance of the cathedral is lined with tall pines that creates a very picturesque welcoming. The church was built in 1758 after an older medieval church had been destroyed by fire.
After a quick stop at the church, we continued our journey to the twin crater lakes. The folklore is that two star-crossed lovers could not be together and each lake was formed from their tears, one being green and one blue. Of course, the reality of this is that one lake is deeper than the other. The day we were there was quite overcast, so both lakes appeared green. However, it was still an amazing and incredible site to behold.
Lagoa das Cete Cidades, Azores
It is possible to either spend the day kayaking or to hike around the lakes. If time had allowed, I would absolutely have spent more of the day enjoying the incredible beauty of the twin lakes.
The fresh, unspoiled beauty of Sao Miguel Island left me longing to spend more time exploring the wonders of this magnificent place. There is so much more to see and experience on this tranquil island of vibrant colors. It is definitely a nature lovers paradise.
While visiting The Azores may have once been almost unheard of, some airlines are now offering flights into Ponta Delgado Airport. SATA International, the Azores own airline, offers limited direct flights from Boston, Massachusetts and Delta Airlines is now offering flights from New York City. I am currently researching the possibility of returning to this incredible destination!
But for now, I will be continuing my saga of our glorious cruise across the Atlantic!
Thank you for stopping! – Gerri