The Best of the Azores Islands
The nine islands of the Azores archipelago rise from the seabed in the middle of the Atlantic, some 1,000 miles from mainland Europe. Until recently, their inaccessible location put off most tourists. But visitors can now fly direct from Boston and Oakland, California, as well as European hubs like Frankfurt and London. And as new lodging options open up—like São Miguel’s spa-centric Furnas Boutique Hotel (Doubles from $236) and the surf-inspired Santa Bárbara Eco-Beach Resort (Doubles from $101)—so does this underdeveloped utopia. Outdoor activities are the best way to see the region: try rock climbing on Terceira with Rope Adventures, boating with Sea & Sail Azores, or riding the epic waves off São Miguel with Azores Surf Center. Fuel it all with a taste of the islands’ culinary bounty. São Jorge is the unlikely home of award-winning cheese, while Pico’s vineyards produce outstanding white wines.