My Trip to Portugal: Part 2
After eating and drinking heftily in Lisbon, we decided we were ready for a change of scenery and to throw in a few workouts on our vacation. We packed our bags and flew to the Azores Islands. The Azores Islands are a group of nine islands off the coast of Portugal. (~800 miles.) Getting there was surreal. You feel like you are on an episode of Lost. You are surrounded by lush greenery, minimal people, and cows! Cows are everywhere! Most articles written on the Azores say it's the best-kept secret. Unfortunately, I think the cats out of the bag. Locals were saying this year they had more tourists than they've ever had before. If you have the chance, I'd recommend checking out the Azores out soon and in the month of September. It was pretty mellow the week we were there. I can't tell you how many times I had my breath taken away on this trip.
The first island we went to was Sao Miguel. It's the biggest island of the nine, so we split our stay between a town called Furnas and downtown Sao Miguel. I recommend staying on this island for at least 4-5 days to make sure you are able to see everything. Below are pictures from our 2 days spent in Furnas.
After 2 amazing days in Furnas, we then ventured to downtown Sao Miguel. We stayed at the Hotel Azor. This is the only 5-star hotel on all nine islands. If can say one thing they excelled at, it was their breakfast. Best breakfast I've ever had at a hotel. (And it was free!) The rooftop pool also did not dissapoint.
The next island we visited was Pico. Pico features a volcano, Ponta do Pico, which is the highest mountain in Portugal. Hiking up Mount Pico is the most popular thing to do here. We were going to take the plunge and do this hike until we read all of the very honest reviews. This article is helpful. We found out that 1/3 of climbers do not make it to the top, it's very dangerous, it can take 8-9 hours, and having a guide go with you is highly recommended. Pico is also known for its black volcanic earth that's responsible for its historical vineyards. So, we decided on lots of wine drinking instead.
Man, the Azores were incredible. Each island has something different to offer. The people that live there are so kind. Some of the most beautiful things to see in this world are there. If you get the chance, go before they become incredibly popular.