There's a new energy in winemaking in the Azores, says Sarah Ahmed, who picks out the best places to stay and eat while visiting...
Azores travel guide
Getting there: SATA airlines serves all nine islands, with regular flights from Lisbon (two hours); easyJet also flies from Lisbon.
Direct flights from London (including Ryanair) and east coast USA take four hours.
Azores: Where to stay
International flights arrive at Ponta Delgada on São Miguel, the largest island. This bustling town has a wide choice of hotels and restaurants and a fantastic food market (cheese shop O Rei dos Queijos is unmissable; look out for São Jorge, a favourite Portuguese cheese).
With its stylish rooftop bar and pool overlooking the harbour, and A Terra’s open kitchen focused on ‘locovore’ dining, cosmopolitan new five-star hotel Azor is an excellent base.
But do visit the island’s lush, green landscape with its hot springs and volcanic lagoons (Lagoa das Sete Cidades is especially stunning).
In Furnas Valley, sumptuous four-star Art Deco Terra Nostra Garden Hotel – the archipelago’s first – offers tranquility and the region’s best wine list, including a strong range of Azorean wines.
Azores: Where to eat
In mid-June, Anfiteatro on Ponta Delgada harbour is home to 10 Fest – 10 days showcasing 10 leading international chefs; it also offers sophisticated tasting menus all year round.
For a taste of the sea, Cais 20in Ponta Delgada and Ancoradouro (+351 292 623 490) in Pico’s lively fishing port Madalena are outstanding.
Bag a table on the terrace overlooking the harbour at Ancoradouro and try Cancela do Porco, the owner’s excellent Verdelho (made by Curral Atlântis). During peak-season, Madalena’s architectural award-winning Cella Bar is the cool (surfers’) place to hang out.
Azores: When to go
The Azores enjoys a year-round mild temperate climate, but April to October – the whale watching season – has the best weather, averaging 15°C-22.5°C.
Edited for Decanter.com by Ellie Douglas.
This originally featured in a piece about winemaking in the Azores in Decanter magazine. Subscribe to Decanter here.
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