While the Azores islands are known for their natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes there is another side to these islands as well, which is that it has great shopping. Local fashions, handmade natural gifts and a wide variety of gourmet foods are only some of the unique items to find here in the Atlantic. The islands have a wide variety of small gift shops with lots of traditional local made products such as beautiful hand sown linens, table cloths, napkins etc with lots of various embroideries. Lava stone jewellery and home decor is widely available and crafted in many unique ways that show the character of the various islands, using items such as shells, local woods and volcanic elements to create a wide variety of unique products. Regional liquors, preserves, cheeses, and teas are only some of the natural products that can be purchased on your trip to the Azores. The cheeses that range from cows cheese to sheep’s cheese, with various tastes and flavors are also a popular purchase for visitors wanting to experience the high quality dairy from the region. The jams and preserves in the Azores are recognized as some of the best in western Europe, with a wide variety of popular and regional flavors being produced here. It must be noted that guests and visitors at the Furnas Lake Villas have been raving about the fresh preserves and honey they had from this family owned business. Passion fruit, pineapple, wild berry, Azorean marmalade and many other local flavors are available for purchase and make great gifts for those who want to experience the flavors of the Azores. There is a large mall located in the downtown capital in Ponta Delgada called Parque Atlantico which has a wide variety of shops from around Europe bringing the latest fashion from the UK, France and Italy to the Azores. The well-appointed mall has over 100 stores, with 16 restaurants/food establishments and 4 Cinema screens which is more catered towards locals then tourists. The hours of operation are unlike some malls you might encounter in North America where they close early, not here the mall is open daily until 10pm Sunday thru Thursday and until 11pm on Friday and Saturday’s allowing shoppers to enjoy the beautifully decorated mall and large food court filled with both Portuguese and International cuisines.One of the best and most authentic experiences in the Azores is shopping in the wide variety of traditional, small stores that dot the Azorean landscape in all the villages and towns on the islands. This is the true Azores and adds to the element of travelling in a foreign country. The big box store and large grocery store was never something popular in the Azores as small, local producers thrive here in this exotic paradise. In almost every village and town on the islands you will encounter small stores that are inside the main floors of old homes. This is the spot you want to grab and local products or things you may need for your travels and add an element of old world European charm to your trip. It’s like you are taken back in time, walking up the cobblestone streets visiting the quaint shops while getting to experience the unique charm and simple, happy lifestyle of the Azorean people.