If you’re looking for your next bucket-list destination for summer then look no further then to the 9 Atlantic islands located 90 minutes from Lisbon known as the Azores islands. The summer here ranges from mid-June until about Mid September and is on average between 20 to 30 degrees celsius give or take with minimal humidity but with always a chance of a light shower or two in this unpredictable but beautiful climate. The magnificent blue skydives into the majestic deep blue ocean, while all the colors of the seasons surround you on these volcanic paradises. It’s as if time stands still here on these small, eco-friendly islands and you get to just admire your surrounding while the warm Atlantic breeze blows by on this isolated oasis. Here there is a population of just over 240,000 people dispersed over 9 islands with Sao Miguel and Terceira being the two most populated islands in the Archipelago. The summer months are filled with traditional religious festivals; where all the locals take part in decorating the streets with flowers for the celebrations and procession of the local patron saint of that town or village. This is a great time to take part in the local auctions that take place throughout the festival with lots of fresh baked goods, fruits, and handmade artifacts that are donated by the community; all to raise funds for the local parish. These events in the summertime are highly anticipated by the local children as it is the time they get to stay out late and enjoy the live bands and various street vendors that take over the town square.These are special islands in the sense that they are not large tourist destinations and the population thrives on living in an “eco-friendly” manner. The preservation of the culture and natural landscapes has always been an important part of Azorean pride; where a delicate balance between tourism and preservation has always existed. The beaches here on the Azores islands are small stone or dark sand beaches, except on the island of Santa Maria where they have white sand beaches. The majority of the tourism takes place on 3 islands; Sao Miguel, Terceira, and Faial which received 90% of tourists in the past year. That leaves the other 6 islands receiving just under 10% of visitors to the region which leaves them untouched and unspoiled for outside influences. The regional airline is making it easier for travelers to explore all islands in the Azores with an “island hopper” pass where you can pay a set rate and explore all 9 islands by air travel for the length of time you decide to purchase. This is a great option for visitors to be able to explore the deep caves, green pastures, and various ecosystems endemic to the Azores, at an affordable rate. The summer is the busiest time of the year with constant flights and cruise ships landing daily in the Azores. It is no wonder the regional government has put a cap on the maximum amount of hotel rooms allowed on the islands to prevent overbuilding and destroying the very essence of what makes the Azores so magical. The overbuilding on Sao Miguel island in 2018-2019 have caused many locals to become angered with their local politicians who are allowing this overexpansion to take place with very little empathy on the rising costs among other things associated with this influx of tourism which has been taking a toll on the infrastructure of these small islands. The island of Sao Miguel has all the luxuries of a modern-day European capital with the benefits of small-town living and that is the way the region has always enjoyed living with agriculture, farming, and the fishing sectors being predominant on all of the 9 islands.The coffee shops and restaurants are open late during the summer months and the streets are always filled with tourists and locals in Ponta Delgada on the weekends till the early hours of the morning. Unlike in North America, the bars don’t close at 2 am here even though they stop serving alcohol at that point but many bars and clubs are open until 5 am for those late-night party goers who enjoy that extra dance or two.The islands are known for the lack of any major crimes and only petty crimes seem to exist here with very few reports of anything involving tourists. Here, unlocked car doors or wallets left out in plain sight are often targets of small-time, petty thieves and although it is not a major issue of concern in the Azores, it is always good to be cautious and locking your car doors, etc.There are dozens upon dozens of small-town and big-city festivals and concerts all summer long in the Azores and is one of the main reasons many younger generations are coming during the summer to explore the popular music festivals. The hot air balloon festival, paragliding, medieval festival, white party, casino night, and countless celebrations in all the towns and villages make this a fun place to be in the summer. It is a perfect spot to come for a week or two and explore the wonders of this volcanic paradise and its unique ecosystem at a fraction of what the Canary or Hawaiian islands would cost you.There are many interesting sites to admire on these 9 islands not all of them outdoors either. The island of Sao Miguel is home to the only green tea plantation in Europe. It is here that the famous Portuguese tea known as Cha Gorreana originates and has been producing its organic line of teas since 1883. This is a favorite spot to visit and admire the trail that leads through the vast plantation and then to the factory and tea house. This is a great spot to stop off on your way from Ponta Delgada to Nordeste as it is right in the middle of the island and is a great spot to grab a bite to eat and learn all about the history of tea not only in the Azores but all of Europe. Whether its a swim in the ocean, a hike through the countryside, or just a meal at one of the islands local restaurants you are sure to find exactly what you are looking for this summer here in the Azores.