One of the best-kept secrets still to exist in the Azores are the magnificent crater lakes on the small island of Flores at the Northern-tip of the archipelago. Here on this small island paradise exists some of the most beautiful flora and pastoral scenes in all of the region. It is here that mother nature has taken over and spread her beauty to all corners of this enchanted, and friendly island. This is always a favorite for me to visit as it is so quiet and peaceful with just enough stimulating city life to keep you entertained while the amazing countrysides fill your eyes and imagination with pleasure! The island is named Flores which in English is translated into ‘Flowers’ and the name suits the island perfectly. I have never seen so many hydrangeas adorn the countrysides and roadways as I have here.This is always the first thing everyone is talking about on the plane or when planning their trip to the island of Flores is the chance to see all the unique flowers along the countrysides. The views of the island from almost any location is breathtaking as you have the majestic blue of the Atlantic as a backdrop from almost anywhere you are on the island. This is a very special place with the many wonders to explore and is perfect for those looking to get a more nature-based experience instead of the busy hustle and bustle of many European islands. The island thrives on continuing its advances on becoming a 100% sustainable island like the other 8 islands in the Azores are working to achieve by promoting clean energy, with no use of pesticides or fungicides in the soils to treat the plants and crops which has allowed products from the region to be recognized as some of the European Unions finest.The island is accessible by cruise ships that may dock in the Marina, or by ferry which has daily crossings from the neighboring island of Pico and Faial or through a very quick flight from either Sao Miguel island or Terceira which are the two larger islands in the region. The flight from Sao Miguel is around 30 minutes and you get to pass over many of the other islands viewing the tip of Pico’s mountain from the air, which is recognized as Portugal’s highest mountain. The history of the island is much more surprising then one would begin to imagine. This island was seen by the powers in Europe as an excellent strategic location in the North-Atlantic and often it’s coastlines would be stalked waiting for precious cargo ships to pass or stopover at the island from the new world. The mystery and allure of the pirate ships from North Africa coming up to raid and loot the islands wealth and resources caused the King of Portugal and the Dontatary Captain of the island which is a modern-day viceroy decided that proper battle stations and lighthouse were needed to protect themselves from the constant parade of English, French and North-African pirate ships constantly pacing the island’s shores. This is a must see if you love the peace and quiet of a Tuscan countryside except located in a much more affordable and ideal location with the beautiful Atlantic ocean as your backdrop then this is a must experience. There are some very beautiful bed and breakfasts and small hotels on the island that offer excellent amenities and will help you with anything you need to make your island experience more enjoyable. The restaurants and coffee shops are not in short supply and the fresh quality of the food is something to be savored. This is a very affordable trip with airfare from a surrounding Azorean island, hotel accommodation and food being far less then anywhere else you may travel in Europe and the rewards of the beauty and uniqueness of the island will be a cherished memory for sure.