These nine islands have always had a unique sense of identity, culture, and history. Although they are a part of Portugal, they have a lot of self-autonomy, which allows them to forge their own fate on political and social issues. During the carnation revolution of 1974 on the island’s capital of Ponta Delgada, a new constitution for the region was declared giving the Azores its own autonomy. It gave them the autonomous status which they and the island of Madeira now have from Portugal.
The island of Sao Miguel has a population of 140,000 people, dispersed between 64 cities and towns that make up the island’s community. The island receives the warm gulf breeze that prevents the island from reaching freezing temperatures and provides a moderate climate relative to its location. Here, the people and culture are friendly and bright with lots of colorful seaside houses and brilliant festivals all year long, making this a charming island community.
It was here that the first trials of tea began in the 19th century, which now is the only region in the entire Euro-zone to produce both green and black teas. Here at the famous Cha Gorreana tea plantation founded in 1883, you can admire the perfectly manicured tea fields alongside sweeping ocean views. The island is filled with exotic trails that lead you through various elements such as forests, pastures, coastlines, and valleys. The island has over 50 marked trails that offer routes based on experience and agility and are worth exploring while on this island paradise.
One of my favorite trails is in Sete Cidades, also known as the “Lake of Seven Cities.” Here you can admire one of the Azores’ natural wonders; the adjoining blue and green lakes. Here you have all the choices available to you on how you want to spend your day. This is one of the most popular sites to visit on the island so it is recommended that you go early in the morning or towards sunrise to avoid crowds.
The Azores are not known for the picturesque, white sand beaches; however, they have many dark lava stone beaches on the island equally just as beautiful. There are not many places where you can admire cows grazing on the green grass on the mountains while basking in the sunshine on the dark lava stone beaches while overlooking the Atlantic ocean.
There are numerous natural rock pools and human-made pools along the coastlines, which are ideal for spending a unique afternoon with many local restaurants serving the island’s most delicious traditional dishes. The island of Sao Miguel has increasingly gained international exposure because they have two very unique golf courses that exist on the island.
They are both recognized as world-class golf courses, holding many international events in recent years. They offer rentals, golf clinics, and of course, the first-class bar at their clubhouse. If a golf retreat in the middle of the Atlantic is something you are interested in or if you just favor playing a couple of rounds in between tours, make sure you look into Azores Golf Islands. Here you can book and arrange anything you need golf-related, and they are known for their exceptional customer satisfaction.
The island is very much still an agriculture-based society. Even though the recent influx of tourists has increased the service sector here on the island, it is in the blood and veins of Azoreans to work the land or sea. The region has received numerous awards for its sustainable tourism programs and initiatives and the fact that the islands are all working to become 100% energy efficient.
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