This short video was taken during our visit to Furnas in September 2014.
It shows the area on the banks of Furnas Lake where Cozido das Furnas (a meat and vegetable stew) is cooked underground using the natural heat from the earth in this area of volcanic activity.
It takes around 6 hours for the stew to cook. Having seen the underground cooking holes and witnessed the pots being removed, we made our way to a nearby restaurant (Banhos Ferreos) to taste the stew. The meat was deliciously tender.
This short video was taken from the top of the Bell Tower of Ponta Delgada's City Hall during our stay in the town in September 2014.
It is free to enter the Bell Tower and climb the 106 steps to the viewing platform at the top. It is a steep climb, the concrete steps have frightening gaps in them and the final part of the climb is in a narrow (very claustrophobic) spiral staircase...but it's all worthwhile for the great views at the top!
Golf in the Azores is a unique experience. There are no buildings on the horizon – all you see nature and the Atlantic lurking around you. As you walk the course you are accompanied by an explosion of flowers. The weather allows you to enjoy the three courses available in the archipelago in any season of the year, with rounds are adapted to both beginners and professionals.
The Azores are currently one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries. More than 20 different types of cetaceans can be spotted in the Azores and it corresponds to a third of the total number of existing species. The waters of The Azores have an ecosystem with unique characteristics and the whales and dolphins mean that the blue Atlantic Ocean becomes even more magic around these nine islands.
The genesis of the Azores is found upon 1766 volcanoes, nine of which are still dormant. Underground, almost three hundred volcanic cavities, including caves, ravines and cracks, have been surveyed. The landscape is filled with dry calderas, craters lakes, fumaroles and thermal water springs. In the sea, there are submarine geothermal springs. The mountain of Pico, majestic and with an intact cone, appears to be protecting all this geological wealth. The volcanism of the archipelago impresses for its diversity and creates its own magnetism. It is a witness to the power of Nature, and the basis for very special experiences.
All the nine islands of the Azores Archipelago are of volcanic origin with the island of Flores marking the westernmost border of the European continent. 244,780 people live in the 2,325 sq. of this island territory, which is part of the Portuguese state and constitutes the Autonomous Region of the Azores. The islands of the archipelago are divided in three geographical groups: the Eastern Group, comprising Santa Maria and São Miguel, the Central Group, including Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial, and the Western Group, composed by Corvo and Flores. The Azores, along with the archipelagos of Madeira, Canary Islands and Cape Verde, constitute the biogeographic region of Macaronesia, a name which means "fortunate islands".
It is the diversity of the Azores which makes it an ideal place to surf. The 9 islands give you coastlines which can be high and steep with rocky bottoms or simply plain and sandy. This means you get various types of quality waves - with remarkable consistency.
In the blue Atlantic Ocean, between two continents you will find The Azores. Portuguese owned and the most westerly point in Europe, all the nine islands of the Azores Archipelago are of volcanic origin.
The Azores, along with the archipelagos of Madeira, Canary Islands and Cape Verde, constitute the biogeographic region of Macaronesia, a name which means "fortunate islands".
And if you are a fan of extreme adventure, you would find them fortunate for different reasons.
Take ‘canyoning’, for example. Walking along rivers and streams, rappelling, jumping and sliding to overcome natural obstacles - this is canyoning. In the Azores there are exceptional geo-morphological conditions for the practise of this sport. Take some water, throw in some mountains and spice it all up with the surrounding fauna and flora, adding a bit of geodiversity as well and you are left with a paradise of valleys, streams, cliffs and rivers that promise a lot of adrenaline amid memorable scenery.
Welcome to Santa Maria! The southernmost island of the archipelago, Santa Maria is also known as the ‘Sunny Island’ thanks to a drier climate that makes it an all-year round holiday destination. Here, plants even start to bloom as early as February!
The absence of volcanic activity on Santa Maria gives it a distinctive look. The coastline features stunning bays bordered by golden sandy beaches while inland colourful villages are scattered over rolling hills and valleys.
The grandmother of the Azores, it was the first island to be discovered by the Portuguese who settled here in 1439. Santa Maria was also where Christopher Columbus first stopped when he returned from the Americas.
Counting only some 6,000 inhabitants and one main town, Santa Maria is the ideal setting for nature-lovers in search of tranquillity and picturesque landscapes. See you there!