At the western edge of Europe, past the coastline of mainland Portugal and keep going. That’s where you’ll find the Azores, an archipelago of 9 islands that could make for a different holiday experience if you’re looking for somewhere unusual yet still European and very SUPable. The guys at Azores SUP Adventures are keen to get Stand Up Paddlers to the islands to explore and here’s why;
The Azores Archipelago is located in the North Atlantic, approximately a 2 hour flight away from Lisbon, 4 hours from the UK and 5-6 hours from Boston (USA) or Toronto (Canada). The archipelago is composed of 9 islands with the most representative island being S. Miguel. Travelling between the islands is usually made by airplane or ferry boat during the summer months.
The SUP potential that the island offers is huge, either by the wide shore line with many points in which the ocean is easily accessible or surfing high quality waves on the numerous surf spots around the island. And if that is still not enough, how about a calm and relaxing paddle session on an extinct volcano crater?
The best board you can bring would be an all-rounder, allowing you to enjoy paddle sessions from flatwaters, cruising along beautiful coastlines or even have a SUP surf session on one of the many surf spots around the island.
Our activities (mainly SUP rides all over the Island and SUP Surf) resulted in the Azores SUP Adventures Project, where we showcase our activities through photo and video journals and encourage people to share their SUP experiences. Some surf schools, shops and also local operators have SUP kit for hire.
Other than SUP…
The Azores are all about nature, so all sorts of outdoor activities are available but one of the biggest reasons to visit the Azores is the sea. Whale and dolphin watching as well as scuba diving tours are amongst the “best sellers”. Fishing, including big game is also a growing activity. The islands themselves have much to offer with beautiful hiking, bike and 4×4 trails for you to explore ranging from soft to higher degrees of difficulty. If you’re more on the adventurous side, you can rent a car and discover the island by yourself! You’ll be amazed with the sights, sunsets, rainbows that you may find just around the corner.
And the nice thing is that the distances are quite short when compared to other destinations, so there aren’t any real long driving distances!
And when you’ve finished exploring
Accommodation has evolved in the last year, especially “city style” lodging, like hostels, b&b’s and other local lodging forms including apartments, houses and rooms. Also the traditional accommodation offer like hotels has been evolving and increasing. The best way is to book your stay in advance, websites like booking.com and airbnb.com are among the most used.
Local food and products are great, ranging from dairy products, tea production, honeys and jams, to meat dishes like the traditional loin steak or the “cozido das furans” and of course the fresh fish from the Atlantic.
Like all growing destinations, nightlife is also becoming a large part of the visit. Portas do Mar in Ponta Delgada – São Miguel, is the city marina hosting several restaurants and bars. In the central streets of the city you’ll find bars and nightclubs that stay open until dawn. Here it’s normal to go out for an espresso coffee, so everyday you’ll be able to have a drink on one of the several coffee shops and bars around the city.
São Miguel, the biggest island has some key spots to visit like Furnas where you can have a bath on hot thermal water and then taste the local gastronomy in one of the several local restaurants.
If you’re interested in visiting the islands then check out the Visit Azores website for more information and be sure to check out Andre and the two Brunos adventures on Facebook and on their website!