This post was contributed by Oriana Machado.
I’ve always wanted to dip into the world of travel writing. To lounge in a cool coffee shop, eating a crunchy chocolate croissant paired with a frothy cappuccino, while putting my wanderlust adventures on paper. But the truth is, when I visit a new place, I find it hard to really have a meeting with my brain and gather my thoughts down in a journal. However, as I don’t consider myself one to back down that easily, what better way to start my writing journey than to write about what is and forever will be my home: The Azores.
I can easily give you nine reasons for why you should book a flight to this semi-untouched paradise right now: Santa Maria, Sao Miguel, Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico, Faial, Flores and Corvo. No, I’m not praying in Portuguese. These are the names of the nine volcanic islands that form the archipelago, located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, almost half way between Europe and North America.
Reason 1: Few people travel to the Azores.
With everyone feeding off social media content on a daily basis, it has become really hard to be the first or the only one to experience something or to travel to a certain place. Not that you are competing with the ones you love, but doesn’t it feel nice when people come to you for advice on a destination they too have been dreaming of traveling to? I can surely bet that you won’t love the amount of layovers or the long hours of flying, but I can promise that by the end of the trip your camera roll will be filled with hundreds of insta-worthy pics and everyone will ask you where the hell you have been – in a good sense, not out of concern of course.
Reason 2: Nature.
You are probably going to roll your eyes a few times when a very noisy and rusty motorcycle passes by you, but I promise that this is a very air pollution free space, generally speaking. Do you know that feeling when you go for a hike in the woods and your nose hurts because the air is so freaking clean and fresh? If you do, this is your place! If you don’t, book a flight now. Daring to explore more than the surface of each island, you will find colorful lakes (yes, colorful. Google ‘Lagoa das Sete Cidades‘ to see what I’m talking about), tons of hiking trails, soul-feeding views, a sleeping volcano or two, amazing beaches and if you look closely you might spot a family of whales migrating through the Atlantic.
Reason 3: Heaven for your taste buds.
I’m talking about freshly caught seafood, world-renowned cheese, coffee and tea plantations, a variety of fruits to choose from – tropical vibes here – and let’s not forget the colossal amount of different types of pastries filled with butter, cinnamon and the love of the old lady that probably baked them in her very own old wooden oven kitchen. If this doesn’t make you want head on over to gain ten pounds, then there is something really wrong with you.
Reason 4: The weather has a personality of its own.
If the Azores were an astrological sign, Gemini would be the perfect fit. Humid winds in the morning, followed by some drizzle at noon, a little fog to go with your afternoon tea and maybe a strikingly beautiful sunset followed by clear skies to gaze at by night. Note that these events might not exactly take place in this order and, thankfully, during Summer you can witness less of this mood change. When good weather blesses this land, you can expect a fresh breeze, warm yet tolerable temperatures, and an ocean like this:
Reason 5: Summer!
If a season deserves its own topic, you just know it must be good. Although I’m a sucker for a Christmas movie marathon while it’s raining outside, Summer is when the Azores really come to life. More tourists checking in to hotels, backpackers hitchhking their way through the islands, crowds going for a swim or for a walk after work, and did I mention outdoor festivals? Man, there is nothing better than to have your camping gear ready, catch a ferry and spend the whole weekend swimming, laying under the sun, drinking and dancing all night long with your friends. Sure the hangover will be brutal, but hey, at least you can bear with it while listening to one of your mates’ hilarious drunk stories, immersed in salt water while you admire Portugal’s highest mountain.
Meet Oriana: I’m Oriana, 24 years young, born (and living) in Portugal. Finished my degree in Marketing and Communication in 2018 and I’m currently 9to5’ing at a travel agency, trying to same some €€€ for my next adventure! Keep up with her on IG.