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PORTUGAL'S ADVENTURE ISLANDS
 
(2022 - Spring/Summer Issue)

Writer: ILONA KAUREMSZKY



Imagine an eco-hub fuelled by an archipelago of lush green islands where sea life is rife and outdoor activities verge from the extreme to the easy-peasy.

Welcome to the Azores—a safe, sustainably driven eco-sanctuary that can be reached in just over five hours on board SATA Azores Airlines, the only carrier to offer non-stop services from Montreal and Toronto. Recognized for its modern, more efficient, more comfortable fleet, the airline recognized for its sustainability policies has partnerships with WestJet and Porter Airlines, which provides passengers seamless connections to these scenic Portuguese islands.

Azores: The Ultimate Outdoors

Azores is an archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean which teems in dramatic settings and is the home to a variety of dolphin and whale species. It’s no surprise that the islands attract outdoor lovers of all kinds. Think surfers, paddleboarders, canyon rappellers and hikers.

Ranked among the world’s top 10 most sustainable destinations, these majestic Portuguese islands have also won Europe’s top adventure destination for two consecutive years at the World Travel Awards.

Island Starters

Start either in Terceira where nature lovers immerse in awe-inspiring experiences—swimming with dolphins and sighting whales—or the larger hub of Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, revered as “The Green Island” for good reason.

In São Miguel, head to Terra Nostra Park, a fan favourite for gardens, hikes and hot springs. This exotic paradise, legendary as one of Europe’s most beautiful gardens, seeps in lush foliage, and is home to the island’s most famous spa. Cook your own tasty “Cozido das Furnas” in the steamy grounds of the Furnas Valley. It’s a popular pastime!

Azores’ second most inhabited island, Terceira lies westerly. Visit one of the marinas, and rent a private boat or join a cruise for spectacular sightseeing. Overlooking the largest sandy beach in the Azores, the Marina da Praia da Vitoria is a favourite for sailing, windsurfing and diving. Whale lovers can join one of the guided boat tours for unbeatable experiences. On land, explore caves and a prehistoric volcanic chimney and visit postcard-pretty Angra do Heroismo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that accentuates heritage landmarks.

Once the day’s adventure ends, there are ample R+R diversions for l’après nature sightings. Think spas, dining and yes, the local wine scene.

It’s easy to book a quick flight on SATA Air Azores for an island hop, such as to the island of Pico where Mount Pico, Portugal’s tallest mountain, crowns this sea sanctuary.

MADEIRA: More Island Adventures

Unlike the quieter, greener, more subdued Portuguese islands of Azores, this sister Portuguese archipelago is reachable under two hours from the Azores, making it a popular year-round seaside resort destination.

Sun worshippers, and travellers interested in an island holiday mixed with Old World charm, beaches and adventures by land and sea, come here to recharge their batteries.

Go For Unique Experiences

You’ll quickly discover why the World Travel Awards has voted Madeira as the “World’s Leading Island Destination” for this green odyssey. Start at the island of Madeira, the largest in the archipelago, and head north to the verdant valleys, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Laurisilva Forests. Go for the birdwatching—Madeira has three endemic bird species—and stop off at the natural pools of Porto Moniz and Seixal Beach.

Depart charming Madeira via an easy ferry ride for the subtropical semi-arid climate of nearby Porto Santo. This island treasure chest has more natural land features best explored on a hike, cycling or by jeep tours. A marine playground too, kayakers explore caves as scuba divers see shipwrecks and rich sea life, while snorkellers take a refreshing dip. Afterward, sink your toes on the island’s 9-km soft, powder beach and watch for whales and dolphins.

While a fabulous year-round destination with a temperate climate, the best time to visit Azores and Madeira is from June until October when the maximum average temperature hits mid-20s Celsius.

SATA Azores Airlines

Headquartered in the Azores, The SATA Group is both a true Azorean airline, committed to overcoming the island chain’s isolation, and an international airline operating a vast network of national and worldwide routes.

For travellers enroute to one of SATA Azores Airlines’ mainland Europe hubs (Lisbon, Porto, Paris, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Barcelona) the airline company offers up to seven days free stop-overs in the Azores.

READY FOR ADVENTURE

Pack your golf clubs, bike or surfboard—all Azores Airline fares include one free sporting equipment PLUS one free checked baggage.

Travel Planner

SATA Azores Airlines starts non-stop direct flights from Montreal to the Azores June 15 and continues to September 14, 2022, complementing existing seasonal non-stop services from Toronto to Terceira and year-round non-stop services from Toronto to Ponta Delgada. SATA Azores Airlines azoresairlines.pt

 
 
 
 
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