5 Bathe in Ponta da Ferraria Volcanic activity me

first_img5. Bathe in Ponta da FerrariaVolcanic activity means natural thermal waters and the Azores have plenty of muscle-soaking swimming spots to enjoy. Ponta da Ferraria is a natural rocky pool on the edge of the Atlantic where locals have bathed for centuries – and for free. Grab the ropes if the swell of the ocean gets too much here. Caldeira Velha (€6) needs no ropes – follow the signposts from Lagoa do Fogo to this more gentle swimming spot in the heart of the jungle. At Furnas Lake you can even have your lunch cooked courtesy of the area’s thermal activity; head to Tony’s for hearty portions of cozido (stew) slow-cooked in the heat that naturally occurs underground here.Opening Hours: 24 hoursTickets: Free to enterAddress: On the western end on the island near the ferry port – Google Maps location.6. Stroll and swim at one of Europe’s most beautiful gardensThe Terra Nostra Botanic Gardens are located at the heart of the Valley of Furnas, part of the massif of the Furnas Volcano and with its own microclimate. Here you can see tropical plants such as Canarian palms and Australian king palm trees as well as a grotto, serpentine canal and beautiful water gardens. The garden’s main lake is geothermal and visitors can bathe in its naturally warm waters.Opening Hours: 10am-7pm dailyTickets: €6 per adult, €3 per childAddress: Furnas, Portugal 10. Stand on the rooftop of the AtlanticThe island of Pico is just a ferry ride away and here you’ll find Ponta do Pico, Portugal’s highest point as well as the loftiest peak of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. You can see its triangular summit from miles away of course but nothing beats standing atop it, especially when it’s cloaked in snow and ice. You’ll need to register in advance and hire a guide – book online here to climb; it takes about three hours each way, following the wooden poles, and requires good general fitness and a willingness to scramble.Opening Hours: It’s a 7 hour hike that begins early. There’s also the option for a sunrise hike.Tickets: €120 per person if you’re solo, if there are two, it’s €65. The price continues to decrease per person the bigger the group.Address: Pico, Azores11. Go underground at Gruta do CarvãoNot all of the Azores attractions are above land – this archaeological museum shows you the different effects of the volcanic surface under the ground on a caving tour. The lava creates a marbled effect on the underground channels, and even if you’re not a keen geologist, you’ll be interested in the subterranean formations. If you book a longer hike, make sure you wrap up warm and prepare to squeeze through some tight spaces – not one for claustrophobics.Opening Hours: 10am-12.30pm, 2pm-6pm dailyTickets: From €5 per person – longer tours are availableAddress: Rua do Paim – 2ª Circular, Ponta Delgada 1. Be king of the castle at Sao Bras FortressOnce upon a time being in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean meant plenty of pirates – and the Azores’ answer to them was this fortress, known as the Sao Bras Fortress, or Castle of Saint Blaise. Walk up to this high point overlooking the city of Ponta Delgada and explore the renaissance bastions and battlements, dating back to the sixteenth century. It remains in service today as a base of the Portuguese Navy.Opening Hours: 10am-6pm, closed on weekendsTickets: €3Address: 9500-768 Ponta Delgada, Portugal 12. Swim in Vila Franco do Campo inletYou might stop off at Isla de Vila Franco do Campo on whale watching trip. This small island is just off Sao Miguel, and during summer it’s a popular swimming spot. Catch the boat from the main island, make sure you bring some snacks and water (there’s nothing on the island other than a swimming hole), and spend 3 hours lounging on your own island paradise.Tickets: The boat from Ponta Delgada costs €5Address: Vila Franco do Campo, Sao Miguel13. Visit one of the worlds’ newest islands – CapelinhosFaial Island was created 60 years ago by a Capelinhos volcano. Walk along the black sand beaches, hike to the peak and walk up to the lighthouse for an incredible (and very breezy) view of the Atlantic. The Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre is a must-do for keen archaeologists too.How to get to Faial Island: Flights depart from Ponta Delgada to Horta daily.Address: Faial Island, Azores14. Photograph Lagoa das Sete Cidades If you’re not keen on taking flight over the lakes, you can still visit the green waters by foot. There are a number of hiking trails around the park, but you should make sure yours crosses over Boca do Inferno viewpoint to make sure you get the best photos. The gothic Sao Nicolau Church is also in the park (EN9-1A, Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel) – the ideal spot for taking some respite from the Atlantic winds.Opening Hours: 24 hoursTickets: FreeAddress: Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel, Portugal Search for flights to Ponta Delgada 4. Go birdwatching at Fogo LakeFogo Lake, or Lagoa do Fogo, is a jaw-droppingly beautiful sight, its clear blue waters filling a volcanic caldera ringed with velveteen volcanic peaks. This landscape was formed by an eruption in 1563 but today all is peaceful, your main companions waders and ducks, seen mostly in the thickly wooded northern section of this nature reserve. It’s worth climbing the 949m Pico da Barrosa, southwest of the lake, for truly spectacular views across the whole island of Sao Miguel – and the chance to see Azorean gulls.How to get to Lagoa do Fogo: Take the 315 bus from Ponta Delgada, then catch a taxi the rest of the way. You can also use transfer companies like Celina from the centre of Ponta Delgada.Tickets: €2 per person for entry, or €60 for day trips from the cityAddress: Miradouro da Serra Barrosa | Agua de Pau, Sao Miguel ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepartReturnCabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Mapcenter_img More perfect holidays in Portugal… Top 15 attractions and things to do in LisbonMeander into Alfama, listen to fado music and soak up the sun in Portugal’s beautiful capital. Top 15 attractions and things to do in PortoThe city of bridges and wine cellars is plenty of fun for a weekend away – this is why. 10 best beaches in PortugalThe most beautiful sets of sands near Lisbon, Porto and Faro. Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire. 7. Hit the beach at Ribeira Quente VillageAlthough sunbathing may be off the menu (those trade winds keep things fairly cool and wet out here) the Azores are home to numerous idyllic black sand beaches ripe for a sandy stroll – or a surf. On Sao Miguel Island head to Ribeira Quente Village for sheltered sands backed by a picturesque ancient fishing village, or take a boat over to Santa Maria. The “mother island” was first to pop up out of the Atlantic and today boasts the whitest beaches and warmest waters. Blue Flag Praia Formosa is the best place here for watersports, such as jetskiing and kayaking, as well as surfing.Opening Hours: 24 hoursTickets: FreeAddress: Praia Formosa, Ribeira Quente8. Spot whales and dolphins off the Azores coastThe Azores is one of the best places in the world for whale watching, the waters around its nine islands being home to some 20 different species of cetaceans (that’s whales and dolphins to you and me). Because there are so many species here, both resident and migrating, you’ll see something whatever time of year you visit. Expect to see residents the common dolphin and bottlenose dolphin, as well as blue whales at the end of the winter, and sperm whales, sei whales and bearded whales in the summer.Opening Hours: Tours usually start early (8am-9am). Find a local vendor in Ponta Delgada.Tickets: €55 for a half day9. Soar above it all paraglidingThe landscape of Sete Cidades is one of those to which no photograph can do justice. This pair of crater lakes in the heart of Sao Miguel island were formed by the tears shed by a pair of star-crossed lovers (a green-eyed princess and a blue-eyed shepherd) says the local folklore – but we reckon you’ll be more interested in the paragliders you’re almost certain to see taking advantage of the thermal currents. Contact the Clube Asas de Sao Miguel to join them, or visit in August for the annual Azores Paragliding Festival, held here. 2. Pose for a selfie with the city’s symbol, Portas da CidadeFind a postcard of Ponta Delgada, see a picture of the Portas da Cidade. This triple-arched black and white-washed gateway was built in the eighteenth century and has served as the city’s symbol ever since. It originally stood next to the old quay but was transferred to Praca de Gonçalo Velho Cabral during construction of the seaside Prince Henry Avenue. This beautiful square is the perfect starting point to a wander around the city centre, its black and white paving stones leading up to the Church of St. Sebastian, outside which are the cafe tables of Restaurante Barcarola – a great spot for coffee (and free WiFi).Opening Hours: 10am-11pm Friday-Saturday, closed Sunday-Monday, 10am-9pm Tuesday-ThursdayTickets: Free to enterAddress: Av. D. Joao III, 9500-035 Ponta Delgada, Portugal3. Feast on tasty (and very cheap) tapasPetiscos (or Portuguese tapas) can be found in bars and restaurants across the islands, with prices starting from just €1. Seafood is, naturally, ubiquitous with grilled octopus and fried mackerel, both staple dishes found on most menus. Head to Mané Cigano on Rua Eng José Cordeiro (lunch only) for some of the best, or A Tasca on Rua do Aljube for generous portions of dishes such as smoked black pudding served with pineapple. For entertainment with your petiscos try Arco 8 on Avenida Abel Ferin Coutinho, where potent cocktails accompany the nightly live music performances. How to get to Ponta DelgadaFly direct to the Azores Islands from London, or jump on a connecting flight from Manchester or Birmingham. You can also fly to Lisbon or Porto direct from many U.K cities, then catch a separate connecting flight to the Azores.Search for flights to Ponta Delgada Where to stay on a city break in Ponta DelgadaIf you’re looking for a hostel:Pousada De Juventude De Ponta Delgada is a guest house in the centre of the city – complimentary breakfast and free Wifi is included!If you’re looking for a hotel:On the off chance you need to be doing work in the Azores, VIP Executives has meeting rooms, Wifi and a conference centre. That’s not it though – you can also look forward to their gym and spa.If you’re looking for luxury:Hotel Talisman makes the ideal home away from home when you’ve been out swimming, hiking and paragliding all day. Slide into one of their suites with a sea view to totally bliss out.Search for hotels in Ponta Delgada Looking for cheap flights to Ponta Delgada? Search now 15. Taste the local wines of the Azores This will be one of the most unique locations you’ll ever be in on a wine tour. The volcanic sands of Pico Island have been producing wine since the fifteenth century – just 200 years after the first settlers arrived. It’s said that the 2,439 acres lend a salty quality to the wine – you’ll have to try it yourself. Adega A Buraca is a distillery is Santo Antonio that allows you to run through the wine, aguardente, fruit liqeurs and locally produced accompaniments (cheese, crackers, tapas).Opening Hours: 10am-5pm Monday-SaturdayAddress: Estrada Regional #35, 9940 Santo António RelatedTop 15 attractions and things to do in FaroDon’t just head to a resort as soon as you land at Faro Airport: we’ve got 15 reasons to stay in the Algarve’s historic capital for a weekend break. Here are the best things to do in Faro.7 ridiculously cheap places to go on holiday this yearWant to save £££s on your holiday this year? We’ve put together seven of the best places to grab yourself a deal in 2019. Whether you want to broaden your horizons and travel to a different part of the world or discover somewhere closer to home, these destinations will help…5 spring get-aways which won’t bust your summer budgetAs the days get longer and winter’s on the wane, it’s time to look forward to sunnier days ahead. Check out our pick of five great destinations that all have an extra little spring in their step at this time of year. 1. Washington DC – fly from £233 Photo credit: Getty…last_img

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