Photographic Monday: Azores edition

It has been quite a while since the last Photographic Monday.  Thankfully, I recently went through the photos I took on my holidays last year, and found I had quite a few shots to share with you. (Yes, I can take some time to actually see the photos I took. It’s not good.)

Those holidays were spent in two of the nine islands of the Azores, Faial and Pico. I’ll only be showing you photos of Pico for the time being – otherwise, this blog post would be very lengthy. Ready? Set… go!

Postcard from the Azores VI

For those of you who don’t know, the Azores are Portuguese islands that are located in the very middle of the Atlantic Ocean (and I do mean the very middle, some of them are on an “European” tectonic plate and others in an “American” plate, and as the Atlantic is ever growing due to geological processes, the islands are growing further and further apart every year). Due to their geographic location, they are volcanic islands. No, that does not mean they are like Hawaii. If you’re expecting to see lava, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll have that chance in the Azores. But there is a lot more that you can see…

Like the volcanic mountain in the first picture, Pico (the island is named after it). It’s the highest mountain in Portugal, standing at 2351 meters. And it’s absolutely beautiful. Most days, the top of it is covered by a circle of clouds, so seeing the top of it is an absolute treat. Unless, of course, you’re standing on one of the islands close-by instead, in which case, you might see the bottom and the top but not the middle, just the bottom or nothing at all. It all depends on the weather.

It’s such a majestic sight that, no matter where you are, you’ll automatically look for it, and relish on whatever you see. I’ve heard that the view from the top (you can hike there!) is breath-taking, but I sadly didn’t have the chance to check. There was too much rain and fog to do the climb safely.

But there is more to Pico than the mountain.

Postcard from the Azores XIV

Wherever you go, there will be birds fluttering about, of all types and sizes. And at the end of the day, by the roadside, you’ll see rabbits hopping away and hiding in the bushes. Not enough? Just take a walk or a drive by the seaside at midday and you’ll see swarms of bats flying happily about. The Azorean noctule is the only bat species known to do this.

Postcard from the Azores XII Postcard from the Azores XIII

If you’re more into volcanos, you can walk in a lava tube with brilliant guides who will explain everything to you, from the microbial life glittering on the walls to the formation of the rock underneath your feet. Just make sure to hold on tight to your flashlight!

Postcard from the Azores XV

Postcard from the Azores XVI

And, of course, there are lakes, lakes, lakes and even more lakes. The Azores are very well known for their lakes, and with good reason. They’re prettier than pretty.

Postcard from the Azores VIII

Postcard from the Azores X

And there’s the sea. From whale watching (and dolphins! and turtles! and jellyfish! and sharks! aah! so many marine species!) to diving to swimming to sunbathing to fishing, there are so many ways to have fun in the water. My personal favourite (from the few I’ve tried – sadly diving isn’t one of them) is whale-watching, of course, but hey, I am a biologist. What did you expect?

Ah, now I feel like going to the Azores again. Three islands down, six to go!

Have you ever been to the Azores? What’s your favourite holiday destination? Is there somewhere you always wanted to go to?

 ~~*~~

“We are like islands in the sea,
separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
William James

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6 thoughts on “Photographic Monday: Azores edition

  1. The photos remind me of Jeju island, particularly the higher-altitude parts of Jeju island. Like the Azores, Jeju is a volcanic island with lava tubes, and has the highest mountain – Hallasan – in all of South Korea, at 1,950 meters.

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  2. These are seriously beautiful! I’ve heard very little about these islands but I’d love to see them! Will you be posting more pictures? How long was your stay?

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    • Thank you so much :D I’m really happy you liked them ^^

      Not a lot is spoken about them, which, in a way, is very good. If there isn’t a lot of tourism, the government won’t feel obliged to cut down trees and destroy the landscape to build hotels and other facilities to keep tourists happy. It just makes them all the more attractive – to me anyway.

      I might post more of them, yes! Just need to actually give them a proper look and edit them. I have a few more in my flickr account if you’re interested, just click on the pictures on the sidebar :)

      In this particular island, Pico, I was around 4 days. I also visited Faial (stayed overall for about 10 days in two visits) and São Miguel (about two weeks total divided in two years). Depending on the island, you can see all of it from about two to nine days – a bit more if you want to do a lot of nature activities (ie whale watching and hiking).

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