Experience the Azores with Star Clippers
25th February 2016
Those who enjoy finding hidden gems and quiet paradise islands will be impressed with the range of Star Clippers itineraries available. For example, a cruise to Cuba and the Cayman Islands will see you visit renowned ports including Cienfuegos (Cuba) and George Town (Grand Cayman). However, a Cuba cruise will also allow you to visit untouched areas, such as the Turtle sanctuary on the relatively untouched island of Cayo Largo (Cuba).
Star Clippers also offer a range of transatlantic journeys, which will enable you to visit a bygone era of trade and experience the essence of historic tall ship sailing. These journeys will also reward you by providing access to a range of smaller and peaceful islands in the Atlantic, including the Azorean island of Sao Miguel. This nature lover’s paradise is home to breathtaking volcanic landscapes, natural hot springs and thunderous waterfalls. We take a closer look at some of the highlights you can expect to see during a visit to the lush green islands of the Azores.
The island of Sao Miguel is volcanic and this becomes clear upon seeing the impressive geological formations. There are six volcanic zones in total, but none of which have endured an eruption for over 100 years. The by-product of volcanic activity on the island has resulted in the emergence of hot springs, and a visit to the Furnas will allow all your aches and pains to simply float away.
One of Portugal’s Seven Natural Wonders can be found in Sao Miguel. According to legend, the blue and green waters of the Sete Cidades Lake were formed from the tears of a shepherd and a princess, who shared a forbidden love. Certainly, the mixing of these two bodies of water, combined with the surrounding green landscape will take your breath away.
It is also worth noting that the island of Sao Miguel is home to a well-known pineapple plantation, and a tour will enable you to see the production process and even sample some of these exotic fruits for yourself.
Palaces and Churches
Sao Miguel’s capital, Ponta Delgada, is home to a range of lavish palaces and churches, many of which were built during a period of significant economic growth between the 16th and 17th centuries. The three imposing churches of ‘Matriz de Sao Sebastiao’, ‘Sao Pedro’ and ‘Sao Joao’ are must-visit landmarks for anyone seeking to delve into the history of the Azores.
In terms of palaces, there are many impressive landmarks to visit including the ‘Palacio da Conceicao’, ‘Fonte Bela Palace’ and the ‘Santa Catarina Palace’. The 19th century ‘Sant’Ana Palace’ is surrounded by stunning gardens and is currently home to the President of the Regional Government of the Azores.
What makes the Azores all the more special is the fact that you will get to experience them after spending several days traversing the Atlantic Sea. On board selected eastbound transatlantic itineraries, you will reach the Azores after spending nearly two weeks sailing across the Atlantic out of the Caribbean. After departing the Azores, selected itineraries will also enable you to soak up the sun in the Eastern Mediterranean.