Idyllic Azores Honeymoon: Cuddle and Canoe The Famous Coloured Lakes!
Writer Judy Darley discovers the rural idyll of the Azores archipelago’s main island, São Miguel and the story behind it’s romance…
Set in the historic centre of Ponta Delgada, the island’s capital, Talisman Hotel offers park views, a rooftop pool and an Art Deco- influenced entrance with a stunning spiral staircase. The Palm Terrace restaurant serves an array of fish dishes, including bacalhau, the local flaky cod dish, and melt-in-the-mouth steak.
Numerous companies offer visits to Sete Cidades, Seven Cities, a name that actually refers to seven craters clustered close together. Long dormant, the area is verdant with vegetation, farmland and lakes. The most famous are the twin blue and green lakes, but the island is home to many volcanic lakes that you can cycle to and even canoe in! Ask your guide – try Amazing Tours and Azores GreenMark – to tell you the romantic fairytale behind the two colours of these lakes though.
For a true taste of the island, you could do a lot worse than try the local exports. Visit Cha Gorreana, Europe’s first tea plantation. See the tea leaves being dried and sorted before enjoying a cup yourself. Just a drive away, you can also pop into the A. Arruda Pineapple Plantation, or call by the Fabrica de Licores Mulher de Capote liqueur distillery to sample the fruit liqueurs.
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Don’t leave without zipping over the Atlantic for a spot of whale watching. BigBlue Adventures provides the chance to get ultra-close in a Zodiac – super-speedy, rigid-hulled inflatable boats. The ride can be choppy but exhilarating, and when the local troops of common or bottlenose dolphins show up, you’ll be ideally placed for their entertaining antics. Even better, sperm whales, fin whales and the occasional stately blue, frequently appear to send flumes of water into the air.
Restaurants serving fish and steak abound. Boca de Cena is becoming something of
a covert local legend, with an unassuming exterior and one man, Ricardo, serving as maître d, manager, chef and waiter. Solar da Glória ao Carmo, an elegant family-run guesthouse set just outside the town in Livramento, was another treat – try the ‘volcano’ fish soup.
The hot springs surrounded by tropical vegetation are irresistible. Furnas is
the (literal) hotspot for this, with the impressive Terra Nosta pools set up stroll away from the more rustic Poça da Dona Beija. My heart, however, was won by Caldeira Velha, an option with a waterfall that gushes warm water straight from fumaroles.
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