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The archipelago of the Azores is the western most point of Europe and is an Autonomous Region of the Portuguese Republic territory. The archipelago is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, only a 4 hour flight from the USA and a 2 hour flight from the European mainland. The Azores is made up of nine volcanic islands distributed across 370 miles, each one marked with a unique natural beauty.
The Azores islands are bathed in warm and species-rich waters that are influenced by the Gulf Stream. The diverse region is an important point of passage and home to many cetaceans, turtles, fish and birds. Due to its geographical location and remoteness, the Azores islands have preserved their nature and pureness for many centuries.
The volcanic origins of the islands have created mountains, valleys and volcanic rock formations that are covered in lush vegetation comprising many endemic plant species and bright flowers of all colours imaginable. These picturesque landscapes are further refined by captivating waterfalls, lakes inside ancient craters and thermal springs.
Most houses are traditional constructions that have been built from the volcanic rocks of which the islands themselves formed. Entire villages and the stone walls dividing the lands complement the surrounding landscapes. Local traditions continue to play an important role in the Azorean way of life, although you can feel the modern European character is also present. The Azoreans are down to earth people that are always happy to welcome visitors and show them their traditional ways of living.
Twice UNESCO has distinguished the uniqueness and authenticity of the archipelago. The historical centre of Angra do Heroísmo, with origins in the XV century, illustrates significant periods of human history. Vineyards in Pico Island are recognised for their peculiar method of cultivation.
Due to its well-preserved and diverse natural beauty, the Azores archipelago has become a renowned destination for whale and dolphin watching, SCUBA diving, geotourism, hiking and bird watching. It is the perfect holiday destination for nature lovers and eco-tourism!
As a EU Member State, Portugal uses the Euro. Most currencies can be changed on the islands. The Azores islands time zone is UTC-01:00, one hour less than Portuguese mainland. The climate in the Azores is mild year round. The air temperature ranges from about 14ºC in February up to 26ºC in August, and the ocean temperature varies from 17ºC to 24ºC. Medical care on the islands is excellent, and the crime rate is the lowest in Portugal. The majority of the population speaks English, and most western countries have diplomatic representations in São Miguel. The voltage in Portugal is 220Ac, 50 cycles. American plugs do not fit Portuguese outlets, but adaptors and transformers are available at many electrical stores. We recommend light clothing during the summer season. From November to March, visitors should make sure to bring a light weight raincoat and light clothing that you can layer for cooler days.