Pedras Do Mar Resort & Spa, Fenais Da Luz, Portugal
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This remote archipelago simply abounds with adventures; it is, in fact, the Hawaii of the mid-Atlantic.
It has world-class whale watching, sailing, diving, hiking and canyoning; excellent surfing and other watersports; rich opportunities for on horseback, on bikes or, for the daredevils, by paraglider. Then there is the landscape itself: a wonderland of seething mud pots, fantastical caverns, and vivid crater lakes that speak of a volcanic origin.
The Azores contain two of Portugal’s 15 Unesco World Heritage sites – the vineyards of Pico and the old town of Angra do Heroismo on Terceira – and three biospheres (Graciosa, Flores and Corvo). The regional government has bolstered this with an award-winning network of natural parks and marine reserves to safeguard the unspoiled environment.
With liberalisation of the airline industry making the islands more accessible than ever before, the Azores look well placed to finally capitalise on their vast potential as a world-leading example of sustainable tourism.
To the East, on the island of Santa Maria, the beaches of warm white sand are inviting, and the vineyards covering the slopes like an amphitheatre resemble giant staircases. São Miguel, the largest island, is seductive with its Sete Cidades and Fogo Lagoons. The power that emanates from the earth is felt in the geysers, hot thermal waters and volcanic lakes, as well as in the tasty "Cozido das Furnas" slowly cooked inside the earth.
In the Central Group, the islands of Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, Faial and Graciosa are set harmoniously in the deep blue sea, where whales and dolphins can be spotted, to the delight of visitors. On Terceira, the World Heritage town of Angra do Heroísmo, as well as its festivals, is steeped in history. Faial is the cool blue of the hydrangeas, the marina painted colourfully by yachtsmen from all over the world and the extinct Capelinhos volcano, which resembles a lunar landscape. In front is Pico, a mountain that emerges from the sea, with vineyards planted in black lava fields, a unique culture that also has World Heritage status. On São Jorge, the highlights are the Fajãs and the cheese, a unique specialty with an unmistakable flavour. Graciosa, graceful in both name and appearance, is an island of green fields covered with vineyards that contrast with its peculiar windmills.
In the Western group, on the island of Flores, the beauty of the natural waterfalls and lakes carved out by volcanoes is dazzling. The tiny island of Corvo has a broad, beautiful crater at its centre, and attracts many species of birds coming from both Europe and America.
These are the Azores. Nine islands, nine small worlds that have as many similarities as differences, but where the friendliness of their inhabitants is shared by all.
For in-the-know travellers, the Azores have long represented a beckoning blip on the radar of possible destinations. Recognition from Unesco and other organisations has helped that blip to pulse more brightly over the years.
But most people still know little, if anything, about this far-flung archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic. And yet it is hard to imagine a place better suited to nature lovers, fans of adventure sports, or anyone looking for a beacon of sustainability. As if that wasn’t tantalising enough, there is a new reason to visit this autonomous region of Portugal: restrictions on air routes to the Azores recently eased, which means more carriers, more choice and cheaper fares for travellers trying to reach this other Eden.
The exposed tips of vast underwater mountains, the Azores lie on the nexus of the European, American and African tectonic plates, and they bear witness to the forces forever shaping our planet. This is a world of fumaroles, mudpots and scalding springs; of caverns, columns and grottoes formed from once molten rock; of blue lakes ringed by forests of laurel and cedar, and green pastures patterning the slopes of calderas.
The Azores are best known for whale and dolphin watching; the archipelago is a pit stop or home for about a third of the world’s species of cetacean. Year-round residents include sperm whales, common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. Many other species (including blue whales – the largest animal in the history of the planet) pass through on migration routes.
Nutrient-rich water welling up from the deep – or rather the life it supports – is what attracts the whales; this is also what makes the Azores one of, if not the, best diving locations in the Atlantic. Warmed to between 17C and 24C, the seas truly teem, and visibility reaches 30 metres between May and October.
The mild weather, warm water and variety of the coastline also make the Azores a year-round destination for watersports. The attractions for sailors are obvious and Azorean harbours host a calendar of regattas and events. Horta, the main town of Faial, is the cosmopolitan centre of this transatlantic traffic, and its marina has become an open-air gallery of murals painted by superstitious crews before they depart on their voyages.
Anyone remotely interested in geology will be in their element. The islands’ topography speaks of their volcanic origin in dramatic fashion, but there is more to see than just craters and cones; cave systems, rock formations, hot springs, and further ‘mistérios’ (mysteries, the name given to lava-covered patches of land) await investigation.
At 7,713ft, Mt Pico is Portugal’s highest mountain. If conditions are right, the three-hour climb to catch sunrise or sunset is the Azores’ premier hiking experience; however, it faces stiff competition with about 60 marked trails crisscrossing the islands.
Fans of adventure sports might find themselves paralysed by indecision, such is the choice on offer. The many waterfalls cascading into ravines make for world-class canyoning. Between them, São Miguel, Santa Maria, São Jorge and Flores have more than 50 equipped routes, from small drops for beginners to hair-raising descents for pros.
Horse riders and mountain bikers are well catered for, and both forms of transport fit the islands’ eco-friendly ethos. São Miguel, Terceira and Faial have stables, and you can hire bikes on São Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico and Faial, with trails ranging from ultra-technical tracks to gentle lakeside circuits.
The Azores have also hosted a paragliding festival for the past 20 years. The rims of São Miguel’s craters make for ideal take-off points, and there can be no better way of appreciating this fantastical landscape than from above.
The Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa located at São Miguel Island offers a priviliged Atlantic Ocean view. It’s a perfect choice for a romantic getaway or for a family holiday.
During the day you can relax at our SPA Pedras D’ Alma with beauty and well-being center, as well as, at our healthclub with indoor pool with jacuzzi, sauna, turkish bath with chromotherapy and gym. Outside, you can enjoy the pool with sea view, play a tennis game and explore the Saint Peter walking trail and its natural pools. Children have guaranteed adventure on the playground and in our pools.
The elegant and contemporary rooms, with views to the sea or mountain offer comfort and convenience.
Meia Nau Restaurante serves good and fresh food inspired in local gastronomy, combined with a panoramic view. Meia Nau Bar serves light meals and cocktails that can be enjoyed near the outdoor pool.
The reception works twenty-four hours per day and you can arrange hiking trails, guided tours among other amusement activities. All guests have at their disposal car rental, bike and snorkelling material.
The wi-fi is free as well as the car parking.
The hotel stays at 10km of the Ponta Delgada center and 20 minutes of João Paulo II Airport.
Check in :
Check out : 12 PM
This vacation stands under our "do good travelling" guarantee. Our projects impact some of the most disadvantaged people, who not only gain access to jobs, but also redefine their identity and role in society. 100% of the revenue will go directly where needed the most!