पर्यटन बजार१३ जेष्ठ २०७९, शुक्रबार मा प्रकाशित
May 27,It is not necessary to travel to a paradise on Earth by a long, laborious, or perilous voyage.
In truth, an unspoilt landscape reminiscent of a storybook may be found just five hours from Boston and four hours from the UK. It’s a world where waterfalls stream down iridescent green hills, where hydrangea hedges line roadways, and where black sand beaches surround rugged coasts.
Whether it’s a hamlet of stone cottages connected by cobblestone roads, or inhabitants who stick to the traditional traditions of producing crops on rich plains at the base of towering cliffs, or riding horse-drawn carts to transport milk to the cheese factory, a lost-in-time quality pervades.The Azores, a necklace of nine magnificent islands in the middle of the Atlantic that are part of Portugal, welcome you.
The archipelago is a self-governing area around 1,000 miles off the coast of Portugal. The islands’ warm pools, lush calderas, crater lakes, and steaming geysers all give witness to the terrible volcanic forces that shaped them, but each isle has its own personality, with nature in its purest form reigning supreme. Year-round, Azores Airlines flies nonstop from Boston to Ponta Delgada on So Miguel Island and to Lajes on Terceira with a stopover in Ponta Delgada. Summer nonstop service to Ponta Delgada is available from both United (from Newark) and Azores Airlines (from JFK, on select days). On Saturdays, British Airways runs nonstop summer service.After a direct hop to an archipelago seemingly a world away, here’s what to expect on each island:
It’s the fertile, mineral-rich volcanic soil that has put Pico on every true oenophile’s list. The Cooperativa Vitivinicola, a more than 70-year-old wine co-op in Madalena, the island’s capital, offers informal tastings that include verdelho, a crisp white produced from grapes endemic to this island.
In keeping with Pico’s close-to-the-land sensibility, the village-like Lava Homes resort relied on local stone and wood in the construction of its 14, many-windowed, contemporary villas.
Snaking through a landscape of wild heather and Japanese cedar are scenic footpaths that terminate at fajãs, or cliff-backed fertile plains that were formed from landslides and ancient lava flows.
One of the most beguiling is Fajã de Santo Cristo, accessed via a six-mile-long walkable donkey path that winds down from the cloud-covered summit of Serra de Topo. The route meanders past old watermills and gates of gnarled branches to the isolated, waterfront hamlet Fajã de Santo Cristo. Here residents tend terraced gardens growing yams, cabbage, spinach and tomatoes.This coast attracts surfers who come for the point break waves. The island, however, is most renowned for a culinary delicacy: their tangy cow’s milk cheese.
Queijo São Jorge is still produced by methods dating back centuries. This delectable cheese — it may be drizzled with honey — is served in restaurants not only on São Jorge (such as Fornos de Lava) but also on the other Azorean islands and mainland Portugal as well.
The sight at the bottom is surreal. In contrast to the lake at the base brimming with cold rainwater, the cave’s air is saturated with the smell of sulfur, and mud fumaroles bubble and boil at 180 F (82 C). Sunlight pours in through oculi in the ceiling, revealing yellow crystals shining on the boulder-riddled slopes.
In the spa village of Carapacho, geothermal energy is used to heat soaking pools at Termas do Carapacho resort, which offers numerous treatments, including a hot stone massage that relies on the island’s volcanic rocks.
While Pico’s black basalt gives that island the appearance of black and white brushstrokes, Terceira in many ways uses a Crayola crayon palette.
Colorful facades front the streets in the capital, Angra do Heroismo, and shockingly painted — even violet-hued — imperios (chapels), sprinkle the verdant landscape.
On the north coast, the village of Biscoitos shows off its volcanic origins with natural pools of all sizes and depths puncturing the hardened black lava stretching across the port. Beside these, beach towels, umbrellas and loungers can be set out for a day of sunning and soaking.
This town is also home to the family-owned Wine Museum where artifacts from their more than 100-year-old wine-making operation are on display inside and in the gardens.
Terceira’s Caparica Azores Ecolodge offers six modern cabins huddled in a laurel forest. Art from local women accents the minimalist interiors.
São Miguel is the largest Azorean isle and where Ponta Delgada, the capital of the autonomous region of the Azores, is located. The island is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) long and 9 miles (15 km) wide.
It’s home to what’s said to be the world’s oldest commercial greenhouses growing pineapples and Europe’s oldest operating tea plantation.
Off the coast of Vila Franca do Campo, the original capital city, a submerged volcano with a pristine lagoon beckons kayakers, snorkelers and swimmers.
One of the island’s most heralded landscape is the Furnas Valley, a dormant crater that’s draped with foliage and dotted with reminders of its volcanic past, including inviting hot springs.
Within this valley, the centuries-old Terra Nostra Garden is particularly magical. Shaded paths wind beside a serpentine canal, grottoes and endemic and exotic plants, some more than a century old.
Also scenically stunning, with tree ferns and bunkers filled with volcanic sand, is the 18-hole Furnas Golf Club that sits at 1,700 feet above sea level.
In Ponta Delgada, guests staying at boutique property Senhora da Rosa feel far from the bustle of this capital city, especially when soaking in a small pool that’s set in a pineapple greenhouse.
Santa Maria, the most southern of the Azores, is not only the sunniest of the islands, but it’s also the only one graced with golden sand beaches.
The greens and blues of the sea, sky and valleys mingle at Miradouro da Pedra Rija, one of many viewpoints that makes for a lovely picnic spot. Forests of Japanese cedar canopy the zig-zagging roads, sometimes beside paths bordered by Azorean blueberries and small orchids.
The hamlet of São Lourenco is especially popular in the summer for its photogenic sandy stretch that’s backed by a tapestry of old vineyards enclosed by black lava stone walls.
The endearing seafront village of Anjos has a calm, natural pool, and the local watering hole Bar dos Anjos offers stellar views of the sunset to enjoy while nibbling grilled limpets (sea snails).