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The Azores Travel Guide

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Graciosa © Azores Tourism/Via Oceanica

The remoteness of the archipelago of the Azores in the North Atlantic has saved the nine beautiful green islands, which belong to Portugal, from becoming overdeveloped. International flights do make their way to the Azores, which lie 907 miles (1,460km) from the coast of Europe, west of Portugal, but as yet tourism has not spoilt the traditional way of life of the islanders or marred the magnificent natural attractions, uncluding the steam vents and geysers at Lagoa das Furnas, dramatic views and white sand beaches of Lagoa da Fogo,and harbour at Faial Island.

Those who visit soon manage to drop the words 'stress' and 'pollution' from their vocabulary, and give in totally to enjoying the islands' year round subtropical climate with mild temperatures and high humidity. The only concern that might arise is the odd earth tremor: the islands are rather geologically unstable and pitted with volcanoes and hot sulphur springs. The 250,000 inhabitants seem unperturbed by this, however, and go about their daily rounds much as their forefathers did hundreds of years before. The daily business is generally agricultural labour. The Azores is characterised by large tracts of vineyards and farmland, sprinkled with little settlements of whitewashed houses. The gently sloping hillsides are carpeted with vineyards and fruit orchards. The coast of the islands is, in the main, rather rugged, but there are bays and inlets with odd stretches of white sand for swimming and sunbathing. Island hopping is simple to achieve because all the islands are connected by ferry and local air services.

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