In the immense blue of the Atlantic, Mother Nature created a land full of natural beauty, ready to be explored: the archipelago of the Azores. São Miguel is one of the nine islands that form the Azores, an area bountiful in its beauty, composed of charming lagoons, islets, secluded bays of dark sand, cliffs, and mountainous landscapes (as in Pico da Vara). At the western tip of the island awaits the famous Sete Cidades Lagoon, one blue and one green, whose beauty is incomparable. The city Ponta Delgada is in the centre of the south coast of the island, with pedestrian streets, restaurants and several esplanades around the pleasant sea. The famous pineapples are cultivated in a greenhouse very close to the city. In the southeast, a visit to the Furnas hot springs is mandatory. The Furnas Valley has fumaroles (boilers), hot water, mud, medicinal waters and more than twenty hot springs, making it one of the largest hot springs in the world. Next to Lagoa das Furnas, there's the hermitage of Nossa Senhora das Vitórias and the area where the "cozido nas caldeiras" (stew in the boilers) is made, taking advantage of the heat of the earth. If you are in São Miguel, you can't miss going on an exciting marine wildlife expedition in the company of marine biologists and naturalist guides, to see whales, dolphins, and learn more about the secrets of marine life in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean.
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- Private transfer from Ponta Delgada airport to your hotel
- Free time for first impressions
- Furnas Valley
- Whale watching
- A day in nature: hiking, biking or canyoning
- Lagoa das sete cidades
- Private transfer from your hotel in Ponta Delgada to the airport
Mainland Portugal enjoys a classic Mediterranean climate involving hot summers and mild winters. The northern regions are consistently a little cooler and wetter than the south all year around, but the climate is pleasant and offers plenty of sunshine hours for much of the year. The best time to visit Portugal for activities such as hiking, golfing, surfing and sightseeing is basically anytime - it's a year-round destination with plenty to do in all seasons, though in the heat of the summer hiking and biking are more manageable at higher altitudes where it isn't quite so hot. Winters (December to February) are generally mild especially in the southern region of The Algarve when average daytime temperatures even in midwinter hover around 16°C and you can expect plenty of sunny days mixed in with some rainy and windy weather. Spring (March to May) brings fresh greenery to the whole country, and warmer weather perfect for coastal and countryside hiking, biking or cultural pursuits. The landscapes are especially beautiful during spring with flowers blooming everywhere. Summer begins in earnest in June, with temperatures reaching the high twenties centigrade and sunny days the norm. July and August are peak holiday season in Portugal and availability is correspondingly lower while prices and footfall rise. Beachgoers will enjoy the fierce summer heat, but active travellers in search of biking or hiking routes may need to head for the mountainous regions where it is cooler. Another great time to visit Portugal is autumn (September to November) when the sea is still balmy, the weather is generally warm and dry, but the number of visitors is far less than in high season making the experience calmer and often cheaper. So in summary, the best time to visit Portugal depends to some extent on what you are hoping to do while there, but no season should be excluded as they all have their merits. For a busy itinerary of sightseeing and outdoor activities beyond the beach, spring and autumn are probably the best seasons to visit. Portugal's islands of Madeira and the Azores have a relatively stable temperature profile, with minimums rarely dropping below 15°C or rising far above 25°C. An exception to this is when a hot wind blows in from the Sahara which can nudge summer temperatures over the 30°C mark. An important consideration is the state of the sea, especially if you plan to spend time on or under it, so for the calmest period the best time to visit Madeira and the Azores is between April and October. For whale and dolphin watching, which is a major reason for travelling to the Azores, summer (June to August) is the best time. Whales and dolphins are present year round but the calmer seas and migration patterns make summer the sweet spot.
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