The Azores, nine volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic, have been described as Europe’s best kept secret. One could not disagree but, I would give them another accolade and that is they are also one of the most underrated destinations in Europe.

Sunvil has been featuring this little-known Portuguese archipelago since 1990. Up until 2005, the only route from the UK was via Lisbon which almost made the islands more alluring. My first visit was in 2003 and I confess to have been a little disappointed. The weather was warm but wet with poor visibility and all the wonderful sights that I had been promised, had disappeared into the clouds.

I was soon to learn that the Azores should never be pre-judged or underestimated. Be patient and all will be revealed.

I returned the following year, twice in fact. Lessons learnt; I was hooked.

It is actually hard to imagine a more scenic and dramatic destination being just under 4 hours away. These stunning, sub-tropical islands will never cease to amaze you with their hidden crater lakes, hot springs, botanical gardens, quaint fishing villages and eco-friendly ethics. 

A couple of years later, I was on the inaugural direct flight from Gatwick which Sunvil was proudly involved in. We touched down in Ponta Delgada to a water salute and a very enthusiastic reception, it was just a privilege to be part of such a significant moment.

Over the years, I have explored the entire archipelago, each island is unique, individual and beckoning you to visit them. A standout highlight for me is, what can only be described, as an eruption of blue hydrangeas during the summer months giving a truly spectacular show across the islands. The view from the islands of Faial and Sao Jorge across the water to Mt Pico, a towering dormant volcano cone peeking out above the clouds is another memorable sight.

There are no busy resorts on these islands, this is a land for nature lovers, walkers, and outdoor enthusiasts. As a result, the Azores has become one of the most sustainable nature-based island destinations in the world. Budget airlines have recently made them more accessible but, thankfully, it has done nothing to detract from their indisputable charm.

Returning from a trip, I would talk enthusiastically about what I had seen and experienced. My husband, David, finally said it was time he checked it out for himself. A Busman’s Holiday perhaps? no, a glorious week walking, whale watching and soaking up the geological highlights of Sao Miguel. It was lovely to be able to show him a destination that has become so special to me. However many times I visit I will always find something new and exciting. Last October I made my 21st visit, I know it won’t be the last.

Sue and David in the Azores Sue and David in the Azores
Mount Pico Mount Pico
Sao Miguel Sao Miguel
The Sunvil Family

By The Sunvil Family

1st May 2020



The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family

Sunvil's holidays are designed by passionate travellers just like you. Our reservations experts and product teams, many of whom have been with us for many years, are passionate about our destinations and, through their personal, first-hand knowledge can answer any questions that you may have. They are well qualified to advise and recommend, based on your own holiday criteria. We can point you to those special, little-known places, some not found even in guidebooks.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

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  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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