#01 – If you’re staying at one of our houses at Casa do Monte in Capelas (Casa Lareira, Casa do Pompal or Casa Granel) – you’re close to one of our favourite north-coast restaurants. The 4 Platanos restaurant is in the nearby village of Santo Antonio – when reserving, request a table on the top floor terrace; the view along the Sao Miguel’s north coast is outstanding:
#02 – Heading onto the north coast…hidden in the small town of Rabo de Peixe is the Alves Devine chocolateire. Pastry chef and chocolatier Tiago Alves is combining Sao Tomean chocolate with a wide variety of local ingredients to create fifty-seven (and counting) unique Azorean flavours: Gorreana green tea, fortified Lajido wine from Pico, and Sao Miguel pineapples to give a few examples. If you have a sweet tooth, it’s well worth making a detour for coffee and cake:
#03 – One of the island’s best restaurants is a five-minute drive inland from Rabo de Peixe. Quinta dos Sabores is a fabulous ‘farm-to-table’ restaurant, growing their own organic produce in the quinta’s fields and polytunnels. The parents of owner Paulo own a vineyard on the mainland, and their excellent wines are paired with a fixed six-course menu of imaginative and simply-prepared dishes which allow the excellent produce to shine. Take cash (currently no card payments) and I’d recommend booking well in advance – they only have nine tables and they’re becoming increasingly popular:
#04 – This next recommendation will often initiate a heated argument amongst Azorean friends. The Restaurante da Associação Agricola (also in Rabo do Peixe) is renowned for it’s steaks – some say the best steaks on the island. That crown was once undisputedly held by the Restaurant Alcides in Ponta Delgada – that’s where the argument begins. For me: the steaks are better at the Associação but there’s a more-mellow atmosphere to the old stone-architecture of Alcides:
#05 – Taking a short detour down to the surfers beach at Santa Barbara – the Tuká Tulá Bar is another great sea-and-sunset location, and perfect for lunch if you’re planning a day at the beach:
#06 – Heading west along the coast, you’ll come to another of our old favourites: the Restaurante Cantinho Do Cais in Sao Bras. Owner Jorge is famous for fish soup (sopa da peixe) and his stews (caldeirada de peixe):
#07 – We’ll often recommend a visit to the Fábrica de Chá Gorreana – the tea planation at Gorreana, the oldest tea planation in Europe (founded in 1883). Less well-known is their excellent café where you can eat lunch overlooking the planation – there’s also a gift shop where you can pick-up some of their excellent Pekoe teas:
#08 – Hidden away in the far north-east corner of Sao Miguel is the Parque Natural dos Caldeiros. On the lower slopes of the Serra da Tronqueira, this protected park with it’s waterfalls, botanical gardens and preserved 16th Century water mills is a lovely spot for picnic lunch – or there’s an excellent café overlooking the Ribeira do Guilherme valley:
Our island hopping holiday to the Azores was absolutely amazing,
This is a long email, so you might want to go grab yourself a cuppa before you start reading.
We just wanted to send you an email to say thank you so much for everything.
Our island hopping holiday to the Azores was absolutely amazing, it was far beyond our dreams and expectations, and that is certainly because of you and all your plans in putting this together for us. We just loved every second (apart from me and canyoning, we do not get along, but the boys absolutely loved it!) we just can’t believe all the things that we have seen, and done, and learned about! What an incredible place!
We have certainly been bitten by the Azorean bug and we can’t wait to get back there to explore the other islands. They’re very special places, each of them for their own right.
We felt as though we were treated like royalty from the minute we arrived in Sao Miguel, even the weather was kind to us (largely) we seemed to miss the adverse weather, either arriving somewhere that had had storms the day before, or leaving just before they arrived. We did have one morning of heavy rain when we went to the tropical gardens at Furnas, but we did manage to see some of the gardens before we gave up and went back to Caloura, where there was glorious sunshine, so we spent the afternoon at the pool and made the most of the Especial and fresh lemonade from the snack bar.
Every single person that we met, we were struck by how hard they work, and how happy they all are. Many of them never leaving the island they were born on, because, why would they want to?!
We love the Azorean people and their love and pride for their islands. Their sustainable way of living also struck deep with us. It’s the way we try very hard to live ourselves. Dave’s business is retrofit insulation, preparing old housing stock to a better more eco friendly way of conserving energy, so the way they live and respect their land, was of great interest to us.
For us all, Flores is a very special place. We went to the restaurant maresia while we were there and met the owner and his son. Although the restaurant itself is eclectic to say the least, after chatting to Vincent, we understood his dads way of living and the food was outstanding! We can’t wait to visit again.
All of our guides were amazing! Their knowledge and passion is admirable.
We just loved every second and can’t thank you enough for making our trip so smooth and completely stress free.
I will spend today writing reviews online for all the companies and guides that helped us on our trip.
A million thanks to you all Jake.
The Cole family
Personal service and efficient!
You really listened to what type of holiday we wanted and tailored our week accordingly. You understood what we were looking for and were so helpful and knowledgeable. Very personal service and efficient!
Linda from Norfolk
Professional and personal service!
Everything you do, you seem to do it professionally. I know I’m not your only client, but you make me feel like I am.
Bryan from Stoke
Azores Choice provided a prompt, helpful service. they found us the perfect accommodation for our needs and provided superb, expert advice on how to spend our week walking on San Miguel. I would certainly use them again.
Joan from Durham
Recommended small travel company!
Great little company with friendly staff. Organisation of flights & accommodation very efficient. When problems arise they are helpful and very reasonable in their efforts to resolve them. We would definitely use them again for a return trip.
Really great! Would use again!
Very efficient, friendly, helpful. Excellent local knowledge. Everything ran very smoothly, from supplying the tickets to airport pick ups and hotel bookings. Lovely accommodation selected. No complaints!
A wonderful break in a beautiful environment!
Everything was excellent. The information and organisation, the hotel and the island itself all exceeded our expectations. Whale watching and other trips out, fantastic. We will book again!
Great honeymoon package and experience!
They provided a great package at a good price. We found them to be helpful and a quality service was provided.
Nicola and Christopher – Winchester
Top notch service. Highly recommended!
Excellent service throughout. Very informative, with lots of literature, maps and the like. Attended their offices in Ponta Delgada – very impressed with Olivia, friendly and helpful. Paul was first class.
Lynne in Welton-by-Lincoln
Great company for first time Azores visit!
Really great company, will be recommending them. We had never visited the Azores before but this company helped us decided which islands to visit.
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