Emma Ryan

I’ve been part of the Archipelago Choice team for four years now and have enjoyed several visits the Azores (visiting all the islands except Corvo) and  the incredible islands of Sao Tome and Principe.  Highlights so far include joining our Azores Lesser Visited Islands Guided Walking holiday, and seeing turtles, diving and kayaking on Sao Tome and Principe.

I’ve always had an interest in wildlife and after studying for my Masters in Conservation Biology, I spent a year volunteering on wildlife research projects in South Africa.  I saw my first whales (southern right whales) here and will never forget how exciting and awe-inspiring those moments were.

When I’m not working you’ll find me swimming in a lake, running in the fells or on my road bike, training for a local triathlon.  I love adventure travel and have recently returned from trips to Kurdistan and Nepal.


Emma Ryan
Island specialist
01768 721040

My favourite part of the Azores

Terceira is Portuguese for ‘third’ – as in ‘the third largest island’ and ‘the third island to be populated’ during the Portuguese Age of Discovery. The island’s home to the Azores’ oldest city: UNESCO protected Angra do Heroismo whose cobbled streets, historic architecture and friendly population help give the city a wonderfully relaxing, quiet charm. If you’re looking for Azorean culture and cuisine but without the hustle and bustle of Sao Miguel, Angra’s the place to stay.

Inland, Terceira’s sparsely populated, rugged interior provides a glimpse of how the Azores looked when the first settlers arrived in 1450. Just over 20% of the island is classified as a protected Natural Park – with the aim of conserving what remains of the Terceira’s Laurisilva and Juniper forests. It’s also a very volcanic landscape, formed by criss-crossing eruptions and lava flows which thankfully now leave us with spectacular cave systems and natural seawater swimming pools to enjoy.

My favourite activity in the Azores

Walking is one of the best ways to get to know the Azores, and our self-guided walking holidays cover the most stunning parts of the islands. We provide the route notes and walk maps and the rest is up to you.

São Miguel is a great introduction to walking in the Azores and there are some wonderful crater lake and coastal walks.

The other islands also offer a great variety including an ascent of the highest mountain in Portugal (Mt Pico 2351m), a walk along the west coast of Flores and its curtain of spectacular waterfalls, a trail across land that spewed out of the Atlantic just 60 years ago and the famous 3 Fajã walk on São Jorge where you’ll witness secluded lagoons as you stroll between coastal plains.

My favourite accommodation in the Azores

Azor Hotel is a luxurious addition to the Ponta Delgada hotels.

This stunning modern hotel opened in May 2016 and is located in Portas do Mar – the seafront area by the marina – just 15 minutes walk to the very centre of Ponta Delgada on São Miguel.

It has 123 sea view rooms comprising 117 standard rooms (30-37m square) and 6 suites (74/92m square) with free high speed internet access, air conditioning, safe, hairdryer, minibar, ipod dock, bathrobe, TV and balcony with sea view.

The Azor Hotel also has a spectacular rooftop outdoor pool and bar, spa, gym, excellent restaurant and a wine and cheese shop.

Parking is available on site (pre booking necessary) at a cost of around €15 per day.

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