Emma O'Rourke

I have been part of the Archipelago Choice team for five years and in this time have enjoyed fantastic adventures to the AzoresSao Tome and Principe, Namibia and Gabon . Highlights have been whale watching in the Azores, seeing turtles nesting on Sao Tome and Principe, watching leopard in Namibia and spending time with forest elephant and gorilla in Gabon.

I have always had an interest in wildlife and after completing my masters in Wildlife Conservation I spent a year volunteering on Cape mountain zebra and vervet monkey research projects in South Africa.

When I’m not working, you’ll find me out exploring the lake district fells with my energetic collie. I love to travel and most recently have enjoyed adventures to various countries in Africa, the Peruvian Amazon, Kurdistan, Nepal and South East Asia.


Emma O'Rourke
Destination Specialist
01768 721040

My favourite part of 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.

Terceira’s home to the Azores’ oldest city Angra do Heroísmo. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Azorean culture without the hustle and bustle of Sao Miguel, Angra’s cobbled streets, historic architecture and friendly population give the city a seductive charm. As a protected UNESCO world heritage site, the city’s stately 17th and 18th century architecture bears witness to Angra’s golden age, when the city blossomed economically, culturally and architecturally, and long list of exiled members of the Portuguese nobility called Terceira their home.

Inland, Terceira’s rugged interior provides a glimpse of how the Azorean landscape looked to the first settlers arriving in the 15th Century. Just over 20% of the island is classified as a protected Natural Park, to preserve and protect the last remaining laurisilva and juniper forests. It’s also a very volcanic landscape of criss-crossing lava flows and spectacular cave systems – most famously at Algar do Carvao: a unique 3000-year-old volcanic chimney and one of Portugal’s most-fascinating Natural Monuments.

Our Terceira Family Holiday and Terceira Activity Week are great ways to explore the island, or  include a stay on Sao Jorge for an island hopping adventure.

My favourite activity in 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 Azores

The Azor Hotel is a luxurious five-star hotel overlooking Ponta Delgada marina.

This stunning modern hotel opened in May 2016 and is located on the seafront Avenide in Ponta Delgada, capital of the main island of São Miguel. It has 123 sea view rooms comprising 117 standard rooms and 6 suites (74/92m square) with free high speed internet access, air conditioning, safe, hairdryer, minibar, ipod dock, and smart TV. The Hotel also has a spectacular rooftop pool and cocktail bar, a spa, a gym, and excellent restaurant and a wine and cheese shop.

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