Azores, the Portuguese Archipelago, although being so unique and attractive, receives only a a fraction of the hordes of tourists heading to the other parts of Macaronesia: Canaries or Madeira. Those who make it here, come mainly for hot springs and the unspoiled nature. But the towns are also truly worth mentioning. Ponta Delgada - the capital of the Azores is one of the most beautiful towns I've seen. You can clearly feel the Portuguese touch expressed in the architectural style and narrow streets, however Ponta Delgada has its own, distinctive appearance: whitewashed buildings are decorated with black volcanic basalt rock around the corners and window edges which creates a beautiful, unique design throughout the city.
Nordeste is a town and the north-eastern area of the Sao Miguel island in Azores. The name literally means "northeast" and it is exactly what it describes. The town of Nordeste is the center of the region which is incredibly picturesque - dotted with little villages, green fields, spectacular cliffs, waterfalls and multiple viewpoints. You can also find here the oldest and the only still functioning tea plantation in Europe.
The town of Nordeste has the extraordinary Portuguese architecture - typical for Azores with whitewashed buildings and black corners and window frames (see the post about Ponta Delgada - the capital). As I mentioned in the previous article about Furnas, the red roofs of the houses among green fields and high cliffs create such an unusual mix of the Irish countryside and some tropical, volcanic islands. Nordeste is perfect for a day trip - it's probably the least visited part of Azores.
The village of Furnas, as well as the nearby volcanic complex of geothermal springs, is situated beside the easternmost of the three spectacular caldera lakes on the island of Sao Miguel - Lagoa das Furnas. Apart from other places in Azores, Furnas, as one of the main tourist attractions on Sao Miguel, is extremely extraordinary yet still very authentic and, comparing to mainland Portugal, visited by few. Probably due to the deficit of beaches and guaranteed sunny weather. But it has so much more to offer! It is idyllic, easily accessible and sometimes confusing, but in a very positive way: when you leave one of the cozy towns, you begin to doubt you are in Portugal and start to think you've been teleported to Iceland, Ireland and New Zealand, all blended into one.
Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal - the place where Europe ends. In fact, people living there during medieval times believed that the most south-westerly point of the area was the place where the world ended.
Algarve is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal and also one of the most popular holiday places in western Europe. In some places, it's easier to meet a German or British person than a local. It's the beautiful weather, amazing beaches with crystal-clear water, excellent food and spectacular views that attracts tourists here. But if you are looking for something else than only lying on the beach, the region can offer many activities at very reasonable prices. There are also many extraordinary places to visit, so you will not be bored.