A Modern Eden: São Miguel, Azores

in the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere between Europe and
America, the Azores is an
archipelago comprised of nine islands. I spent eight days on São
Miguel, the largest of these islands and a haven of natural

Daily trips started and finished in Lagoa, a charming town just
10 minutes’ drive from the archipelago’s economic capital of Ponta
Delgada. From here I discovered a dramatic landscape. As I
explored, scenic lagoons, rivers and waterfalls gave way to
volcanic craters and hot springs. Of these, the most famous is
Lagoa das Furnas, where the concentration of iron in the water has
turned the pool into the colour of rust.

Weather on the island is unpredictable; it’s no year-round sunny
beach destination. Yet while it can be cold, gloomy and foggy, the
island appears just as ethereal when swathed in mist. The beauty of
the Azores is undeniable.

São Miguel is extremely self-sufficient, with strong alcohol,
tobacco and dairy industries. The island is also home to Europe’s
oldest (and currently only) tea plantations. I visited Gorreana
, a family business that can be traced back to 1883.

The more I travelled across São Miguel, the more I felt its
magic. I witnessed more shades of green than I could have ever
imagined; heard more birds than I thought was possible – each
natural phenomenon felt more acutely thanks to the Azores’ slow
pace of life.

@martawitkowskaphoto | martawitkowska.com

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A Pocket Guide to the Azores, Portugal