Cozy Hotel on Remote Island Off Portuguese Coast
The Azores islands are the definition of “remote”: the closest mainland, Portugal, is almost 1,000 miles away. Travel + Leisure ranked voyaging to the Azores on its list of 40 Trips to Change Your World. You’ll get to experience this exotic volcanic archipelago with this Groupon.
The hotel is tucked away from the city center. You can relax in its jacuzzi or kick back by an outdoor pool and a sunlit indoor pool surrounded by walls of windows. São Miguel Park Hotel’s intimate onsite restaurant is decorated in warm reds and wicker accents and specializes in Azorean cuisine, served both à la carte and buffet style. The spread might include exotic fruits and vegetables and fresh grilled seafood.
São Miguel Island, Azores: Endemic Flora, Hot Springs, and Cobblestone Streets
Roughly 1,000 miles west of Portugal's shores sit the Azores, a cluster of nine volcanic islands that bask in sunny weather throughout the year. The largest of these is São Miguel Island, aptly dubbed the Green Island. It's practically overrun with exotic flora and dense tropical greenery. Where there isn't a carpet of green, you can find fumaroles—clouds of steam that emerge from the ground—and hot springs. The twin azure and green lakes of the Sete Cidades region are set in an ancient volcanic caldera with misty rock walls that tower over the area at upwards of 1,600 feet tall. About a half hour south, you can see sinuous Indian rubber trees and rare blooms at Ponta Delgada's Antonio Borges Botanical Gardens.
As São Miguel Island’s major city, Ponta Delgada draws much of the tourist traffic—and for good reason. The city's cobblestone streets are lined with stately baroque buildings, including the São Sebastian Catholic Church, a 16th-century masterpiece with accents of rare Brazilian wood and actual gold thread on the inside. The Gorreana Tea Estate, is among the oldest of Europe's few tea plantations. On free tours of the plantation, you can learn about tea production from the estate's rolling fields and sample fresh Azorean green tea in the tearoom.
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