Whenever I go on a holiday, I find it hard to decide whether to visit a mountain region or a place that is close by the sea. I love both landscapes equally much and having to choose between the two options has always been really hard for me! Now, with my recent destination, I happened to find the most perfect compromise (in my book at least!): The Azores in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. I dare say, the landscape is probably the most diverse I have encountered in my life.

They say the Azores offer it all. A wonderful place that shouldn’t be forgotten for a cheap holiday. You can find yourself wandering around between cows like in the European Alps or along a deserted windy lava coastlines. Whale watching trips are offered almost all year around (the Azores are regarded as one of the top three destinations worldwide for whale and dolphin watching). If you don’t like it on a boat: You can also go canyoning, kayaking in beautiful volcanic lakes discovering hidden lava caves, hiking in stunning mountain formations or along a raw coast line, count waterfalls until you drop and all of it without being eaten alive by moskitos! And really: Who wouldn’t enjoy a hot bath in a steaming volcanic spring surrounded by a lush tropical flora for a treat in between? The Archipelago consists of nine very unique islands of volcanic origin – the nearest coast is about 1500 km (930 mi) away (Europe), North America is about 3900 km (2400 mi) west.

The islanders are welcoming, warm and friendly, nobody ever seems to lock a house or a car door and you will always be helped when in need. The weather on the Azores is due to its location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, generally mild but very changable: You can easily encounter four seasons in one day in particular during the winter months, when it rains a bit more than in summer. Just make sure to always bring a variety of clothes to be able to fully enjoy the place regardless!

I already decided that I have to go back. I only got to see three of the nine islands so far, and I have been told that all of them are pretty different and worth while checking out. If you are interested in seeing more pictures of my trip, please have a look at http://travelingnini.tumblr.com.