Move Over, Iceland: The Azores Are the Hot New Adventure Destination

Millions of years ago, the earths sounding mantle gave rise to nine small islands in the middle of the North Atlantic. Today, the Azoreswhich are located 1,000 miles off the coast of Europeis a quiet realm of quaint Iberian charm and brilliant vine-draped dark-greens carved out by a dramatic history of volcanic events.

Like Iceland, the Azores render dazzling no-filter landscapes, a palpable not-in-America vibe( you’re in Portugal ), and an ultra-convenient stopover place on your style to Europe. Yet while their northern cousin is constructing the headlines for its record-breaking achievements of tourismnumerous stores have reported the country will have more American tourists than local residents by 2017 the Azores stand outstandingly under the radar.

Things are about to change.

A view of bays from Sete Cidades .
Photographer: Brandon Presser

Taking a clue from IcelandAirs transatlantic programme, the recently rebranded Azores Airline( initially announced SATA) is upping its connections to major European metropolitans in 2017; in theory, the carriers ultra-affordable airfares should drive interest in an Azores stopover. The hope is to operate 972 total flights next year( up 46 percent from 2016) connecting American passengers from Boston, Oakland, and Providence, RI, to ends like Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona, Praia( Cape Verde ), London, and Frankfurt. The brand-new route from Boston to Barcelona, for example, will start at $549, including taxes.

The Azorean seashore .
Photographer: Brandon Presser