the grounding issue
The Azores, Portugal
Seemingly cut-off from modernity, the Azores have already distinguished themselves as the first archipelago receiving the Earth Check certification; the global-sustainability benchmark. The tiny local population lives in harmony with the overwhelmingly beautiful natural backdrop and have made their livelihood as fishermen, farmers, winemakers and whalers.
In case your resolutions also featured more fitness and workouts, there’s more than enough you can do to break a sweat. Fancy climbing up to the 7,700-foot peak of Mount Pico on Pico Island? An endeavour that will reward you with the summit’s otherworldly views of the black lava landscape of a further 200 smaller volcanoes.
If that much exertion isn’t your idea of a holiday, you can hit the Atlantic waters with the locals clutching onto a surfboard! At Fajã de Santo Cristo Lagoon, São Jorge after a short hike toward this village untouched by the hands of time, you then immerse yourself in the calm of the waves crashing against the stony beach. We also recommend you visit Furnas town, for the local stew ‘cozido à Portuguesa’ and a dip in the pools with their enigmatic colour patterns under the dawn sky. The New Year is all about renewal, and these experiences scream ‘fresh start!’
Island hopping is made easy thanks to the ferry connecting the central isles of Pico, Faial, Sao Jorge, Terceira, Graciosa, western Flores and Corvo and eastern islands Sao Miguel and Santa Maria.This real-life Eden is a pit stop or home for about a third of the world’s species of cetacean. Marvel at the sperm whales, common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. Many other species (including blue whales – the largest animal in the history of the planet) pass through on their lengthy migration routes.