Bradt's Azores guidebook is the only comprehensive guidebook to the nine-island archipelago, a nature-lovers' wilderness perched at the western extremity of Europe in the mid-Atlantic, and one of the best places in the world for whale watching. This new edition continues to provide the strong geological and botanical information that is so integral to the islands and essential for all nature lovers, but it also has an expanded focus taking in the land- and sea-based activities which have become a significant part of the Azores tourism offering in the past few years. Also included is all of the practical information needed to make the most of these new opportunities, plus a full update on the accommodation upgrades that have taken place in recent times to cater for the influx of new visitors. Green, and with a mild climate throughout the year thanks to the Gulf Stream, each island has its own attractions and identity. Safe and welcoming, the islands are drawing in a whole new group of visitors, mainly from Europe and the USA, attracted by the diversity of outdoor activities, easier accessibility and improvements to the visitor infrastructure. The Azores volcanic origin make for a rugged, diverse landscape, a suitable backdrop for excellent walking, mountain-biking and canyoning, while whale-watching, kayaking, windsurfing and fishing provide off-shore opportunities for independent travellers and adventurous families alike. The islands' 500 year history is well-documented in a host of museums, allowing visitors to learn about the fluctuating fortunes and strategic importance of the archipelago across the centuries. Attractive architecture, carefully preserved festivals, three islands with UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status, an interesting range of flora and many botanical gardens are all covered in this guide.
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