The Azores: A European Escape that is Only Four Hours Away

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From Boston, F to the Azores and Spend the Week for Just $709; Chose from 24 Hotels and Five Islands

Azores Express/SATA has announced new air and hotel packages to the Azores from Boston this winter and spring for the Boston Globe Travel Show. The Azores Express/SATA packages cost from $709 to $1,429 per person, before tax and are available through June 15, 2010. Availability depends on your choice of hotel, the islands you wish to visit and travel dates. To book travel, call 800-762-9995 or visit http://www.sata.pt for more details. The Azores are the closest and one of the more affordable destinations in Europe, a short four hour flight from Boston's Logan Airport. Azores Express/SATA hotel and air packages give travelers the opportunity to explore five different islands while staying at one of 24 hotels.

There are four hotels offered on the island of Terceira, two on the island of Faial, one on the island of Santa Maria, one on the island of Pico, and 16 on the island of Sao Miguel.

All packages depart from Boston and include roundtrip, non-stop air, six nights lodging and daily breakfast. Flights depart and return on Tuesday and Fridays and passengers can upgrade from coach to SATA Plus Business-Class for just a few hundred dollars each way. Kids under six stay free, and pay only a child's airfare.

Lots of Hotels, New Options

Pico
The newest island added to the Azores Express/SATA packages is the island of Pico. Meaning "peak" in Portuguese, Pico is characterized by the steep volcanic mountain that often rises above the cloud cover. Visitors can climb to 7,700 foot summit, the highest point in Portugal, or stay closer to sea-level and enjoy Pico's signature wine known for carrying just a hint of lava.

Along the southwestern coast, the verdant landscape is criss-crossed with two-foot walls that shield the vineyards from the elements. Visitors also enjoy strolling through the charming seaside towns that lie nestled between black rocks and the sea.

For those looking for a quaint stay on the island, chose the inn at Aldeia da Fonte. Built from basalt rock to look like a typical Pico village, the inn has five rustic buildings perched above the sea. It offers 32 charming rooms, each with restored antiques. The Aldeia da Fonte package also includes a seven-day car rental.

São Miguel
São Miguel, with its lakes, geysers, and seaside villages is the main island in the Azores and where all flights from Boston land in the fall, winter and spring. With easy access to the airport and major roads, Ponta Delgada is a great location from which to make day trips to the São Miguel's rugged coastline, venture to volcanic crater lakes on the island or visit the steaming thermal lakes in the island's interior.

Visitors to Sao Miguel have their choice of three new hotels and two inns, including the stunningly modern Hotel Lince Azores and the historic downtown Hotel Camões in Ponta Delgada. Also new is the seaside beach hotel Caloura Resort, the hillside Senhora da Rose Inn near Ponta Delgada and the quaint Quinta da Santana on the North Coast.

Terceira
Terceira's lively and historic main city, Angra do Heroísmo, has been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and has ample cultural offerings. Visitors will enjoy the historic and recently renovated Angra Garden Hotels, which is new to the Azores packages.

Other Islands
Two of the other islands offered include Faial, famed for its harbors that are often filled with yachts from around the world, and sunny Santa Maria, known for having some of the best beaches in the Azores.

About the Azores

The Azores are the closet point in Europe to North America. The islands were created by volcanic activity millions of years ago which has created a stunning and dramatic environment. From the black lava cliffs of the island of Terceira, to mythical mountain crater Lake of Fire on São Miguel, the Azores offers an intensely green and sculptured landscape. This ocean-enveloped land enjoys a mild climate year-round between 60°F and 80°F.

The National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations recently named the Azores islands as the world's second most appealing islands destination in its fourth annual Destination Scorecard survey. A panel of 522 experts reviewed conditions on 111 islands and archipelagos. The Azores received the title of "Authentic, unspoiled, and likely to remain so."

The Azores are also known for their rolling landscapes, sprinkled with tiny settlements of whitewashed or black stone houses. The hillsides are planted with vineyards, tea and fruit orchards. Some coastlines are strewn with black rocks, rugged and often plunging hundreds of feet into the emerald sea. There are a number of welcoming bays, natural pools, beaches and inlets for swimming and sunbathing. The year-round warm water also makes the Azores a good spot for enjoying water sports, as well as fishing and whale watching. Equally popular activities on land include horseback riding, cycling and hiking

Azores Express (part of the SATA Group) connects New England with the beautiful islands of the Azores. Year-round flights are available from Boston, with connecting service to Lisbon, Porto and Madeira. For information call 800-762-9995 or visit http://www.sata.pt.

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