Lagoa do Fogo

The Perfect Spot for a Week of Adventure, Relaxation and Charm — Azores

The perfect combination of adventure, relaxation and Salto do Pregocharm can be found in São Miguel, the principal island of the Azores. With its botanical gardens and crater lakes, this island brings you back to a simpler time. You can spend days hiking around strikingly blue and green lakes, eat food cooked in boiling water underground or even bathe in thermal springs surrounded by tropical vegetation. The island has everything one could ask for while exploring unknown territory.

Tips while travelling in the Azores:

  • Do not plan in advance. The weather can change drastically by the hour as the island is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s best to rent a car and when you have a sunny day capitalize on it and go to some of the lookout points. We went after it had rained and spotted a beautiful rainbow over Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire) from Pico do Barrosa (947m), pictured above. Had we been there ten minutes earlier with a tour it would have been fogged over.
  • Stay in Furnas, about a 45 minute driveFurnas from Ponta Delgada. This is where the island’s regional dish, ‘Cozido”, is prepared. The hotels have both indoor and outdoor thermal spas and excellent restaurants. After hiking up Pico do Ferro (570m) for a breathtakingly beautiful view of Lagoa das Furnas, we couldn’t wait to get our muscles into these thermal pools. We stayed at the Furnas boutique hotel which also has an excellent restaurant.
  • Buy snacks from the supermarket. Kitchens are open at select hours meaning if you get hungry between 3 and 730 you’re out of luck.
  • Hike a trail with a reward at the end.  Yes, all trails on the island are beautiful but some are greater than others, particularly those that open up to crater lakes or waterfalls. For example, Faial da Terra trail leads you through the once abandoned village of Sanguinho, along a stream of water and opens up to Salto do Prego, an incredible waterfall.
  • Take the scenic route. Travel along the east sideAzores of the island for the gardens. There’s plenty of spots to stop along the way for a picnic or even outdoor BBQ if you have the supplies. Stop at Ponta da Madrugada and Ponta do Sossego on your way to Nordeste, the furthest point on the east side of the island.

We spent one week travelling around the island and it was the perfect amount of time. Since we weren’t quite ready to head back yet we decided to hop on a short flight over to Lisbon for a few nights. Post on Lisbon will be coming out soon! Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

Azores Waterfall

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Lauterbrunnen Switzerland

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Impressive waterfalls, secluded valleys and stunning mountain peaks surround Lauterbrunnen, the largest nature conservation area in Switzerland. Lauter Brunnen means manyTrummelbach Falls Switzerland fountains, representing the 72 waterfalls in the valley. Staubbach Falls is one of the highest free-falling waterfalls in Europe plunging almost 300m. Trümmelbach Falls is hidden within the mountain and can be heard from a distance. Up to 20,000 liters of glacier water falling per second has carved through solid rock sculpting beautiful formations in the mountains over thousands of years. It is a series of 10 waterfalls and a UNESCO world heritage site.

We spent the day climbing 1650m up to Mürren, a cozy mountain village. Mürren is at the foot Hiking in Lauterbrunnen Switzerlandof Schilthorn, made famous by the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. If you don’t have as much time or want to be able to move the following day there are lifts and trains you can take up the mountain. The walk was beautiful with natural springs everywhere containing some of the freshest water I’ve ever tasted! We stayed in cabins to add to the outdoors experience. While in Switzerland we also made sure to have some fondu and their delicious chocolate.

Milna Croatia Sunset

Croatia Sailing Adventure

David and I planned a last minute trip Topdeck Croatia Sailing Tripto Croatia, and I use the term ‘plan’ here very loosely. We actually booked it through True Traveler, a company that pulls a bunch of set trips that are currently available from various companies online to assist you while choosing your perfect adventure. We went with the Croatia Sailing trip via Topdeck Travel. There were 20 of us on the boat, all under 30 and a common interest in traveling all over the world. The majority were from Australia, however there were others from the USA, UK, New Zealand and Canada.

We landed in Split the morning after my final exam for the semester in perfect sunshine and set sail for the next week. Our first stop was for a swim break,David Jumping Into Water in Croatia jumping off the ship from either of the two levels. Of course  David climbed up to the tallest point on the boat to jump. We set anchor in the sea just offshore as sea urchins cling to the rocks in the shallow areas. They are deceiving in that they look nice and fluffy from above the water, however they are like glass shears if you step on one. The first night we docked at Milna, a small fishermen village. We watched a beautiful sunset, the perfect kick off to our relaxing week of sailing around some of the islands of Croatia.