Azores Islands (Ponta Delgada), Portugal
Rising from the depths of the Atlantic, the rugged, volcanic Azores lie 800 miles off the coast of Portugal. Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, the nine islands have provided a haven to Atlantic mariners for over five centuries. The Azores offer travelers spectacular landscapes that range from lush meadows fringed with brightly colored hydrangea to ancient caldera filled with lakes. And the many small villages and shops retain an otherworldly air and 18th-century charm.
Ponta Delgada is located on São Miguel, the largest of the nine Azores. The island's rich volcanic soil sustains fields of tobacco and tea, vineyards, and pineapple greenhouses. The Azores are also noted for fine crafts, particularly basketry and pottery.