The Azores

A European Hawaii

Not a secret as such, but this mid-Atlantic archipelago of idyllic islands is still far enough off the beaten path to feel like you’ve made a real discovery. With their blue-green lakes and deep forested-ravines to explore, there’s a blissful feel to the Azores. On Sao Miguel, the largest of the islands, you can wander the sedate gardens of Terra Nostra Park, stand atop the volcanic ridges for the glorious view of Setes Citades’ twin lakes, and take a therapeutic dip in the warm iron water of the Caldiera Velha waterfalls. Fishing ports with brightly-coloured boats, elegant white-washed churches and mellow Portuguese villages add to a vision of an island paradise.