Everything You Need To Know Before Going To The Azores Island

Azores Colourful Shore
Azores Islands, Portugal

If you are considering travelling to the Azores as your next destination, I can tell you without a doubt that it will be one of the most rewarding and memorable trips of your life. It has been three years since I’ve visited these breathtaking Portuguese islands and honestly I feel like going back all the time.

The Azores are without a doubt the perfect destination to completely disconnect yourself from your usual daily life and just enjoy the nature around you. Disconnecting yourself from the world can be really hard to do but at every direction you look there is going to be an astonishing landscape like nothing you’ve ever seen before. 

In total, there are nine volcanic islands: Corvo, Flores, Graciosa, Faial, Pico, San Jorge, Terceira, Santa Maria and the capital, San Miguel. Each with its unique natural beauty, cuisine and activities to do. I suggest visiting as many as possible, since each island has its own unique environment and beauty. 

How to Get There

You can reach all nine islands with SATA airlines, from the east side of the archipelago the flight from Lisbon is just two hours away and from the west side it’s a four hours flight from New York. The international flights arrive at the capital and largest island of Sāo Miguel, at the Ponta Delgada airport. National flights from Lisbon go directly to other islands like Horta, Terceira, Santa Maria as well. During high-season (July and August), SATA offers flights to and from Boston, Oakland, Porto, Lisbon, Faro, Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin, London, Amsterdam and the Canary Islands. 

Weather & Environment

As small islands located literally in the middle of the gigantic Atlantic Ocean, the weather of the Azores is perfect for a warm destination in the winter and a cool destination in the summer. It is always warm but not too intensely hot. Spring is probably the most beautiful season to visit the islands, especially in Flores, which directly translates to flowers. The islands’ volcanic origin has given the Azores several unique landscapes. Like the grey beach shore Steaming hot pools are everywhere …

Where to Stay

In order to preserve the environment hotels are limited but with high quality, making it much easier to choose where to stay. 

The most common housing accommodations are the rural farmhouse hotels, which are cute restored farmhouses and manor houses previously owned by locals. Majority of the houses face towards the sea with beautiful seashore at the front and green nature in the back.

The islands also have several beautiful resort hotels with great value for money.

Since there is so much preserved land, most hotels also include restaurants with local food and leisure areas. Local friendly owners always interested in making sure you have the best visit.

For the couples, there are also isolated cabins with incredible views of the sea.

Getting Around

As preserved islands, the only two ways to get around within the island is by foot and by car. Your hotel will most likely pick you up and drop you off at the airport. From the hotel, you can freely explore the beautiful landscapes, waterfalls and coastlines. Before heading out, I suggest talking to your hotel assistants to recommend which hiking path is best for the day according to the weather and the season.

If you do not want to explore by foot, renting a jeep, quad, tuk-tuk or a motorcycle is quite easy and cheap. Cemented roads and phone connection are quite rare in most islands, so make sure to have a physical map with you. But just in case you get lost, you don’t have anything to worry at all. The islands are completely safe from dangerous animals and crime. 

Hiring a taxi for half- day tour is cheap and the most comfortable way to get around with a local driver and guide. Azoreans are very proud and dedicated to their history and culture and are always happy to share it with visitors.

The best way to get from one island to another is by boat. Since the islands are quite close to each other it is quite easy to go on a day trip. During my trip, I was able to visit five of the nine islands but only stayed at two. From Flores island, I visited Corvo, Graciosa and Faial which is so close to Pico, that I had incredible views of it’s mesmerising volcano without actually going there. Island hopping is super easy with the local scheduled ferry boat services.

What to Eat

As a subtropical destination, many delicious fruits grow in the Azores, with pineapples as the national fruit.
Some delicious meals you should try Stew called cozida, which is prepared by placing a pot in a hole in the ground, as the volcanic warm ground naturally cooks. 

The cuisine of these volcanic farming islands is very simple but incredibly fresh, delicious and natural. If you are always looking for the freshest ingredients to cook with, then you will love Azorean cuisine. Each island has its own local dishes depending on what vegetables and animals are in the area.

Generally, seafood is a common dish

With the combination of endless open fields and humid weather all year round, Azorean tea plantation is very big especially in the main island of San Miguel.

Main Activities

Apart from hiking to the landscapes, the Azores Islands’ are famous for their aquatic activities. With so much unspoiled space, you can basically do all kinds of sports in the Azores – hiking, sailing, canyoning, surfing, horseback riding, you name it.

One activity I regret not doing was diving/snorkelling.

Faial island is especially famous for whale and dolphin watching. The boat ride takes a couple of hours heading to the open ocean around midday. The best season to see whales is spring and summer (April to September) are the best times to spot the fascinating blue whale. When in Faial, make sure to also visit the particular Ponta dos Capelinhos. A grey seashore that got its unique colour and shape from a volcanic eruption, visit the underground Capelinhos Museum of Interpretive Volcano and their iconic lighthouse.

At the main island of San Miguel, tourists enjoy playing golf at the wide landscapes and going cliff climbing. But one of my favourite activities of the whole trip was to visit the incredible Sete Cidades. Rent a jeep with a guide and explore the enormous caldera and its twin lakes. There are many beautiful walking trails that explore all the areas, including the popular 12km trail of the hydrangea- fringed.

Everything You Need to Know Before Going to Marrakech

A few weeks ago I visited the beautiful city of Marrakech and since it was my first time visiting a Muslim country, I had many questions regarding pretty much everything. What clothes to bring, what foods to eat, where to visit and so on.

Most of these questions are commonly asked before a trip, but due to Morocco’s rich and diverse history of Arabs and Berbers with influence by France and Spain, the answers weren’t as obvious. I wanted to make sure my friends and I were as respectful as possible to the local customs and be able to explore as much as we could.

So now that I am back from my trip I can answer all of these questions and help you prepare for your trip.

1. CLOTHES

Packing and planning your luggage is definitely the most important aspect of getting ready for Morocco. Before my trip, I talked to several people who had been there previously and received lots of mixed advice. One explained that tourists should dress conservatively, while another said it is completely acceptable to wear shorts and spaghetti strap tops since Marrakech is more modern and acclimated to (many) tourists.

I chose to follow the cultural dress code and wear long flow-y dresses and skirts which are also the ideal clothes to wear on long days of exploring a new city. If there was an outfit that didn’t fit the code, for example, something strapless, I would just add a jacket on top and be ready to go shopping at the souks.

It is important for visitors to dress politely especially when visiting mosques and other religious monuments.

As for wearing a hijab, it is completely acceptable not to wear one.

2. FOOD & DRINKS

As I mentioned before, Morocco has had a lot of influence from other countries, which has splendidly made Moroccan food one of the richest and most delicious cuisines in the world. Not only is it accessible to every culinary group with vegan, vegetarian, halal, fish and meat dishes served in basically every local restaurant but it is also served as a three-course meal. Allowing visitors to try different dishes in just one meal!

The first is a selection of tapas, whereas just like the Spanish, it consists of several small dishes – usually vegetable and fruit based with lots of aubergines, tomatoes, olives and prunes. The second course is the main dish with heavenly authentic dishes such as Tajine, a stew or soup with a protein base of chicken, beef or lamb accompanied by saucy fruits like peach or couscous. Finally, the sweets are usually served as a variety platter usually including baklava, Briouat and Sfenj. Along with a cup of tea, of course. 😉

Other savoury dishes to try are brochette (skewers), Bissara, Tangia, b’stilla and kefta. 

As part of Moroccan culture, alcohol is hard to find, but with many different types of teas and fresh juices to try, you will definitely not miss it at all.

Maghrebi mint tea aka Moroccan mint tea, aka atay, is the drink to have in the city and it actually goes well with any meal.

If you are staying at an Airbnb and have a kitchen in your house, I would highly recommend buying groceries at the supermarket and try cooking a local meal yourself. While shopping, you’ll be amazed by how various and fresh all products there are. The tomatoes and avocados were larger than my hand.

On top of how delicious everything is, the prices are even better!

3. BARGAINING 

Shopping for goods and souvenirs at the souks (outdoor markets) is much more than just buying handmade goods. Unless you go to a high-end place, there isn’t a price you can’t bargain in Marrakech. Rather it is to decrease the price of something you want to buy or to get extra monitoring for your rented car.

The key to a successful bargain is to be friendly and bold with the person you are negotiating with. Becoming friends with that person can go a long way, they will remember you and will recommend other places owned by friends and family with good prices. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t speak any French or Arabic. Many sellers speak English and even Spanish, Italian, Dutch and international body language. You’ll be able to agree on a good price without a language problem.

Personally, I don’t like to bargain at all and I feel terrible decreasing the price of something that is so beautifully handmade but being young and at the beginning of my career, I definitely can’t afford to. Luckily, I had someone who is comfortable bargaining. So make sure to bring someone with you who does like to bargain and has your back.

Treat people the way you want to be treated. Talk to people the way you want to be talked to. Respect is earned, not given.

Hussein Nishah

4. VISITING OTHER CITIES FROM MARRAKECH

My original plan for this trip was to stay in Marrakech and take a day trip to the desert and maybe even to the Chefchaouen, the majestic blue city. However, I soon realised that both of these destinations were quite far from Marrakech with at least a 3-hour car trip and with so much to explore in Marrakech already, my friends and I decided to stay in the capital instead.

5. WEATHER

Although Marrakech is a subtropical semi-desert country, the temperature drops significantly at night. So no matter which season you go, make sure to bring long sleeved pyjamas and cosy clothes to lounge in your riad at night.

In February when I visited, the weather varied a lot during the week. Some days were warm enough to take a swim and other days the sky was just a haze. But since it was winter, getting away from the heavy snow back home was refreshing.

The best seasons to visit Marrakech are spring (March to May) and autumn (September to October) when the tickets are cheaper and the weather is perfectly balanced.


In conclusion, these are the main tips you need to know in order to get ready for your Moroccan adventure! Let us know what was your favourite part of your trip in the comments below!

Stockholm Food Guide

Eggs with Bacon Toast

Stockholm cafés and restaurants are guaranteed high class meals but they are also high class prices. It is quite difficult to go to a fancy restaurant without burning a hole in your wallet. So make sure you are mentally ready to spend a lot and have a fabulous time.

Greta’s – Norrmalm | Hötorget 13-15 Haymarket Hotel

Salmon & egg toast in the front and Tomato &

Located at the heart of the city, Greta’s is an adorable café inside the Haymarket hotel by Scandic. The hotel is a fabulous interpretation of the 1920s and the café embraces the afternoon tea glamour. It’s a great place for late brunch where you can get delicious toasts, pancakes, sweets and others. Including a splendid selection of coffees, juices, wines and champagnes. The vibe of the place is really relaxing with great music.

Loved for: Ladies afternoon tea

Site: Haymarket Greta’s Cafe

Opening hours: Monday 08:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tuesday toThursday 08:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Friday 08:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Saturday 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Sunday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

STHLM Bruch Club | Vasastan | Dalagatan 24

Breakfast Burrito with Eggs Benedict with Salmon

This adorable café does not disappoint its name. It serves every brunch lover’s dream; pancakes, waffles, toasts, burgers, bagels and açai dishes. They also offer breakfast plates like English breakfast with sausages, beans, eggs and toast. To top it off, the club also serves delicious drinks like milkshakes, fresh juices, teas and Sweden’s finest coffee brew, Johan and Nyström.

Nuterella Milkshake with a crouwn donut

Since most things in life don’t come easily, be prepared to wait in line for about 20-30 mins. Since this café is quite small. But trust me, it is definitely worth the wait. This place is one of my favorite brunch places in the city and I usually don’t mind the line when I know I’ll get a delicious meal. Plus it’ll give you time to catch up with your friends without the distraction of the delicious food.

Known for: Crown donut milkshakes

Site: STHLM Brunch Club Cafe

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 7.30 AM – 3.30 PM

Saturday & Sunday 8.30 AM – 4.00 PM

Mr. Cake – Östermalm | Rådmansgatan 12a

Raspberry Cheesecake

This modern café was created by Swedish chefs Roy Faris and Mattias Ljungberg. The sweet menu consists of velvet croissants, yogurt bowls, pancakes, huge Swedish cinnamon buns and endless types of cakes. For the salty menu, the cafe has delicious sandwiches, bagels, burgers. Each dish is more beautiful than the other. Picking one is extremely difficult so make sure to go there very hungry and with friends so you can order several dishes and many!

Known for: Velvet desserts, black burgers, and pancakes

Site: Mr. Cake Cafe

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 7.30 AM – 6.00 PM

Saturday & Sunday 9.00 AM – 5.00 PM

Greasy Spoon | Södermalm & Vasastan | Tjärhovsgatan 19 & Hagagatan 4

Blueberry & Scotch Pancakes

A cozy café so loved that there are two of them in the city. It has a large variety of classic brunch dishes like pancakes, toasts and many types of eggs such as oven baked spicy BLTE eggs and eggs Benedict. As for a drink, Greasy Spoon has a large variety of drinks like freshly squeezed juices, coffees, teas, cocktails and other choices.

The staff is always very friendly and give great advice on what to order.

This place is also great for a fika during the week in the afternoon when its emptier, to share a pancake with your friends and a cup of coffee.

Known for: Eggs Benedict and Pancakes

Site: Greasy Spoon

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.00 AM – 4.00 PM

Saturday to Sunday 9.00 AM – 5.00 PM

Red Days 9.00 AM – 5.00 PM

Espresso House – Every neighbourhood in city

Last but definitely not least, Espresso House. The Starbucks of Sweden, and may I dare say, much MUCH better. You can find this café literally everywhere in the city and it is great for any time; breakfast, lunch, dinner, studying, coffee date, catching up with friends and even small meetings. Every café is decorated with book walls, plants and coffee posters. It has extremely comfortable chairs and sofas with reachable chargers and Wi-Fi. Every chain café that you go, no matter the size, will make you feel at home with guaranteed delicious food. The dishes are very casual like sandwiches, wraps, bagels, salads, small pastas and many others. For dessert and afternoon snack, you can get the traditional sweets like cupcakes and brownies but I would recommend trying the Swedish classics like cinnamon buns, mud cake, thin pancakes, chocolate ball and scones.

The café also has a collection of vegetarian deliciousness like muesli yogurts,

It has delicious coffee brews that vary every month.

Espresso house also has local affordable prices which makes a great place to be your to go café when in Sweden.

All of these places in this list are my favorites in town but Espresso house holds a special place in my foodie heart. Make sure to try my favorites:

Chai Latte from Espresso House
  • Chai Latte

  • The month’s special brew

  • Mocha Frappuccino with a shot of espresso

  • Salmon bagel

  • Organic Croissant with cheese and turkey

  • Cinnamon bun

  • Toscan muffin with toffee truffle and banana

  • Chocolate ball

  • Ginger shot

Known for: International brews, frappucinos and their traditional Swedish dishes.

Site: Espresso House Chain Café

Each E.H. has it’s own times and the common hours are:

Monday to Friday 9:30 AM – 11.00 PM

Saturday 10.00 AM – 6.00 PM

Sunday 11.00 AM – 6.00 PM

The concept of first come, first serve has been religiously kept by these lovely cafés so in some places it might require a longer waiting time than others. Make sure to go for a brunch with a free schedule so you don’t have to stress yourself and enjoy your meal. These places also serve brunch menu all day so I would recommend late lunches or afternoon tea.

When in Stockholm, I recommend ordering as much salmon as you can especially for brunch and lunch. The Swedish salmon is wild with an apricot-colour flesh that is much healthier than common salmon.


Restaurants

Kasai | Japanese Cuisine | Östermalm

Kasai is an incredible restaurant that serves traditional and modern Japanese dishes. They have the classic dishes like sushi, sashimi and makis but also warm dishes like tempura, wagyu and fillets in Japanese style.

It’s a great place for a delicious dinner and drinks at any day of the week, even if you have early work the next day, you can enjoy one of their many delicious mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails).

The staff and atmosphere is so lovely it will make you feel at home both at the restaurant and at their own night club, Ochaya. Which has an incredible eye-catching Harajuku style decoration with great rap and pop music.

During spring and summer, the courtyard is open for guests to dine amongst their beautiful red leaves garden and lovely flowers.

It is probably the most expensive suggestion in this list, but it is also the best Japanese restaurant in town.

Known for: Sushi and mocktails

Site: Kasai Restaurant

Opening hours: Tuesday – toThursday 11.30 – 3.00

17.00 – 12.00

Friday 11:30 – 3.00

17.00 – 2.00

Saturday 1.00 – 4.00

17.00 – 2.00

Lebanon Meza Lounge | Lebanese Cuisine | Östermalm

Lebanese food is already delicious, imagine a buffet with all the traditional meals is food heaven. This chic restaurant is decorated with Lebanese beauty, perfect to dine out with the family and friends. At night the restaurant becomes a la carte making it the perfect place for a date.

Known for: Hummus and Lamb dishes

Site: Lebanon Meza Lounge Restaurant

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 11.00 – 00.00

Friday to Saturday 11.00 – 01.00

Brunch Saturday 12.00 – 16.00

Sunday 12.00 – 22.00

Supper | South American | Vasastan| Tegnérgatan 37

A beautiful restaurant with a great Latino vibe. The entrance corridor recreates the summery streets of South America. Inside the two dining rooms have their own style, one themed as a 1920s velvet diner and the other an inside-outside patio full of flowers and warm colours.

The food is also delicious and very difficult to choose due to their big variety of dishes. Luckily, the menu mainly consists of tapas so you can order several ones and share with loved ones. Here you can get meats, seafood and vegetarian dishes.

Tuna Tartar

Known for: Tuna Tartar and Ceviche

Site: Supper Restaurant

Opening hours: Every day at 17.00 to late

Berns Asiatiska | Asian Cuisine |Östermalm

Berns Dining Room

An insanely beautiful restaurant inside the extravagant Berns hotel. This restaurant was the first (and most beautiful) Chinese restaurant in Sweden that opened in the 1940’s. The restaurant is located in a legendary ball room with burgundy velvet armchairs and chandeliers. Giving real 40s vibes.

Today the quality of the dishes remains the same but it has expanded to flavours from all over Asia.

The restaurant also offers an incredible Easter buffet for lunch and dinner.

Make sure to also try their divine cocktails and worldwide wine selection.

Known for: Sushi and Dumplings

Site: Berns Asiatiska Restaurant

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 6.30 AM – 1.00 AM

Saturday to Sunday 7.30 AM – 1.00 AM

Yuc Mexican | Mexican Cuisine | Vasastan

Michelada Drinks

A delicious modern Mexican restaurant that turns into a trendy bar at night. The restaurant has all the delicious Mexican classics like tacos, taquitos, bocaditos and a variety of ceviche.

Make sure to save some space for their incredible desserts like chocolate fondue, dulce de leche ice cream cake and passion fruit suspiro. All delicious Mexican recipes.

This restaurant is also a great place to go for drinks. They offer classic and frozen margaritas but also their own cocktails like Michelada, a homemade salsa and tomato lime cocktail topped with a bottle of Corona beer! A must try drink. There’s also a delicious selection of mocktails for those who are alcohol free.

Known for: Sweet potato fries, ceviche and the Michelada cocktail

Site: Yuc Mexican Restaurant & Bar

Opening hours:

Sunday to Tuesday 5.00 PM – 11.00 PM

Wednesday to Thursday 5.00 AM – 12.00 AM

Friday to Saturday 5.00 AM – 1.00 AM

These amazing restaurants are always in high demand so make sure to book them at least one week before. If you are a large group of more than 4 people, I would also recommend making a reservation because Swedish restaurants aren’t usually prepared for a big group and have a special menu for the occasion.

London

Chelsea may be known for its famous football team and Fashion Week location, but little do most people know how beautiful and entertaining the area can also be. Last week I was in London and the city was in a lovely Autumn mood, which is my favorite season. With the color pink and floral arrangements all around. I am not a very big fan of the color but I couldn’t help falling in love with the scenery. Especially in Chelsea, where every neighbourhood and street was filled with beautiful flower arrangements and pastel colors. Walking around Sloane Street, you can find fashionable and antique stores that contribute to the theme of the city with their Victorian architecture. But it wasn’t only the outdoors that were inspired by the seasonal theme, the Saatchi Gallery is also a unique entertainment to check out during this time of the year. Where the founder, Charles Saatchi exhibits contemporary artwork by new artists from around the world. Surrounded by autumn colors, the gallery is the best place to stay inside, during the colder days.

As for a delicious drink, The Ivy restaurant was the best place to enjoy an afternoon tea, while watching the seasons change at their romantic and all-so flowery alfresco courtyard. There you can try the Ivy Garden Royale, their signature drink with rose liqueur. The restaurant makes a normal afternoon become fascinating. The restaurants and bars are always full all week and weekend long, so a reservation is highly recommended. Londoners love being out an being social, so it’s very likely that you will make friends in any place. During this delicious period, bartenders usually suggest cocktails with flower fragrances, that make you taste the sweetness of the season.

Chelsea pode ser conhecida por seu time de futebol ou por ser a localização do Fashion week, mas poucos sabem como a área é divertida e graciosa. Semana passada eu estava em Londres, toda a cidade estava em um clima adorável de outono, que é a minha estação favorita. A cor rosa e a decoração floral estavam em evidencia. Eu não sou a maior fã da cor rosa, mas não resisti ao seus charmosos encantos. Especialmente em Chelsea, onde cada rua e vizinhança estavam cheias de arranjos florais e cores pasteis. Enquanto passeia pela rua Sloane, você pode encontrar várias lojas elegantes que fazem a cara da cidade, por causa de sua arquitetura Vitoriana. Mas não era só os lugares ao ar livre que se inspiraram no tema sazonal, a Galeria Saatchi também e um lugar incomparável para você conferir durante essa época. Onde o fundador, Charles Saatchi, exibe arte contemporânea de artistas novos do mundo todo. Rodeado de cores de outono, a galeria e o melhor lugar interno para passar tempo nos dias mais frios.

Sobre uma bebida deliciosa, o restaurante The Ivy é o lugar para tomar um chá da tarde, enquanto assiste as estações mudando ao seu todo-florido pátio ao ar livre. Lá se pode experimentar o Ivy Garden Royale, uma de suas bebidas de assinatura que contém licor de rosas. Simplesmente o The Ivy faz uma tarde comum se transformar numa tarde fascinante. Restaurantes e bares da capital estão sempre cheios então fazer uma reserva e altamente recomendado. Os Londrinos amam sair e ser social que provavelmente você fará amigos em qualquer lugar. Nessa época tão doce do ano os bares geralmente o bartender sugere bebidas com fragrâncias de flores, eu diria que é uma experiência mais do que agradável que te fazer sentir intensamente o gosto dessa doce e suave estação.