The Azores is an unprecedentedly beautiful and breathtaking destination for drone photographers. This one Portuguese archipelago guarantees a lot of natural beauty and beautiful views. This article is written by Guest blogger Johan. Johan is a professional drone photographer from Belgium who recently traveled to the Azores to make this beautiful photo report. Read, watch and enjoy!
Since January 1, 2021, it is mandatory for private individuals and companies to obtain an EU drone license. You can realize this quickly and easily through the online courses with exams from Drone Class. This allows you to fly in a responsible manner.
The 'EU drone driving license' is also accepted outside the EU in most cases, so it is advisable to have it with you at all times when you take your drone into the air, anywhere in the world.
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Traveling during Covid-19
Normally I would now be exploring some exotic sounding destination, enjoying and sweating in the sun. Instead, the world traveler in me languishes silently in my apartment in gray and cold Brussels. Covid-19 is no stranger to anyone and has stranded me here too.
I'm not going to lie, after 15 months of traveling the world with my girlfriend, this does seem strange. I miss the daily kicks and the ever new adventures. I can't even pick up my old routines, because we are in semi-lockdown and all catering and sports clubs are closed. Belgium closed again.
Travel within Europe
Then we'll have to give it another go, we thought. The borders within Europe are not closed per se. We already have some fantastic roadtrips behind us through France, the Netherlands and Germany. A campervan is the ideal solution to be able to travel safely through Corona. But despite the many beautiful locations nearby (really!), we have Europe no wild volcanic landscapes and migrating humpback whales for example, as we have seen in Indonesia en Australië...or is it?
Why travel to the azores?
A few weeks ago the idea of the Azores came up. This is a volcanic archipelago that is part of Portugal – So Europe, but almost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Tourism is also still only moderately developed, yet it is only a 6:30 flight from Brussels (via Lisbon† That all sounds very appealing in itself, doesn't it? In addition, there are very few Corona infections, precisely because they are so well isolated and require everyone to take a test before and during a Covid-19 test. Great, let's go!
Off season to the Azores
Wait a minute, because online I read that the end of November is really completely out of season and we can expect a lot of wind and rain. In addition, most whales migrate around April-May June, so no luck either. But hey, why not... at least it can only be better than here at home, right?
And what a good decision this turned out to be! Yes, we had a lot of wind and rain during those 2 weeks. But the weather changes so quickly that a few hours later you get sun and blue sky again. Because the islands are full of volcanoes, it also depends on where exactly you are. In the east of the island it can still be seriously foggy, while in the west I lie on our terrace in my swimming shorts, enjoying the sun.
Luckily they have an app (SpotAzores) that shows you the weather conditions in all key locations using webcams. This way you know exactly when you have to start stepping up to, for example, the largest volcanic lake – the Lagoon of Fire – to discover it in all its glory. Because 9 chances out of 10, it is otherwise completely in the dark.
São Miguel (Azores)
Volcanic Lakes around Sete Cidades
We spent most of our time on São Miguel, the largest of the 9 islands. You can easily keep yourself busy for a week here. There is so much to see! A few highlights are definitely the volcanic lakes around Sete Cidades† What a beautiful location, real postcard material. And you can walk all around it too. Give yourself enough time and be sure to wear sturdy walking shoes, because sometimes you literally walk on the rim of an immense crater.
The only tea plantation in Europe
Don't forget to visit the only tea plantation in Europe. The “Chá” was brought here by Chinese masters and the plantations are so beautifully laid out. In the old factory (Fábrica de Chá) you can still see the traditional machines at work. But the best part is of course a walk through the tea fields themselves.
Driving along the coast
Furthermore, it is worthwhile to simply drive down the coast by car and enjoy all the beautiful views along the way. From unique mini-crater islands over charming harbors to rough rocks through which the sea chases its waves. Everywhere your mouth falls open.
Tip: are you looking for more useful info and things to do on this beautiful island? Then read the tips for Sao Miguel with our neighbors of mytravelsecret.nl
We also spent a few days on Terceira. This island is in the middle of the group. And the landscape is completely different again. A lot of animal husbandry is done here and seen from above it looks like a patchwork quilt.
Serra do Cume
You have the best view from atop the Serra do Cume, where you can overlook half of the island. But Terceira also has very jagged rocks along the coastline, where the crashing of the waves sounds continuously around your ears.
Swim with dolphins in Faial
As icing on the cake, we swam on Faial with wild dolphins and we saw a 12-metre-long sperm whale with her young that came to gasp next to our boat, before she swam back into the depth with a strong blow of her tail (up to 1.000m deep), looking for even more tasty squid.
Top Destination for Drone Photographers
I don't think I need to tell you anymore what a great feeling I have about this journey. The incredibly wild landscapes, combined with a Western culture, make the Azores a top destination. And for me as a drone photographer, in between the rain showers, this was truly paradise.
In fact, I'm so excited that I want to go back in early May 2021 with a group of drone photographers. Because then it is spring and the humpback whales (13-16m) and the blue whales (25m) are there too! Would you like to be there? Then don't hesitate to contact me!
During the lockdown this year he has his own Drone Adventurer Master Class where he teaches his students how to take great drone photos and videos just like himself. Discover everything on www.droneadventuremasterclass.com
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