In association with: Visit Portugal
Step into 21st-century wellbeing in a country whose multi-faceted territories and terrain offer so much
The Azores are one of Europe’s prime destinations for thermal waters, set amid dramatic and lush landscapes that take in tea plantations and rainforests. The iron-rich pools bordered by towering green ferns and tropical vegetation create a steamy primeval experience.
The astonishing volcanic crater setting of Furnas, on São Miguel Island, is where you can take dips in free hot springs pools, have a natural clay face mask, enjoy a cascading waterfall massage and even try corn cooked in bubbling geysers.
Alternatively, try the Ferraria thermal ocean pool, set in the sea on the southwest of the island and bordered by arresting rock formations.
Just a 20-minute-flight away from Funchal, Porto Santo, part of Madeira, is the perfect base for a blissfully tranquil holiday focusing on every aspect of your wellbeing. There are plenty of therapies and spa treatments on offer, ranging from psamotherapy (hot sands treatments) to thalassotherapy (seawater treatments), but in some ways it’s the therapy the island itself has to offer that is the most memorable.
Submerging yourself in the natural pools at Porto das Salemas, hiking up the arduous but rewarding peaks of Pico Castelo, Pico do Facho or Pico Juliana (or all three), and exploring the caves and unique ‘organ pipes’ of Pico de Ana Ferreira, will make you feel that you have truly found paradise.
Three of the best wellness experiences
1. Hike to the Portela viewpoint
Gazing out across the varied landscapes of our beautiful planet is exhilarating and humbling; doing it after the strenuous hike to the Portela viewpoint or the top of Porto Santo’s Pico do Castelo is doubly so.
2. Sample a vinotherapy treatment
As well as drinking the wine in Madeira, you can also soak in it; grape and wine-related treatments on the island include red wine bath immersion.
3. Watch the sun rise or set
For two of the best spiritual experiences, take a dawn clamber to the caves of Porto Santo’s Pico de Ana Ferreira for a magical sunrise, or hike to Miradouro das Flores for a beautiful sunset.
PICTURES: Albapimenta; Adèle Tehery
Find out more at visitportugal.com