Ask Getaway: Explore the Hidden Gem That Is the Azores

High angle view of the coast, Sao Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal. Photo Courtesy: De Agostini/Getty Images

Despite increased vaccination efforts, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has grounded most folks' international travel plans this summer. For now, the safest (and smartest) way to visit faraway escapes might still be via your phone or computer screen, but, on the other hand, there's no harm in doing a bit of planning for the near future. And, if you're looking for an exciting post-pandemic escape, there's perhaps nowhere as beautiful as the Azores. 

This archipelago, which is located in the Macaronesian Region of the North Atlantic Ocean, is roughly 850 miles west of continental Portugal. The chain of nine volcanic islands is actually one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal — Madeira being the other — and, for decades, it was a relative secret to foreign tourists. So, how should you start planning your trip to this wonderful spot? We've gathered a few tips and suggestions.

Editor's Note: For information on the latest pandemic-related travel requirements and advisories, be sure to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites, as well as airline and destination requirements regarding mask wearing, quarantine, and COVID-19 testing.