The Azores are full of places that stop visitors dead in their tracks and cause a sharp, involuntary intake of breath. But the first glimpse of this enormous caldera with its sparkling twin lakes might just be the most eye-popping of them all. Sete Cidades is criss-crossed by superb walking trails, including a 12km circuit of the hydrangea-fringed rim and several routes leading down to the water’s edge.
Surrounded by thickly forested cliffs, this landscape has a fairy-tale quality, so it comes as no surprise that Sete Cidades is the source of Azorean legend. According to that, the lakes – one blue, one green – formed from the tears of a shepherd and princess who shared a forbidden love. You might well shed a few tears (of joy) at the scenery.