The Azores.

Ok I’m going to start off strong here: The Azores is my favorite place I’ve EVER visited with my family. (Santorini still has my heart for romance). Yep. Favorite.

This chain of 9 islands in the middle of the Atlantic is beyond beautiful and serves up something for kids and adults at every turn. If you are going to Europe and you want to add a stop-over city on your way, or break up a long flight to mainland Europe, stop by the Azores. Delta flies there direct from NYC to Ponta Delgada (their only airport) and this newish flight has got lots of people discovering the islands, so I suggest you see this gem before hordes of other people do;)

There are beautiful spots on all 9 islands but with long boat rides and driving times – we decided that staying on Sao Miguel (the main island pictured above) was a great fit with kids as there is plenty to see in 5 days. Sao Miguel is 10 miles north to south and 40 miles east to west.

A big decision before you go is to rent a car or to take taxis. Bike riding is not a thing. I will tell you that if you rent a car for 5 days or take cabs, you will end up spending the same amount of money. This was a no-brainer for me…navigating windy roads with a GPS in my hand is not a vacation – it’s how divorces start. Plus, the cab drivers are great to talk to and they know the history and vibe of the island. My favorite moments were just watching the hydrangea-lined roads and countryside. It’s personal preference but I prefer a week sans parking and petrol thank you very much.