One of the best-kept secrets still to exist in the Azores are the magnificent crater lakes on the small island of Flores at the Northern-tip of the archipelago. Here on this small island paradise exists some of the most beautiful flora and pastoral scenes in all of the Azores. It is here that mother nature has taken over and spread her beauty to all corners of this enchanted and friendly island. This is always a favorite for me to visit as it is so quiet and peaceful with just enough stimulating city life to keep you entertained while the amazing countryside fill your eyes and imagination with pleasure and awe. The island is named Flores which in English is translated into ‘Flowers’ and the name suits the island perfectly. I have never seen so many hydrangeas adorn the countrysides and roadways as I have seen here.This is always the first thing everyone begins talking about on the plane or when they are planning their trip to the island of Flores. This is an amazing opportunity to experience one of the most unspoiled spots in all of Europe. The small island hosts a population of just a few thousands residents; the majority in the agriculture or fisheries sectors making this a peaceful, tranquil little paradise in the Atlantic.The views of the island from almost any location is breathtaking as you have the majestic blue of the Atlantic as a backdrop from almost anywhere you are on the island. This is a very special place with so many natural artifacts and unique biospheres to explore. This is a perfect location for those looking to get a more nature based experience instead of the busy hustle and bustle of many of the other European islands in the summer.The island thrives on continuing its advances on becoming a 100% sustainable island like the other 8 islands in the Azores; which are all working to achieve this goal of sustainable, renewable energy production. Another unique trait of this island is the fact that the government has limited the use of pesticides and fungicides to treat the plants and crops. It is small measures like these which has allowed the products from the region to be recognized as some of the European Unions finest since they are produced in such a healthy region. The island is accessible by cruise ship, by ferry; which has daily crossings from the neighboring island of Pico and Faial or by plane; which is a quick flight from either Sao Miguel or Terceira island. The flight from Sao Miguel is around 30 minutes and you get to pass over some of the other Azorean islands on your journey North to Flores while getting to admire the tip of Pico’s beautiful mountain top from the air; which is Portugal’s highest point. The history of the island is much more surprising than one would begin to imagine. This island was seen by the powers in Europe as an excellent strategic location in the North-Atlantic and often it’s coastlines would be stalked waiting for precious cargo ships to pass or stopover at the island from the new world. The mystery and allure of the pirate ships from North Africa coming up to raid and loot the island’s wealth and resources caused the King of Portugal and the Donatary-Captain of the island (which is a modern-day viceroy) to reinforce the island by installing proper battle stations and lighthouse along the islands coast to protect the residents from the constant parade of English, French and North-African pirate ships pacing the island’s shores. This is a must see island if you love the peace and quiet of a Tuscan countryside setting with great food and culture except located in a much more affordable and just as beautiful of a location. There are some very beautiful bed and breakfasts and small hotels on the island that offer excellent amenities and will help you with anything you need to make your island experience more enjoyable. The restaurants and coffee shops are not in short supply and the fresh quality of the food is something to be savored. This is a very affordable trip with airfare from a surrounding Azorean island, hotel accommodation and food being far less than anywhere else you may travel in Europe and the rewards of the beauty and uniqueness of the island will be a cherished memory for sure.