Scattered like shards across a million square kilometres of the North Atlantic, west of Portugal the nine islands of the Azores are unmistakably volcanic.
For now, this green and breezy archipelago is snoozing in the temperate embrace of the Gulf Stream; the last significant onshore eruptions were in 1811. However, over thirty of its volcanoes remain active, and regular tremors and underwater seismic events serve to remind that every crag, crater and cave was sculpted by geothermal forces.
Mountain landscape with hiking trail and view of beautiful lakes Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores © Valerija Polakovska/Shutterstock
This might seem like a perilous place to live, but Azorean foodies embrace their role as volcano-dwellers, growing hothouse pineapples, bananas, guavas and passionfruit in the fertile soil and harvesting plump, meaty clams from volcanic lagoons.