ROAD TRIP: MAZDA 2
THE Azores, a cluster of islands, technically part of Portugal but 1000 miles off its coast, are in the same time zone as Iceland and similarly formed from volcanoes to the extent that they’re sometimes referred to as Europe’s Hawaii.
They wouldn’t be most people’s first thought for a driving holiday, particularly as not too many drivers could even point to them on a map. Indeed, speaking with some of the locals, they noted that some maps don’t even include the archipelago of nine small islands.
However, if you’re looking for a couple of days away driving on perfect roads and taking in astounding views, then the Azores really should be on your radar.
We flew to the largest and most populous island in the chain, Sao Miguel, which is still so small it would fit twice inside London. From there, tourists can easily hire a car and set off.
Our route would be undertaken in a Mazda 2, navigating the entire island, along coastal roads, across inactive volcanoes and via incredible mountain passes.
Even this is manageable in one day, with plenty of time for sightseeing.
With some tight winding roads ahead, the Mazda 2 was the perfect combination of small and manoeuvrable but with enough space for our luggage.
This SE-L had five doors, reasonable boot space for two people, and easy to use satnav and infotainment.
There are some strange rules on the island’s roads, such as: Always assume there will be another car parked just beyond a blind corner, or someone stood in the road with a wheelbarrow, and other