Here's a smart deal to a place most people probably haven't been to: The Azores. This remote, nine-island archipelago, originally settled by the Portuguese, is located about two hours from Lisbon in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (some people believe that they are the remnants of the lost continent of Atlantis). This deal is for the main island, Sao Miguel, Azores, costs just $709 for six nights and seven days, offered by Azores Express Tours (tel. 800/762-9995; www.sata.pt). The package covers air and six nights of accommodations, breakfast with flights from Boston and the lowest advertised price reflects travel January 7-March 31, 2009 and November-December 2009. The special is valid for travel through June 15, 2009 as long as you book by April 2009, and the trip has departures on Tuesdays. Kids six and under stay for free and only pay child's airfare. The company advises booking at least two weeks in advance. Other hotels are available for an upgrade in price and amenities. Airport taxes and fees are not included in the price.
After flying four hours from Boston you'll land in the capital city of Ponta Delgada in Sao Miguel. Accommodations are at the Hotel Ponta Delgada, which is fully equipped with a pool, gym, solarium, air conditioning and other modern amenities including wireless access in public spaces. The food in the city tends toward the fresh and the fishy, the islands are verdant, and the activities in the surrounding area at your disposal range from hiking and biking to bird watching and visiting geysers and natural spas. The Azores are well known for their whale and dolphin watching opportunities -- the latter takes place aboard small motorboats, allowing you to get up close and personal. When you are tired of that, churches, chapels, and cathedrals feature prominently into the architecture of the Azores.