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You will be in complete awe when you first glance out the airplane window at the Azores. You’ll see why people refer to this Portuguese archipelago as the “Islands of Colors” and “Hawaii of Europe” after taking just one look.

São Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Flores, and Corvo are the nine main Azores islands. They are situated in the center of the Atlantic, midway between the USA and mainland Portugal.

Anticipate verdant meadows interspersed with roaming native cattle, affectionately called “happy cows” in the area, and lagoons situated at the base of dormant volcanoes. Thermal springs provide the opportunity for a warm plunge, with warmth rising from the earth’s interior, and very fresh ingredients contribute to a distinctively flavorful regional cooking.

You won’t forget your unforgettable visit to the Azores. If you haven’t been before, continue reading and start making plans.

When is the ideal time of year to visit the Azores?

Since the Azores are a year-round destination, your priorities should be your activities and spending limit. The busiest and most costly season is summer, when a large number of visitors from the mainland arrive to take in the sights or see family.

While winter might bring harsh weather, shoulder seasons tend to be more laid back and less expensive. Due to their location in the midst of the ocean, the islands are particularly vulnerable to winter storms that originate in the Atlantic, which can have an impact on travel plans and airplane travel.

Be ready to experience all four seasons in a single day when you visit. It’s possible to trek up a mountain in bright, sunny conditions just to find yourself faced with freezing cold, torrential rain, and poor visibility. Always carry a waterproof layer in your backpack and don’t leave without carrying one.

Temperatures range from roughly 68–79°F (20–26°C) in the summer to roughly 60–71°F (15.5–22°C) in the shoulder seasons and 53–64°F (12–18°C) in the winter. Remember that temperatures on these isolated islands can fluctuate significantly from place to place.

Is traveling to the Azores easy?

The largest island in the Azores, São Miguel serves as a hub to access the other eight. International flights arrive at the Ponta Delgada airport from the US, Canada, and several other European nations; Terceira is also served by transatlantic flights. The simplest way to go to the azores portugal  mainland is via Lisbon or Porto if you can’t find a nonstop flight.

Every island in the Azores may be reached via internal flights operated by the local airline SATA, departing from São Miguel. Another option is the Azores Air Pass from SATA, which gives visitors discounted access to up to three islands.

By ferry, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Flores, and Corvo are all served by Atlanticoline.

Note that air and water conditions can cause disruptions to the departure schedule, so your aircraft or boat legs may vary. If you intend to visit more than one island in the Azores, especially during the winter, it is a good idea to be flexible with your itinerary.

How would you navigate the Azores?

The best way to see these stunning islands is to rent a car. Making the most of your trip requires having the flexibility to go at your own speed and see more off-the-beaten-path places because there is so much to see and do. Furthermore, you may go throughout the larger islands, such São Miguel (287 sq miles), Pico (172 sq miles), or Terceira (154 sq miles), with ease if you rent a car.

It is possible to transport your hired vehicle on the boat that connects parts of the islands, such as the Pico-Faial-São Jorge triangle. With the exception of Corvo, all islands offer public transportation.

When you get at your location, get out and explore on foot because these islands have breathtaking views. Explore the natural surroundings by strolling along the dirt roads and taking in the sights and sounds of the birds, cascading waterfalls, and blooming, damp greenery.

How long will it take me to travel to the Azores?

Everything is dependent upon your goals. São Miguel is an excellent choice for first-time travelers due to its abundance of activities, stunning scenery, and excellent dining and lodging options. It should take five days to get a decent taste.

To really appreciate the richness of this archipelago, however, allow two to three weeks to visit each island and discover what makes it unique, as well as why it is unquestionably one of Europe’s most remarkable travel destinations.

The best activities in the Azores

See how the history and scenery of the islands have been shaped by volcanoes.

When you see the dark-gray stone used in the historic structures and the black sand on the beaches, you’ll know you’re on top of a cluster of volcanoes. When you visit São Miguel, you can even feel the volcanic activity on your skin since heat from the island’s interior depths warms the water at thermal springs rich in iron.

In the Furnas region, the traditional cozido dos Açores (Azorean stew) is cooked by the same heat. Chefs immerse meat and vegetables in the ground for up to seven hours, and the result is a scalding hot dish with a kick of sulfur. Natural pools can be found in Terceira and São Jorge, where the rugged Atlantic waves carve out the stone and the volcanic rock provides simultaneous heating.

Half of the island’s population fled when the undersea Vulcão dos Capelinhos erupted in the 1950s in Faial. Contextual information about the current volcanic activity in and around the Azores is provided via an interpretive center close to the eruption site.

hike for several days

You’re in luck if you want to get back to nature and take in the unadulterated beauty of breathtaking scenery. Every island features hiking trails that take you deep into the untamed heart of the island, where you can see waterfalls that drop from the highest peaks of the mountains or lagoons formed inside of dormant volcanoes.

Mt Pico is another must-see location in the Azores, located on the island of the same name. It’s a difficult climb to Portugal’s highest point. On a clear day, though, the breathtaking view from the summit makes the effort worthwhile.

Visit the nearby vineyards in Pico, which are a part of a landscape recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sip a bottle of wine and look out to sea; you might sight a pod of playful dolphins or even some enormous whales.

Combine a visit to a tea factory with a whale-watching excursion.

There is much more to do in the Azores than just explore the outdoors. Join a whale-watching cruise, see cheese factories, observe the growth of spiky fruit at pineapple plantations, or spend an hour or two at Europe’s oldest (and maybe only) tea plantation, the Gorreana Tea Factory, on São Miguel. The factory and museum, which include a plethora of antique machinery, some of which is still in operation, are open for free visits by staff members. After the tour, raise a cup to commemorate your visit.

My preferred activity in the Azores

The peace you need to escape and detach from the outside world can be found in the Azorean fajãs, which are little seaside towns situated against massive cliffs.

I suggest the magical (but challenging to reach) Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo in São Jorge. The Caldeira de Santo Cristo Trail, which begins in Serra do Topo, can be used to get there on foot. The small village, its homes, the church, and the expansive lagoon that stretches close to the sea are all progressively revealed as one descends. Alternatively, you can travel there on a quad bike, departing from Fajã dos Cubres. Make travel arrangements in advance with your lodging.

There’s hardly any cell phone or internet service once you get to Fajã de Santo Cristo, so you’ll have to unplug and take it slow. This is the perfect spot to unwind, read a book, explore the lagoon in a kayak, or sample the clams from O Borges, the area’s oldest restaurant.

In the Azores, how much money do I need?

There are accommodations for every kind of traveler in the Azores, ranging from five-star hotels to welcoming homestays. All price ranges for accommodation, dining, and island trips are catered to. If you are visiting during peak season, your car rental will probably be your largest expense, so try to book it in advance and as soon as possible.

The average daily costs you should anticipate are as follows:

  • Two nights in a four-star hotel starting at €150
  • Hostel dorm room: starting at €45
  • Apartment for self-catering: from €100
  • Rental automobile: a modest car starts at €35 per day.
  • Dinner for two at Furnas: €30
  • Beer: €1.50, Coffee: €1.
  • Hot springs entry fee: €8

Recall to engage with nature in a safe manner.

One of the greatest things you can do in the Azores is to explore the numerous volcanic craters and lagoons tucked away in the interior of the islands. Remember that we should handle these remarkable natural ecosystems with extreme caution.

Following designated pathways is the simplest way to show respect for the local area by not upsetting the animals or harming any vegetation. In addition to safeguarding the plants and halting soil erosion, many also keep you safe by avoiding slick or unstable terrain.

Even while the lagoons appear like the ideal place for a refreshing swim, most of them are unsafe for swimming or bathing due to safety concerns. Observe the safety instructions posted at every lagoon.

Lastly, remember that the weather can change suddenly, particularly in higher elevations. Before starting a long hike, check the weather prediction to be sure you won’t find yourself in a dangerous situation halfway through.

What to bring on a trip to the Azores

We advise packing a lightweight rain jacket, a breathable fleece layer that you can pull on and off on the go, waterproof walking boots, and trekking poles because of the unpredictable weather and opportunities for outdoor adventure in the Azores. For all of this, you’ll need a sturdy backpack for exploring this enchanted island.

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