The Azores is an enchanting region of Portugal that’s made up of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. Compared to many island destinations, the Azores aren’t touristy, noisy, or polluted. Instead, travelers can expect to discover untouched nature, stunning panoramic views, and charming villages with rich cultural traditions. Here are the key details you should know to begin planning your trip to the Azores.
Nature lovers will be thrilled to discover all of the outdoor excursions available to them in the Azores. This is a prime spot for hiking, diving, fishing, and whale watching. Some of the top outdoor sights to see include the calderas of Lagoa das Sete Cidades and Lagoa das Furnas and Pico Island, where you can climb the tallest mountain in Portugal. Sao Miguel is the biggest and my populated island, and there are lots of historic homes, restaurants, hotels, and shops here.
If You Have Time
Although Sao Miguel is the most popular place to visit and stay, the other islands of the Azores are certainly worth a visit as well. The most southern island of Santa Maria has great beaches and is accessible from Sao Miguel by ferry. Try to visit the Port of Angra in Terceira, which is a World Heritage Site and in close vicinity to the hundreds of traditional bullfights that are held every summer. Head to the most westerly island of Flores to see the picturesque coast lined with wildflowers and grazing sheep.
Free Things to Do
- Visit the beach to take a dip in the comfortable 70-degree water
- Take the five-hour trek to the peak of volcanic Mount Pico
- Go birdwatching to see some of the Azores 300+ species of birds
- Take a stroll around the 15th century town of Angra do Heroismo to learn about local history
Most travelers will arrive to the Azores by plane through the Ponta Delgada Airport, and although each island has its own airport, flights often only depart once daily. The best way to get around the Azores is by car, and there are some really scenic drives to experience here. Buses operate around the islands, but service can be infrequent and unavailable on Sundays and holidays.
Cycling should only be attempted if you are in great shape because the terrain is rugged and steep. It’s especially enjoyable to take boat to get from island to island, since most towns have ports and are along the shoreline.
There are many dining options available to Azores travelers, depending on their budget. The best cuisine is Portuguese, however, you can find Italian and vegetarian restaurants as well.
Money Saving Tips
- Consider flying SATA International, which connects to four Azores islands
- Explore outdoor sites on your own instead of hiring a guide
- Frequent local bars and restaurants instead of touristy ones
- Check out our homepage to view price comparisons for flights, hotels, and rental cars before you book
- A general tip – increases the chance of finding good cheap hotels in your destination by being flexible with dates and areas. Happy travels!