The Azores Europe’s Hawaii TOP 11 THINGS TO DO in Islands of Adventure. Azores is a volcanic archipelago with a beautiful panorama in Portugal. Unlike the city of Porto or Lisbon, this island is very synonymous with a volcanic eruption that has finally created an amazing island thousands of years ago. The Azores have been called “Europe’s Hawaii”. The Azores are one of Portugal’s outermost regions in the Pacific Ocean, apart from the island of Madeira. The archipelago, located 1,450 km west of mainland Portugal, has a population of about 245,000, with the largest island being São Miguel.
Watch video: Discover the Azores: wonderful things to do in islands of adventure
The Azores are famous for their perfect views of the ocean, lakes and spectacular lagoons. When you travel to this island, you will be able to find the attractions of dolphins and whales on the high seas. Another uniqueness that you can get is a lake that looks like a perfect circle and is connected to the sea directly.
How to get to the Azores ?
From North America: There are direct flights to Boston, Toronto, and seasonally to Oakland and Montreal. They are mainly run by Azores Airlines. The shortest flight is just four hours from Boston and five hours from New York and Toronto. Azores Airlines and Delta fly direct on year-round interline flights with WestJet in Canada and Virgin Airlines and JetBlue in the US.
From Europe: Budget airlines Ryanair and Easyjet started flying direct to So Miguel and Terceira a few years ago. You can fly direct from places like London, Munich, Frankfurt, Lisbon and Porto. There are also seasonal direct flights to Amsterdam, Geneva and Brussels.
The Azores is remote, but they’re pretty easy to fly. The largest airport is on the island of São Miguel, followed by Terceira airport. Stopover in the Azores: If you’re between North America and Europe, consider stopping in the Azores. Much like Iceland, the Azores tout themselves as a stopover between Europe and North America. Azores Airlines have promotions for Azores stopovers. During high season, there are flights between islands. Ferry service can be spotty, and many boats only run for a limited time around summer.
If you want to travel to two islands from the US, it is best to make your airline bookings at the same time. In other words, frugal will want a Boston-Ponta Delgada-Terceira ticket rather than splitting the Boston-Ponte Delgada and Ponta Delgada-Terceira journey.
What Languages do People Speak in Azores ?
This place believe it or not the number of American tourists visiting the Azores has increased 300% in the last five years. The Azores were normally only visited by immigrant Azorean residents, but now welcome Europeans Canadians and Americans of all ages, to its land imagines who you might meet on your travels The Azores welcomes all tourists safely welcome and the people are very friendly it also speaks English which makes communicating much easier.
When is the best time to go to The Azores ?
The best time to visit the Azores is from June to September. This is not a tropical destination, but it is light and sunny during the summer. As everywhere in Europe, you may want to avoid August, as it is consistently the busiest month of the year. The weather is fantastic during August, but the crowds and prices may be less than optimal. If you don’t need to travel in August, consider one of the other summer months. Otherwise, order early.
Spent some time in the Azores in winter. It’s great for hiking or enjoying the hot springs in São Miguel, but the temperature and rainfall don’t make it an ideal time to visit the many activities.
What is the average climate in the Azores ?
The climate in the Azores is great all year round, there’s really no such thing as off-season here as temperatures are mild all year round averaging 12 degrees or 53 Fahrenheit in winter and 23 degrees or 73 Fahrenheit in summer. So, whether rain or shine, winter or summer, the Azores Islands never lose their charm, something to appreciate.
The climate in the Azores is truly erratic. You can have four seasons in one day. The best ideal occasions to go to the Azores are in the spring and summer. If you are here in June, it has mostly closed but dry days. There were several sunny and sunny days and only one soggy day. The natural pool is still a bit chilly, if you want to swim it might be better to wait until summer.
Summer is high season in the Azores. Thus, it is the busiest period. July and August are the driest months, and during the summer, temperatures rise to 25 degrees. August and September are the best months if you want to join the locals in a natural pool. In August and September, the sea water warms up to about 23 degrees.
Temperatures rise to around 20 degrees Celsius in the spring. During the day, at least 16 degrees, at night it cools down to about 10 degrees. The amount of rain is gradually decreasing. The Azores is a very green destination, which means there is a chance of rain all year round. Most fall in the fall and winter and to a lesser extent in early spring.
It’s June, and despite having one really wet day, most enjoy dry, albeit often threatening, weather.Spring is also a great time to visit as there are many festivals (fiestas) at that time.When you arrive on an island, be sure to go through the tourist information office to check if there is anything special during the days of your visit.
The islands are quite dead during the winter. Some residents will even leave the island and winter elsewhere.The others remained on the island, but their usual winter in the Azores was a long period of watching television, as there was really nothing to do.
From October, the temperature begins to drop, and there is more precipitation. Temperatures drop to between 18 degrees during the day, and 12 degrees at night.The end of summer also marks the end of the seasonal ferry route.In the off-season, there are only boats between São Jorge, Pico and Faial, although ferry services between Flores and Corvo also remain in operation year-round. Azores Airlines provide year-round flights between islands, but flights are likely to be canceled or delayed due to changing weather.
Who should go to the Azores ?
Active travelers interested in island culture and activities will find a match here. Activities include trekking, boating and kayaking, golf, paragliding and diving. Here you will find the islands with tropical characteristics, but European character. You can swim and boat during the day, then sit down for a typical meal with good wine in the evening.
What’s Not In The Azores You Might Expect?
It might surprise you to know that the beach is not the main attraction in the Azores. However, swimmers and divers can make quite a bit of time in the Azores; the water is warmed by the flow of the bay, and there are plenty of opportunities to swim in the “natural pools” formed from the collapse of a small volcanic crater.
What Might Surprise You in the Azores ?
The Azores used to be the main supplier of oranges to the mainland. After the disease has wiped out the plant, tea and pineapple are introduced. You can tour two tea plantations with a tasting room on the island of San Miguel. You can also visit a pineapple plantation. The pineapple has become a part of Azores cuisine, most people have a large chunk after dinner, but it is also served with a small roasted blood sausage as a signature appetizer.
The Azores used to be the main supplier of oranges to the mainland. After the disease has wiped out the plant, tea and pineapple are introduced. You can tour two tea plantations with a tasting room on the island of San Miguel. You can also visit a pineapple plantation. The pineapple has become a part of Azores cuisine, most people have a large chunk after dinner, but it is also served with a small grilled sausage as a signature appetizer.
11 Best Things To Do in The Azores
Here are 11 interesting destinations in the Azores Islands that must be visited, certainly presenting a unique and unbeatable atmosphere.
This may be the most populous and thriving city of the Azores, but with its pleasant cobblestone streets, 16th-century churches and charming waterfront promenade, visitors to Ponta Delgada will feel like they’ve stepped back in time.
Peek through the iconic city gates, Portas DA Cidade, at the impressive church, Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião, and marvel at how the islanders cleverly incorporate their volcanic environment into everyday life. For these two structures, the city benches and even the sidewalks are made mostly of volcanic basalt, adding a classy monochrome filter to the city.
The stunning facade of the Palacio de Sant’Ana deviates from this palette and is well worth the short stroll inland, while the serenity of António Borges Park is a pleasant stopping point along the way.
The Islet of Vila Franca does Campo is a natural tourist spot in the form of a beautiful lagoon located on the island of São Miguel, precisely opposite the town of Vila Franca do Campo. The formation of this small island is the result of volcanic activity that forms an underwater crater. This place becomes the most popular tourist spot in São Miguel, especially when the Bull Cliff Diving Championship festival is held on the island.
Sete Cidades, São Miguel
While the Azores are blessed with endless displays of natural beauty, nothing comes close to surprising Sete Cidades. This enormous volcano Caldeira and its legendary mystical green lakes – literally – are said to have been formed by the tears of a shepherd and a princess who shared a forbidden love.
Start in the quiet town, nestled on the water’s edge in the center of the crater, and marvel at the fabled church of Sao Nicolau – a stunning basalt structure at the end of a tree-lined trail. From there, stroll to the shores of the lake and be dwarfed by the impressive caldera walls that cover the area.
Then take the winding, blue hydrangea lined path to the abandoned Monte Palace Hotel and from its enviable location at the top of the crater rim, look down on the spectacle that is Sete Cidades. From here, you can appreciate the colossal geological strength required to carve a Caldeira on such a scale, as the stunning landscape extends as far as the eye can see. Inside the Azores abandoned hotel On the rooftop of the Monte Palace Hotel, there’s a colorful piece of graffiti that says “welcome to the best of views”, and with the glory of Sete Cidades unfolding in front of you, it’s hard not to agree.
Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Vitórias is one of the interesting buildings in Furnas, São Miguel with gothic-style architecture. This building was founded by Jose do Canto in 1882 with the basalt and Tuff rocks found on the island. In addition, this church is located just south of Lake Furnas with beautiful views.
There are many places on earth that are home to sites where people can bathe in waters naturally warmed by geothermal activity. However, those in Sao Miguel differ in that it is possible to experience the hot springs like swimming in the sea.
Ponta the Ferraria is located about 16 miles northwest of Ponta Delgada and is accessed by a rather steep road, which twists and turns to the luxury spa – Termas DA Ferraria. Continue along the coastal path to where the real attraction awaits – beautiful, natural basalt pools form where cool seawater blends with thermal currents to create a relaxing haven.
Algar do Carvão is an underground cave located on the island of Teiceira, and was formed due to volcanic activity. This cave saves a very beautiful view with a clear spring in the cave which is very stunning. In addition, at the mouth of the cave there are moss plants so that the view of this cave is more beautiful and green.
The warm waters of Terra Nostra in Furnas are also great for soaking. Don’t be put off by the appearance of a muddy brown in the pool, as this is created by the volume of minerals in the water that are said to do wonders for the skin. The baths are located on the serene grounds of the Terra Nostra garden, which was built in 1780 by the American consul Thomas Hickling. Hickling’s stately home overlooks the water and is surrounded by gardens that beautifully display over 2,000 species of trees.
There is one more historical tourist destination in the Azores, namely the Fortress of São João Baptista, which is precisely located on the island of Teiceira. This fort was first conceived in the 16th century to protect the island from attacks by other nations and pirates and was designed by an Italian architect named Tommaso Benedetto. This magnificent fort is now one of the interesting historical tours in the Azores Islands with a beautiful building design and has a unique structure.
Faial is only a short one hour flight from Sao Miguel and like its greater neighbour, the landscape is filled with evidence of a volcanic past. Nothing is clearer than the crater that dominates the island, Caldeira do Faial. The giant cone is Faial’s highest point, standing at over 1,000 m, and its parking lot is reached via a scenic winding drive from the main town of Horta. From here, stroll through a dramatic rock tunnel before coming face to face with the vast crater. It’s a stunning view over Faial and Pico on the horizon and can be appreciated from all angles with a complete 8km rim trail.
When you wander among such timeless beauties, it is easy to assume that they are all the product of a distant era. Capelinhos, a volcano on the west coast of Faial, is proof that the Azores are still very much a geographical work in progress. To most charred, a land mass that looked like Mars only emerged from the sea in the late 1950s, when dramatic eruptions devastated nearby villages.
Amazingly, this traditional lighthouse keeper that stood above the shoreline survived the explosion and the spire is now a fantastic place to enjoy the unearthly panorama. It is said that during the 13 months of the eruption, the lighthouse keeper continued his duty to protect passing ships from chaos.
Lagoa do Fogo is one of the lakes located in the middle of the island of São Miguel, the Azores Islands which has beautiful views. This lake is one of the largest surface waters in Sao Miguel and was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption to form a large caldera. This place also functions as a national park, with many flora and fauna endemic to the Azores Islands.
Strolling the charismatic and colorful streets of Horta, visitors follow in the footsteps of the tens of thousands of sailors who have docked in the city while crossing the Atlantic. The marine marina is actually the fourth most visited on the planet and to appreciate the scale of this popularity, scan through the dazzling mosaic of paintings left on the pier by every arriving ship.
Head a little north out of town and you’ll soon reach Miradouro de Nossa Senhora DA Conceição – a small roadside viewpoint that covers the entire harbor area, wide beaches and distant Mount Pico. A little further lies some interesting 19th-century red windmills, providing the perfect foreground for impressive volcano photographs.
Look north from Miradouro de Nossa Senhora DA Conceição, a few kilometers above the coastline from Horta, and your eyes will be drawn to the unusual sights of Praia do Almoxarife. This serene beach is made up of striking black sand that is a by-product of ancient eruptions flowing into the shore. Its blackish nature means the sand stays warm, well, so it always feels nice between your toes.
The towering Mount Pico is a constant companion as you explore the area. Its isolated peak dramatically rises sharply to over 2,350 m, making it the highest point in Portugal, and dominating the skyline for miles around.
Climbing the volcano is a challenge, you will scramble the swirling lava flows, feel the heat rising from the incessant volcanic activity and sweep through the intense greenery, the result of the area’s enviable fertility. The trails are steep and wild, but eventually you’ll be scrambling over the ridge to enter the main crater, a vast, rocky landscape, punctuated by the true peak, Piquinho. This last part is the most testing and you should use your hands to negotiate a near vertical climb.
The reward for doing so undeniably justifies four hours or more of hard hiking. From above, the five main islands are visible, like the ancient labyrinth of Pico Island from a UNESCO world heritage vineyard. Breathe in the fresh and clean air, warm your hands over the bubbling vents and enjoy the mesmerizing 360 degree view.
Pico Island is also famous for its incredible marine life. It’s one of the best places in the world for whale watching, with a variety of species, making the waters their home all year round.
Head to Lajes do Pico, a small settlement on the southwest corner of the island, to Espaço Talassa, one of the first companies to bring commercial whale watching tours to the Azores. Their protection and sustainability spells are admirable and their skill level means you’ll be in good hands.
Anytime is a good time to go as whales and dolphins abound. Sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins and Risso’s dolphins appear frequently, while Blue whales can be seen in the spring months.
Trip to the Azores: Conclusion
The Azores is what would describe as Europe’s Hawaii, this place is every travelers dream in one of the most photogenic places ever been to so the Azores is gorgeous all year round, the people are extremely welcoming. The Azores are perhaps the most exotic islands in Europe. They are secret Atlantic gardens – lush and green, thick with humble forests that feel almost like a rain forest, lively with birds and rich wildlife. The scenery is beautiful and dramatic: pristine beaches and empty beaches lapping with waves, which attract surfers, although the island of the Azores remains warm all year round.