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Azores Destination Guide

Overview

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.

 

Peak Season Population Language(s) Currency January Climate July Climate
June to September 245,746 Portuguese Euro Average high 60.8 °F Average high 74.5 °F

 

Must-See Attractions

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

Transportation

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.

Recommended Restaurants

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.

Restaurant Cuisine Location Price Notes
Saca-Rolhas Taberna Portuguese Rua Da Corujeira, No. 3 – Relva, Sao Miguel 9500-657, Portugal Moderate/Pricey Restaurant can be difficult to find but the incredible seafood is worth it
Restaurante Marisqueira Ancoradouro Portuguese Rua Joao de Lima Whitton, Areia Larga, Madalena, Pico 9950-302, Portugal Budget/Moderate Lovely terrace with beautiful views
Restaurante Tony’s Portuguese Largo do Teatro 5, 9675-036, Furnas, Portugal Moderate Fish specialties are the Bacalhoad and  Fried Moreira

 

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
Azores Destination Guide
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Published on Friday July 3 2020
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