If you’ve been following me on social media you’ll have noticed I’ve been posting a few pictures of my trip to the Azores.
Rewind three months or so and the word Azores meant nothing to me. Like most people, I hadn’t even heard of the Azores, let alone be able to point it out on a map. It wasn’t until I was looking at easyJet’s flight maps that I noticed a destination in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. A quick Google revealed an archipelago of nine islands boasting landscapes rivalling that of New Zealand. It didn’t take much to persuade me to book some time off to go and explore this beautiful place.
My partner and I travelled to the Sao Miguel island for just over a week. So if you’re thinking about visiting the Azores, here’s a handy guide to help you!
The Azores is a Cluster of Portuguese volcanic islands formed during the Tertiary Period. They are found in the North Atlantic Ocean, 850 miles west of mainland Portugal. The islands extend 373 miles across and are made up of three groups based on their proximity to each other;
Eastern group – Sao Miguel & Santa Maria,
Central group – Terceira, Graciousa, Sao Jorge, Pico & Faial
Western group – Flores and Corvo.
The currency of the Azores is Euros and the locals speak Portuguese, but don’t worry, almost everyone can speak English. It’s main industries include agriculture, dairy farming, livestock ranching, fishing and tourism.
Want to find out more about the History of Azores? Click here
All of the Islands have airports, but the main connecting airport of the Azores is Ponta Delgada found on the main island, Sao Miguel.
From the UK?
There are direct flights to the Azores from the UK but they can be quite costly. It may be cheaper to fly to Lisbon with a budget airline and get a connecting flight from Lisbon to Ponta Delgada. (We flew from Luton Airport to Lisbon, stayed in Lisbon for two nights then flew out to Ponta Delgada)
Both SATA Air Azores and TAP fly from Europes largest airports.
From US or Canada?
SATA Air Azores operate flights to the Azores from Bermuda, Boston, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York, Oakland, Orlando, San Francisco, Montreal and Toronto.Why not check SkyScanner for the latest flights?
We decided to stay in this extremely beautiful apartment which was just 10 minutes from Ponta Delgada airport. It cost us just over 45 Euros per night but I’m sure you can find apartments for a smidge over 30 Euros a night. Not only can Airbnb be cheaper than staying in a hotel but it gives you a chance to meet the locals and explore the neighborhood, also what’s better than staying in a piece of Azorean history?
If you don’t fancy your own apartment, there’s always Hotels priced from around 60 Euros a night. Check booking.com for availability and prices.
There are also hostels on some of the islands. You can get a dorm room from around 20 Euros a night. Check out HostelWorld for more details. Not sure on a hostel? Why not check out my 8 reasons why hostels are better than hotels.
On a real budget? Many people offer a bed or a room for free through Couchsurfing. Just like airbnb, it’s a real good chance to make connections with the locals!
Should you be on a tight schedule I’d recommend renting a car. It makes everything so much easier, especially when you want to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time! We rented a car through travelsupermarket.com. It cost us just over 20 euros a day for a small car. They met us at the airport and the rental was very straightforward. Just to note, you’ll need a Credit Card to be able to rent a car.
There are your usual taxis and buses available around the island along with taxi tours and tour buses to the attractions. Failing that it’s very common to come across hitch hikers this is how many locals get around the islands and it safe to do so.
Should you want to explore the other islands in the Azores, it’s easiest to reach them by Plane. SATA air acores fly to all the islands and return flights cost in the region of 140 EUR return.
Should you have more time on your hands, you can travel to the other islands via boat. Check out Atlanticoline for Schedules and Tariffs. Just to add, it can take quite a long time to reach the other islands by boat so unless you have the time, I’d always recommend catching a flight instead.
There’s so much to do in the Azores that it’s impossible to do it all in one go. I’d recommend discovering the main island (Sao Miguel) first, as there’s so much to do! There’s activities such as Mountain Biking, hiking, fishing, paragliding, horseriding, kayaking, caving, scuba diving and whale watching. The Azores is very much a place for the “outdoorsy” type, however Ponta Delgada still has somewhere for the high street shoppers too.
For more information on what to do in the Azores, click here.
Without really considering the weather or seasons, we excitedly hit the “Confirm” button. We were limited by when we could take time off work for this trip, so we had no real control over when we could go, but we definitely lucked out on the weather front. On the first day we had low cloud and fog, however the rest of the time it was warm and sunny.
Apparently the peak season is from April to October, this is when the weather is more settled and when the plants and greenery are flourishing. However should you want to make the most of the activities, I’s suggest going between April and July!
The weather is mild all year round with temperatures ranging from 15 degrees during the winter to 25 degrees in the height of the summer.
It’s also useful to know that Whale Watching is in it’s peak during April and May.
We were also lucky enough to catch the start of Festa Sr Santa Cristo dos Milagres, which is a festival held on the fifth Sunday after Easter! The procession runs through the main arteries of Ponta Delgada of which locals are seen walking behind the image of the Christ in a three to four hour event, along the flower decorated streets and balconies where residents come out to pay their respects to those in the parade.
- Experience the Cozido! If you’re visiting Furnas make sure to try the Cozido dish. This is the dish that is slow cooked in the volcanic hot springs by Lagoa das Furnas. We wandered into Furnas and picked the O Miroma restaurant, the service was great and so was the food! (Swordfish was great too!)
- You must try the Forneria São Dinis restaurant in Ponta Delgada. The restaurant is beautiful and the service was amazing. The waiter recommended some great local dishes!
- Try the Bolo Levedo bread! It’s a sweet bread which is just amazing and great as a small snack between meals!
- If you plan to go whale watching, try a few of the kiosks along the sea front of Ponta Delgada. We booked through Futurismo which was the first kiosk we saw, although I couldn’t fault Futurismo it may be worth shopping around for better prices! (PS they also do swimming with Dolphins!)
- If you’re into Urbex (urban exploration) you HAVE to visit the abandoned Monte Hotel!
Thank-you for reading!
Once again, If you’re thinking of visiting the Azores, have a browse around
visitazores.com for more information.