Visit Azores: what is the best time and which island we should start with?
The Azores are a green paradise located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, which delights all those who enjoy nature holidays. And here, Nature is almost at its purest state. That's why a visit to Azores has long since become a "must" among the various destinations in Europe.
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine islands, which are divided into three groups: the western group consists of Corvo and Flores, the central group by the islands Graciosa, Pico, Terceira, Faial, and São Jorge, and finally, the eastern group consists of São Miguel and Santa Maria.
Being a destination, much sought after for its nature, it is ideal for tourists who love hiking, with countless trails waiting to be discovered, but also nautical sports and whale watching. Are you curious? Then find out when and the best places to visit in Azores.
What is the best time of year to visit the Azores?
You can plan to visit the Azores at any time of the year. This is a destination that changes according to the season, so you can always count on surprises offered by nature and more, both in summer and winter.
Of course, in summer you know that you will always have excellent days to explore the islands and do the numerous trails that cut through them. In addition, the black sand beaches are one of the great attractions for times of heat.
However, as with the most popular destinations, if you want to visit the Azores in the low season, i.e., in winter, you can win in other ways. As these are months of low demand, you will automatically have fewer tourists, but the weather in the archipelago can also collaborate with you. Here, temperatures are milder all year round than on the mainland. Also, the low season means cheaper flights and much cheaper accommodation too.
What are the must-see places in a visit to Azores?
One of the main difficulties you will experience from the moment you decide to visit the Azores is: "where to start?" Nine islands, hundreds of opportunities. So, we decided to compile the best that each of its islands has in store for you.
Things to do in Sao Miguel
São Miguel is the largest island of the archipelago, so if it is the chosen one to visit the Azores, you should set aside a few days to do so. Between viewpoints, lakes, trails, woods and even a unique gastronomy, we promise that you will not lack for something to occupy your free time.
Visit the Sete Cidades Lagoon, the city of Ponta Delgada, the Pico do Carvão Belvedere and the Aqueduct. São Miguel Island is synonymous with volcanic lakes and a visit to these lakes is a must on your trip.
Visit Lagoa das Empanadas through one of the many paths prepared for trekking, with access to the viewpoint of Pico do Paúl and Lagoa das Éguas. Of course, you can't miss the climb to the Boca do Inferno Viewpoint, possibly the best known, with a breathtaking view of the Sete Cidades Lagoon.
Things to do in Flores Island
If Flores Island had a colour, it would certainly be green. With countless waterfalls and gardens, there are several trails available to you, as well as natural pools to take a dip in this adventure during a visit to Azores.
While visiting Flores, visit Fajã Grande, the natural pools of Santa Cruz das Flores and the lagoons of the Natural Forest Reserve of Morro Alto and Pico da Sé. You can also discover the Fábrica da Baleia do Boqueirão Museum, the Poço do Bacalhau and seven lagoons spread all over the island. You can also visit the viewpoints of Lagoas Rasa and Funda, as well as Rocha dos Bordões.
What to do in Corvo Island
The neighbour island of Flores is one of the smallest but most hospitable islands to visit in Azores! Here you can visit Caldeirão and walk its trail, as well as look at Corvo Village and enjoy the beautiful view of the harbour.
This is the perfect island for those who really want to relax. The peacefulness of the island is easily overcome by the friendliness of the people, who automatically make you feel at home. You can visit the windmills, visit the Casa do Tempo and the Wild Birds Interpretation Centre. And if you like hiking, move on to the next trail called "Cara do Índio".
What to do in São Jorge Island
Known as the Island of Fajãs, but also well cut by cliffs, it is the right island for those looking for a holiday in contact with nature and the sea. Urzelina is the first village waiting to be discovered by you, and on the other side of the island you will find the village of Velas, where you can explore the nearby Forest Park of Sete Fontes.
Vigia da Baleia, in Ponta dos Rosais, is one of the places you should include in your route when you decide to visit the Azores and enjoy a beautiful view. In São Jorge Island you can always choose a boat trip along the coast, but many Fajãs will be waiting for you on land. For example, Fajã das Almas, a perfect place to enjoy the traditional sweet of the island and not far away you can visit Fábrica da Indústria Conserveira de Santa Catarina.
Things to do in Santa Maria Island
Also called the Island of the Sun, Santa Maria Island is a great option for those who want to visit the Azores, being only 80 kilometres away from São Miguel Island. The biggest settlement on this small island is Vila do Porto and besides being worth a visit, you can find out here useful information on how to get to Pico Alto, the highest point on the island.
This was the first island to be discovered by the Portuguese and the first to be populated, which gives it an even more special meaning. You can hike the South Coast trail, visit the village of Anjos, and visit the statue of Christopher Columbus. Did you know that this island has a small desert, known as the "Red Desert"? It is the Barreiro da Faneca. Also visit the São Lourenço Bay.
What to do in Pico Island
Pico is one of the most beautiful islands of the archipelago and one of the main ones that makes us visit the Azores.
Here is still the highest mountain in Portugal, from where you can watch a beautiful sunrise and stay overnight in Piquinho. The landscape is mostly pastureland, which contrasts with the black volcanic remains and has made this place "UNESCO World Heritage Site" since 2004.
This island is perfect for a boat trip in the hope of spotting the whales passing close to shore and this is also where you will find the Whalers Museum. You can also visit Gruta das Torres, Furnas de Frei Matias, da Silveira and dos Montanheiros. There are also lagoons here, such as Capitão, Caiado and Paul.
What to do in Faial Island
The island of Faial is stunning, even if it is one of the smallest. Its highest mountain is called Cabeço Gordo and it is covered by the famous hydrangeas, a plant which gives colour to all the islands of the Azores and there is a possibility to visit the crater of the mountain. The city of Horta is worth the extended stop. Here you can find Ponta da Espalamaca and Monte da Guia, where there are viewpoints.
You can't talk about Faial Island without mentioning Vulcão dos Capelinhos, where you will find the Interpretation Centre and a lighthouse you can climb to.
Things to do in Terceira
It is known as the festive island, due to the calendar full of religious and traditional celebrations. Terceira offers you a vast number of viewpoints with breathtaking views. Visit Alto da Memória or Monte Brasil. From there you will notice the beautiful city of Angra do Heroísmo, a "must" when you visit the Azores, with a unique architecture, which can be seen in the Palácio dos Capitães-Generais, the Paços do Concelho, the Palácio Bettencourt, or the Angra Museum.
Take a drive to Praia da Vitória, through Baía da Salga, with its black sandy beaches, and to the Vinho Verdelho area in Biscoitos. Here you will not only find the Wine Museum, but also some beautiful natural pools.
What to do in Graciosa Island
Graciosa Island has been classified by Unesco as a World Biosphere Reserve and is known as White Island. With its typical houses, almost always white in colour, guide you through clean, cobblestone streets. In Santa Cruz da Graciosa, visit the Ethnographic Museum, which tells a little of the island's history.
During your visit to Azores, you should not leave out the smaller islands, because they will really surprise you. At Monte Nossa Senhora da Ajuda you will have a beautiful panoramic view over Santa Cruz and several chapels to visit. Another highlight of this island are the red roofed windmills.
To visit this beach, you can use the mythical Nazaré lift and enjoy the views on the way up. However, if you are travelling with a rented car, the journey to Praia do Norte is even easier, being only a few minutes away. Be sure to meet the friendly Nazarenas, with their typical costumes, who sit near the beach offering numerous services, such as accommodation, sweets, or restaurant suggestions.
Visit the Azores with Enterprise
There is a lot to explore in the Azores and nothing like doing it by car. Take advantage of the Enterprise Passport, where you will find several tips for your trips. Choose your route and on the way, you know we will always be there to guide you. Get to know the car rental that allows you, in several places in Portugal, but also in Europe, to go on an adventure.
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