A first-timer's guide to the Azores
May 30, 2023 • 9 min read
Make your visit to the Azores the greatest with our first-timer's guide © Maya Karkalicheva / Getty Images
When you look through the airplane window and catch your first glimpse of the Azores , it leaves you speechless. No wonder this Portuguese archipelago is labeled as "The Hawaii of Europe" and the "Islands of Colors".
Set in the middle of the Atlantic, halfway between the United States and continental Portugal , the nine major Azores islands – São Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Flores and Corvo – are a love affair waiting to happen.
From the green fields spotted with free-roaming local cattle (locally referred to as "happy cows") to the lagoons set on the mouth of extinct volcanoes; the thermal pools where you can bathe and feel the warmth coming from deep within the earth, and the delicious freshness of the culinary ingredients, this is a must-do vacation that will keep you coming back year after year.
What is the best time to go to the Azores?
The Azores islands are an all-year-round destination – the key considerations are what you want to do and your budget. In the summer, many visitors arrive from the mainland to enjoy the islands' beautiful scenery or visit relatives. This, combined with tourism from other countries, makes it the busiest and more expensive season.
If you're looking for a more relaxed and cheaper adventure, aim for the shoulder seasons, as winter can offer challenging weather. Remember that the islands are set in the middle of the ocean and are more exposed to the winter storms that form in the Atlantic – this often affects crossings (and your plans!).
Either way, whenever you visit, prepare to face all four seasons in one day. You can wake up with sunshine and warm weather, only to take a hike up the mountain and get lower temperatures, rain, and even zero visibility. A raincoat in your backpack can become your best friend.
In the summer, temperatures typically range from about 68°F to 79°F; in the mid-seasons, they usually go from about 60°F to 71°F, and during winter, from about 53°F to 64°F. However, keep in mind that specific temperatures can vary depending on the island and the time of day.
Getting to the Azores
São Miguel is the largest island in the Azores and works as a hub to reach the other eight. The Ponta Delgada airport receives international flights from the United States, Canada, Spain, France, Cape Verde, Germany and Bermuda (seasonal). Terceira also welcomes international flights from the United States and Canada. If you don't come from these destinations, the easiest way to get to the Azores is from Lisbon or Porto , on Portugal's mainland.
From São Miguel, you can get internal flights with the local airline SATA to every island in the Azores. You can also opt for SATA's Azores Air Pass, which allows travelers to visit up to three islands at a special rate.
Another way to get around is by ferry – Atlanticoline links the Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Flores and Corvo islands.
Be advised that your plans may change by plane or boat, as the departure schedule can be disrupted by weather and ocean conditions. Being flexible with your itinerary is a good idea if you plan to visit more than one island in the Azores, especially in wintertime.
Moving around the islands
Renting a car is the best way to explore the beautiful Azores islands. With so much to see and do, having the freedom to travel at your own pace and visit more off-the-beaten-track locations is essential to make the most of your trip. Plus, renting a car allows you to easily get around the larger islands, such as São Miguel (287 sq miles), Pico (172 sq miles), or Terceira (154 sq miles).
You can even take your rented car on the ferry between some of the islands, such as the Pico-Faial-São Jorge triangle. Public buses are also available on all islands except Corvo.
Once you reach your desired destination, explore it on foot to fully experience its charm. Walk the dirt paths, immerse yourself in nature and be amazed by the sounds of the birds and running waterfalls, and the smell of flowers and wet vegetation.
Top things to do on the Azores
See how volcanoes have shaped the islands’ landscape and history
The volcanic nature of the Azores is the architect of its appeal and manifests in the dark heart of the stone used in the old buildings and the black sand of the beaches. When visiting São Miguel, you can feel it on your skin. The iron-rich thermal springs provide warmth emanating from the island's inner depths.
The same heat cooks the traditional Cozido dos Açores (Azorean stew) in the Furnas area. This local dish joins vegetables with meat and a smoky touch of sulfur after being under the ground for five to seven hours. Other islands, like Terceira or São Jorge, offer natural pools carved by time in the stone, invaded by the fresh waters of the Atlantic and simultaneously heated by the volcanic rock.
Speaking of volcanoes, it is in Faial that you can find the Vulcão dos Capelinhos . The desolate appearance of this place was caused by the volcanic eruption in the 1950s, which still looms large in the memory of the island's older generations.
Hike for days
The Azores is, without a doubt, a destination for those who want to immerse themselves in nature and experience the rawness of the landscape. All the islands have hiking trails that bring you deep into their wild heart, revealing lagoons formed inside extinct volcanoes or waterfalls that flow from the top of the mountains, as in the case of Flores.
Mt Pico , on the island of the same name, is another must-see place in the Azores. As the highest point in Portugal, it's a challenging climb, but the reward is worth it – on a clear day, you'll be treated to an unforgettable view.
While in Pico, visit the local vineyards that are part of a landscape that's been declared a Unesco world heritage site. Gaze out at the ocean as you enjoy a glass of wine and spot a pod of playful dolphins or nature's giants, the whales.
Combine a whale-watching trip with a visit to a tea factory
You can also go whale watching on São Miguel Island, alongside visiting cheese factories, pineapple plantations or the Gorreana Tea Factory . This is the oldest and currently only tea plantation in Europe. You can visit the factory and museum for free, and see the machines that have produced tea since 1840 –toast your visit with a cup at the end of the tour.
Disconnect from the world
If your goal is to escape and disconnect from the world, you'll find that tranquillity in the Azorean "fajãs" — small coastal villages next to large cliffs.
The Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo, in São Jorge, is the best place to do it. Difficult to access, you can get there on foot by following the Caldeira de Santo Cristo Trail, which starts in Serra do Topo. The descent gradually reveals the small town, its houses, the church, and the large lagoon stretching near the sea.
You can also arrive by quad bike, starting from Fajã dos Cubres; you can pre-arrange a trip with your accommodation.
Once in Fajã de Santo Cristo, cell phone and internet connection are almost non-existent, leaving room to slow down. It's the ideal place to relax, catch up on your reading, discover the lagoon by kayak, or taste the clams served at O Borges, the oldest restaurant in this location.
How much time do I need to visit the Azores?
It all depends on what you want to do! São Miguel is a great option for a first-time visitor. This island provides a wide range of activities, landscapes, and great restaurant and accommodation options. Five days should be enough time to explore it.
But if you want to get a true sense of the richness of this archipelago, set aside two to three weeks to hop between islands and get to know what truly distinguishes them and makes this one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe.
How much money do I need in the Azores?
The Azores is a destination for all types of travelers. You can go from five-star hotels in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, to local accommodations on Flores Island. Depending on your budget, you can easily fit in lodging, food and even some island tours.
Car rental can make or break your budget, especially if you are traveling in high season. Due to increased demand, prices rise and supply goes down, so try to plan ahead and make your reservations as soon as possible. These are the average daily costs you can expect:
- Four-star hotel room for two: from €150
- Dormitory room in a hostel: from €45
- Self-catering apartment: from €100
- Car rental: from €90 for a small car
- Furnas stew for two: €30
- Beer: €1.50
- Bath in the hot springs: €8
Nature calls for safety
Exploring the various volcanic craters and lagoons hidden in the islands' interior is one of the best experiences you can have in the Azores. These are extraordinary natural ecosystems and, as such, should be approached in a mindful way.
Respect the local landscape by exploring in a way that doesn't disturb the animals or damage any plants – the easiest way to do this is by sticking to the marked trails. Many are there to protect vegetation and prevent soil erosion, but also for your safety, as they avoid unstable or slippery ground.
Also, as much as the lagoons seem like the perfect opportunity for a cooling dip, most are unsuitable for bathing or swimming for safety reasons. Always follow the safety signs displayed at each lagoon.
Finally, be aware that weather conditions can change from one moment to the next, especially in higher areas. Check the forecast before venturing out on a long trail to ensure you're not caught in a precarious position mid-hike.
What to pack when visiting the Azores
Besides your everyday clothing, packing some specialist hiking is essential if you plan to fully explore the islands:
- Waterproof trekking boots
- Light rain jacket
- Lightweight and breathable fleece
- Backpack and water bottle
- Trekking poles
- Camera and/or action camera
This article was first published June 2019 and updated May 2023
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How to get to the Azores: The Best Guide 
Wondering how to get to the Azores in the most convenient way? I’ll tell you all about it in this post, along with lots of other useful things so that you can make your way to this dreamy destination and have a blast!
The Azores archipelago is a stunning getaway known for its abundance of natural beauty, striking landscapes, delicious food, and laid-back vibe.
It’s located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, almost a thousand miles away from the mainland.
So, how does one get to this charming destination? I will tell you that and much more in this post. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
How to get to the Azores
Airports in the azores.
Each of the 9 islands that make up the Azores has at least one airport on it, but not all of them provide international flights or even regular commercial service. Nevertheless, I will tell you about them in this section.
João Paulo II Airport (Ponta Delgada Airport – PDL)
The airport located on the largest island (Sao Miguel) is the busiest of Azores airports. It’s just a mile away from the city center of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores.
The airport provides international flights to and from around the globe, as well as inter-island flights between the other 8 islands.
SATA (Azores Airline) provides direct flights to and from Boston and Toronto besides many other European hubs.
Lajes Field (Terceira Airport – TER)
Lajes Field is a commercial airport in the Azores that doubles as a military base. You will find flights to the nearby islands here, along with Lisbon ones.
Horta Airport (HOR)
Faial Island is another large island in the Azores with an international airport. The airport is ideal for those flying to Faial or the nearby Central Group Islands (Terceira, Pico, Sao Jorge , and Graciosa).
Santa Maria Airport (SMA)
Santa Maria is the oldest island and its airport is the earliest one to be built in the Azores, serving as a refueling stop for transatlantic planes. Nowadays, it serves as an inter-island airport and receives Lisbon to Azores flights as well.
Pico Airport (PIX)
As the name implies, this airport is located on Pico Island. Just like Santa Maria, the airport has inter-island flights and it also receives flights from Lisbon.
Flores Airport (FLW)
The airport on Flores also handles mostly inter-island flights between Ponta Delgada, Horta, Terceira, and Corvo.
São Jorge Airport (SJZ)
São Jorge has its own airport as well. The inter-island flights at this airport connect the island with Ponta Delgada and Terceira.
Graciosa Airport (GRW)
Graciosa Island has a similar airport to Sao Jorge Airport because it also only has frequent inter-island flights between Ponta Delgada and Terceria.
Corvo Island Airport (CVU)
Corvo has the smallest airport among the Azores islands, and it’s mainly only used for inter-island flights.
Airlines flying to the Azores
Operated by SATA, this is the major airline flying to the Azores. You can find SATA flights from many destinations around the world, including Azores flights from USA, Canada, and multiple European countries along with Portugal.
TAP is Portugal’s national Airline another one of the airlines flying to the Azores, it codeshares flights with SATA.
Ryanair DAC is an Irish ultra-low-cost carrier founded in 1984. It also offers flights to the Azores from Portugal and the UK, and it’s known for its pocket-friendly prices, but also for some misleading advertising.
Unless you are traveling without any bags, you usually end up paying much more than the original rate. So make sure you double-check and compare rates before booking.
Along with Azores Airlines and TAP, United operates direct flights to Azores from US. Flights go from Newark to Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel.
This is the German airline that operates direct flights between Frankfurt and Ponta Delgada alongside Azores Airlines.
A subsidiary of Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines (known simply as SWISS) provides direct flights from Zurich to Ponta Delgada.
Air Europa is the Spanish airline that offers scheduled flights from Madrid to Terceira.
TUI offers flights from Belgium and Netherlands to the Azores. The Belgium flights connect Brussels to Ponta Delgada, while the Netherlands has TUI flights going from Schiphol Airport to the Azores capital.
How to find cheap flights to the Azores
There are a lot of ways you can save money while on vacation, and looking for more affordable flights is definitely at the top of the list. So, here’s how you can find pocket-friendly rates on your flight to the Azores.
1. Book way in advance
Booking at least a month or two earlier is how you can score great deals and discounts on flights.
2. Fly on weekdays
Also, if possible, choose a flying date that falls on a weekday rather than the weekend it’s much cheaper.
3. Travel in low season
Flight rates also go down when tourist activity is low in the Azores, so you might wanna look into that when planning your trip.
The best time to travel to the Azores is in fact between the end of April and May when there are fewer crowds, lower rates, and the weather is already decent.
4. Use incognito mode when searching
5. Search at different times of the week and at night
Sometimes flight costs go really down at night or on certain days. Make sure you spend some time researching, always in incognito mode.
6. Purchase package deals
There are booking sites that offer package deals that include flights+hotels. The most common one is Expedia .
Planning a trip soon? Here are My Recommended Travel Resources .
- TRAVEL INSURANCE – Safety Wing or TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER
- BOOK FLIGHTS – Expedia , Scott’s Cheap Flights , and always remember to compare
- BOOK TOURS – GetYourGuide or Viator . Some of their tours are refundable up to 24h in advance.
- HOTELS & HOMES – Booking.com – Expedia – VRBO
- CAR RENTALS: Discover Car Rentals
Can you get to the Azores by ferry?
The Azores are located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean about 950 miles from mainland Portugal, so there are no ferries going to them.
So, unless you are traveling on a private boat or on a cruise, flying to these islands is the only way to get to them.
There are plenty of direct flights to these islands from around the world that you can take.
Alternatively, there are transatlantic cruises that leave from the US or Caribbean islands and have stops on the Azores but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you particularly love this type of vacation on big cruises.
You won’t be seeing that much of the Azores if you just stay one or two days from the cruise ship.
The Azores at a glance
Azores islands map.
How far are the Azores from Portugal?
The Azores islands are located roughly 950 miles (over 1,500 kilometers) from mainland Portugal, in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Travel Requirements for the Azores
The travel requirements for the Azores vary for everyone depending on where you are coming from. Since the region is a part of Portugal, European nationals can travel to the islands without a passport as long as they have a valid ID card.
If you’re coming from the US, Canada, UK, or Australia, you will need a passport but not a visa (unless you’re staying for more than 90 days). Just make sure your passport is valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you will be leaving the Azores after your visit.
Nationals from the remaining countries of the world might or might not need a visa along with their passport (and any other documentation) to visit the Azores.
I recommend checking out the official immigration rules of Portugal from either the website or a local Portuguese embassy to find out.
How to get to the Azores from Mainland Portugal
How to get to the azores from lisbon.
There is no Lisbon to Azores ferry, so flying is the best option to get there from the capital city and anywhere else in mainland Portugal.
Azores Airlines operates the most frequent flights from Lisbon Airport to Ponta Delgada, and Ryanair, as well as TAP, also have plenty of flights going to Ponta Delgada from the city.
PRO TIP – If you are traveling from Lisbon you may want to check out my 2-day Lisbon itinerary and consider stopping by for a quick visit.
How to get to the Azores from Porto
Just like Lisbon, you will find tons of direct flights to the Azores from Porto . Most of these are also operated by Azores Airlines, Ryanair, and TAP, and they fly to Ponta Delgada Airport in Sao Miguel.
Again, you won’t find any ferries to the Azores from here either, so private yachts or a cruise are the ways to get to the Azores from Porto via sea.
How to get to the Azores from the United States
The United States is closer to the Azores than the rest of Europe. In fact, it will be very easy to get there either from Boston, or Newark with direct flights.
Also, there is only a 4-hour time difference, which helps to avoid heavy jetlag.
In fact, as I said, Azores Airlines operates direct flights to the Azores from the US. There are at least 5 flights per week from Boston to Ponta Delgada.
Azores Airlines also connects JFK New York to the Azores’ capital.
Another airline that offers direct flights to the Azores from the US is United. Their flights go from Newark directly to Ponta Delgada.
Direct flights are the best way to get to the Azores from the United States, but the flights might not be daily sometimes, so you will need a flexible travel schedule to catch one.
Apart from direct flights, the aforementioned airlines along with TAP offer flights to Lisbon from lots of US cities, including Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, and Miami.
It’s fairly easy to get to the Azores from Lisbon once you’re there – Azores Airlines, Ryanair, and TAP offer direct flights to Ponta Delgada.
Generally speaking, it should be more practical and easier to fly to Boston or Newark and then to Ponta Delgada, instead of flying all the way to Lisbon and then flying back to the Azores.
How to get to the Azores from Canada
Canada also has great connectivity to the Azores from two of its major cities: Toronto and Montreal. Azores Airlines offers codeshare flights with Westjet directly to Ponta Delgada from Toronto, so you can book yourself a direct ticket to Sao Miguel.
Montreal flights are operated by Azores Airlines as well, but they stop in Toronto before taking off for Ponta Delgada.
Also, you can book a flight directly to Terceira with Azores Airlines if you’re leaving from Toronto.
Just keep in mind that these flights are frequent only between the high season for tourism in the Azores, which runs from June through September.
After that, flights from Canada aren’t as frequent from Montreal, and Toronto only has half the usual amount of flights going to Ponta Delgada.
In case you’re planning on traveling to the Azores during the low season, you can adjust your departure dates for the available direct flights or you can alternatively fly with TAP Airlines to Lisbon and then take an Azores Airlines flight to Ponta Delgada.
How to get to the Azores from Europe
How to get to the azores from belgium.
TUI Fly is the airline that offers direct flights to Ponta Delgada from Brussels, making it the top choice for getting to the Azores from Belgium.
However, the frequency of its flights depends on the travel season.
Flights to Ponta Delgada are the most frequent during the high and shoulder season months (April through October).
Apart from those, TUI Fly only has one flight per week for the Azores during its low season (November through March), and two flights per week between July and August.
If you’re visiting the Azores from Belgium during the high season, you won’t have any trouble with the schedule with TUI Fly.
But finding a flight that fits your vacation plans during the rest of the year might be a challenge, so you can instead fly with TAP or Ryanair to Porto/Lisbon if your schedule isn’t flexible.
How to get to the Azores from Denmark
Getting to the Azores from Denmark isn’t as convenient because, unfortunately, there are no direct flights from it to the archipelago.
But it’s also not as inconvenient as it may seem on the surface. You can just take a flight to mainland Portugal, and then take another flight to the Azores.
TAP Airlines has frequent flights from Copenhagen to Lisbon, and Ryanair offers good connectivity to Porto from Copenhagen as well as from Billund to Lisbon and Porto.
Norwegian Air Shuttle also operates direct flights to Lisbon.
How to get to the Azores from France
Azores Airlines provide direct flights to the Azores, which fly 5 days of a week during the high season months of April through October and 3 days a week the rest of the year.
Air France and Azores Airlines operate connecting flights to Ponta Delgada from Paris via Lisbon.
Ryanair , TAP, Air France, Easyjet , and Transvia all provide nonstop flights to Lisbon from Paris, which you can take if there are no direct flights available for your vacation plans.
Also, the same airlines have direct Porto flights going from France as well.
How to get to the Azores from Germany
Of all the places I have covered so far, Germany has the most number of airports with flights going to Portugal. Here is an overview of those:
- Frankfurt: Azores Airlines offers direct flights to the archipelago from Frankfurt during the high season (April through October). It’s just one flight per week, but a direct flight is a direct flight. Lufthansa also provides one direct flight every week from Frankfurt to the Azores during that period of time.
If the weekly direct flights don’t fit your schedule, you can also fly with Ryanair, TAP, or Lufthansa from Frankfurt to the mainland cities of Porto and Lisbon before taking a flight to the Azores from there.
- Düsseldorf: Azores Airlines, TAP, SWISS, Lufthansa and a few others offer connecting flights to Ponta Delgada from Düsseldorf. Azores Airlines and Lufthansa fly to Ponta Delgada via Frankfurt, while TAP Air offers connecting flights via Lisbon and SWISS International flights connect to Ponta Delgada via Zurich.
- Berlin: Apart from Frankfurt, there are no direct flights to the Azores from Germany. Luckily, there are plenty of direct flights to Lisbon and Porto from Berlin offered throughout the year by TAP, Ryanair, and Easyjet.
- Along with those three cities, Ryanair and sometimes TAP and Eurowings offer daily or weekly flights to Lisbon and Porto from Munich, Hamburg, Dortmund, Bremen, Karlsruhe, Nuremberg, Cologne-Bonn, Stuttgart, and Memmingen – so you can fly to Portugal from any of those cities and easily make your way to the Azores from there.
How to get to the Azores from the Netherlands
Getting to the Azores from the Netherlands is extra convenient during the high season. TUI Fly operates direct flights to the Azores from the Netherlands as well, which you can book between May and September.
These flights go from Amsterdam to Ponta Delgada and Terceira. But if you’re visiting outside of the peak tourism season, you can instead take one of the flights going to Porto or Lisbon to go to the Azores from there.
These are operated by Ryanair, TAP, Easyjet, Transavia, and Vueling.
And when it comes to flying to Porto or Lisbon before taking a flight to the Azores, you can also do it from Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
Ryanair and Transavia provide frequent flights on most days of the week to both cities.
How to get to the Azores from Switzerland
The SWISS airlines I mentioned earlier that connect flights from Düsseldorf to Ponta Delgada via Zurich are perfect for a direct flight to the Azores if you’re already in Switzerland.
But do keep in mind that the only direct flight to Ponta Delgada from Zurich leaves on Monday, (at the time I am writing this) so it might not be ideal for your travel plans.
Luckily, the same airline also provides tons of flights to Lisbon and Porto almost all days of the week year-round.
TAP also has frequent flights to Lisbon from Zurich, and some Easyjet flights take you there too.
If flying directly to Ponta Delgada isn’t an option, you can take one of those flights to get to Portugal and board another plane to the Azores from there.
How to get to the Azores from Spain
Flying to the Azores from Spain is both fast and convenient because there are multiple locations in the country where you will find flights for it.
Barcelona has Azores Airlines flights going directly to Ponta Delgada during the high season.
Other than that, Gran Canaria is where you will find a direct flight to the Azores regardless of the season – but it’s only operated three times a week by Azores Airlines.
If your schedule is flexible, I recommend taking one of these flights directly to the Azores.
But when your travel plans don’t align with the direct flight dates from Spain, you can also go with the many other flights going to Lisbon and Porto from here.
These include flights operated by Air Europa, TAP, Ryanair, Easyjet, and Iberia – and depart from Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, and Malaga.
How to get to the Azores from the United Kingdom
Just like Germany and Spain, the United Kingdom has flights to the Azores from lots of its cities – especially when it comes to connecting flights.
You can take direct flights to Ponta Delgada from London , they’re operated by Ryanair.
TAP, Azores Airlines, Easyjet, and British Airways operate daily flights to Lisbon and Porto from London so those are connecting flight alternatives.
Similarly, you can find flights to those two cities from Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bristol, and Liverpool.
So, for those of you wondering how to get to the Azores from UK, taking a flight from any of the aforementioned cities is an easy and straightforward way to do it.
Depending on what’s more convenient for you, you can either fly directly to Ponta Delgada from London or take a flight to Lisbon or Porto and then fly to the Azores from there.
How to get to the Azores from Cape Verde
The Cape Verde archipelago provides great connectivity to the Azores via planes, so you can take a direct flight to Ponta Delgada from here.
Azores Airlines operates nonstop flights from its capital city to the Azores on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the high season months.
How to travel between islands in the Azores
When exploring the Azores, I recommend having at least a few of the islands on your itinerary so that you can experience the diverse charm of the region more fully.
However, not all the islands are so close that you can cross one another on a ferry ride. Some of them are at a one-hour flight distance.
SATA Airlines provide flights to all 9 inhabited islands of the archipelago, so you can easily fly to your desired island.
Ponta Delgada has connections to every other island, but some of them aren’t interconnected with each other, which is something you should look into before planning your itinerary.
However, taking flights between the different islands get more expensive in the high season, obviously.
During the low season, I paid 60 USD each way from Ponta Delgada to Pico, from Sao Jorge to Terceira, and from Terceira back to Ponta Delgada.
In the high season is about 90 USD each way instead. If you buy one way or return, the price doesn’t change, so you can decide last minute for your return ticket in case you want to spend more time on one island.
Maybe it’s a little risky in July and August, but it’s ok in the other months.
Inter-Island ferry connections
Taking a ferry from one island to another in the Azores is both pocket-friendly and scenic at the same time.
Ferries connect all the islands, especially the Central Group Islands of Terceira, Pico, Sao Jorge, and Graciosa.
Ferries sound miles better compared to inter-island flights, right? Well, while they do save you a lot of money, the trips between islands also take longer compared to flights.
Some ferry trips take twice as long, which can be as many as 3-5 hours from one island to another depending on the distance.
Also, since the Azores region tends to have unpredictable weather even during the peak season, chances are that ferries might stop operating between certain islands because of bad conditions in the Atlantic Ocean.
Usually, ferries between the Central Group islands are a good choice. They’re far less frequently affected by the weather, and the journey times are also shorter with them.
Also, the western islands (Flores, Corvo) are connected with each other. Here below is a brief summary of the ferry lines:
- The blue line (Route between Faial and Pico)
- The green line (Route between Paial – Pico – Sao Jorge – Sao Roque)
- The pink line (Route between Flores and Corvo)
- The purple line (Seasonal route between Faial – Pico – Sao Jorge – Graciosa – Terceira – June 1- September 30)
- The orange line (Seasonal route between Sao Roque and Velas – June – September)
- The white line (Seasonal route between Faial – Sao Roque – Velas – Graciosa Operating season – June- September)
You can use the stopover option offered by Azores Airlines. It lets you choose Ponta Delgada or Terceira as a stopover for up to a week when you book a flight from Europe to America or the other way around.
For example, if you book a flight from Boston to mainland Portugal, you will get the option to choose the Azores as a stopover.
You can stay on the archipelago for up to 7 days and then be on your way to Portugal without paying any additional airfare!
Best time to visit the Azores
The Azores has a subtropical climate, so it’s a year-round destination. Except, there are changes in the weather, activities, and prices depending on the season, which means the best time for you to visit will depend on your preferences.
The majority of tourists to the Azores visit during the peak season, which falls in the summer months (from June to August).
This is when they can enjoy the most amount of sunshine hours, fewer chances of rain, pleasantly warm temperatures, and overall good weather.
But the peak season is also when the prices and crowds are at their highest. This includes prices on flights, hotels, car rentals , restaurants, and tours. Availability might also be an issue during the high season months.
For more pocket-friendly rates, the shoulder season months (April, May, and September) are great. This is when the majority of tourists either haven’t arrived or are leaving, and the prices on everything are also manageable.
The low season months of winter (November through March) are the wettest and coldest, so this is when the tourist activity in the Azores drops to its lowest along with rates on flights, hotels, rentals, and pretty much everything else.
I don’t recommend visiting during this time of year, because activities like hiking and exploring the outdoors aren’t as enjoyable in winter, but just so you know, it’s the best time to visit the Azores for a budget trip.
Travel Tips for the Azores
A trip to the Azores will be unforgettable on its own, but I’m also going to give you a few tips to make things even better when you take your next vacation in this charming archipelago.
✅ Rent a car for getting around
Although public transportation, taxis, and private transfers are all options when it comes to getting around in the Azores – renting a car is one of the best ways to explore the islands here.
It’s cheaper compared to the other options, especially if you’re planning on exploring the out-of-town attractions, and it gives you lots of flexibility.
I rented cars on every island except Sao Jorge, and I had an amazing time driving around the winding roads and stopping by the spectacular lookouts, something you cannot do on public transport and by taxi it would get too expensive.
Click on the above link to check out my detailed post on driving in the Azores.
✅ Carry some cash
While credit cards from international providers are accepted widely in the Azores, it’s never a bad idea to carry some cash on you for emergencies. Also, some restaurants may not accept cards. The currency used in the Azores is Euro.
✅ Plan lots of outdoor activities
The Azores are a world-renowned whale-watching destination, and hiking as well as exploring volcanoes, landscapes, and lakes are great here too. Don’t miss out on any of those!
✅ Sample the local cuisine
The Azores is also known for the mouthwatering food it offers. When here, try the local dishes for a delightful experience.
Local delicacies like Cozido das Furnas, Bacalao (codefish), and the local wine and cheeses.
✅ Include multiple islands on your itinerary
Every island in the Azores is unique and has its own charm and attractions, so try not to limit your trip to any one of them. Include at least a few of the islands on your itinerary to make the most of your trip.
✅ Learn some basic Portuguese
English is common in the Azores when it comes to touristy places, but learning some basic Portuguese will still come in handy when you’re out and about on the islands.
I love languages and I am pretty fluent in English, Spanish and, of course Italian, but despite my efforts, I could only say Obrigada (thank you) and Eu nao falo Portugese (I don’t speak Portuguese!)
Shame on me! next time I go back I make sure you speak more languages.
✅ Be mindful of nature
Last, but not least, is to respect the nature of these islands. Make sure you practice responsible tourism by following guidelines and restrictions along with generally avoiding any harm to the nature of the Azores (or anywhere you go).
Frequently Asked Questions about the Azores
Can you fly directly to the azores.
Yes, there are tons of places around the world where you will find direct flights to the Azores; but there are also so many countries from where you won’t find a direct flight to the archipelago, so it all depends on where you currently are.
What is the best way to travel to the Azores?
The best way to travel to the Azores is by taking a flight.
Nowadays, connectivity to these islands is great from many places around the globe, so getting on a plane makes it really easy to travel to the Azores from the USA, Canada, UK, and most of Europe.
You will find frequent direct as well as connecting flights from these countries.
How long is the ferry from Portugal to the Azores?
You won’t find any ferries going from mainland Portugal to the Azores, because the distance is a lot and the weather in the Atlantic Ocean tends to be a bit unpredictable no matter what time of year it is.
But ferries do operate between the 9 inhabited islands of the Azores, so you can use them for affordable island-hopping.
What is the currency of the Azores?
Just like mainland Portugal, the Azores uses Euro as its official currency. Credit cards are accepted at most places, but it’s still a good idea to carry some hard cash on you when you’re visiting the Azores to avoid any inconvenience.
Are the Azores expensive to visit?
Oh well. We should define expensive first! Generally speaking, traveling to the Azores is not very expensive if you compare the destination with the rest of Portugal.
However, it all depends on what kind of trip you want to have.
If you like a luxury, then yes, the Azores can be expensive. However, if you want to travel on a budget you can do that too.
One thing you should keep in mind is that if you want to really enjoy the island and see the best of it you should either rent a car or book an organized tour which is basically the same in terms of costs.
How many days do you need in the Azores?
This is a tough one because it depends on your availability. So I should probably say, as many days as you can. I was in the Azores for a month and it wasn’t enough to see all the islands.
I spent 8 days in Sao Miguel and I didn’t see everything I wanted to see, but I was also caught by 3 days of rain which didn’t help.
However bad weather is something you need to take into consideration, especially if you go to the Azores for whale watching or hiking.
On the bright side, you can always spend some time in the hot springs and chill in the hot pools, so nothing is lost even when it rains or it’s cold.
Which is the prettiest island in the Azores?
Ah! So difficult. I loved them all because each island has something special to offer.
In Pico the black landscape and my favorite restaurant Magma (make sure you check it out), in Sao Miguel, the volcanic lakes, Sete Cidades, and Furnas, but also the beaches and much more.
In Terceiras the natural pool of Biscoitos and the spectacular caves.
Sao Jorge for its amazing and unique landscapes, and the Fajal, stretches of land formed by lava slides landslides, or lava flow formations.
I really love them all and I can’t wait to go back and visit the ones I missed in my first trip.
How to get to the Azores? Final thoughts
I hope this post was helpful to understand how to get to the Azores Islands. My best advice is to get to Ponta Delgada rent a car and explore the island, then fly to Pico explore the island and take a ferry to the nearby ones.
The good news is that you can take a direct flight to it from the US, Canada, UK, and lots of European countries like Spain, Germany, France, and many more!
In some cases, you can also benefit from the stopover programs offered by some airlines to spend some days in either the Azores or mainland Portugal before taking another flight to your destination without paying anything extra for it.
Before you go…
While you are going to the Azores you may want to check out my guides to Portugal if you want to stop by on the mainland before or after visiting the beautiful archipel. Here are some interesting posts (among others):
- Is Lisbon Walkable? Tips and Places to Visit When Walking in Lisbon
- The 13 Best Hikes in Portugal That You Don’t Want to Miss 
- Where to Stay In Cascais Portugal – A Guide to the Best Areas and Hotels
- Surfing in Portugal: The Complete Guide to the Top 27 Surfing Spots
- Driving from Lisbon to Porto – the perfect 10 days road trip + practical tips
About the Author, Founder & Editor
Hello there! This is Isabella, the author of this blog, and a cat lover and restless traveler. I am an Italian expatriate in Mexico, but I am now traveling full-time in and out of Mexico. After 7 years of living in Cancun, I have decided to leave my fancy job and explore the world, at a slow pace, one country at a time. Among my favorite countries so far, besides Mexico of course, are Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, Ireland, Portugal, Norway, and the list goes on…
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Trips from Lisbon
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Trips to Azores
- New York to Azores
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The perfect Azores itinerary for first-time visitors ( 2023 edition)
By: Author Kris
Posted on Last updated: July 20, 2023
Are you visiting the Azores and looking for the best Azores itinerary? You came to the right place. In this Azores blog post, you’ll read all about our trip around the Azores Islands, Portugal.
The Azores are a group of 9 pristine islands that attracts visitors from all over the world. Our Azores trip brought us to spectacular geysers, imposing caves, and breathtakingly beautiful lakes.
Here we describe our day-by-day Azores islands itinerary.
So definitely keep reading this Azores travel blog post.
Here you can find an overview of the best Azores travel tips.
There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are deeply grateful) at no extra cost to you.
In a hurry? Here we share our Azores itinerary overview
If you don’t have time to read through the full Azores itinerary, use this overview to get an idea of the things to do on each day and save it for later.
- Day 1-3 Pico island: climbing Pico mountain, Lagoa do Capitaõ, Gruta das Torres, Criação Velha winery. whale watching
- Day 4-6: Faial: Horta, Praia do Almoxarife, Caldeira crater, Capelinhos volcano
- Day 7-9 São Jorge: Ilhéu do Topo, Fajã dos Cubres, hiking
- Day 10-12 Terceira: Serra Do Cume viewpoint, Angra do Heroismo, Furnas do Enxofre, Algar do Carvão cave, Gruto do natal cave, swimming in Biscoitos, watch a bullfight on the street
- Day 13-20 São Miguel: Crater lake of Sete Cidades. Lagoa do Fogo. whale watching, relax in thermal baths, tea fields, Furnas
Table of Contents
Is this your first trip to the Azores and do you feel a bit overwhelmed by the travel preparations?
Creating a fantastic itinerary for the Azores will be much easier and much more enjoyable with our Azores Travel Planner .
The perfect Azores itinerary
Here we share our complete Azores itinerary. This itinerary can help you to create your own perfect trip plan.
Day 1-2-3 Pico
We started our trip on picturesque Pico, the second-largest island of the Azores. Pico Island is named after Mount Pico, the highest mountain in Portugal.
One of the highlights of Pico Island is climbing Mount Pico . You can do this on your own or you can join a tour with an experienced guide.
We did not climb Mount Pico ourselves. We did, however, talk with another couple who did accept that challenge.
The climb is pretty strenuous. It’s marked by 46 posts and after one and a half hours of hiking and climbing, they only made it to the 9th post.
That’s when they decided to turn back after all.
Don’t let this scare you off, though. There are quite a lot of hikers who manage to conquer the mountain, which is one of the greatest Azores hiking trips. Just don’t underestimate the hike.
We also recommend wearing proper hiking gear.
- Although you can hike in shorts, since this isn’t an easy trail, leggings for hiking are way more comfortable when doing this strenuous hike.
- Here is an overview of the best hiking shoes.
If you want to climb Pico , it’s best to set aside a few days on Pico Island because the mountain is often shrouded in clouds and the hike is obviously at its most beautiful under a clear sky.
Most people do the ascent and descent of Pico on the same day , but it’s also possible to do the climb at night (under a starry sky if you’re lucky). If you’re feeling really adventurous you can even spend the night on top of the volcano.
A guide is not obligatory but as they know the best (read:easiest) way to the top it can make your expedition a lot more pleasant.
Besides climbing the Pico Volcano, you can also do many other challenging and less challenging hikes.
Here you can find more info about hiking on the Azores.
Pico is also home to a number of stunning mountain lakes. The most beautiful of these lakes is arguably Lagoa do Capitaõ . If the weather’s nice, you can see the reflection of Mount Pico in the water.
When you see that the clouds around the mountain have disappeared, it’s best to drive toward the lakes as soon as possible. In that case, you can assume that the lakes are also cloud-free. On the website SpotAzores , you can see a series of webcams that allow you to check the weather around the Pico Volcano.
We also visited the Grutta das Torres .
There are lots of caves in the Azores. We didn’t think that this lava cave is necessarily the most beautiful cave, but what makes visiting this cave absolutely worth it, is its somewhat adventurous character.
Armed with a flashlight and a helmet, you descend 50 meters below the ground. There’s no paved path and no artificial light, which makes it pretty adventurous.
The tour is done with a guide, who will teach you all about the lava formations you see along the way.
It’s chilly in the cave, so make sure you bring a warm piece of clothing. Put on hiking shoes, too, because the surface is uneven.
We simply booked a ticket then and there, but during the summer months, it’s advisable to book one in advance if you want to be sure you have a spot on the tour.
Ticket fee : €10 per person (At the counter they only accepted cash but you can now book tickets online and pay with credit card)
Opening hours : see website
Near Madalena lies the Criação Velha winery . These are vineyards like you’ve never seen anywhere else. That’s exactly why they’re UNESCO world heritage.
Here, you can go on a beautiful walk through the vineyards. Standing in the middle of the area is a windmill that offers an amazing view of the surrounding landscape.
We thought it was still a little too cold, but near the vineyards are 2 beautiful natural swimming pools. Ideal to dive into after a serious hike.
Pico is also a good place to go whale watching.
Whale watching is a must-do activity while being in the Azores. Here you can find more info on the best whale watching tours in the Azores.
Even though we wouldn’t call ourselves museum fans, we did stop by the whale museum . The Museu dos Baleerios in Lajes retells the history of whaling, which used to be the most important source of income on these islands. There’s also a second museum that covers the goings-on within the whaling factories.
Particularly the film that shows how they hunted for sperm whales in the old days was very impressive. Fortunately, whale hunting has been illegal since 1987. You can still hunt these beautiful animals, though, but only with your camera. Pico Island is, by the way, one of the best places for whale watching in the Azores.
On Sundays, you can visit the museum free of charge. It’s closed on Mondays.
Here is a full list of the best things to do in Pico.
Hotels on Pico
Alma do pico.
We stayed in Alma do Pico. It is the perfect place to relax after a busy day. You will stay in cozy cottages with a kitchenette.
The hotel also has a beautiful swimming pool and lovers of Italian food will appreciate the great Italian restaurant.
The hotel and the restaurant are run by super friendly and helpful Italian owners.
A great place to stay on Pico island.
Check prices and availability: Booking.com
Day 4-6 Faial
By ferry, you can get from Pico to Faial in only 30 minutes.
The island is said to have gotten its name from the numerous beech trees, called faias in Portuguese, that grow here.
Faial is also referred to as the blue island because of its abundance of blue hydrangeas.
It’s a fact that there are plenty of hydrangeas here, but honestly, we have to say that we couldn’t tell there were more on Faial than on the other islands.
The most important tourist attractions are the town of Horta with its charming port and the Capelinhos and Caldeira volcanoes .
We began our exploration of Faial in the vibrant yacht port . This is a popular stopping point for sailboats on their way around the world or on an ocean crossing to America. They used to stop here to check the weather reports and stock up on supplies. Today, it’s just to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of this island.
It’s been a long-standing tradition among sailors to leave a mural on the docks or the breakwater when they leave. This is said to bring good fortune on one’s journey.
We discovered several Dutch murals as well as a number of murals by Belgian crew members.
Those many small works of art have made the yacht port into a very colorful place.
Located at the port, Peter Sport café is the place to be for a chat with the sailors or to sample the local gin.
When you enter the R1-1 from the port and drive in a counterclockwise direction, you’ll arrive at the viewpoint of Nossa Senhora da Conceição after about 10 minutes. This lookout offers a beautiful view of the town of Horta and the nearby islands of Pico, São Jorge, and Graciosa.
The beautiful sandy beach of Praia do Almoxarife lies only about 5 minutes by car from this viewpoint. This is a wonderful and peaceful place to hang out on a sunny day, while the view of the Pico Volcano is fantastic.
The 2-kilometer-wide Caldeira crater is another absolute must-see when you’re visiting Faial. At the top, a lookout point offers a magnificent view of the enormous green crater. You can also go on a beautiful and easy hike of about 8 kilometers around the crater. This is Azores hiking at its very best.
The crater is often shrouded in clouds. It’s an impressive experience to stand at the summit surrounded by clouds, but if you also want to actually see something, it’s best to wait to drive up until you see that the top of the crater is cloud-free. You can also check the webcam at the top .
Here are some tips for exploring the Caldeira crater:
- If you’re afraid of heights, the hike might not be recommended. Sometimes, the trail is quite narrow and runs along a steep drop-off.
- Make sure to wear warm clothes, put on proper hiking shoes and bring raingear because, as we mentioned before, the weather in the Azores can change rapidly.
- If you’d like to, you can also descend into the crater, but you would need to do that with a guide.
The lunar landscape of the Capelinhos Volcano is unique in the Azores. The volcano erupted approximately 50 years ago, creating a desolate, moonlike landscape. The entire region was leveled and only the lighthouse remained standing.
You can admire the surrounding landscape from the top of the lighthouse. This can be reached from within the visitor center for a fee.
Inside the futuristic visitor center is also a museum where you can learn everything about volcanoes and the eruption of the Capelinhos Volcano in particular.
Ticket fee : €10 per adult / €5 for children aged 7 to 14 and 65+. There’re other tickets available for those who only want to climb the lighthouse or only want to watch the movie.
Opening hours : The region can be visited 24/7 for free. The visitor center and museum is open during the following hours.
1 November – 31 March Monday : closed / Tuesday – Friday : 9 am – 5 pm
1 April – 31 October Everyday : 9 am – 6 pm
- Here is a complete list of what to do in Faial.
- The perfect 7 day azores itinerary.
Hotels on Faial
Lofts azul pastel.
We stayed in The Lofts Azul Pastel, a 10-minute walk from Horta.
We had a nice spacious room.
The room looked out over the sea on one side and we had a view of the Caldeira on the other. Our room had a kitchen, but you don’t necessarily have to cook your own meals every night.
The restaurant also offers a wide selection of simple, inexpensive, and tasty dishes.
A quiet place to stay not too far from Horta.
Day 7-9 São Jorge
We continued our Azores itinerary by ferry and traveled from Faial via Pico to São Jorge.
The crossing lasted about one and a half hours.
This island was even less touristy than Pico or Faial.
São Jorge sights
The weather was pretty bad on the first day and we limited our activities to a drive around the island.
A loop like that is actually a worthwhile thing to do on every island since you’ll always pass by some beautiful viewpoints.
On São Jorge, our tour first took us to Ilhéu do Topo . This is a small island off the easternmost point of São Jorge where you can spot birds.
The Espirito Santo festivities were also in full swing. The people from a village where we passed by were generous and welcoming, invited us to the celebrations, and offered us some of their soup and wine. (In exchange for a voluntary donation to their parish) It was a lot of fun to get to know the locals this way.
There are numerous festivals in the Azores. It’s recommended to swing by the tourist office, where they’ll be able to tell you all the events on the calendar. There’s usually a tourist office in the city center of the island’s main city. If you arrive by plane you will also see a desk in the arrivals hall.
On the second day, we went bird-watching at Fajã dos Cubres and did a beautiful but pretty challenging hike at Norte Pequeno .
Hotels in São Jorge
Make it happen farm.
We stayed 2 nights at the Make it happen farm. On this “organic farm” you stay in beautiful detached houses.
The farm has a large shared kitchen and living space. In the kitchen, you can prepare your own food using everything that grows on the farm.
If you don’t feel like cooking, you will also find a number of restaurants nearby. You can see the Pico volcano during good weather.
Great place to stay for a couple of days.
Day 10-12 Terceira
From São Jorge, we flew with SATA Air Açores to Terceira in about 30 minutes.
From the airport, it’s only 10 minutes to the viewpoint of Serra Do Cume . Here, you get to enjoy a stunning vista across numerous meadows.
We also explored the historic streets of Angra do Heroismo , a charming town that’s listed as UNESCO world heritage .
Additionally, we visited the fairytale-like landscape of Furnas do Enxofre . This area is subject to lots of volcanic activity and you can see fumes rising up from fissures in the ground, while the smell of sulfur is prominent. What makes this landscape so amazingly enchanting, though, is the wonderfully colorful mosses.
The highlight of Terceira, however, was the Algar do Carvão cave . Via a tunnel, you enter this 90-meter-deep cave formed by lava. We thought that the entrance and the lake created by rainwater were incredibly gorgeous. Depending on the time of year, this lake can be empty or up to 14 meters deep.
Inside the cave, the temperature always ranges around 14 degrees Celsius (57 Fahrenheit) and water consistently drips down. So, make sure to bring a sweater and rain clothes.
Ticket fee : €10 per person
If you don’t have a car you can book an organized tour. The tour visits the Algar do Carvão cave, the Gruto do Natal lava tunnel and Furnas do Enxofre.
Opening hours : Vary by season,( check their website )
You can also buy a combination ticket with Gruto do Natal. These tickets cost €15.
Gruto do Natal is a lava tunnel that you can explore by yourself after a brief introduction and armed with a helmet and map. While Gruto do Natal is less spectacular than Algor do Carvão, it is worth a visit to see the massive tunnels that have been created by the lava.
There are 2 loops in the Gruto do Natal. Route 1 is the easiest route. Route 2 involves a bit more climbing and occasionally crawling through slightly narrow spaces, but should be suitable for most visitors. Both loops aren’t too long at all and you can complete them in about 45 minutes.
Here, too, we recommend wearing warmer clothing and, especially, proper footwear. This applies mostly to the 2nd loop.
Ticket fee : €8 per person (or 15€ as a combi-ticket with Algar do Carvão)
Opening hours : vary by season ( check the website )
The Gruto do Natal is also the starting point of a beautiful hike. The Mistérios Negros (PRC01TER) hike is approximately 6 kilometers long and takes you past some beautiful lagoons and, of course, past the namesake mountains.
On Terceira, you’ll find plenty of natural swimming spots between the rocks along the coast. When the weather’s good, you can see the local residents splashing away at these beautiful nature-made swimming pools. We thought the swimming spots of Biscoitos were stunning, and they also feature all the necessary facilities.
As a shivery person, I personally found it a little too cold to dive in myself, but there were plenty of others who thought otherwise. Even if you don’t want to swim yourself, Biscoitos is a beautiful place to drive by on a sunny day and enjoy the vibe.
When you go swimming, do watch out for the Portuguese man-of-war. These venomous jellyfish are not uncommon here and being stung by one is not fun—and that’s putting it very mildly.
One of the most remarkable things we did on Terceira was attending a bullfight on the street . These bullfights take place from May 1 to October 15. During these events, the bulls run through the streets for 15 to 30 minutes, while they’re held on a long rope by so-called pastores.
A number of brave people also run through the streets along with the bulls and act like voluntary bullfighters, but most people, including us, are safely sheltered and watch this folkloric spectacle from a distance. It’s one of the most fascinating cultural things to do in the Azores.
The bulls are not killed, hit, or harmed in any way. After the act, they are safely taken back to their meadows.
Despite the fact that we’re typically against these kinds of activities, we did decide to go and take a look. I will never manage to watch the traditional bullfights where the animals are hurt and killed. Here, I also felt kind of sad for the bulls which I still prefer to see in the meadows instead of the streets, but on the other hand, it was also nice to experience this folkloric event on our Azores trip.
At the tourist office, you can ask for a list of the dates and locations of these bullfights.
Here is an article with more fun things to do in Terceira
Hotels in Terceira
At the ALLUar Lodge you stay in small detached houses with a sea view. The cottages have a kitchenette and you will also find a number of restaurants nearby. Every day a tasty breakfast is delivered to your house in a breakfast basket. You can enjoy your breakfast in your cottage, on the terrace of your cottage, or at the swimming pool. After a busy day, you can swim a few laps or relax by the pool.
A great place to relax after a busy day.
Day 13-20 São Miguel
From Terceira, we flew to São Miguel, this flight takes about 40 minutes.
We have a post with all the info you need for island-hopping in the Azores . Including info on how you save money on flights.
São Miguel is the largest and most touristy island of the Azores.
While you can get around most Azores Islands in just an hour, you’ll need more than an hour to just get from one side of São Miguel to the other.
São Miguel sights
São Miguel has a number of beautiful attractions that you absolutely have to visit during your Azores vacation. If you are looking for a complete São Miguel itinerary, click here.
The most famous attraction is the crater lake of Sete Cidades. You’ve probably already seen this crater lake. It’s the iconic image of the Azores. When you see photos of the Azores, one of these crater lakes is almost always among them, and rightly so because it’s gorgeous.
The most beautiful views of this lake are from the viewpoints Vista do Rei and Boca da Inferno .
Another highlight is the crater lake of Lagoa do Fogo . This lake is at its most photogenic at sunset.
Take the time to check if the lake isn’t covered in the mist before you leave, though. You can do this on the website SpotAzores . On this website, several webcams show current weather conditions, including these at the viewpoint of Lagoa de Fogo.
The viewpoint of the lake is on the rim of the crater. There’s also a beautiful hike that takes you to the lakeshore. If you’re looking for an Azores hiking suggestion, look no further.
Just like Pico and Faial, São Miguel is the perfect place for dolphin and whale watching in the Azores. Although we didn’t get to see any whales, we did see a huge group of dolphins that were having a blast around our boat. We were really unlucky because the tours that went out before us had all seen whales but it was still a wonderful experience.
We booked our tour via GetYourGuide and were very happy with how everything was organized.
This is how our tour looked like.
First, we got an expert explanation about the different species of whales and dolphins, after which we traveled out to sea in a zodiac.
Besides the captain, there was also a naturalist on board. Every time we saw something, she offered plenty of information about the animal.
At the end of the tour she also gave a small recap of everything we had seen and she remained available for further questions.
This tour comes highly recommended if you don’t only want to see these beautiful animals, but also would like to learn more about them.
Check prices and availability: Dolphin and whale watching tour
Read our complete post where we share the best whale and dolphin tours.
Additionally, we also went for some relaxation in the thermal baths . On São Miguel, there are many natural hot springs in the vicinity of Furnas. We’ll tell you about the most famous ones below.
Do not forget your towel and slippers.
Parque Terra Nostra
Parque Terra Nostra has one large thermal bath and 2 smaller so-called Jacuzzis. Those are actually just smaller baths where the water is a little bit hotter. What’s so fun about this park is that a visit also includes the beautiful botanical garden in which the baths are located.
We went here ourselves and it wasn’t super-crowded.
Opening hours : see webite
These natural pools are in the middle of nature. The most popular and also the most photogenic pool is the one with the waterfall. Caldeira Velha has the most authentic feeling thanks to its location amid wonderful nature, but all that charm is lost because of the crowdedness.
We drove past 3 times and it was super-busy every time. So, unfortunately, we didn’t check out the pools ourselves.
Since we have been there they have enlarged the parking and you can now also reserve a spot online in advance . This will make it easier to visit the baths.
Check reviews on Tripadvisor
Ticket fee : €10 per person for 2 hours. If you want to visit this site without bathing you pay €3. Children aged 7-14 pay half the price, and children younger than 7 are free.
Poça Da Dona Beija
You can also go for a dive in the thermal baths of Poça Da Dona Beija. Poça Da Dona Beija features 5 baths, of which the hottest baths have a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit). There is also a leisure area with water of 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit).
This is an amazing place to relax under the stars since it doesn’t close until 11 p.m.
Because we’d already visited Parque Terra Nostra, we didn’t visit these pools. But you can check out some reviews on TripAdvisor .
Ticket fee : €8 per person / Children 6 or younger: €6
Opening hours : daily from 8.30 am to 11 pm
The tea fields of Gorreana are (almost) unique to Europe. The climate on the Azores is excellent for cultivating tea and elsewhere in Europe there are very few tea plantations. This plantation is small-scale and many things are still done manually. You can freely walk around the plantation and the factory, where you can see how the harvested tea is further processed.
There’s also a small souvenir shop and while you visit the factory you can taste the tea free of charge, too.
Yet another recommendation for what to do on São Miguel is the many beautiful waterfalls . In our opinion, the most beautiful and pristine one was the waterfall near the beach of Moinhos. The waterfall of Salto do Prego was also absolutely worth it. The fantastic hike to get there alone makes it a worthwhile trip.
If you want to relax for a couple of days, have a look at our post in which we share the best beaches in São Miguel.
If you don’t have a car have a look at this post in which we share the best São Miguel tours.
Hotels on São Miguel
We stayed in Furnas for the whole week, but we don’t recommend this. As São Miguel is quite large, it takes about 90 minutes to drive from one side to the other, we suggest you split your stay between Furnas and Ponta Delgada.
In Furnas, you can relax in the hot water baths and it is a great base to explore the rough east coast of the island.
Ponta Delgada offers a wider choice of restaurants and is better positioned to visit other parts of the island.
Octant Furnas hotel
We stayed in the Octant Furnas hotel . (formerly known as the Furnas Boutique hotel) The rooms are nicely decorated and spacious. You start the day with a delicious breakfast on the pleasant terrace. After a long day, you can relax in the hotel’s thermal pools, the sauna, and the steam bath. The restaurant’s menu is rather limited but they have some delicious options.
The restaurant is one of the best options in Furnas as you can see by the excellent reviews on TripAdvisor .
Casa do Contador
Casa do Contador is right in the center of Ponta Delgada.
From the hotel, it’s only a 10-minute walk to the boardwalk where you can enjoy drinks or snacks in one of the many trendy bars.
All rooms come with a small kitchenette.
If you prefer staying in an Airbnb, have a look at the following posts: Amazing Airbnbs in Ponta Delgada. and the best São Miguel Airbnbs.
Azores travel tips
Here we share some interesting Azores travel tips.
Best time to visit the Azores
The best time to travel to the Azores is during spring and summer. If you love swimming, we advise you to visit during the summer.
We visited in June and the water was still quite cold.
Here you can find more info about the Azores climate and the best time to visit.
Are the Azores expensive?
Although prices, in general, were slightly more expensive than mainland Portugal, we found the Azores still quite cheap.
To give you an example: For a regular meal, we paid around €12-€15 per person. The gas was even cheaper than on the mainland.
The one thing we found more expensive were taxis.
So we definitely advise you to rent a car .
But compared to other Western European countries, we didn’t find the Azores expensive.
How to get to the Azores and how to get Azores plane tickets
First of all, let’s take a look at how to get to the Azores.
The Azores Islands are easily reachable by plane from the mainland of Portugal throughout the entire year.
As far as flights go, there’s no best time to visit the Azores—you can easily get there all year round.
Both TAP and Azores Airlines offer multiple daily flights from Porto and Lisbon to the Azores.
Most flights are to Ponta Delgada on São Miguel, but there are also flights to the other islands. Note, however, that when flying to another island, you’ll often have a layover in Ponta Delgada.
There are also an increasing number of direct flights to the Azores from the United States and Canada.
Azores Airlines flies to different cities in the USA and Canada and United has a direct flight between New York JFK and Ponta Delgada.
Going independent or joining an organized tour
We found it easy and straightforward to create our own travel itinerary. It was also fairly easy to travel through the Azores independently.
But if you want the company of a group, don’t have the time to create your own itinerary, or just don’t want to go independent, you could also join an organized tour.
TourRadar is a trustworthy company where you can book an organized tour to the Azores to make it easy on yourself.
We wrote a complete post in which we share 6 of the best Azores tours ( hiking trips, island hopping trips, and tours that only visit São Miguel.
Check prices and availability: Organized Azores tours
Where to stay in the Azores?
You will find plenty of hotels in the Azores. From high-end hotels to ecolodge and small boutique hotels. In this itinerary, we mention per island where we stayed.
Here you can find an overview of the best places to stay in the Azores .
If you prefer staying in an Airbnbs, have a look at our Azores Airbnb post in which we share the best Airbnbs on each island.
Do I need travel insurance for the Azores?
Travel Insurance is something that can be overlooked when you prepare for your vacation. Certainly when you’re traveling to a safe and civilized country such as Portugal. We didn’t get travel insurance for our first trips. A few years later we both took out new credit cards that came with travel insurance and relied on those. We know better now…
Overall, chances are slim that you will encounter any problems while traveling. But unfortunately, things tend to happen when we least expect them.
And when things turn awry in civilized countries, the medical costs can be high. We learned it the hard way when we once had to visit a hospital in the United States.
The medical care was excellent but we had high out-of-pocket expenses as it turned out the insurance that came with our credit cards didn’t cover these costs. It turned out we were underinsured.
Drawing up a travel insurance policy may seem expensive at first but it can potentially save you a significant sum, significantly more than the small insurance fee.
Good travel insurance, such as the one from World Nomads, covers things like medical expenses, trip cancellation, overseas medical costs, evacuation, baggage damage or loss, and theft.
If you still need travel insurance, check out HeyMondo and SafetyWing. Both companies offer good insurance for a competitive price.
Which islands to visit in the Azores
When traveling, you usually have to make choices and that was certainly the case during our Azores trip.
We visited 5 of the 9 Azores Islands.
How did we make our selection of what to do in the Azores?
We based our selection on the things to do on the specific islands and how easily the islands are accessible.
That’s why the more remote islands of Corvo and Flores didn’t make the cut.
In the future, we definitely want to visit those two as well, but they’re not as easy to get to and the flightsare also a bit more unreliable. They’re regularly canceled and are often delayed. Because that would mess up our plans, we decided to save them for another time.
How many days in Azores?
It’s not easy to say what the ideal amount of time to spend on each island is.
After all, this greatly depends on different factors like your way of traveling, how much you’d like to hike, and the things you want to see and do on each of the Azores islands.
In general, you should be able to see all the highlights on most Azores islands in 2-3 days. The only exception is São Miguel, the largest island, where we recommend staying at least 5-7 days.
Of course, you can choose to stay longer on some of the islands, but the Azores travel itinerary that we choose, which you can see below, offers sufficient time on each island to see the main attractions on the Azores.
Island hopping in the Azores
You can divide the archipelago into 3 different areas.
In the center are the islands of Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial. The latter 3 are located maximum one hour by boat from one another and are connected by ferry throughout the entire year.
The western part is where you’ll find the islands of Corvo and Flores.
Lastly, the islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria are located in the east of the archipelago.
Island hopping in the Azores is possible by plane or by taking the ferry.
All Azores Islands have an airport, even teeny-tiny Corvo.
Azores Airlines has flights to all the islands all year round. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a Lisbon to Azores flight, or a flight in between the 9 Azores islands.
Note, however, that during the high season (June-August), flights tend to sell out. Therefore, we recommend booking your plane tickets well in advance.
The ferry runs throughout most of the year except for the winter months. However, you should know that outside the summer months, only a very small selection of routes are available.
Ferry routes connect Pico with Faial and Saõ Jorge. There’s also a direct connection between Corvo and Flores. In the peak season, there’s also a ferry to Graciosa and Terceira.
The other islands, Sao Miguel and Santa Maria, can’t be reached by ferry.
The ferry is operated by AtlânticoLine . Their fleet consists of 5 boats, 2 of which are capable of transporting a small number of vehicles (12 and 15).
You can find more information about ferry routes and times on the AtlânticoLine website . It’s also possible to book tickets on their website.
Check our island-hopping article for a more in-depth look at the various ferry routes.
We suggest booking your tickets in advance, especially in the high season (July-August). Some routes are only served intermittently and it can get pretty busy that time of year. With a ticket, you’re sure to have a spot on the ferry of your choice.
How did we do it?
To go island hopping in the Azores, we used a combination of ferries and airplanes.
Pico, Faial, and São Jorge are so close to each other that taking the ferry is the easiest option.
The other islands are more remote and traveling by plane is the more efficient way to get there.
Upon arrival at an island, we rented a car to explore the island. The car rental companies have offices in all ports and airports. We had a different car reservation for each island.
I personally didn’t look forward to changing cars that much, but in the end, everything went really smoothly.
If you want, and if your car rental contract allows it, you can also take your rental car on the ferry.
I looked into that while planning our Azores trip itinerary because sometimes it’s cheaper to rent a car for a longer period of time. However, we wouldn’t have saved money if we’d done that.
Below, you can find more information about how to get around the Azores and why we opted for a rental car.
Renting a car on the Azores
You shouldn’t count on or rely too much on public transportation in the Azores. Each island has some kind of public transportation available but it is always rather limited. On São Jorge, for example, it’s limited to 1 bus per day. It’s clear that this won’t get you very far.
You can, as an alternative, use taxis to get around the islands. This needs some preparation as well. How this works exactly, is different between islands.
For example, on São Jorge, the taxis don’t yet operate with a centralized telephone number. You must call each taxi directly. We didn’t use taxis on any of the other islands so we don’t know how this is arranged over there.
The tourist offices can give you all the information about how the taxis operate. We advise stopping by the tourist office at the airport or port if you plan to use the taxis.
What did stand out to us, however, was that the taxis seemed pretty expensive. One ride costs as much as what you pay on average for a rental car for 1 day.
Taxis are necessary for one-way hikes where you leave your car at the start point and would otherwise need to hike back.
If you rely on taxis for all your transportation it will become expensive rather fast. In that case, it’s much more affordable to do this with a rental car.
With a rental car
The car rental companies have offices in all ports and airports. We rented one car per island. I personally didn’t look forward to changing cars that much, but in the end, everything went really smoothly.
If you want, and if your car rental contract allows it, you can also take your rental car on the ferry. I looked into that while planning our Azores itinerary as sometimes it’s cheaper to rent a car for a longer period of time. It wouldn’t have saved us money but it doesn’t harm to compare.
Know that you don’t need to do it to avoid the hassle of changing cars. Dropping off your car and picking up the new one at the next destination is a very straightforward process that usually didn’t take a lot of time.
Driving on the Azores was not difficult at all.
The roads are usually well-maintained and people drive in a polite and relaxed way.
It’s almost always cheaper to rent your car in advance and it gives you time to compare the various offers and find the best deal. Major international brands such as Hertz and Avis are present, although usually in collaboration with a local player. The Azores count numerous local rental car agencies and they often have the most competitive fares.
Discover Cars and Rentalcars.com offers an easy way to quickly compare quotes for both the international and local brands. In most cases, your booking can be canceled up to 48 hours before your pick-up date. It’s worth comparing both sites although we almost always find the best deals on Discover Cars .
Here you can find all info on how to rent a car in the Azores.
The Azores are a gorgeous destination for both nature lovers and hikers. It’s not too far away, yet totally different from what we’re used to at home. This is one of those destinations that we really look forward to visiting again in the future.
This Azores itinerary took us to 5 of the 9 islands.
Most Azores Islands remain untouched and you barely meet any other tourists there.
On many of our hikes in the Azores, we didn’t meet anyone else or only 2 to 4 people at most. Only the island of São Miguel appears to have been discovered by tourists.
Sports enthusiasts also won’t get bored here, thanks to the wide range of available activities. In any case, we’re definitely going back at some point to explore the other heavenly islands.
If you only have a week in the Azores, check out this 7-day Azores itinerary.
In our Azores travel guide , you can find all our Azores posts.
See the web story that accompanies this post.
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Travel Guide to the Azores Islands
TripSavvy / Grace Kim
The Azores Islands are a fascinating island archipelago belonging to Portugal . A stepping stone for Americans who don't like long flights, the islands lie in the Atlantic, under five hours flying time from the East Coast of the U.S. and two hours flying time to Lisbon .
You may not expect the tropical conditions you find on the Azores. Small and intensely flavorful pineapples can be found as well as tea plantations on the island of São Miguel . Flowers are everywhere, especially in spring.
The islands' volcanic origin leaves unmistakable marks on the landscape and even in the cuisine. Steaming hot pools are everywhere, and the iconic dish of the Azores, a stew called Cozido is cooked by placing the pot in a hole in the ground near the famous caldeiras of Furnas, a town between Villa Franca and Nordeste on the map.
Getting to the Azores Islands
The nine Azores Islands are served by Azores Airlines . International flights arrive at the major settlement of Ponta Delgada on the Azores largest island, São Miguel or San Miguel. During the high season, Azores Airlines flies to the Azores from Boston, Oakland, Toronto, Montreal, Porto, Lisbon, Frankfurt and Las Palmas. If you are coming to the Azores from Lisbon, you can get direct flights to Horta, Terceira , and Santa Maria as well as to Ponta Delgada. In the off-season, check Azores Airlines for the latest information, as these departures change frequently.
Ease Your Jetlag With a Stop in the Azores
The Azores are only four and a half hours from Boston . A trip to the Azores can be the start of a series of short budget-airline hops that will ease the specter of jet lag: less than five hours to the Azores, two hours to Lisbon, three hours or so to Italy.
The Azores provide a whole different European experience for the traveler who would like to experience cultural and environmental contrast to "The Continent."
The flight from Boston will take you to Ponta Delgada on the Island of San Miguel. It's the largest island in the Azores chain, and there's plenty to do. From there you can go on to other islands or continue on to the continent by flying to Lisbon.
Getting Around the Azores Islands
During the high season, there are flights between the islands. Ferry services can be spotty, and many boats only run for a limited time around the summer season.
If you wish to travel to two islands from the U.S., it's best to make your airline reservations at the same time. In other words, the frugal will want a Boston-Ponta Delgada-Terceira ticket rather than separate Boston-Ponte Delgada and Ponta Delgada-Terceira round trips.
Major cities like Ponta Delgada, where you are likely to arrive in the Azores, have a variety of hotels, but getting out in the rural spaces of the Azores is the big draw. There are a variety of options within the program of Rural Tourism. If going rural appeals to you, you might try looking for lodging at Rural Tourism in Portugal .
While the resort hotels of the Azores offer good value for the money compared to other European destinations, many rural accommodations—restored farmhouses and manor houses—could be your first choice for lodging in the Azores. Most offer a real feeling of the genteel life and offer fine food (if you wish) and a leisurely lifestyle. The owners are often very interested in seeing you get the most out of your visit. For romantics, renting an isolated cabin with a view of the sea is the private way to go.
Getting Around within an Island in the Azores
Public transportation is aimed at Azoreans going to work and many of the public transport timetables are probably inconvenient for most tourists to the Azores. Hiring a taxi for a half-day tour is reasonably inexpensive, and gets you exactly where you want to go. Rental cars are available and are good to have on larger islands such as San Miguel.
There are many walking paths on the islands as walking is one of the attractions enjoyed by tourists in the Azores.
The Azores' stable, subtropical climate makes the islands the ideal place to go in the off or shoulder seasons. It's also ideal for folks who want to vacation in summer but don't like intense heat. Go in spring for the flowers.
Travel Safety in the Azores
There is little sign of poverty in the Azores, and there are few recorded crimes against tourists.
During the lean the years, many Azoreans immigrated to the US and then returned, so there tends to be a more sympathetic view of the politics embraced by the current U.S. administration than you'll find in other European countries. This also means that many citizens and visitors to the Azores speak English fluently; a benefit to tourists who don't speak Portuguese.
When to go to the Azores Islands
The Azores are awash in flowers in the spring, so May might be the ideal time to visit. Ferries start running in earnest in June, so that might be a consideration for you. April to September is the peak season in the Azores. You might want to avoid the rainy season, November to March. The gulf stream keeps the water fairly warm all year round, and Nordic visitors like to come to the Azores to swim in the winter. Summer is prime whale-watching time.
Island Hop to Madeira
If you like tropical islands, you might try a little Gulf Stream Island Hopping by flying from Ponta Delgada in the Azores to Funchal on Madeira Island . The flight takes only a little over two hours.
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, golfing, paragliding, and diving. Here you'll find islands with tropical characteristics but European character. You can swim and boat during the day, then sit down to a typical meal with fine (and sometimes local) wines at night. The Azores aren't one of those places where you're plopped down in a glamorous resort walled off from a poorer population.
What's Not in the Azores That You Might Expect
It may surprise you to know that beaches aren't the primary attraction in the Azores. That doesn't mean that there aren't sandy stretches that attract bathers, but we're not talking about Hawaii here, either. Still, swimmers (and divers) can make quite a time of it in the Azores; the water is warmed by the gulf stream, and there are many opportunities to swim in the "natural swimming pools" formed from the collapse of small volcanic craters.
And you won't find many backpackers in the Azores.
What Might Surprise You on the Azores
The Azores used to be a prime supplier of oranges to the mainland. After a disease wiped out the crop, tea and pineapples were introduced. Today you can tour two tea plantations with tasting rooms on the island of San Miguel. You can also tour a pineapple plantation. Pineapple has become part of the cuisine of the Azores, most folks have a large slice after dinner, but it's also served with small, grilled blood sausage as a typical appetizer. Cows, milk, and cheeses are famous as well.
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How To Travel Between Azores Islands: The Ultimate Guide
If you’re wondering how to travel between Azores Islands, then you’ve come to the right place. This guide will delve into the ins and outs of getting from A to B in this eye-wateringly wonderful Portuguese archipelago, all to help you plan that perfect jaunt that includes the top hikes, the most dramatic beaches, and the most culture-rich towns.
There are only two ways to get between different islands in the Azores archipelago: By boat or by plane. That’s just the same as with Greek island hopping , Croatian island hopping, Indonesian island hopping – the list goes on. Basically, if there’s water to cover betwixt A and B then you’re either going to need to jump over it or skim over it.
Thankfully, the Azores have some pretty good connections on offer when it comes to both air and sea. They might not be comparable to the flight and ferry links that link up the mainstay islands of the Greek Aegean, say, but they are regular, affordable, and relatively reliable. Let’s take a closer look…
Table of Contents
First, a little geography…
Before we get stuck into our complete guide on how to travel between Azores Islands, it’s probably a good idea to get a little bit of geography out of the way. Why? A couple of reasons but mainly to manage expectations, give you a good idea of what islands are accessible from what others, and paint a picture of the sort of distances you’re going to have to cover when you go from one to the other.
One thing’s for sure…the Azores aren’t really on any travel radar. Dotting the Macaronesia region of the North Atlantic, they sit a whopping 870 miles from Lisbon (the Portuguese capital) and nearly 1,000 miles off the coast of North Africa. That’s what you’ll need to hop over to arrive in the first place. Once that’s done, then you’re onto getting between the isles themselves…
The archipelago of the Azores consists of nine islands in all. They stretch over 360 miles of ocean at their widest point (southeast to northwest) and can be separated, roughly, into three distinct groups: Western, central, and eastern. This is a VERY important distinction if you’re looking to travel between the Azores in a single trip because, while it’s relatively easy to move between isles in the same group, it’s more of a challenge to move between islands in different groups.
That’s not to say it’s impossible. It’s not! But to put things into perspective a little let’s take an example: Corvo, the northernmost island of the western group of the Azores, is a mere 11 miles from its next-door neighbor Flores but a whopping 370 miles from Santa Maria Island in the far east of the group. You can see how they might not knit together well in the same itinerary!
The upshot here is that planning is really important when you’re putting together an itinerary for your Azores island-hopping trip. It’s certainly possible to do two, three, four, or even five islands plus in one jaunt, but it’s always a good idea to try to check off places that are within the same group or vicinity as that will cut down travel times and admin a lot.
Flying between islands in the Azores
As a general rule, flying is the most convenient of the two options when it comes to traveling between the Azores. It’s faster and – and here’s the kicker – lets you cover longer distances. Hopping on a plane means you can easily join together two of the distinct island groups within the archipelago, since going airborne means 370 miles is basically a walk in the park.
On top of that, you might be amazed to hear that EVERY SINGLE ISLAND has its own airport. That’s enough to make the Cyclades blush. Now, we’re not talking sprawling mega hubs with the capability of landing jumbo jets here. However, it’s enough for small prop planes and that gives the potential for a pretty decent air network overall.
SATA Air Azores are the only airline that run routes. They are generally well thought of and pretty punctual. They offer an online booking system that lets you pre-bag tickets, compare prices, and get updates on flight departures and arrivals. They also usually include 23kgs of luggage as standard and there’s often a flexibility attached to the ticket that means you can cancel without losing your entire fare. (On a side note: SATA don’t just do inter-island flights but also offer links to New York, Toronto, and Porto to boot).
The other bonus to flying is that it’s not as impacted by weather conditions as the ferry route. Never underestimate the ability of the Atlantic Ocean to throw a curveball. One day it can be stiller than a Algarvian cove in mid August, the next it can be sloshing around like a Sagres beer in a Lisbon bar come soccer season. Flying means you don’t have to worry about that so much, while boats are a different story.
Now, onto the bad news: Because there’s basically NO competitor when it comes to flights between the Azores, this can be a pricy option. That’s not to say it’s uber-expensive. Surprisingly, it’s not, but we are talking about €90 for a short-haul link that might take no more than 40 minutes in the air. Kinda’ okay, but hardly what you’d call low-cost.
Secondly, not all flights have reciprocal links and stopovers can be super time consuming. Don’t go thinking that you can slide off a flight to Terceira in the morning and be in Pico in time to watch the sunset over the volcanos. Often, it will take the best part of 9-12 hours to complete a trip that’s not got a direct linkup.
Ferries between the Azores islands
As with flying, just one company currently runs the boat links between the Azores. They are pretty efficient, too, offering a comprehensive array of routes that connects most of the major islands and even some island groups. We also really like how they’ve made navigating their routes super simple by color coding the whole thing.
The company in question is Atlantico-line. They also have an online portal where you can reserve, manage, and track all your tickets for boats in the Azores. It’s also possible to buy tickets right there on the spot at the port but remember that will depend on capacity and things can get busy in the peak season.
The main downside when it comes to hitting the seas is surely the time it takes. Ferry connections range from quick 30-minute hops to whopping six-hour odysseys. The actual process of moving from port to port is slow going; way slower than skimming through the clouds. On top of that, this is the mid-Atlantic, which means waters can be rough and people who don’t like swaying stomachs might want to steer clear.
Perhaps most importantly, some of the inter-island Azores ferries simply do not run during the low season. The reason? It’s a combo of dipping demand from travelers and the bad weather conditions, which can really impact the more exposed routes between the separate groups. We should also warn that ferry schedules aren’t really schedules at all. Departures often change week to week, so you can’t rely that the 8am to Corvo going every Monday just because it went one Monday.
On the flip side, you’re likely to save time on some ferry connections because embarking and disembarking hardly ever takes the same time as check-in at the airport (where you’re supposed to arrive at least 1.5 hours before for internal flights!). Oh, and ferries are WAY cheaper. While it might be close to €100 for a flight, you’re looking at something like €10 for some of the shorter ferries. Plus, Atlantico-line currently offer a 100% refund policy in the event that you cancel more than 24 hours prior to boarding, making it more risk-free than the planes.
So, to the routes. There are four main routes. Three of them operate all year round but one is seasonal (working only May to September). Here’s a closer look at the lot:
- The Yellow Route – The only seasonal route in the Azores, this is actually a series of routes that links up the eastern islands, the central islands, and the western islands, along with outliers like Terceira and Graciosa. Look at it as the long-haul option, with the shortest connections lasting 3.5 hours at least.
- The Green Route – A loop route that works all year, linking Faial, São Jorge, and Pico, the main three islands in the central group.
- The Blue Route – A popular one with travelers who only have time to do two islands, this links up Faial and Pico in just 30 minutes.
- The Red Route – The main route in the western group, linking Flores and Corvo.
Should I take the boat or the plane?
Most people say that boating your way between the Azores is the more scenic and adventurous of the two options. We’re inclined to agree, so long as you don’t hit bad weather conditions, get cancellations, or are in a rush. Yes, the views are amazing and it’s an experience in itself, but hitches are more likely, and they can ruin a holiday.
The flights, meanwhile, are pretty good in terms of coverage. It’s rare not to be able to find links between the major islands in the chain. They are also far superior when it comes to navigating between the separate island groups. For example, a flight from Corvo to Ponta Delgada takes just an hour or so, but a boat on the same route might clock up a whopping six hours from start to finish.
Really, it comes down to what you’re here for. Is it slow travel and proximity to the ocean? You’ll love the ferries. Is it hiking, culture and landscapes? Flights are probably the better choice.
Reece is the creator and editor of Travel Snippet. He has visited more than 38 countries over a 10-year period. His travels have taken him through the majestic mountains of Italy, into the cities of central Europe, across the islands of Indonesia, and to the beaches of Thailand, where he is currently living. He is passionate about travel and shares his expertise by providing the best travel tips and tricks to help you plan your next adventure.
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Lisbon and The Azores by Air
❮ lisbon and the azores by air.
- Country Info
This 11 night sample itinerary includes:.
- Flight into Lisbon and out of Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island)
- Hotel for 3 nights in Lisbon
- Flight from Lisbon to Terceira Island (Azores)
- Hotel for 3 nights in Terceira Island (Azores)
- Flight from Terceira Island (Azores) to Faial Island
- Hotel for 2 nights in Faial Island
- Flight from Faial Island to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island)
- Hotel for 3 nights in Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island)
Visit Portugal`s scenic capital city and three of the stunning Azores Islands with this customizable package. Set forth on this journey, beginning in Lisbon (the capital of Portugal; full of medieval charm and modern sensibilities) then, catch a flight to Terceira Island (nestled in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, one of the larger islands of the Azores Archipelago) and continue with another flight to beautiful Faial before ending in Sao Miguel (a glorious island filled with ocean views and volcanic scenery). This is a flexible vacation package. Select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities.
Please contact us for any special arrangements such as more than three rooms and partial stays.
Change cabin, booking without flight, returning to a different city/airport, Reorder city, or design your own Itinerary
Terceira Island (Azores)
Faial Island (Azores)
Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island)
Thousands of years of history are on full display in vibrant Portugal , fast becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in western Europe. Each region of Portugal offers something unique to the traveler, like unparalleled beaches and resorts in the Algarve; rolling plains that lead to mountains in the Alentejo; delicious food and drink in the Minho and the Douro River Valley; and of course the country`s bustling capital, Lisbon, which boasts the best of everything that Portugal has to offer, from restaurants to historical landmarks.
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The package rates displayed are your total price per person based on Double Occupancy and your Arrival Date and Number of Nights selected. You can change details after selecting your travel date.
Your Preferred Major Airport:
- Minneapolis-Saint Paul MSP (MN), US
- New York City (All Airports) (NY), US
- 1 room for 1 adult
- 1 room for 2 adults
- 1 room for 3 adults
- 1 room with children or other options
- 2 rooms for (2 adults + 2 adults)
- 2 rooms for (3 adults + 3 adults)
- 2 rooms with children or other options
- 3 rooms for (2 adults + 2 adults + 2 adults)
- 3 rooms with children or other options
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Lisbon and The Azores by Air from $1,285
- Sao Miguel and Lisbon - Porto from $1,115
- Lisbon and Sao Miguel (The Azores) by Air from $909
- Porto and Sao Miguel by Air
- Sao Miguel and Lisbon by Air from $1,048
- Lisbon (319)
- Terceira Island (Azores) (9)
- Faial Island (Azores) (4)
- Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island) (13)
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Lisbon , a dazzling city stretching along Tagus river, makes an enchanting European capital. Its nucleus, an ancient fortress, is now circled by neighborhoods drenched with medieval charm. Handcrafts - from embroidery to leatherwork - are peddled right on the streets. At night, yellow electric tramcars continue to wind their way up and down the hills in the sound of traditional Fado songs. Ample opportunities exist for seeing popular celebrations, for shopping, and for enjoying the nightlife along the riverbank. Visit Alfama, Baixa and Chiado, Se de Lisboa, Sao Roque Church, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, Torre de Belem, Discoveries Monument, Museu Nacional dos Coches, Parque das Nacos, Elevador de Santa Justa, Tram 28 and so much more!
Terceira Island is part of the Azores island chain. History meets biodiversity in this beautiful part of the world. The island`s capital, Angra do Heroismo, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Faial is quaint and largely dominated by its main town, Horta. Nicknamed the Blue Island, Faial`s fields and hillsides are dotted by ubiquitous and colorful hydrangeas. After enjoying the island`s beauty, visitors can kick back and relax in a geothermally-heated lagoon at the island`s renowned natural spa.
Sao Miguel is the largest and most popular of the Azores Islands chain. Portuguese explorers and settlers first inhabited Sao Miguel Island in the 15th century and were so impressed with the tranquil, lush isle that they dubbed it the Green Island. You can stroll down historic avenues in the capital Ponta Delgada , swim with the dolphins, or sun yourself on lakeshores formed by underwater massifs -- all in one day!
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While it can be done, I think that both Lisbon and the rest of continental Portugal are worth all of the 9-10 days (and more). The same is true of the Azores.
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Azores Hotels and Places to Stay
Lisbon & the azores, what's included.
- Hotel accommodations
- Two excursions
- Inter-Portugal flight from the Azores to Lisbon
- Breakfast daily
- Round trip airport transfers
* International airfare not included.
Contact Us Now
Welcome to the Azores
Eastern Sao Miguel/Furnas Tour
Western Sao Miguel/Sete Cidades Tour
Welcome to Lisbon
Lisbon City Tour
Until Next Time
Request a free quote, terms of service.
Prices are per person, double occupancy and based on select departure dates. International airfare is not included.
View Our Brochures
Travel Knowing That Your Azores Adventure is covered.
- 24/7 Trip Assistance - 24/7 dedicated care from our team to assist you during your trip anywhere in the world;
- Personal concierge - Take advantage of our local team and chat with us through WhatsApp while you’re in Portugal;
- Trip Refund Guarantee - In the unlikely event that we need to cancel your trip, you’ll be guaranteed a refund within 15 days*;
- Full Flexibility - Full flexibility of the land arrangements portion of your trip, allowing you to change your plans for any reason, up to 14 days prior to departure.
Need an extra peace of mind?
Purchase our Allianz travel insurance and get reimbursed up to 100% for covered trip cancellation and interruption, including covered illness or injury of you, a family member, or travel companion.
Azores Getaways is a member of ASTA
*For more information please read our Flexibility Policy
Lisbon & The Unspoiled Azores
Explore two of Portugal's most popular destinations with this getaway to Lisbon and the Azores' São Miguel Island!
What's included, why we love this deal:.
- We love this travel package for so many reasons. For starters, it offers the best of both worlds - a chance to explore two gorgeous destinations in one trip.
- São Miguel Island is renowned for its stunning volcanic landscapes and hot springs. From lush forests to rolling hills, the island is the perfect place to relax and unwind away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Make sure you visit the Sete Cidades Lake and the Furnas Valley!
- On top of that, Lisbon is a vibrant city brimming with culture, history, and amazing food. Its streets are filled with medieval castles and squares, colorful azulejos tiles, and beautiful parks. Travelers can ride vintage trams along winding cobblestone alleys or take a ferry down the Tagus River for picturesque views of the city skyline.
- The availability of direct flights between these two locations also makes traveling easy, so you won't have to worry about long layovers or extra stops on your way there.
- Customizable : Add more nights to your stay, a rental car, or even local excursions.
Suggestion for the day:
- Take the afternoon to stroll around Ponta Delgada’s city streets. Ponta Delgada, the main city, is not only the hub of the island but the capital of the Azores. Ponta Delgada evokes all the charms of Europe with cobbled streets, sidewalk cafes, and a thriving culinary scene.
Or book here your Ponta Delgada City Tour.
Not to miss:
- Portas da Cidade
- Louvre Michaelense
- Pineapple Plantations
- Matriz Church
- The Azores Islands are known for their unparalleled beauty and biodiversity, adored by outdoor adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. But what people may not know is that the Azores is also one of the fastest-growing whale-watching destinations in the world. Located in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal and North America, the Azores are a permanent home and natural point of passage to more than 20 different types of whale and dolphin species, making the islands one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries.
Book here your whale and dolphin watching experience!
- Visit Sete Cidades (Lagoa das Sete Cidades, Lagoa de Santiago, Lagoa do Canário and Boca do Inferno Viewpoint) and take this opportunity to visit the neighboring village of Mosteiros - ideal for sunset! Once you’re in the west part of the island you can also indulge in an ocean thermal bath at Ferraria.
Book here a guided tour around the western part of the island that will have you discovering this and much more in the company of a local guide.
- Head to the north side of the island to visit the Protected Natural Reserve of Lagoa do Fogo and take this chance to visit (and maybe bathe) the thermal pools of Caldeira Velha. Once you’re here you can also visit the Salto do Cabrito waterfall! On your way to Furnas, we recommend that you stop at Porto Formoso and Gorreana Tea Plantations (the only ones in Europe). In Furnas there’s just so much to explore, such as the lake, the Pico do Ferro Viewpoint, the Grená Park, the caldeiras, the fumaroles, the Terra Nostra Park, the Dona Beija hot springs and so much more. Make sure to try out the local delicacies: the cozido das Furnas and the bolos lêvedos!
Book a Furnas guided tour here .
- Stroll around Lisbon’s city streets. Visit the Chiado, Baixa, and Bairro Alto districts (Bairro Alto is known for its nightlife scene).
- São Roque church
- São Pedro de Alcântara garden
- Ruins of Carmo church
- Santa Catarina viewpoint
- Luís de Camões Square
- Augusta street
- Terreiro do Paço
- Santa Justa lift
Book here your Lisbon Foodie Guided Tour.
- Suggestion for dinner : Lisbon Fado Night With Dinner
- Stop at Sintra and visit the Old Town and one of the following monuments: Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, Monserrate Palace, Sintra National Palace, or the Moorish Castle.
Or book here your Sintra guided tour.
- Explore Lisbon's captivating Belém area, where you can take in the beauty of Jerónimos Monastery and marvel at the remarkable architecture of Belém Tower. And don't forget to savor authentic Pastéis de Belém while you're there!
- Jerónimos Monastery
- Belém Tower
- Pastéis de Belém
- Discoveries Monument
- MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology)
- CCB (Belém’s Cultural Center)
Book here your Belém Tour.
*Itinerary presented is a suggestion and the length of stay may vary. All tours are suggestions unless specifically stated.
About the destination:.
With friendly locals, exquisite cuisine, sunny skies, charming cobbled streets and a modern vibe, Lisbon is a delightful experience for any visitor. Rich in history, architecture, culture and entertainment, Lisbon has many highlights and places to visit. Lisbon is quite hilly with several viewpoints located across the city from where you can enjoy stunning views of the city and of the Tagus River. Do visit the Cristo Rei and the Moorish São Jorge Castle for some of the most amazing views of Lisbon.
Enjoy also a melodic and typically Portuguese fado show in one of Alfama's Fado Houses accompanied by an elegant glass of Portugal's outstanding wine. Of course, a trip to Lisbon would not be complete without a taste of its famous pastries, Pastel de Belem and pastel de nata. Lisbon is a city for all the senses.
The Azores are truly the best kept secret of the Atlantic. Only 4 hours away from the US, this off-the-beaten path destination is getting increasingly popular with tourists from North-America, but it is still a paradise away from the masses. Visit the largest island of the archipelago, São Miguel, boasting lush landscapes surrounding dormant volcanoes, quaint villages and beautiful crater lakes. Go whale-watching, explore the island's hiking trails with stunning coastal views, and take a relaxing soak at a natural hot spring. Visit the only tea plantation in Europe and enjoy the numerous water and adventure activities the island has to offer.
Check out our Azores Travel Guide for more informations and tips.
- Room #1 Adults (18+) 2 Children (0-17) 0 Child 1 age 8 Child 2 age 8 Child 3 age 8 Room #2 Adults (18+) 2 Children (0-17) 0 Child 1 age 8 Child 2 age 8 Child 3 age 8 Room #3 Adults (18+) 2 Children (0-17) 0 Child 1 age 8 Child 2 age 8 Child 3 age 8 Room #4 Adults (18+) 2 Children (0-17) 0 Child 1 age 8 Child 2 age 8 Child 3 age 8 Add room Remove room
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Important information, other trips you might like.
The Azores: São Miguel Fly & Drive
The Azores: São Miguel & Terceira
The Azores: São Miguel Ultimate Guided Adventure
Talk to a specialist about this trip.
- Room #1 Adults (18+) 2 Children (0-17) 0 Child 1 Age 8 Child 2 Age 8 Child 3 Age 8 Room #2 Adults (18+) 2 Children (0-17) 0 Child 1 Age 8 Child 2 Age 8 Child 3 Age 8 Room #3 Adults (18+) 2 Children (0-17) 0 Child 1 Age 8 Child 2 Age 8 Child 3 Age 8 Room #4 Adults (18+) 2 Children (0-17) 0 Child 1 Age 8 Child 2 Age 8 Child 3 Age 8 Add room Remove room
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Lisbon & the Azores
7 days from $3,500pp
- Day-to-day Itinerary
- Portugal trip ideas
Explore the largest city in the Azores, Ponta Delgada, on a private walking tour.
Visit the twin lakes of Sete Cidades by bicycle and 4x4.
Embark on a whale- and dolphin-watching tour outside Ponta Delgada.
Hear traditional Portuguese fado music at a special dinner in Lisbon.
Discover the history of Lisbon on a private walking tour.
Tour the vibrant and eclectic palaces of Sintra.
- Domestic flights in destination
- Fully insured vehicle rental
- All accommodations
- 24-hour support while you travel
Itinerary idea in detail
Private customized tour. Ask us about booking your international flights at our preferred rates.
Today you land on São Miguel, the largest island of the Azores. After picking up your car you’ll drive into the capital city, Ponta Delgada, and enjoy an afternoon walking tour through the city.
This morning you’ll be met by your driver-guide to venture northwest of Ponta Delgada to Sete Cidades, a caldera known for its twin lakes. You’ll spend the morning exploring the area by bicycle and 4x4 before returning to your hotel. Later, you’ll head to the marina to embark on a shared whale-watching tour.
You have the day at leisure to explore São Miguel on your own. You may wish to explore some of the tea factories outside Ponta Delgada, or cross to the eastern side of the island to explore Povoação and Nordeste.
Head to the airport this morning to catch your flight to Lisbon where you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. After a little time to relax you’ll head out to a special dinner where you’ll be treated to a performance of traditional Portuguese fado music.
This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel for a walking tour of Lisbon that takes in the sights and offers some tastings along the way. The afternoon is yours to spend at leisure, perhaps wandering the alleyways of the Alfama district or venturing up the Santa Justa elevator.
Today you’ll have a guide for a full-day tour of the palaces of Sintra, known for their vibrant, whimsical architecture.
Bid farewell to Lisbon today as you head to the airport for your flight.
While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.
Octant Ponta Delgada
H10 Duque de Loulé
Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa
Pestana Palace Lisboa
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The specialist who designs your trip to Portugal will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.
Watch our tailor-made process
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The distance from Azores to Lisbon, Portugal is:
1,030 miles / 1 658 km flying, map of distance from azores to lisbon, portugal, more trip calculations.
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Distance from Azores to Lisbon, Portugal
The total straight line flight distance from Azores to Lisbon, Portugal is 1,030 miles .
This is equivalent to 1 658 kilometers or 895 nautical miles .
Your trip begins in Azores, Portugal. It ends in Lisbon, Portugal.
Your flight direction from Azores to Lisbon, Portugal is East (83 degrees from North).
The distance calculator helps you figure out how far it is to get from Azores to Lisbon, Portugal. It does this by computing the straight line flying distance ("as the crow flies") and the driving distance if the route is drivable. It uses all this data to compute the total travel mileage.
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