Visit Azores: tips and information

7 Cidades, São Miguel Island, Azores

The Azores is a destination that we love to visit. Visit Azores is always an amazing experience. We have already traveled to the Azores three times and visited the islands of São Miguel, Terceira, and, more recently, Faial, Pico, and São Jorge. The New York Times chose the Azores as a destination to know in 2019 and we could not agree more.

In this post, you will find general information about the archipelago, as well as tips for visiting the Azores.

The Azores are an archipelago of 9 islands that belong to Portugal. It is located in the northeast of the Atlantic Ocean and is divided into three groups of islands:

Western Group

The western group consists of the islands of Corvo and Flores. Both islands have small airports that allow regular connections operated by the local airline. There are also regular boat connections with Lages das Flores and Corvo, and in the high season, there are connections between Flores and Horta. Horta airport has some regular direct flights to Lisbon.

Central Group

The central group consists of the islands of Faial, Graciosa, Pico, São Jorge, and Terceira. All the islands are served by airports, but only Terceira, Faial and Pico provide air connections with the exterior of the archipelago. The islands of Faial, Pico and São Jorge are known as the “Triangle Islands”. Because of its proximity, there are regular boat links between them.

Eastern Group

The Eastern Group consists of the islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria and also includes a group of cliffs, located northeast of Santa Maria, called Ilhéu das Formigas, or Formigas (Ants) that, with the reef of the Dollabarat, constitutes the Natural Reserve of the Ilhéu das Formigas.


In recent years the increase in tourism in the Azores has been notable, especially after the introduction of low-cost airlines, but the Azores continue to be known by the activities of the primary sector. The production of cattle and dairy products, agriculture and fisheries are very visible and will somehow mark your itinerary. It is impossible to visit the Azores without sampling one of the wonderful cheeses that are produced there, without seeing the green landscapes created by the pastures or without having contact with products coming from the sea.

Planning to visit Azores

How to get there

The main means of access to the archipelago is by air, the main airport being the one of Ponta Delgada (São Miguel). This airport receives most of the regular flights, not only coming from mainland Portugal, but also from other countries. It often serves as a stopover point for access to domestic flights to other islands.

Other airports have regular connections abroad, so to visit the Azores, you should try to choose the most convenient connections for the itinerary that you want.

Find your flight to the Azores islands with Momondo or with Skyscanner.

When to visit the Azores

The best times to visit the Azores will depend on your goals. The weather in the islands of the Azores is quite unstable, however, it is expected that it will be hotter from June to September. If you are looking for a beach, this is the time to travel to the Azores, however, many travelers go to the Azores at this time, being the high season, so prices can be more inflated.

If you try to keep your budget in order and maximize your trip, you can choose any other time of the year, where the weather is more inconsistent and there may be less seasonal business offerings, but you can also see the islands more calmly.

Travel Guide

Having a travel guide helps you not only in planning your trip but also in changing your plans in case of unforeseen events. For example, if you plan to visit a certain island for a whole day and because of the state of the sea you can not reach your destination, you can always take advantage to see in the guide the activities or points of interest that you have not yet visited.

We always choose, when possible, to get a travel guide, not only for its usefulness but also because we make a collection of travel guides used by us. In this way, for the Azores, we recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Azores.

Where to stay

On most islands, there are hotel units of various categories that allow you to choose according to your budget. In addition to hotels, there are numerous units of local accommodation or rural accommodation.

Search your hotel in the Azores with Booking.

Transportation

Travel between islands can be done in two ways: by plane, on domestic flights operated by SATA Air Azores, or on regular boats between islands. In both, the schedules depend on the seasonality, and in low season, some boat connections may not operate.

Check the air links to the Azores islands with Momondo or with Skyscanner.

Check here the links, schedules and rates of boat connections.

The Azores are rural islands, and although there is a public transport network, they will not allow you to reach the most interesting points of each island, so our advice is that you rent a means of transportation of your own. If you are adventurous and you have no problems with the normal instability of the weather of an island of the North Atlantic, you can opt for a motorcycle, otherwise, you should choose to rent a car, which will allow you to reach everywhere.

In addition, renting a car allows you to take it with you on some boats between the islands, so on arrival, you will not have to worry about how you are going to visit your destination. Most international car hire companies are present on the main islands, so use an aggregator to find the best price for your vehicle.

When traveling by car you should be cautious of cattle that often moves on the same roads as cars.

Food

The gastronomy in the Azores is based on the Mediterranean diet. In local delicacies the presence of seafood, beef, and cheeses is constant.

As main dishes, we highlight fresh tuna, alcatra de vaca (a slow stew of beef in red wine), alcatra de peixe (a stew from various sea fish) and grilled limpets.

General Tips to visit the Azores

Water

Tap water is drinkable unless there is a specific indication of non-consumption. Bottled water is on sale everywhere.

Visa

Portugal has been part of the EU since 1986, so for European citizens, no visa or passport is required. If you are a citizen of another country you should, as usual, consult consular services or the embassy.

Safety

The Azores are a safe place and violent assaults on tourists are not frequent, however, you should take the general travel precautions to safeguard your passport, money, and valuables.

Travel Insurance

It is recommended that you always get travel insurance like World Nomads or Iati to travel to the Azores. The bilateral assistance agreements for EU citizens include assistance in the national health service, more details here.

Language

The official language in the Azores, as in the rest of Portugal is Portuguese, however, there is a specific pronunciation of this region. English is spoken in the main tourist areas but, in the more rural areas, it may not be a reality. Regardless, people in the Azores welcome all those who visit them in a pleasant way, will strive to perceive you and it is guaranteed that at least you will not go hungry.

LGBT Travelers

Homosexuality has long been accepted in Portugal. You are guaranteed to be welcome and do not expect any kind of discrimination.


To visit the Azores is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience for any traveler. We are sure that you will love it and that you will not be indifferent to the beauty of the landscapes and the gastronomy of these islands.




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