A cluster of stunning islands sits in the North Atlantic, over 800 miles off Portugal's mainland coast.

This scattering of islands approximately 870 miles from the heart of Lisbon is often compared to Hawaii and Iceland. Yes, it has beauty and geothermal landmarks, but this Atlantic archipelago is unique. There are no other destinations where tea and wine are produced side by side or where you can hike in the morning, be recuperating in hot springs in the afternoon and dine on Cozido das Furnas (a volcano-cooked stew) once the sun sets.

The islands’ headline act is unspoilt natural landscapes, and embracing the outdoors is actively encouraged. On Sao Miguel, the largest of the nine islands, you’ll find deep crater lakes, clear-water coastal lagoons and the unique Furnas Valley, where geothermic-heated springs bubble into bathing pools. Over on Terceira, the smaller of the two Azores islands that we feature, there are agricultural plains encompassed by crater walls, a collapsed volcanic cone surrounded by the sea, and the Algar do Carvão – or the ‘cavern of coal’ – a cavernous volcanic vent around 90 metres deep that can be explored by descending 338 steps (but remember: what goes down, must come up).

There are human interest stories to intrigue too. Tales of early settlement, marauding pirates and colonisation. Today, a blend of Portuguese traditions and local culture is unique to the Azores and influenced by the islander’s deeply held faith. Throughout the year, there are festivals and feasts and colourful celebrations of music and art in its many forms.

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The Azores Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in The Azores

Terceira Mar Hotel

Saltwater swimming, nature-immersed adventure and panoramic ocean views from every room.

Santa Barbara Eco Beach Resort

A sustainable and slow-living beach resort immersed in the tranquility of nature.

Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico

An iconic hotel offering five-star glamour overlooking the ocean in the heart of Ponta Delgada.

Terra Nostra Garden Hotel

An elegant retreat on the edge of an 18th-century garden with a geothermal pool and a host of rar...

Zenite Boutique Hotel & Spa

In the heart of a UNESCO-listed town, Zenite Boutique Hotel & Spa offers contemporary looks and a...

The Shipyard Angra

Close to the historic harbour, this boutique apartotel is a great base for everyone from solo exp...

Sao Miguel Whale Watching

This tiny archipelago sits on the migratory path of a handful of whale species (including sei, blue and fin) making it the perfect destination for a spot of wildlife watching. The morning’s adventure begins at Ponta Delgada harbour where you’ll meet the marine biologist and guides who will be leading the trip and have a quick brief before setting off. Three hours will be spent in search of life under the waves.

• Duration: half day
• Time: 8.30am to 1pm\ • Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

Good to know
Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed, and species of whale that may be spotted depends on the time of year.

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A Day in the Life Of A Marine Biologist, Sao Miguel

This is the perfect experience for nature lovers who’d like to try out being a marine biologist for a day and learn more about the Azores’ incredible Atlantic ecosystem. It’s a full and immersive day that includes a trip out on the water in a Zodiac and some time in the office recording your finds through a variety of techniques such as photo identification and hydrophone analysis. There’ll also be the opportunity to discover the health of the surrounding marine environment through the study of microplastics.

• Duration: full day
• Time: 8am to 4pm
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

Good to know
Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed, and species of whale that may be spotted depends on the time of year. A light lunch consisting of a sandwich, fruit, juice and water will be served on board.

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Sete Cidades Hiking, Sao Miguel

Sao Miguel’s natural landscapes are the focus on this half-day hike. You’ll travel westwards to the jaw-dropping Sete Cidades, a dramatic flooded caldera surrounded by forest-cloaked cliffs and surrounded by miles of trails. Begin the adventure at Vista do Rei (the King’s Viewpoint) for an overview and short intro about the landscape and its formation. Then it’ll be time to set off on the three-and-a-half-mile circular route which begins at the bridge where the two lakes meet and finishes in the heart of the picturesque lakeside village.

• Duration: half day
• Start time: 9am or 2pm
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

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Hike Lagoa do Fogo, Sao Miguel

The dramatically named Lagoa do Fogo – or Lake of Fire – is a stunning highlands lake in the heart of Sao Miguel that’s often shrouded in a mist cloak. Like Sete Cidades, do Fogo is the flooded crater of a volcano with steep verdant hills rising up dramatically from the water’s surface. From an elevated viewpoint, you’ll wander down to the edge of the lake and spend some time exploring and learning about this natural wonder from your knowledgeable guide.

• Duration: half day
• Start time: 9am or 2pm
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Private experience

Good to know
This hike is approximately 2 miles long with both downhill and uphill sections.

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Explore Sete Cidades By Jeep, Sao Miguel

Marvel at the incredible natural landscapes of Sete Cidades, the flooded crater of a dormant volcano and Sao Miguel’s most iconic backdrop. You’ll travel by 4 x 4 around the rim of the crater, hopping between vantage points for varying outlooks of the two contrasting-coloured lakes. You’ll also dip down into the caldera for a different perspective and head up to Vista do Rei, the King’s Viewpoint.

• Duration: full day
• Time: 9am to 4.30pm
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Private experience

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Explore Nordeste By Jeep, Sao Miguel

Travel east to the characterful village and surrounding countryside on this 4 x 4 adventure. En route, you’ll pause at a handful of viewpoints, including Miradouro de Santa Iria which has spectacular vistas along the island’s rugged north coast, and Miradouro Salto do Cavalo which overlooks the world-famous Furnas Valley. On the way down to Nordeste itself, visit Ribeira dos Caldeiroes National Park, before heading to a local restaurant for lunch. On your way back to Ponta Delgada, pass through the verdant forests of Serra da Tonqueira and learn about the plight of the endemic Priolo bird, and visit Povoação, the oldest settlement on the island.

• Duration: full day
• Time: 9am to 4.30pm
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

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Discover Sete Cidades. Sao Miguel

The dual-toned crater lakes of Sete Cidades are the largest jewel in Sao Miguel’s dazzling natural crown and on this half day tour, you’ll be taken to the best viewpoints and have the chance to explore the local village of the same name. We’ll also take you to a local pineapple plantation where these tropical fruits are grown in unique, non-tropical conditions.

• Time: half day
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

Good to know
Entrance fees are not included.

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Discover Lagoa do Fogo

Your adventure into the heart of Sao Miguel begins at Pico da Barrosa, the island’s second highest peak. On a clear day, there are breathtaking views out over the Atlantic and down to Lagoa do Fogo, the flooded caldera of the island’s youngest volcano. Following the descent, head to Caldeira Velha with its hot spring pools and waterfalls (entrance fee not included). Before returning to Ponta Delgada, make a stop in the traditional town of Ribeira Grande which has a charming historic centre where narrow streets are lined by 17th and 18th-Century buildings.

• Duration: half day
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

Good to know
Entrance fees are not included.

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Discover Nordeste

Enjoy a day of exceptional views, traditional village scenes and stunning landscapes on this exploration of the north-eastern reaches of Sao Miguel. The first stop is Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park, a magical world of emerald forest trails, vibrant flowers and beautiful waterfalls. Continue along the north coast, stopping at various viewpoints such as Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego and Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada along the way. Return to the capital via the south coast and the town of Povoacao, the island’s first settlement.

• Duration: full day
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

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Discover Furnas

Sao Miguel’s Furnas Valley is a world of geothermal wonders where fumaroles bubble, hot springs steam and traditional meals are cooked by the powers of nature. En route from Ponta Delgado, visit Vila Franca, the island’s former capital which has views out over a pretty islet of the same name; be sure to try the traditional sweet pastry, Queijada da Vila Franca. On arrival in the Furnas Valley, you’ll learn about another local delicacy, Cozido das Furnas, a dish cooked underground by geothermal springs. You’ll then head up to the viewpoint at Pico de Ferro for fantastic Furnas Valley views before visiting the Gorreana Plantation and its factory for a spot of tea tasting. The final stop on the tour will be the Miradouro de Santa Iria viewpoint where you can look out over the spectacular north coast.

• Duration: full day
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

Good to know
Lunch will be the famous Cozido das Furnas served at a local restaurant. Entrance fees are not included.

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Discover Terceira Island

The natural landscapes and vibrant culture of Terceira are the focus on this full-day adventure. The tour starts with a visit to the Pico das Cruzinhas viewpoint for views over the town of Angra do Heroísmo towards Monte Brasil, a volcanic peninsula and island icon. You’ll then travel along the south coast stopping off for a view of the Cabras Islets and the village of Porto Judeu that’s home to one of Terceira’s many Holy Spirit Chapels. Pass by Salga Bay, Ponta das Contendas and Mos Bay on the way to San Sebastião village, one of the island’s earliest settlements, and the town of Praia da Vitória. The next couple of stops are perhaps the most striking; the Serra do Cume Viewpoint has panoramic views over Terceira’s patchwork landscape of agricultural fields while the Algar do Carvao is a jaw-dropping walk-in volcanic vent.

• Duration: full day
• Time: 9am to 4pm
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

Good to know
Entrance fees are not included.

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Angra do Heroísmo on Foot, Terceira Island

Explore the Azores only UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angra do Heroísmo, on foot with a knowledgeable guide. The city has a maze of streets lined with eye-catching architecture such as the Baroque-era Convent of São Gonçalo and the Cathedral of Angra do Heroísmo. The tour continues on to Caminho da Esperança, home to the Italian-esque Teatro Angrense, and the yellow and while Capitães Generais Palace. Later, visit verdant botanic gardens, Angra’s town hall and a historic grocery store that’s been passed through many generations of the same family. The final stop is the waterfront Pátio da Alfândega, the heart of maritime trade in the Azores during 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries.

• Duration: half day
• Time: 9am to midday
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

Good to know
Entrance fees are not included.

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Terceira Island Whale Watching

The Azores archipelago sits on the migratory route of a whole host of marine species including sperm, sei and fin whales, as well as the giants of the sea: the blue whale. Head out on a semi-rigid boat out on to the Atlantic waters in search of these majestic creatures, as well as different varieties of dolphins. Although never guaranteed, the chances of a spotting are high and the guides know the best places to go.

• Duration: half day
• Time: 9am to midday
• Departs daily
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

Good to know
Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed, and species of whale that may be spotted depends on the time of year.

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Get to know the Azores and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT -/+ 0 hours

CURRENCY

Euro

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

4 hours 10 minutes

RELIGION

Christianity (majority Roman Catholic)

LANGUAGE

Portuguese

Where are the Azores?
The nine islands that make up the Azores may be part of Portugal, but they’re almost a thousand miles from the mainland and mark the most westerly point of Europe. They’re in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, giving this remote archipelago a far-flung feel, but with a flight time that takes a little over four hours, they are easily reached.

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Sao Miguel
The largest of the nine islands, Sao Miguel (sometimes called the Green Island), has exquisitely beautiful sights, lending it an almost storybook-style quality. Sete Cidades on the western side claims some of the most picturesque lagoons and landscapes, including the twin lakes, and days can be spent on long hikes that take you to some extraordinary viewpoints. It’s also where you’ll find Furnas Valley and the island’s geothermic springs and feast on a volcano-cooked stew.

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Terceira
Nicknamed the Festive Island, Terceira is a gateway to the central islands of the Azores. Its beautiful historic centre, Angra do Heroismo, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Head away from the town to Monte Brasil, a volcanic peninsula where you can admire sweeping views across the terrain on a clear day. You can also step inside an incredible ancient lava tube, a volcano vent, for an extraordinary look at the volcanic activity that created and shaped these islands.

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Geothermal wonders
The centre of the Azores' geothermal activity is the Furnas Valley on the island of Sao Miguel. It’s here that you can see boiling calderas, fumaroles, and geysers in action with the unmistakable waft of sulphur on the air. Take a dip in the natural pool, try a dish cooked by the geothermal heat, or sip green tea turned purple by the intriguing spring water. For a true perspective on the geothermal wonderland, head up to one of the viewpoints where you see the lakes and mountains from above.

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Sustainability
The beauty of the Azores is well documented, and the government and the people are very protective of their islands. The archipelago has been dubbed one of ‘the world’s first leading sustainable tourism destination’, an EarthCheck accolade which reflects the significant focus placed on protecting the natural environments and resources. To gain this award, the Azores were required to show how the region actively protects nature, local identity, and community. Among many other things, they aim to keep development to a minimum, change old habits to more sustainable practices and avoid over-tourism and monitor the impacts of current visitor levels.

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Food & drink
While a wide range of local and international food is available across the Azores, there are some island-grown produce and Azorean specialities to try. Perhaps the most famous is Cozido das Furnas, a meat stew cooked over natural geothermal heat. For something sweet, try the smaller, juicier pineapples grown here, which locals also make into a liquor. Although if you prefer a glass of wine, you won’t leave disappointed: the young Azorean vineyards are turning heads for exemplary tipples.

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Multi-centres
You can easily add an Azores adventure to your Portugal holiday, spending a few nights on both Sao Miguel and Terceira between city stays in Lisbon and Porto. Speak to a Personal Travel Expert today to create your Azores holiday.

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The Azores Weather

Jun - Sep

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The Azores Weather by Month

Our experts have curated a wide range of handpicked Azores offers to make your next holiday extra special. Make the most of great-value savings, exclusive upgrades and bespoke touches. 

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