Beautiful and rugged Atlantic Islands with close encounters of the wild kind, the Azores are a paradise.
Along with Madeira, the Azores Islands are part of Portugal’s Autonomous Regions. Consisting of nine wild and special islands these islands offer an abundance of wildlife, on land and in the sea, and natural beauty.
There are three clusters of islands with lake-filled calderas, fishing villages, and blue hedgerows. A journey to the Azores is a journey of a lifetime!
ABOUT the azores
Compared to the other major tourist destinations in Portugal, the Azores is a little more difficult to get to, and to get around. But it is most certainly worth it. It’s hard to think of many other places where you are as surrounded by wildlife – perhaps in the middle of a safari?
Accommodation choices in the Azores Islands cater to every taste. Ranging from luxurious 5-star spa resorts to eco-country houses, nature resorts, to hand-made houses, and even windmills, with the majority of the accommodation being 3-star properties.
São Miguel is the largest of the Azore’s nine islands and Ponta Delgada is the capital. Ponta Delgada’s seaside promenade (the Avenida) is the obvious place to head to when you first arrive, but there is a real pleasure in wandering the cobbled squares with their wonderful old churches in the capital. Many of the paths and buildings have been built with black basaltic lava.
São Miguel and Terceira have several daily flights to Lisbon and Porto in mainland Portugal, but also direct international flights to major destinations like the U.S. and U.K. Airports on the other Azores islands are beginning to offer flights to the mainland again, and you can hop between the islands on SATA/Azores airline.
Because it has a monopoly, the flights on SATA/Azores between the islands in the group are not cheap, but the ferries cannot always travel because of rough weather and the trip can be very bumpy. In winter, there are only a few routes between the island clusters possible because of the wind and the size of the waves.
Buses are irregular but they do travel between towns all over the islands. Taxis are very expensive and you must negotiate the full fare before you set off. It’s no wonder that Rental cars are a popular way to get around the Azores, but there are also airport shuttle buses and transfer companies to get you from the airport to your hotel. Rental cars need to be booked many weeks in advance if you are hoping to travel around the Azores in the summer.
Hiking the dramatic landscapes of calderas, lakes and waterfalls, whale watching, and swimming with wild dolphins, are just some of the nature encounters to be had on the Azores islands.
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where to go next
Continue your holiday travels in Portugal. The most popular destinations are Lisbon, Porto, and Sintra.