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Azores Travel Guide – Traveling the Azores Like a Pro

Hello there! Imagine lush green islands with mountains covered in jungle plants that melt into a blue ocean. Flowers are blooming everywhere while dolphins play in the rough waters that land on black beaches. Doesn’t that sound exactly like the description of Hawaii? Well yes, but it also fits the Azores 100%. For those who don’t know – the Azores are a group of islands that belong to Portugal and it is known for having a spectacular variety of landscapes. Imagine rainforests, waterfalls, and rough beaches. Traveling the Azores is something one should do in their lifetime and this guide, I will show you all the most amazing places, tips, and tricks for your perfect Azores itinerary! This Azores Travel Guide covers input for roughly 14 days of Azores travel time and will show you the highlights of the three islands São Miquel, Terceira and São Jorge.

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FAQ 

What is the Best Time to Travel to the Azores? 

The best time to visit the Azores is during summer, as it can get quite windy there. We chose to go there in June and it turned out to be the perfect time because of the abundance of blooming hydrangeas and other flowers which just made it the most wonderful experience.

Which Islands of the Azores Should I Visit?

The Azores consist of nine different islands and in this post, I will cover the three I visited. Depending on where you start your trip, you can also squeeze in more islands, however, I found that the three islands Sao Miquel, Terceira, and Sao Jose would be the most impressive.

How to get around on the Azores?

The easiest and fastest way to get around the Azores is to rent a car on each island. While we tried to avoid having to book a car on each island, it just turned out to be almost impossible to see the islands thoroughly without a car, since they are quite huge and their hills can be too steep to be walked easily.

What to Wear and Pack for Traveling the Azores?

Even in summer, you can be almost sure that you might find yourself confronted with a little rain from time to time when traveling the Azores. So when packing for your trip to the Azores, bring short and light clothes and sturdy waterproof clothing. This way, you can layer the pieces and whenever you experience a sudden drop in temperatures you will be prepared!

What to Eat When Visiting the Azores?

The Azores are a group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean so I think it is quite self-explanatory that it is an amazing place for eating fish and seafood of all kinds. We had some delicious fresh fish, pulpo en mass and more canned sardines than I like to admit. But it is also a paradise for those who love good beef, as the Azores are also famous for their cattle production!

5 Nights São Miquel

Let’s start with the first stop of your journey to the Azores! I started mine by flying to Ponta Delgado, which is the airport in São Miquel. It is the largest island of the Azores and also the one that impressed me the most! When looking at pictures of the Azores, São Miquel is the one that comes closest to the imagery of Hawaii. There you will find everything from volcanic-shaped landscapes to wonderful panoramic ocean views to lush forests and exciting towns and cities! We opted to stay in the Lagoa Hostel & Suites in Lagoa, which is a nice town close to Ponta Delgada, however if going again, I would choose to stay in Furnas, but more about that later. But now let’s dive into all the wonderful things to see and do in São Miquel first!

Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz – Blue Skies and Portugese Azulejos

Starting with one of the prettiest places in São Miquel and getting you an overview! I am a sucker for breathtaking viewpoints and Portuguese azulejos and the Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz is a cute chapel that gets you both!

Miradouro do Pico do Ferro – Above the Furnas Valley

There is just something about the Azores being created and shaped by volcanic activity. Due to nutrient rich soil, these islands just appear so incredibly lush and vibrant. However, the volcanic acitvity does not remain unseen in the Azores. One place to really see the impact of the volcano is the Miradouro do Pico do Ferro. Here you can see the volcanic chimneys of the Furnas valley, as well as the Furnas lake, which is an ancient crater. The view from the Miradouro is simply fantastic and especially breathtaking when visited on a sunny day!

Poça da Dona Beija – The coolest spa experience in the Azores!

I don’t know about you but I am totally in love with extraordinary spa experiences. One of them can be found in São Miquel and it is called Poça da Dona Beija. Right there, heated by the volanic activity you can bathe in mineral-rich water, giving yourself a little face-mask with the mud. It is one of the coolest activities to do in the Azores and it would be the first place I go back to!

Helpful Tips

  • Make sure to wear dark or black bathing attire and avoid lighter fabrics, because the minerals will stain your clothing.
  • It is best to book your tickets in advance.
  • If you didn’t book your ticket in advance, bring a little time with you to wait.
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Caldeiras in Furnas – Volcanic Activity super close up!

Staying in the Furnas Valley, the next things not to miss there are the Caldeiras. Caldeiras are little pools of water, heated up by the volcanic activity. What now sounds like a funny spa experiences like the one in the Poça da Dona Beija is a little different here. The water in the Caldeiras is boiling hot and because of the sulfur smells like rotten eggs. Nevertheless it is and incredible place which showcases once again how small humankind is compared to nature.

Important Note: Where to Eat in Furnas

As the Azore’s main industry is the cattle and dairy industry, you will find many cows on its green rolling hills. In Furnas, we discovered the Queijaria Furnense which is owned by farmers and you can have freshly made burgers and cheese made from the local cows. The special twist of their cheese is, that they use the mineral-rich water of the area for its production, giving it unexpected flavors!

Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego – Ocean Views and Flowers

Imagine steep cliffs ending in an incredibly blue ocean that are covered in lush green grass that you are overlooking from a gazebo that is placed in a lush garden that is filled with flowers in every color you can imagine! That is the paradise that is the Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego. It is one of my favorite places in São Miquel and might be one of the best viewpoints in the entire world. When doing a tour around the island, make sure not to miss this spot!

Capela de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias – Moody Church Vibes

In São Miquel, one of the most spectacular vegetation can be found around the Furnas valley. One of the best way to explore it, is to walk around the Furnas lake. There you will also find one of the most picturesque churches in the Azores, the Capela de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias.

Gorreana Tea Plantation – the Only Tea Plantation in Europe!

Did you know that there is only a single place in Europe where it is possible to sucessfully cultivate and grow the tea plant? That place is in São Miquel and is called Gorreana Tea! The most amazing thing about it is, that you can visit and wander the plantation for free to have a look at the precious plants. And if you want to learn more about the process of tea production, they offer free tours of their production halls. It was such an interesting experience to learn more about tea leaves and the process of harvesting and drying it. In their enclosed shop, you can try the tea and delicious Portugese pastries. Overall, visiting the Gorreana Tea plantation was one of my absolute highlights and should be on every Azores itinerary!

Cascata do Salto do Cabrito – Chasing Waterfalls

Chasing waterfalls is one of the many things you can do when traveling the Azores and in São Miquel you can find the wonderful Cascata do Salto do Cabrito. It is very spectacular and it was so much fun to walk through the lush green forest that leads up to it. If you are braver than I was, you can also take an extra few flights of stairs to get above the waterfall to get an even better view. That’s the part that I skipped because of my fear of heights!

Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo – Above the Fire Lake

Traveling to a place like the Azores means that there is a vast abundance of incredible viewpoints! One of them is the Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo, where you can overlook the “Fire Lake” which is just a magnificent place! It is located up high on the island and can get quite foggy, which in my opionion gives it an incredible atmosphere!

Praia dos Mosteiros – Black sanded beaches

Did you know that Greece isn’t the only place where you can find black-sanded beaches in Europe? You can also find one in the Azores! The Praia dos Mosteiros is a lovely place to spend a few hours sunbathing and relaxing while having an ice cream or cold beer while having your toes in volcanic sand. Just be aware that the sand can get very hot due to its color!

Miradouro da Grota do Inferno – the most spectacular view in the Azores!

Let’s get to my favorite place in the Azores! The Miradouro da Grota do Inferno is another magnificent viewpoint, made to leave you staring at your surroundings in awe! At the Miradouro da Grota do Inferno you walk down to that viewpoint on a path on the top of a hill, guarded by a wooden handrail while you overlook the valley and the volanic create from which the island first brought into the world. Totally breathtaking. The only thing that could dampen this moment would be, if a giant cloud would dimish your view but well, that’s what traveling the Azores is like!

Into the Clouds!

Miradouro da Lagoa de Santiago & Miradouro do Cerrado das Freiras

Time to see the volcanic lake even closer! The next Miraduoros get you down the mountain, getting you an even better view of the lake and the valley. It is a wonderful stop on your road trip through the West of São Miquel and both of them are just as equally beautiful!

Miradouro do Cerrado das Freiras
Miradouro da Lagoa de Santiago

Ponta Delgada – Charming Capital of São Miquel

Last but not least, visiting Ponta Delgada is something, every Azores Travel Guide should mention! Ponta Delgada is the capitol of São Miquel and a lovely pla ce to visit! I loved it for its black and white architecture, especially in the city center. There you can find lovely small boutiques and shops, as well as great restaurants and cafés!

5 Nights Terceira 

The time in São Miquel flew by and it was one of the most breathtaking nature experience in my life so far and then it was already time to embark on our flight to the next island! Terceira is one of the bigger islands of the Azores and here we also spent 5 nights and I recommend none less!

As Terceira is also quite the big island, I recommend you also getting a rental car for your time there. The place I stayed in is called the Emigrant House and it was the ideal place to stay and we really enjoyed the ocean view!

Miradouro da Serra do Cume

There are always these places that you regret not seeing and for me, it is this one! The Miradouro da Serra do Cume is one of the most spectacular places in Terceira, offering a breathtaking view of the open farmlands of the island. We couldn’t squeeze it in because of all the other great things on this Azores Travel Guide but I want to mention it anyway for those who might not want to miss it!

Parque das Frechas – Lush Greens in Terceira

Time to visit more of those lush green sceneries that make the Azores so special. The Parque das Frechas is like a green oasis where you can see all kinds of plants and waterfalls! It is perfect for a walk and an outdoor meal!

Miradouro de Alagoa – Fantastic Ocean Views and Stone Formations

When visiting an island, I expect fantastic ocean views and Terceira certainly doesn’t disappoint! The Miradouro de Alagoa is fantastic one, even more so, when you also enjoy the hike that leads up to it, which leads you through a beautiful scenery and at the end you are rewarded with a glance on these beautiful cliffs!

Terceira Coastal Path - Azores Travel Guide

Miradouro do Raminho

One thing that I love about the Azores is the abundance of amazing viewpoints you can find on the islands and the Miradouro do Raminho! I visited it during the golden hour and it could’t have been any prettier!

Miradouro do Raminho - Azores Travel Guide

Miradouro da Serra de Santa Bárbara

Take a few steps into the clouds again with the Miradouro da Serra de Santa Bárbara! This place is a little harder to get to because of the steep roads getting you there but it is one of the most magnificent places in Terceira.

Furnas do Enxofre

Another great place to get aware of the fact that when traveling the Azores you are actually walking on a volcano! The Furnas do Enxofre is an area, where you can find steaming water and sulfur surfacing to the open air. It is a very intense place and incredibly impressive!

Algar do Carvão

One of the most impressive places in Terceira is the Algar do Carvão. It is one of only a few intact volcanic tunnels, which means that the volcano here erupted without destroying the mountain during the process it, keeping a deep tunnel which nowadays is a cave that can be easily walked and visited! It is very breathtaking, because while you walk down deeper into the cave you can see the sun shining through the round cave entry.

Algar do Carvão - Azores Travel Guide

The cave itself is an enclosed eco-system with a special array of plants and minerals, so you will really have a unique experience! To get to the cave you will have to pay an entry fee and you can also book your tickets in advance in kombination with a guided tour!

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Angra do Heroísmo

Fun fact: Did you know that the capital city of Portugal was once in the Azores? During the Liberal Wars, Angra do Heroísmo served as the capital for a short period and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage. The cute city is incredibly colorful and lovely for a stroll. In its streets you will find countless different hues of pastel colors, making the city extremely picturesque. The most important places not to miss in Angra are the Duke of Terceira Gardens, the Memória a D. Pedro IV, and the Igreja da Misericórdia!

The view from the Memória a D. Pedro IV of Angra do Heroísmo is so magnificent
The Igreja da Misericórdia is one of the most impressive sights in Angra!
I am so incredibly in love with all the shades of pastels in Angra do Heroísmo

Praia da Vitória & Facho viewpoint

For those who fell in love with the cozy cities in the Azores there is great news: In Terceira you will not only find the lovely city Angra do Heroísmo but also Praia da Vitória. The city is great for a stroll and a little hike up the Facho viewpoint, where you will get an amazing view of the city. If you are also in for the most amazing seafood for lunch check out the Restaurante O Pescador for some of the freshest fish you can find!

4 Nights in São Jorge

Now there was one final island on our Azores Itinerary before heading back home to Düsseldorf and that was São Jorge. The smallest island on this Azores travel guide but nevertheless with some of the most impressive sights of the Azores. To get there we took a ferry from Praia da Vitória and the 4 hour ferry ride is indeed a lovely adventure to go on itself, especially if it was stormy the days before (I didn’t struggle with the rough sea, the rough sea had a struggle with me).

São Jorge itself is a very special island in shape and height profile. While it looks smaller compared to Terceira it gets super high super fast. Which means that while something on the map looks like it is only 300 meters far away, it could mean that a mountain is between you and yout destination. That’s why it is also crucial to rent a car for your visit, because you will not be able to walk between places, even when it look like it.

The Hotel of Your Dreams – Hotel os Moinhos

Let’s start with your home base for your time in São Jorge! The Hotel os Moinhos is one of the most incredible hotels I ever stayed at. Located almost on top of São Jorge, you can see the ocean and the neighboring island Pico on sunny days from the pool and from the attached restaurant! At this restaurant, you also have an included breakfast which is safe to say the highlight of each and every day. The owners, a mother and a daughter are absolute gems and made our stay simply wonderful. The fresh food and drinks were sublime and each dinner and breakfast was delicious and had us go there most of our nights. Their rooms were spacious, beautifully decorated, and most importantly incredibly cozy and comfortable. Whenever returning to the Azores, this would be the first thing I would book and stay at.

Café Nunes

Ok, so not only are the Azores the only place in Europe where people managed to cultivate tea but also the only place in Europe where coffee grows. In São Jorge you can find the Café Nunes, a small coffee plantation where they grow, harvest and roast the coffee. It is truly a highlight for every barista to go there and try their coffee and even buy a bag of European coffee as a souvenir!

Cascata do Cruzal

Chasing waterfalls is something super refreshing, especially when they are hidden in such a green oasis as the Cascata do Cruzal. From parking your car almost on top of the waterfall to seeing it from below, you will walk through a lush garden where the wooden handrail is framed by blooming hydrangeas where the noise from passing cars gets swallowed by the peaceful silence only disturbed by the roaring of the small waterfall. Safe to say, I loved it there.

Farol do Topo – Farol da Ponta do Topo

I love lighthouses! For me, they simply radiate a sturdy and safe energy while meeting with the rough and pure power of the sea. Usually they also don’t disappoint as viewpoints and neither does the Farol do Topo at the very end of São Jorge

Piscina Natural “Simão Dias”

One thing São Jorge is famous for is the so-called fajas. These are small flat areas attached to the steep cliffs. The café and the Farol do Topo are both located on a faja for example. The faja that deserves the most attention in my opinion is the Faja de Ouvidor where you will find two of the most incredible places, the natural swimming pools “Piscina Natural do Porto da Fajã do Ouvidor” and the Piscina Natural “Simão Dias”. Both pools are open for you to swim in them if the weather allows it. Especially the Piscina Natural “Simão Dias” might be one of those places that will create a lasting memory because of its breathtaking scenery. Right there you will immerse yourself in the cold water of the atlantic ocean while having volcanic pillars towering above your head, which is something incredibly surreal.

Here you can see the basalt pillars and right underneath the area, where you can swim. But be aware that even in June, the water here is very cold.
Right behind me you can see the natural swimming pool where you can take the plunge. I almost scared out of swimming there but I thought to myself “I will regret it, if I am not going”
Although it doesn’t look the part, on the day when we visited the Piscina Natural do Porto da Fajã do Ouvidor, the current was so strong, it wasn’t adviced to go swimming in there. But the amazing thing is, that you can simply visit the other pool and will be fine!

Parque Florestal das Sete Fontes

Another place where you can get close with all the beautiful nature of the Azores. In the Parque Florestal das Sete Fontes you will find a wide range of beautiful trees and flowers, all wrapped up in a beautiful small park! I especially loved this place because of its tranquil and peaceful atmosphere.

Parque Florestal das Sete Fontes - Azores Travel Guide

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for reading up to this point! If you want further detailed information about traveling the Azores, keep on checking my blog for updates. This post is only the first one that I have planned about traveling the Azores and more will definitely follow in the future!

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Hi There!

My name is Paula and I love to travel and explore our beautiful world. Stamps in my passport and adding countries to the list of places I have visited is what makes me truly happy. With this blog, I want to help you explore our world too.

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