Azores holidays

Azores holidays

Deals from £547 per person

The Azores are an archipelago of volcanic islands renowned for breathtaking natural scenery. Spanning 370 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, each of the Azores islands offers its own unique qualities, from idyllic beaches to lush green mountainous regions. From the geothermal wonders on São Miguel Island to the picturesque landscape of Pico Island, it’s easy to see why The Azores grow more popular with visitors every year.

Azores holidays promise a getaway of a lifetime. Spend your time exploring black-sand beaches, wander through charming cities and marvel at volcanic wonders. Situated around 850 miles west of mainland Portugal, these magnificent islands offer something for everyone, whether you’re visiting as a family, a couple or a group of friends. One thing’s for sure – you’ll never be bored.

Discover Natural Wonders

The Azores are a paradise for nature lovers. These Portuguese Islands are adorned with vibrant green scenery and are home to over 800 species of plants. Often referred to as ‘The Hawaii of Europe’, the Azores islands are characterised by their pyramid-shaped mountains separated from mainland Portugal by a vast stretch of ocean.

Each island has unique sights including green pastures, volcanic landscapes and hedgerows of blue hydrangeas. São Miguel, the largest and most popular island with tourists, is where you can witness volcanic craters.

A 45-minute drive from São Miguel’s capital will take you to the charming village of Furnas, home to one of the most active geothermal areas on the planet. Here you can bathe in a hot thermal pool and wander amongst centuries-old trees.  

Black-sand beaches

Black-sand beaches are a beautiful reminder of the Azores islands’ volcanic history. Made up of lava fragments and volcanic minerals, these beaches are one of the most awe-inspiring sights across the entire archipelago. One of the best black-sand beaches to visit is Mosteiros Beach in São Miguel, characterised by natural swimming pools and stunning scenic views.

Staying Active

There are plenty of fantastic views to discover across the Azores. Head to Flores, the westernmost island, and hike along one of the beautiful coastal routes here. Join a guided tour and explore all the wonderful scenery this island has to offer, including waterfalls, lagoons and caves.

Or spend a day climbing Mount Pico on Pico Island and be rewarded with wonderful views at its peak. Standing at 2,351 metres, this impressive volcano constitutes the highest point across the archipelago.

For something a little different, try out paddleboarding on one of the many lakes dotted across the islands. Explore crater lakes and the coastline on a standup paddle – an activity perfect for adventure-seekers. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a total professional, paddleboarding is an activity not to be missed during your Azores holiday.

Best Beaches

The Azores are home to many idyllic beaches, ranging from black-sand beaches to white sandy beaches. Whether you want to learn more about the archipelago’s volcanic history or relax on soft sands with a good book, there’s a beach for you.

Praia Grande, located on Terceira Island, is a great place to spend an afternoon sunbathing. Nestled in the bay of Praia da Vitória, it’s the largest sandy beach on the island. Although it’s a popular beach, there are plenty of peaceful spots to unwind and watch the world go by. A main promenade surrounds this beach, so there are lots of places nearby to grab a drink or a bite to eat.

Or spend an afternoon on Praia Formosa Beach, located on Santa Maria Island. Framed by a backdrop of stunning green hillsides, this beach is renowned for its fine sand and clear water popular with windsurfers.

 

Map of Azores

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Fly from many UK departure points to João Paulo II Airport on the island of São Miguel (PDL)

The Azores are best for…

Adventurers: Azores holidays are ideal for those who love adventure. From spectacular black-sand beaches to volcanic springs on São Miguel Island, this archipelago is full of natural wonders. You can also explore some of its unique cities, including Ponta Delgada, where you’ll find a fascinating 16th-century fort and a museum.  

Wildlife enthusiasts: The Azores are home to a huge array of wildlife. The oceans surrounding the islands are an important habitat for marine mammals such as whales and dolphins. Whale-watching season in the Azores runs from April to October, during which you might be lucky enough to spot these creatures for yourself.  

Hikers: The Azores islands aren’t short of breathtaking hiking trails. Hike up Mount Pico, the highest mountain across the Azores, and enjoy magnificent panoramic landscape views when you reach the top.

Fast facts for the Azores

Language: The language spoken in the Azores is Portuguese.  

Currency: The currency used in the Azores is the Euro (EUR).  

Local time: The Azores are one hour behind GMT/UK time.  

Fly to: Ponta Delgada Airport on São Miguel Island and Lajes Airport on Terceira Island serve flights from the UK.  

Flight time from UK: 4 to 5 hours.   

Tourist information: Further Azores tourist information can be found at the official website for tourism in the Azores.  

Visa / health: Before you travel, check the latest health advice from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office.  

Getting around the Azores

By plane: Hopping on a plane is a quick and convenient way to visit the Azores. Inter-island flight times range from 20 minutes to one hour, depending on the islands you’re flying between.  

By ferry: Taking a ferry is a fun, cost-effective way to explore different hotspots across the Azores. Ferry routes are grouped according to region. There is one ferry company, Atlânticoline, that operates journeys between every island.  

By rental car: Hiring a car is a great way to explore one of the picturesque islands of the Azores. It offers an element of flexibility and allows you to travel around at your own leisure. Rental car rates are affordable and there are plenty of companies to choose from, including big names like Avis as well as smaller, local options.  

Events in the Azores

Feast of Santo Cristo: Occurring annually on the fifth Sunday after Easter, the Feast of Santo Cristo is the largest religious festival in the Azores. Dating back to the 17th century, this event is held in São Miguel’s capital, Ponta Delgada, and consists of a feast followed by a large parade. During the celebration, the streets of Ponta Delgada are transformed with flowers, illuminated monuments and live music.  

Sanjoaninas Festival: This is one of the Azores’ most popular festivals and takes place on Terceira Island between June and October each year. Celebrations include exhibitions, sports events, theatre productions and music shows. There are also parades, known as marchas, that everyone can participate in. 

Azores weather

Temperature: The Azores’ climate is subtropical oceanic. In the summertime, the average temperature across the Azores is 25°C. Winter temperatures range from 12°C to 18°C.    

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Azores is between June and August. During these summer months, the weather is mild, and you can expect a good amount of sunshine. Summertime in the Azores provides the right temperatures to swim in the turquoise-blue waters around the islands.  

Low season across the Azores is between October and May. During this time, the hiking trails are far less busy – perfect if you want to explore the islands on foot. April until the end of May is the best time to visit the area for dolphin and whale-watching.