Azores Travel Guide
The islands of the Azores that are part of Portugal were created centuries ago from volcanic activity. As a result we are now left with stunning scenery and lush green landscapes that just beg to be explored.
The archipelago was actually discovered by Portugese navigators in the 15th century with visitors including both Vasco de Gama and Christopher Columbus.
All of the islands beaches are not really conducive to sunbathing however the beach at the Hotel Bahia Palace on Sao Miguel island is excellent. As a result, beach combing and beach walking is very popular as here you can relax and enjoy the natural scenery.
At the heart of Azores tourism is the ability to go whale watching. Today there are many companies offering opportunities to head out on to the Atlantic seas and witness for yourself some of the largest mammals on the planet.
Food and wine is excellent with a rich variety of organic produce grown locally on the island. These include spicy sausages, pork kebabs and delicious soups which are served in most establishments. Vegetarians are well catered for and there is a terrific choice of cheeses! The wine is produced locally in the many vineyards dotted around the islands with the most famous being the Pico Verdelho which is excellent.
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The Azores on Film
Travel between the islands can be by boat or the more popular inter island air service which runs like an efficient bus service. Naturally both are subject to weather conditions so its best to coordinate your trip through a travel agent or specialist tour operator. They will ensure that should there be issues then alternative arrangements can be made.
The best way to see the Azores is on foot. There are some magnificent walking trails and routes on each of the islands. For detailed information check out these Azores Walking Guides.
Top Things To See & Do
Sao Miguel – 67km X 16km
The largest and most populated island on the Azores is known for its beautiful botanical gardens, agriculture and vineyards. With its green hills, thermal springs, waterfalls, lakes lagoons, forests and villages it makes for an idyllic holiday. Sao Miguel is also a popular starting point for island hopping.
Terceira – 29km X 17km
The main town of Angra do Heroismo is your picture postcard location with traditional houses and pretty cobbled streets. Back in 1983 the island was declared a World heritage site by UNESCO.
Faial – 14km X 13km
Dominated by a volcano Faial is known as the blue island because of the abundance of hydrangeas in the summer months. There is the small port of Horta which has some hotels and Peters Cafe is popular with the sailing fraternity.
Pico – 42km X 15km
Dominated by the snow capped volcano, Mount Pico is the highest mountain in Portugal. The area is great for hiking and is also a main base for those heading out to watch whales. In 2004 the landscape of Pico Island Vineyard Culture was name a World heritage site by UNESCO.
Sao Jorge – 56km X 8km
The rocky island of Sao Jorge is a long narrow craggy mountainous island formed from volcanic eruptions.
Santa Maria – 17km X 9km
Santa Maria has the longest history in the Azores. The main town is Vila do Porto and is set dramatically above its harbour. There are also great walking and nature reserves to enjoy.
Flores – 17km X 12km
Flores is known as the garden island due to the abundance of hydrangeas. As well as this there are green pastures, lakes, waterfalls, stunning views and settlements dating back to the 15th century.
Graciosa – 12km X 8km
A flat peaceful island which is reached on a 1/5 hour ferry from Sao Jorge or by air in 20 minutes from Terceira.
Corvo – 6km X 4km
The smallest and the most remote island of the Azores with just one settlement and a spectacular deep volcanic crater.