Travel & Vacation

Azores vacation: Sights and tips for the beautiful islands of Portugal!

Breathtaking panoramic views, deep green jungles and spectacular landscapes – a holiday in the middle of nature is always pure relaxation. If you don’t feel like long trips and prefer to stay at home, you can of course spend your vacation in the Black Forest. But how about a new, exciting and fairly unknown destination? If this year you need a break from overcrowded sandy beaches, hotel complexes and party miles, then you would be in good hands with an Azores vacation. Hidden in the middle of the deep blue Atlantic, the Portuguese archipelago is a real gem and a unique example of the great power of mother nature. The remote location, the hilly meadows, cliffs and impressive volcanic cones – the Azores could not offer more diversity and are the perfect place for nature, beach and outdoor enthusiasts. We will take you on an unforgettable journey to paradise and reveal all the wonderful places and sights in the Azores that you should definitely not miss!

Is a vacation in the Azores possible despite Corona? You should know these rules!

Portugal waterfalls azores landmarks

With 157.7 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, the number of corona infections in Portugal has unfortunately peaked in recent weeks. However, only the Algarve region and the capital Lisbon are currently considered high-risk areas, so nothing stands in the way of your Azores vacation. Travelers do not have to fill out an entry form and you are no longer subject to quarantine in Germany. However, a negative corona test is mandatory for entry. A rapid antigen test must not be older than 48 hours and a PCR test older than 72 hours. A negative test is also required when checking into hotels. If you stay longer than 7 days, further tests will be carried out on the 6th and 12th day. These rules do not apply to those who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered.

Where are the Azores and when is the best travel time for your vacation?

Azores vacation tips Sao Miguel island Portugal

The archipelago of the Azores is located in the middle of the Atlantic, between Europe and North America, and can be reached in about 5 hours by plane from Germany. The islands are an autonomous region of Portugal, but are located approximately 1400 kilometers from mainland Europe. The weather in the Azores is quite unpredictable and you can actually experience all four seasons in one day! Due to their location, the islands are characterized by an oceanic-subtropical climate, which ensures that the summers are not too hot and the winters are not too cold. The low climatic fluctuations make the Azores a popular travel destination all year round. In order to enjoy numerous sunny days with pleasant temperatures, the months between June and October would be the ideal travel time for your Azores vacation.

The 9 islands of the Azores at a glance

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The Azores are a Portuguese archipelago made up of 9 islands and each of them has its own charm. So that you can optimally plan your Azores vacation, we will briefly introduce you to the 9 islands below.

  • São Miguel is the main island of the Azores and is still known as the green island. It is also the most volcanically active island and there you will find excellent healing water springs surrounded by beautiful nature.
  • Santa Maria is the calm and geologically oldest island in the Azores. The wonderful sandy beaches and the varied landscapes make it a real paradise for all nature lovers and sun worshipers.
  • Terceira is the island of chapels and the picturesque capital Angra do Heroismo has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A real highlight are of course the chapels: There are countless of these brightly painted and cheerful places of worship to discover on the island.
  • Faial is referred to as the blue island, which is mainly due to the many blue hydrangea flower fields. The port of the capital Horta is often used for trips between Europe and the Caribbean and is always worth a walk.

Summer vacation Portugal Corona the most beautiful beaches Azores

  • Pico is the island of whales and the name of the island is the 2351 meter high volcano Pico, which is also the largest in Portugal.
  • Sao Jorge is still referred to as the “Dragon Island” and is a real paradise for all hikers. There you can expect steeply sloping volcanic cones, charming landscapes and in the protected valleys you can admire numerous dragon trees and nature protection plants.
  • Graciosa is the second smallest Azores island and means “the graceful one”. Although there are only 4 small towns there, the island offers some varied and fairytale hiking trails. The absolute highlight on Graciosa is the circular hiking trail, which leads next to the magnificent crater basin “Caldeira da Graciosa” into the fairytale sulfur cave “Furna do Enxofre”.
  • Flores is as the name suggests the island of flowers. If you want to enjoy unspoiled nature, then Flores is definitely a must on an Azores vacation. Take a short walk and let yourself be enchanted by the beautiful forests with waterfalls and streams, the numerous flowers and the steep mountains.
  • Corvo is the smallest inhabited island in the Azores and is still known as the island of the volcanic craters and the ravens. The only place Vila do Corvo is actually one of the smallest cities in Europe. The solitude and tranquility give the island a special charm and unique charm.

 The Sete Cidades crater lake is a must on every Azores vacation

Sete Cidades Crater Lake Azores Vacation Attractions

Impressive volcanic cones, breathtaking cliffs and rugged nature – no wonder that the Azores are also known as the “Hawaii of Europe”. While the archipelago is blessed with endless natural wonders, nothing comes close to the beautiful Cidades crater lake on Sao Miguel. It extends over 4 square kilometers and rests in a cauldron-shaped crater of volcanic origin. Hike above the surface of the water and look over the edge of the volcanic crater and you will hardly be able to stop being amazed. Sete Cidades is divided into two lakes connected by a narrow canal and road bridge – the larger Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verge.

Azores vacation landmarks Sete Cidades Portugal

The picturesque place is home to some of the best viewpoints and is undoubtedly one of the most popular Azores sights. It is also one of the 7 natural wonders of Portugal – reason enough to take a little trip. The charming village of Sete Cidades is also worth a visit and ideal for a relaxing walk. Marvel at the fairytale church of Sao Nicolau or go to the roof of the famous “Monte Palac” hotel. Although the hotel filed for bankruptcy in 1990 and the building has been falling apart since then, it is still open to the public. There is a colorful graffiti with the inscription “Welcome to the best view in the world”, which one can hardly contradict.

The lake Lagoa do Fogo

Lagoa do Fogo Azores vacation the most beautiful islands Portugal

Turquoise blue water surrounded by lush nature, steep mountains and scenic hills as far as the eye can see – all of this awaits you on an Azores vacation! Surrounded by volcanic mountains and shrouded in clouds, lies the picturesque Lake Lagoa do Fogo on the island of Sao Miguel. Translated, Lagoa do Fogo means something like lake of fire and the picturesque lagoon is almost 600 meters high and is therefore one of the most photographed and visited sights in the Azores. Especially in the early afternoon, the water appears in its most beautiful shine and ensures excellent and Instagram-worthy photos. What makes the place so special and unique is that it is located in a completely pristine landscape. No houses, no villages – just nature and people. All nature lovers can discover many endemic plant species and birds on and around the volcano – life that can only be seen in this form in the Azores.

The Pico volcano

Azores vacation Pico volcano the most beautiful islands of Portugal

The highest mountain in Portugal awaits you on the island of Pico – the 2351 high Montanha do Pico. Beautiful, threatening and magnificent – nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the mountain. Ponta do Pico is a stratovolcano, i.e. a stratovolcano made up of several layers of lava and loose material. Take a hike along the breathtaking landscape to take in the wonderful views from the very top. The climb is a bit challenging and not for everyone, but it’s definitely worth it. If you are lucky and the weather cooperates, you will have excellent views of the islands of Terceira, Gracioa and Faial.

Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel

Ponta Delgada Sao Miguel the most beautiful cities in the Azores Tips Portugal

Although the Azores have never recognized the city of Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel as the official capital, it is actually the economic center of the group of islands. With old-world architecture, fairytale streets, and a thriving culinary scene, the city is always worth a trip. Let yourself be enchanted by the special atmosphere and take a long walk along the harbor promenade and back through the old town. With many small churches, monasteries and beautiful spots, Ponta Delgada attracts like no other and is without a doubt one of the best ways to experience the entire charm of the Azores. In the west of the city you will find the Gruta do Carvão – a lava cave that is also the longest on the island at 1912 meters. 

Algar do Carvao

Algar do Carvao cave Azores islands landmarks

During a vacation in the Azores you have the unique opportunity to discover numerous natural treasures and literally descend into a volcano – not something that many others can say about themselves. The volcanic cave Algar do Carvao is located on Terceira and is without a doubt the absolute highlight of the island. The breathtaking stalactites and a never-ending rain caused by the internal moisture make the journey through the volcano almost like from another world. A truly unique experience that you cannot experience anywhere else in the world. Thanks to the staircase system and the access tunnel, visiting the cave is absolutely uncomplicated and safe. At a depth of around 90 meters, a small, picturesque lake awaits you, which is fed by seepage and rainwater. The view to the sky through the volcanic gorge cannot be described in words – you just have to experience it! To enjoy the special play of colors and the blaze of colors of the lichens and mosses, you should visit the Algar do Carvao around noon, when the sunlight reaches far down into the chimney.

Terra Nostra Park

Terra Nostra Garden Azores thermal baths tips

The Tera Nostra Park on Sao Miguel offers visitors everything that defines a vacation in the Azores: pure peace and relaxation in the middle of nature. The park was laid out back in the 18th century and the numerous native and exotic plants give it a Caribbean feel. In the park there is also a nostalgic swimming pool, which with its 38 degrees warm, iron-rich water invites you to swim and linger. However, the thermal springs and streams not only have a relaxing effect, but can also help with diseases such as rheumatism.

Azores vacation: the thermal baths of Furnas

Furnas Thermal Baths Portugal Azores Holidays 2021

If you are on vacation in the Azores, you should definitely visit the hot springs of Furnas on Sao Miguel. How about a hot bath in the middle of the botanical garden, in the nature reserve or with a view of the ocean? You are spoiled for choice, because in Fortunas the hot water gushes from a total of 22 springs. The Azores are actually known worldwide for their beneficial and beautiful thermal baths. Poca da Dona Beija in Furnas, which is open until late in the evening, is particularly popular. It contains 5 thermal baths with different temperatures and thus ensures the ultimate bathing fun!

Whale watching in the Azores

Whale watching Portugal Azores sightseeing

An absolute must on every Azores vacation? Whale watching! Whales feel particularly at home around the archipelago and around 30 percent of all whale species in the world can be observed! Some species live permanently in the waters and others just pass by on their migrations. The most commonly spotted whales are sperm whales, fin whales and blue whales and there are many year-round whale watching companies on the various islands. Would you like to swim with dolphins? Many species of dolphins also cavort off the coast of the Azores.

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