A beginner’s guide to the Azores
In the North Atlantic - 900 miles from the coast of Portugal – lies one of the world’s best-kept secrets. Beautifully rugged with giant craters, the nine islands that make up the Azores are an outdoor enthusiast's dream. Are you unfamiliar with this hidden adventure-filled paradise? Here’s everything you need to know.
What to do
The Azores is currently one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries and is home to large numbers of blue whales, sperm whales, dolphins and sea turtles. Taking a day trip on a boat is a must while visiting the islands (and if you’re here on a cruise, remember to stand on your balcony as you sail into port).
Outdoor adventure sports
Thanks to the islands’ volcanic origins, the Azores is home to an uneven landscape that is perfect for hiking, cycling and canoeing in the waterways. It is also home to some of the world’s best diving spots.
The Azores is home to the Azores bullfinch, one of the rarest birds in Europe – and as such has become a popular bird watching destination.
Explore the cities
The Azores isn’t all ethereal landscapes and lush forests. Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel is the Azores main urban hub. With a population of 68,809 it’s not the biggest city you’ll ever visit but you’ll still find beautiful Mediterranean architecture as well as restaurants, bars and clubs.
How to get there
Azores is already a popular cruise destination and regularly pops up on Atlantic Islands itineraries. If you prefer land holidays there are a few direct flights available from London. Though typically you’ll need to book two inter-connecting flights that change in Portugal. Direct flights take four hours and the islands are behind the UK by one hour.
When to go
The Azores is a year-round destination but is in its prime during the summer. This is when whale-watching is at its best and the warmer weather lends a hand to the outdoor pursuits the islands are known for. Typically the temperature hovers between 13 and 25 degrees throughout the year.
Other important information
- Nationals of EU member countries do not require visas
- The official currency is the Euro
- Portuguese is the official language, though most locals who work in the tourist industry will speak English.