The Azores Islands are an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, far away from mainland Europe. Apart from the privileged climate and the breathtaking scenery, this small group of islands has a lot to offer. The Azores have beautiful coasts, high-quality wines, and delicious gastronomy. Learn more about this unique destination with these travel tips!
The weather is unpredictable in the Azores
The weather in the Azores is unpredictable. Expect warm and sunny days, as well as thunderstorms and rain. Keep this in mind when packing your clothes, or you may risk not being prepared for the weather changes throughout the day. If a storm rolls in while you’re on a hike, have a lightweight rain jacket to avoid getting too wet.
Pack smart when visiting the Azores
With the Azores being a remote region, it’s important to pack smart when visiting. The weather can be unpredictable. Depending on what time of year you’re traveling, it could be sunny with 70°F in July or rainy with 30°F in November. You may need a jacket, sunscreen, or sun hat no matter what time of year you’re going! When packing for your trip, consider any activities you want to do. If you want to snorkel or hike outdoors, don’t forget to pack water and comfortable shoes.
A bit of Portuguese language can go a long way
If you’re planning to visit the Azores, it’s a good idea to learn a little bit of the language before going. Portuguese is one of the official languages widely spoken in the Azores. English is also fairly common, with most locals being able to speak some English. If you know some basic Portuguese, you’ll find that most people are more than happy to try and understand your questions or needs.
The Azores is not a party destination
The Azores is not a party destination, and many people find it boring. This is understandable since there’s not much to do on the islands. There are only two towns on the main island, so it might be hard to make friends if you don’t speak Portuguese. But, it is an incredibly safe place and has excellent food. The best thing you can do is relax and enjoy exploring the natural beauty of these islands.
It’s the place to try new outdoor activities
The Azores are an archipelago of nine islands located in the Atlantic, 1,000 kilometers off the coast of Lisbon, Portugal. The main island is São Miguel. This beautiful and unspoiled place has a lot to offer to visitors! The local communities still practice fishing and farming. It’s also the place to try new outdoor activities like hiking or cycling in volcanic landscapes, exploring historic sites and villages, whale watching, or deep-sea diving.
There are 9 islands on the Azores
The Azores is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. The 9 islands (including Flores, Corvo, Terceira, Graciosa, Faial, São Jorge, Pico, Santa Maria, and São Miguel) are divided into the Eastern Central the Western Group. The Azores has a population of 250.000 people who live in cities on the coast like Ponta Delgada, Angra do Heroísmo or Ribeira Grande.
Each island is quite different from its neighbor regarding landscape, culture, outdoor activities, and traditions. Get a sense of what you can see and do on each island before deciding your itinerary.
It is not easy and cheap to travel between islands
A fun way to travel between islands is hopping aboard the Azores Express. For example, purchasing an inter-island ticket on the ferry will cost you around €28 each way. However, if you are traveling by bicycle, you will have to pay a hefty €7 for bike transport. If you want to save some money and time on transportation costs, it is best to purchase your inter-island tickets well in advance.
You will see signs of volcanic activity everywhere
There are many attractions in the Azores that are as beautiful as they are surprising. The most famous is the Fogo volcano, which is an active volcano. You can see its crater from the top of a mountain, and you will also see signs of volcanic activity everywhere. Almost every bay and beach has black sand because the lava turned everything into new terrain.
Get used to a different kinds of beaches
The Azores has a unique array of beaches and coves. The black sand beaches found on some islands in the Azores are made of magnetite, a rusty mineral. Some coves have translucent blue water with fish swimming along the bottom. Some beaches don’t even have any sand – just stones and rocks to walk on.
Bathing in thermal springs is fun and a must
There are many beautiful natural thermal springs in the Azores. One of the best is Caldeira Velha. A dislocated volcano heats the water, and it’s only accessible through a small opening in the Earth. This means that you need to slide into the water from an incline. After bathing in the mineral-rich hot springs, it’s a good idea to shampoo your hair with sulfur mud for an incredible experience.
There are plenty of crater lakes all around
The Azores are volcanic islands created by two different, powerful eruptions. The first eruption created an island chain that is now known as the main group. The second eruption was a lot more violent and created the western group of islands. This is what created the crater lakes in the area. Over 100 crater lakes on the islands, but not all can be seen from land. Some of the most popular ones include Lagoa do Fogo and Lagoa Grande, near Furnas.
Mother Nature is in charge of the Azores
Mother Nature is in charge of the Azores. A volcano eruption could happen anytime, and you want to be prepared. The only way to know if there is a risk of an eruption is by visiting the Portuguese Institute of Volcanology, which monitors volcanoes worldwide. You will also see signs or notices on the streets if there is a risk of an eruption. For other natural disasters, the best option is to take extra supplies such as food, water, and clothes for 3 days in case of a hurricane or earthquake.
It’s always tea o’clock
Tea is an integral part of the lifestyle in the Azores. It’s typically served with breakfast, afternoon snacks, and dinner. One of the most popular tea times is when it’s served after dinner and before bed. The tea is usually black tea or herbal infusion with cinnamon and sugar,
and often followed by a small cookie or biscuit to round off the meal.
Food is a significant part of the Azores’ culture. If you visit, make sure to try some traditional dishes such as:
- Caldeirada de Peixe
- Bolo do caco
- Preto frito
- Cozido à Azoreana
The cuisine of the Azores is a melting pot of traditional Portuguese, Creole, and African cooking. The most popular food is Caldo Verde, which is made with kale, potatoes, garlic, and olive oil. One of the most popular desserts from this region is the Alvarinho cake. This cake is made with almonds and Alvarainjo wine and served with whipped cream.
Get there before mass tourism does
Many people have never heard of the Azores, but the area is becoming more and more popular. An article in The Guardian discusses how the increasing tourism to the area impacts some of the residents. Some are welcoming tourism with open arms because it supports their livelihoods, while others struggle to find work. When traveling to a unique location that may not be as well-known, it’s essential to research what you can expect before you go, both for your own experience and for the locals.
The Islands have a thriving economy supporting the growing tourism industry, but there may be negative impacts on the local population and environment if tourism continues at its current pace.
The Azores have just a small amount of tourism for now, but the long-term risk is almost certain and the sooner you visit it’s better to enjoy their beaches and avoid waiting in long queues.
In conclusion, the Azores are a great place to visit. You have a lot of different things to do. One day you could go on a hike, and the next day you could try scuba diving. And if you get tired of doing all those strenuous activities, there are many other exciting things that you can do such as spending time at the market or just exploring the city’s streets. The Azores is an excellent place for those who enjoy traveling and want to explore something new.