Which Islands to Visit in the Azores?

best island to visit azores itinerary lagoa do fogo sao miguel

Deciding which are the best islands to visit in Azores? Confused about which ones to go and how to get around? Let me give you a hand and save you some precious time planning with my tips and itineraries I’ve crafted.

Any local would say all the islands in Azores are beautiful, each in its own way. That’s not a lie, the highlights and landscapes across each island are vastly different.

However, from a visitor point of view, some of them are indeed more interesting than others. No shade. Just being honest here.

This article will give you an overview of what each island is Azores is all about so you can decide which ones to visit.

I’ve also included sample first-time itineraries with several different durations: 7, 10, 14 and 21-day trips.No need to read extensive guides or spend days of planning.

Which islands to visit in Azores?
sao miguel azores itinerary best islands to visit
First tip: Avoid FOMO settling in.

Where are the Azores?

First of all, a quick intro. The Azores are a Portuguese group of 9 islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. They’re mostly known for its raw natural scenery and untouched landscapes of lakes, waterfalls, and green meadows.

The islands are an eco-tourism paradise who just very recently have been “discovered” by mass tourism.
azores islands map

You can get to Azores flying directly from mainland Portugal, United States, Canada, or a few other European countries like Germany, Sweden or the UK.

If it’s your first time visiting, I strongly recommend reading my intro guide to Azores with the main things you should know before your trip.

One of them is that getting around the islands can be costly and time-consuming.

It’s essential to plan efficiently and avoid FOMO (fear of missing out). If you’re always on the go rushing from point A to point B, it won’t be nearly as rewarding, trust me. Part of the true Azores experience is being able to chill and have time to take it all in.


What is the best island to visit in the Azores?

9 islands of Azores have an incredible range of stunning landscapes, so I highly recommend you visit at least 2-3 of them to have a good grasp of life in the islands.

That said, if your time is limited and/or don’t want to spend too much time in logistics, pick São Miguel island. Apart from being the easiest to fly to, it offers the largest amount of things to do and see.

hot springs sao miguel azores

 
Top hotels in Azores
 
Pre-filtered list of hotels with top reviews and location with parking and free WiFi included.

Corvo

corvo island itinerary azores
Island size doesn’t matter when it comes to delivering stunning landscapes.

Let’s start… small. With a population of only about 420 😱, Corvo is the tiniest island in Azores. The entire island is an extinct volcano and the product of its past eruption(s). Fun fact: only in 1973 (!) the inhabitants got electricity!

But don’t let its size fool you. This remote and peaceful island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with protected waters, making it a place of excellence for snorkeling and diving. It’s also a great option for birdwatching, but to be fair, most visitors are attracted simply by the novelty of exploring such a remote and tiny island.

Corvo Overview

  • Top Attraction: Caldeirão. The crater of the extinct Corvo‘s old volcano. If weather collaborates, sunset here is incredible.
  • ✈️ Getting there by plane: There is a small airfield in Corvo with flights to Faial and Flores.
  • 🛥️ Getting there by boat: An Atlântico Line ferry to Flores runs daily in summer months (but only twice/week in winter). Takes about 45 minutes. Book your tickets ahead.
  • 🏨 Where to stay: Pirates Nest (how cool is this name?).
  • 🏌️ 3 activities to try: Birdwatching, diving, hiking.
  • 👌 Go here if…: you want to experience what true remoteness feels like.

Flores

flores island azores itinerary
Green is greener in Flores.

The westernmost territory in Europe, Flores is well off the beaten track and not a common destination for first-time visitors to Azores. It’s raw, exotic and remote and a top-notch paradise for birdwatchers.

In fact, the entire island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with dozens of waterfalls, lakes, and massive rock formations. Flores is the place where your adventurous side takes over, powered by the dramatic landscapes, lush hills and the charming roads embellished by vibrant hydrangeas.

Flores Overview

  • Top Attraction: Poço da Alagoinha. Many large waterfalls in an area with lush green mountains and rock formations, this one of the most breahtaking natural sceneries in the Azores.
  • ✈️ Getting there by plane: There is a small airfield in Corvo with flights to other islands. It’s a 1h30 flight to Ponta Delgada.
  • 🛥️ Getting there by boat: Flores is connected to Corvo (all-year round) and to Faial (summer months) via Atlântico Line ferry.
  • 🏨 Where to stay: Sítio da Assumada.
  • 🏌️ 3 activities to try: Birdwatching, canyoning, hiking.
  • 👌 Go here if…: you like nature at its rawest form.

Terceira

terceira island itinerary azores
Pastures made cool.

With the second-largest population after São Miguel, and known as the party island of the Azores, there is always something happening to keep you busy in Terceira. The highlight happens in June, where the massive street party of Sanjoaninas takes over the downtown of Angra do Heroísmo.

Terceira is much more than partying though. Make your way inland and you’ll find colorful architecture examples – look for impérios -, relaxing real-life desktop screensavers of meadows and forests, scenic lookouts like the pasture patchwork in Serra do Cume, and the volcanic chimney of Algar do Carvão.

Or perhaps take a dive underwater to explore the dozens of centuries-old shipwrecks that can be found around the island.

Also make sure you indulge in its famous food delicacies, a subset of Azorean food where the king dish is alcatra.

Terceira Overview

  • Top Attraction: Angra do Heroísmo. The pretty port city with colorful buildings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • ✈️ Getting there by plane: Angra is decently connected to almost all the islands in the Azores, as well as the mainland Portugal (Lisbon and Porto). Azores Airlines also operates direct flights to the US.
  • 🛥️ Getting there by boat: During summer months, Terceira is connected directly to Graciosa, São Jorge and São Miguel via Atlântico Line ferry.
  • 🏨 Where to stay: Terceira Mar Hotel.
  • 🏨 3 activities to try: Diving, speleology, paragliding.
  • 👌 Go here if…: you’re looking to add a killer food&party break to your vacation.



Booking.com

Graciosa

graciosa island itinerary azores
How cute is this whale-shaped rock?

Remember when I said in the beginning that not all islands in the Azores are equally as interesting for a first-time visitor? Unless you have a whole month to go around the islands, I’m afraid Graciosa would have to be your first one to go.

The island is roughly the same size as Manhattan and oh boy, could they be any more different!

For starters, it’s a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and exudes authenticity – food, people, culture, ways of living – and the fact it’s not changing anytime soon is reassuring. The kind of place where farmers still get around by donkey on their daily commute to their pastures.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s a special charm about such an off the beaten track like Graciosa. It’s just if we measure what to see and do vs the effort to get there, it would be a smart choice to pick other Azorean islands first.

Graciosa Overview

  • Top Attraction: Carapacho. Waters in this modern thermal spa reach 40°C allowing for a therapeutic and 100% natural thalassotherapy experience.
  • ✈️ Getting there by plane: Graciosa is connected to Terceira island.
  • 🛥️ Getting there by boat: During summer months, Graciosa has direct Atlântico Line ferries from both Terceira and São Jorge.
  • 🏨 Where to stay: Casa da Beira Mar.
  • 🏌️ 3 activities to try: Diving, fishing, speleology.
  • 👌 Go here if…: you want to escape the crowds and experience te full authentic Azores.

São Jorge

sao jorge island itinerary azores
The kind of view that gives you chills.

São Jorge is a tiny island – with only 8km width! – but encapsulates an incredibly diverse cocktail of captivating sceneries. From cliffs and ravines to lakes and surfing spots, its main feature is the almost vertical coastline interrupted by small plains formed by lava flows called fajãs.

Apart from this rough landscape which potentiates all sorts of adventurous activities, it’s also known for its pastures, the birthplace of the famous unpasteurized cheese – Queijo de São Jorge. Don’t leave the Azores without trying it, it will ROCK YOUR WORLD.

São Jorge Overview

  • Top Attraction: Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo. Apart from the majestic scenario, the waves here are considered one of the best for surfing and body boarding in Europe.
  • ✈️ Getting there by plane: SATA Air Açores has direct flights to São Jorge from Terceira and São Miguel airports.
  • 🛥️ Getting there by boat: Decently connected to Faial and Pico all year round as well to Terceira and Graciosa in the peak season.
  • 🏨 Where to stay: Quinta do Canavial.
  • 🏌️ 3 activities to try: Apart from ingesting cheese in biblic amounts, surfing, mountain biking, hiking.
  • 👌 Go here if…: you want some of most dramatic landscapes in Europe.

hot springs sao miguel azores

 
Top hotels in Azores
 
Pre-filtered list of hotels with top reviews and location with parking and free WiFi included.

Pico

pico travel itinerary azores
Pico in a nutshell.

The landscape of Pico is undeniably dominated by Mount Pico, the highest peak in Portuguese territory. In fact is this unique combination of perfectly in-sync mountain and sea sceneries that makes Pico so special.

This island is home to unique vineyards that literally grow in lava rocks and stretch out all the way to the ocean, as well as century-old volcanic caves and tidal pools to refresh body and mind.

Last but definitely not least, Pico is a top whale-watching destination worldwide, an activity that (fortunately) has replaced the old whaling tradition in the 20th century. If you’re to do it anywhere in the islands do it here.

Pico Overview

  • Top Attraction: Mount Pico. With 2351m, it’s the highest mountain in Portugal. The hike to the top is deceptively tricky and takes at least 5 hours (in total). If weather cooperates, you’ll be rewarded with glorious views over the Atlantic Ocean and nearby islands. A guide is recommended and I recommend Épico.
  • ✈️ Getting there by plane: Pico is well-connected not only to other islands, but also has direct flights from Lisbon too.
  • 🛥️ Getting there by boat: The Atlântico Line operation runs throughout the entire year connecting Faial, Pico and São Jorge.
  • 🏨 Where to stay: Adegas do Pico. I stayed in this area for 4 days, stunning scenery!
  • 🏌️ 3 activities to try: Whale-watching, hiking, wine tasting.
  • 👌 Go here if…: you are up for a mountain climb challenge.

Faial

faial island itinerary azores capelinhos
Faial gained a bit of land after its last volcanic eruption.

Some people say the best of Faial is the view of Pico (THE SHADE IS REAL 😈).

While you don’t want to spend more than 3 full days in the island, there are some quite interesting and diverse sights for at least 1/2 days. From the moon-ish volcanic landscapes in the Capelinhos area to the natural sea pools or even the impressive crater of Lagoa da Caldeira, Faial has some quite cool photo moments.

Plus, there’s the maritime connection. All the islands in Azores obviously have a strong connection with the ocean, but Faial takes it to a whole new level.

Horta has been a pivotal hub for yachts and sailboats in transatlantic journeys between Africa, America, and Europe. Pay a visit to the marina’s breakwater where the insignias of hundreds of sailors are displayed in all formats and shapes. Sort of a sailor’s guestbook.

Faial Overview

  • Top Attraction: Capelinhos. The last eruption in 1957 made Faial gain a land extension of about 3 square kilometers.
  • ✈️ Getting there by plane: Faial has direct flights from some islands like São Jorge, São Miguel and Terceira and from Lisbon too.
  • 🛥️ Getting there by boat: The Atlântico Line operation runs throughout the entire year connecting Faial, Pico and São Jorge. On summer there are also connections to Flores.
  • 🏨 Where to stay: Casas da Fajã.
  • 🏌️ 3 activities to try: Sailing, whale-watching, mountain biking.
  • 👌 Go here if…: you’re looking for the most recent trace of a volcanic eruption.

São Miguel

best island to visit azores itinerary lagoa do fogo sao miguel
Flower power!

My home island! (promise I won’t be biased).

The largest island of the archipelago has a LOT to do outdoors as well as a lot of different things to taste.

São Miguel is a trip by itself and a gateway to the Azores as it contains a little bit of everything the entire archipelago has to offer.

4 days is the bare minimum to scratch the surface of São Miguel, but there’s enough to keep you busy here for at least a week.

Beyond the maritime city of Ponta Delgada, there are majestic lakes reminiscent of ancient volcano craters, dark volcanic sandy beaches and outdoor hot springs to relax in. Pasture and herds of happy cows chilling on the lush hills are the most common scenery though – after all this is the “green island” for a reason.

The island is also a paradise for hikers, with dozens of official trails making their way across all kinds of landscapes in various shapes, sizes, and difficulty levels.

São Miguel Overview

  • Top Attraction: Sete Cidades. The twin lakes of Sete Cidades can’t always be seen on all its glory amongst the foggy weather up in the mountains, but if you’re lucky, it’s a breathtaking moment.
  • ✈️ Getting there by plane: You can get to São Miguel from almost all the other islands, as well as from Madeira, Lisbon and Porto. International direct connections are gradually more common, with flights rom US, UK, Germany and Nordic countries. Besides Azores Airlines, companies flying direct to São Miguel include TAP, Delta, Ryanair and Primera Air.
  • 🛥️ Getting there by boat: During the peak season, there are ferries to São Miguel from Santa Maria and Terceira.
  • 🏨 Where to stay: Out of the Blue. Hotel Azor for a more premium experience.
  • 🏌️ 3 activities to try: Hiking, surfing, paradliging.
  • 👌 Go here if…: you don’t want to miss on some of the major highlights of Azores.
Booking.com

Santa Maria

santa maria island itinerary azores
Just checking – it this helping or is FOMO settling in?

While the rest of the islands are stuck in an endless unpredictable and ever-changing weather – locals call it the “4 seasons in a single day” weather -, Santa Maria laughs out loud from its warmest and sunniest southeastern spot.

Santa Maria emerged from the Atlantic 10 million years ago, way before than any other island in the Azores, so it’s geologically quite different. The highlights are the golden beaches and tidal pools allow great swimming spots, above water; and world-famous diving spots like Gruta Azul, underwater.

The island comes alive in August, during the music festival Maré de Agosto, but in the rest of the year remains faithful to its “chill getaway” vibe.

Santa Maria Overview

  • Top Attraction: Praia Formosa. One of the best beaches in Azores, located in a picturesque bay with crystal clear waters. Might very well be the best spot in the islands to relax and work on your tan!
  • ✈️ Getting there by plane: Direct flights to Santa Maria are available exclusively from São Miguel.
  • 🛥️ Getting there by boat: There is a ferry connecting São Miguel and Santa Maria during summer.
  • 🏨 Where to stay: Casa da Boa Vista.
  • 🏌️ 3 activities to try: Swimming, paragliding, diving.
  • 👌 Go here if…: you want to add a bit of quality beach and swimming time to your trip.


Ready-made Azores itinerary for your trip

Here are some ready-to-go sample itineraries you can use as a template for your trip. Some might say you can cover a lot more, but I truly believe a place like Azores is not to be rushed. Embrace the opportunity to fully appreciate nature. Don’t spend your day on planes, cars and roads, you have enough stress on your daily life already.

The example itineraries blow are tailored for first-time visitors and are designed to give the best overview possible of Azores in each amount of time.

Less than 7 days

My advice here is stick to São Miguel. Don’t worry, there’s a lot to keep you busy – use my 4-day itinerary of São Miguel as a guide for your trip.

There’s no point in trying to squeeze in another island – basically, you’ll pay more to rush your experience in both islands.

7 days Azores Itinerary

  • São Miguel (5 full days)
  • Terceira OR Pico (2 full days)

With a week to spend in Azores, there are 2 options. You can either splurge your time in São Miguel only and have extra time to do some hiking trails, diving or whatever activities you’re interested in.

If you are keen on including more stops on your journey, be strategic: a week is not a lot of time.

Adding Terceira or Pico is extremely convenient as you can book an open-jaw flight to mainland Portugal (saving time and money of a flight back to São Miguel).

For the latter option though, if you plan to climb Mount Pico, this might be too tight and rushed. You’ll want to make sure you have enough buffer time in Pico to 1) choose the day with the best weather to make the climb 2) RECOVER from the demanding climb.

10 days Azores Itinerary

  • São Miguel (5 full days)
  • Faial (1/2 full days)
  • Pico (3/4 full days)

This is where you can start to get ambitious guys.

With 10 days in the Azores, invest a big chunk of the time in São Miguel and Pico. There’s experiences not to miss in Pico, as well as many outdoor activities to try in São Miguel.

As for the remaining 1/2 days, stick to an island close to Pico. Faial is the obvious choice as there are frequent ferries between Horta (Faial) and Madalena (Pico).

This means a doable itinerary would be Lisbon ► São Miguel ► Faial ► Pico ► Lisbon. You can shuffle the order of the 3, as long as São Miguel is either in the beginning or at the end of the trip to take advantage of the ferry connection in the Triangle islands.

PS: I’ve seen some people prefer to visit only two islands in this timeframe: São Miguel and Flores. There are two downsides with this option though.

The first is that Flores is much more remote and may need an additional return flight to Lisbon, complicating the logistics. The other is that these 2 islands, despite breathtaking, are quite similar in terms of landscape. Faial and Pico add more contrast to your experience and gives you a more well-rounded overview of the islands.

14 days Azores Itinerary

  • São Miguel (6 full days)
  • Faial (1/2 full days)
  • Pico (3 full days)
  • São Jorge (3/4 full days)

2 weeks is the perfect time to visit São Miguel as well as the three triangle islands – Faial, Pico and São Jorge. SATA Air Açores has frequent flights from São Miguel to any of these islands and once you’re there, it’s fairly easy and cheap to travel between them by ferry. Efficiency FTW.

This itinerary also combines some of the best features of Azores: the impressive lakes of São Miguel, the volcanic landscape of Faial, the unique mountain-and-wine combo scenery of Pico and finally the majestic cliffs and fajãs in São Jorge. It’s a lot to awe on a single trip!

So if you’re coming and returning from Lisbon, it’s perfectly doable to do a Lisbon ► São Miguel ► Faial ► São Jorge ► Pico ► Lisbon open-jaw trip. Again, shuffle as you like, just leave São Miguel for either the beginning or the end of the trip to optimize your logistics.

21 days Azores Itinerary

  • São Miguel (6 full days)
  • Faial (2 full days)
  • Pico (3 full days)
  • São Jorge (3/4 full days)
  • Flores (2/3 full days)
  • Terceira (2/3 full days)

Ok, this is where we can go crazy!

Definitely use the previous 2-week itinerary of São Miguel, Faial, São Jorge and Pico and maybe even add a day or two in the first and the latter islands.

As for the rest of the days, it’s time to (finally) add Flores. This island is a smaller, greener and more remote version of São Miguel and has got some of the most incredible waterfalls and lakes in the Azores.

For the couple of days that are still left, including Terceira will give your trip a different side of Azorean food and if you got your time right, a bit of partying around too. The island is known as the party island of the archipelago!

Alternatively, you can replace Flores with Santa Maria for more chances of sunny weather and some beach bum time. It will also reduce travel time and overall costs a bit as you can hop on a ferry from São Miguel.

Azores itinerary summary

Here’s a quick summary of some example itineraries in Azores based off the number of days you have.

  • Less than 7 days: São Miguel
  • 7 days: São Miguel OR São Miguel + Pico OR São Miguel + Terceira
  • 10 days: São Miguel + Faial + Pico
  • 14 days: São Miguel + Faial + Pico + São Jorge
  • 21 days: São Miguel + Faial + Pico + São Jorge + Flores + Terceira

Planning a trip to Azores independently

Booking your flight

If you are not from the US or simply not into vacation packages, you’re better off by booking your flight independently.

As a rule of thumb, flights to Azores are considerably cheaper from Porto, Lisbon or London. Ponta Delgada airport has the highest number of flight connections. From there you may be entitled to a FREE connecting flight to other islands – check this page for more info.

Booking a hotel

For hotels, you can start off with this pre-filtered list of hotels, guesthouses and villas in Azores. Or explore on your own:

Booking.com

Booking a car

Taxis and tours can be costly and public transportation is not reliable. Also local guides take away the fun factor. If you ask me, the best way to get around in Azores is definitely by renting a car.

Plus, an island road trip will add a sense of adventure to make your trip truly memorable!

roads islands itinerary azores best islands to visit
*insert deep subtitle like “where will the roads in Azores take you?”*

Other useful resources when planning a trip to Azores


Which islands in the Azores did you visit? How many days did you had?
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35 comments 💬

  1. Heading to the azores in July. This is the best thing I’ve read so far. Thanks for compiling such a comprehensive post. We are there for 10 days. Sao Miguel and Santa Maria are sounding the best to me. Is that feasible? Thanks!

    1. That is definitely feasible. The ferry takes a couple of hours but Santa Maria for 3 days and spend the rest of time in São Miguel.

  2. Hi there!

    Thanks a lot for your great summary!

    We have three weeks to spend in the Azores and want to do a lot of hiking. At the same time we want to have a few days inbetween to relax and just be lazy.

    We therefore want to split the time between Sao Miguel, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial. Currently the days are divided as follows:

    Sao Miguel 4 nights
    Sao Jorge 4 nights
    Pico 4 nights
    Faial 4 nights
    Sao Miguel again 3 nights

    We have 3 extra nights to spend on either of those islands. How would you divide them up? We definitely want to also do some canyoning, whale watching etc.

    Thanks in advance!
    Phillip

    1. First of all – you’re very lucky to have 3 weeks in Azores, nice!
      Assuming you’re going during summer time, I’d probably remove 1 night in Faial and add Santa Maria into your itinerary to have some days of relaxation on the beach. It’s easy to get from São Miguel anyway.

  3. Hi Bruno, thanks so much for your lovely website and informative articles. I’ve been to the Azores twice now. First time for a week, we visited Sao Miguel, Terceira and Faial. It was a rushed week with a guided tour on each island. Exhausting but wonderful! The second time I stayed on Sao Miguel with a friend. We hired a car and had a ball exploring the island, I was very glad that I had been previously and had knowledge of where to go and what to see. I put an itinerary together from your suggestions and from my own experience. Next year (for my 60th birthday), the plan is to go to Flores and Corvo with my friend again, and then the second week, my husband and other family will join me on Sao Miguel – possibly going to Santa Maria too for a couple of nights. My question is… when is the best time to go to Flores? I particularly want to see the flora on Flores at its best. Thank you! X

  4. Dear Bruno,

    First of all thanks for this blog and especially the Azores travel tips!! Reading your posts has been a real pleasure and increased my (already high) anticipation for the holiday!

    My fiance and I are flying to Ponta Delgada on June 19th and returning on June 30th. Right now we are planning our itinerary and despite your detailed suggestions in this post we still can’t decide what to do 😀 we want to have enough time to not feel rushed so we are thinking of only visiting one other island in addition to Sao Miguel.

    I checked the boat schedules (we would prefer to avoid flying again and it’s quite expensive in June) and found three options:
    Santa Maria for 3 nights – would be nice to get some sun but will we get bored?
    Pico for 3/4 nights – climbing Mt. Pico would be amazing but is it worth spending two days on the ship?
    Terceira for 3 nights – right now my least favourite option based on your descriptions, although the Sanjoaninas festival would be on just then – is it worth visiting for a tourist (with no Portuguese skills)?

    What do you think, any recommendations? Is it nice to travel on the ships or rather a boring experience?

    Any thoughts appreciated – thanks! 🙂
    Eva

    1. I personally avoid long journeys on the sea, but that could also be part of the experience?
      Regarding the islands, it’s really up to what you want to do. Logistically, Santa Maria makes the most sense and is quite a off the beaten track destination so it’s a good combo with the more popular São Miguel?

  5. Hi, thanks for the great article! How does your itinerary suggestion change if we are visiting for 10 days but have a baby that is 8 months old? Would it be Sao Miguel + Terceira? We will not be climbing Pico, so Terceira may be easier to navigate with the baby?

    1. If you’re not climbing Pico, is pretty much irrelevant right?
      Depends on what you want: food and culture vs scenery and landscape!

  6. Hi Bruno,
    Thanks for all the information, butI was wondering if you rent a car on the Azores, is it best to rent 1 and take it with you on the ferry to the different islands or to rent a new one on every island? Thank you!

    1. Depends on the islands you’re going.
      Some ferries do allow cars, but some don’t. This should be visible info on Atlântico Line website.

  7. Hi Bruno. Just want to say how glad I am to stubble across your guide/blog/website as I’m taking my mum to the Azores for her 70th! My flights are booked for mid – end of June. Now I just need to decide where to stay and what to do. My mum initially wanted to take a guided tour, but I manage to persuade her to do it independently as it’s more my style of travel and seeing the world 🙂

    We’re only staying for 7 nights so will base ourselves in Sao Miguel as suggested. One question – are there tours/boat trips that will take you to one of the islands for the day? Also do you think its better to hire a taxi guide rather than doing excursions? Thank you so much for all the effort in putting this guide together.

    1. First of all, what a great birthday present for your mum, I’m sure she’ll love it!
      No, the distances involved are too big to be able to do day trips from São Miguel. You can do Faial from Pico/São Jorge and vice-versa though.

      As for local guides, I can’t comment, never used one. But my feeling is that they take away all the sense of adventure from a trip to a place like Azores. They’ll obviously be more expensive than excursions or – my favorite option – renting a car.

  8. Hi Bruno. I really appreciate all the time and thought you’ve put into this website. My great-grandfather came from Sao Jorge so it has always been my dream to visit the Azores. We have nothing planned yet and are flexible in our dates other than it needs to be between end of June and mid-August of this year. We are a family of 4 (5, if you count our eldest daughter who may join us for a partial visit), consisting of 17 & 15 year old daughters. We are active and love the outdoors as well as the history and culture, so are up for just about anything! My husband is a diver and we also make our own wine. We really want to savor the islands…being that they are special to my heritage. After reading your island descriptions, I couldn’t choose All so am most interested in Sao Jorge, Pico, Sao Miguel, Terceira, and Santa Maria. However, I’m sure that this is a hefty request even if we do have a few weeks+ to plan around. What would you suggest? Also, is there a local guide that you would recommend that could give us a local experience? Perhaps I’ll even find some family! Thank you, thank you…

    1. I think with the islands you mentioned you have yourself a great trip already!
      I don’t work with local guides so I’m afraid I can’t recommend any. In fact, I advise you to explore the islands on your own – much more fun.

  9. Hello.
    I really love your guides on Azores. Just the thing I was looking for. However, I still have some questions and would really apreciate if you can help me.
    Me and my husband will (most likely) be travelling to Azores with 1.5 years old in early August. We have two weeks for the Azores and I would really apprecitate if you could suggest a rough itinerary in terms which islad(s) do you recommend us to visit and for how long. I suppose there are quite some activities we can’t do with our toddler (whale tour, climbing Mt. Pico…) and would apprecitate some suggestions what to see/do instead. We are alo interested in some beach time 🙂 Where would you suggest to stay at Sao Miguel (which town)?

    Thank you.
    Eva

    1. For 2 weeks, I recommend the itinerary that you can find above: São Miguel, Pico, São Jorge and Faial. Even though you won’t be climbing Mount Pico, there’s still a lot to see and the landscapes in all these islands are very different.

      Regarding place to stay in São Miguel, anywhere central like Ponta Delgada, Ribeira Grande or Lagoa is a good bet. If you’re looking for extra relaxation, Furnas is the best bet. I recommend checking the best hotels in São Miguel for families.

  10. This is such a great website. We are coming to the Azores from June 30th to July 20th. We are coming from Vancouver Canada and are very excited to visit. We have already booked one of the Pico hotels you recommended.

    If you could spare a few minutes and comment on on our time on each island. We are following your time recommendations for 21 days.

    We arrive at 6 am on June 30th and plan to stay on San Miguel for the 30th and July 1st. Then plan to travel to Flores for 3 days then 2 days each on Faial; Terceira; Sao Jorge and then 3 days on Pico. Then we finish with 4 more days on San Miguel and fly out on the 20th.

    Should we adjust our timing/choices in any way?

    We plan to fly to Flores and Faial and back to San Miguel and take the ferry in the Pico/Terceira/Sai Jorge group.

    Should we rent cars on all islands?

    Are there any key events we should try and hit in that time frame to adjust our agenda\/

    Thank you

    Rick

    1. Rick, I think you have a very well balanced itinerary. It will be a bit rushed, especially with the Terceira-Faial-São Jorge bit but definitely doable. That said, I’d consider taking out Terceira entirely – your choice!

      I advise to book a car in all the islands, personally I think is a shame to not explore the Azores independently.

  11. Hi – my husband and I will be traveling to the Azores Dec 30-Jan11, to celebrate our 25th anniversary and will be visiting Sao Miguel for 6 nights, Pico for 3 nights and Faial for 2 nights. We have greatly appreciated your many blog posts in helping us to plan our travels and we look forward to exploring the islands! My questions are whether New Years Eve brings any special festivities to Ponta Delgado and whether dressier clothing or advanced reservations would be needed? We have also been told by two different companies in Pico, that they do not run whale watching tours this time of year due to typically rough waters. Is this different depending on the island? Lastly, is there a particular company you would recommend for car rental on Sao Miguel? Thank You!

    1. Sorry for the late reply, was too busy in New Years too!
      In Ponta Delgada, the fanciest celebration highly popular with locals is in Coliseu but you need a ticket in advance. Some hotels also do dressier parties.

      Usually Dec/Jan brings rough weather and it’s very common for whale-watching companies to close or at least have significant downtime.

      Regarding the car rental companies, you can check in other articles I’ve had good experiences with Autotlantis and Micauto.

  12. We are two women planning our 10-11 day trip to the Azores around May 29 to June 8 or so. We are flexible. Your blog has been most helpful. We are figuring on starting with three full days in Sao Miguel, taking two day tours and then onto Faial, Pico and Terceira. (And Sao Jorge) as time allows. We want to spend another 2 days in Sao Miguel before heading back to the States. The main thing that appeals to me about Terceira are the bulls running and it is the island with the airport. We’re trying to figure out the logistics of getting to the smaller islands. Help! I did contact Azores Getaways a while back when I thought it would be a shorter trip… Just Sao Miguel and Terceira. I think they only book the transportation and the hotels. Is it a good idea to have a travel agent handle a lot of this? We are older women and my friend lives in South America and is coming to the U.S. so we can go to on this special trip together.

  13. Greetings Bruno,
    First I want to say thank you for a very helpful blog/website. Every island sounds wonderful and I wish we had more time than 12 nights!!
    Looking for advice. Family of 4 with two teens ages 15 and 17 coming from Boston Massachusetts. I originally planned on Sao Miguel, Sao Jorge and Pico with 4 nights on each island based on your descriptions of each island. Logistically flight wise it would make more sense if we omitted either Sao Jorge or Pico for Terceira. Thoughts? Should I stick with our original itinerary and just deal with the long lay over OR which island would you omit for Terceira; Pico or Sao Jorge?
    Much appreciated!
    Nancy

    1. Thank you for passing by Nancy!
      I think 4 nights in Terceira might be too much. I’d rather spend them in Pico or São Jorge, to be honest. Actually, if you travel by ferry, traveling between Pico and São Jorge could make sense.

    2. Thanks for your input! Will stick to Sao Miguel, Sao Jorge and Pico. Can’t wait!!

  14. We are planning a trip in mid-March… will it be too cold? We are an outdoorsy family. Will the whales be active in March?

    1. It can be cold and rainy, but also can be warm and sunny, who knows?
      March-May is the best time to watch whales, although there’s never 100% guarantee you’ll see them.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. We are going to visit the Azores next summer for 14 days – But we would love to make it to Flores (and maybe hop onto Corvo for a day) based on how stunning the pictures look… We really are into nature.

    Our itinerary so far would be Sao Miguel for a couple of days (5-6), then Sao Jorge and Pico (another 5 days), finishing with 3-4 days on Flores/Corvo. What do you think? 🙂

    1. I think that’s definitely doable, just keep in mind there’s a lot of hopping around. If that’s your kind of holiday, go for it!

  16. Hi there. I only have 4 full days planned for islands in the middle – Faial, Pico and São Jorge (I really tried to change it but flight and ferry schedules are the way they are). Any suggestions which are a must and for how long and which one I should skip this time? Or may it is possible to see them all? I have been trying to figure this out for weeks but every has something I would like to see or do.

    1. Well if you want my advice, ask yourself what do you want to do? In the only you can decide – it’s always possible to see them all, but it will be rushed. Very hard climbing Mount Pico for instance. If that’s OK with you, then go ahead.

      On the other hand, if you want to have some chilled time and enjoy the perks of slow travel then skip Faial and have 2 days in the other islands.

  17. thank you for this information, I am planning a trip for next summer and this has dramatically changed my planned itinerary. I found more “useful” information in your short blurbs than what most travel sites offer. thanks for the wonderful writeup and logistical information

    1. That’s great to hear as it’s exactly what I’m aiming for!
      Thanks for passing by and enjoy your trip!

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