Welcome to the mysterious world of the Azores, the nine gems in the vast Atlantic Ocean. Ahead of you are the Azores travel preparations and tips! These Portuguese islands, known for their natural beauty, diversity, and tranquillity, represent a true paradise for travel enthusiasts. If you are considering exploring these unique islands, you are in the right place.
The Azores boast volcanic landscapes, lush green hills, thermal springs, and stunning coastal panoramas. Each island has its unique charm waiting to be discovered. To make your journey unforgettable, we have prepared a series of tips that will ease your planning and allow you to fully enjoy all the charms of the Azores.
Our Azores travel tips cover everything from the optimal time to visit and practical advice for booking flights to exploring the islands by renting a car or using local transportation. We have also delved into the choice of accommodations to make your stay on the Azores truly comfortable and tailored to your preferences.
When to Visit
The Azores are a popular destination throughout the year, but the best time to visit is from May to September. The summer months offer the best weather, with temperatures reaching a pleasant 20-25°C, allowing for exploration of natural attractions and outdoor activities.
Visiting the Azores at the end of October proved to be an excellent decision, as we were fortunate with the weather. With just one rainy day, we could fully enjoy the enchanting archipelago. Temperatures between 11 and 26 degrees allowed for a pleasant exploration of the islands, adapting to diverse climate conditions.
We also had additional luck with tourist attractions, as all were open, contributing to a perfect experience. This was particularly noticeable since we stayed in the Azores until mid-November. However, we also noticed that some tourist attractions on certain islands close towards the end of the season. This was evident on the island of Pico, where we encountered a limited choice of dinner restaurants, typical for the lower season. Nevertheless, the experience in the Azores was unforgettable, as we had the opportunity to experience these beautiful islands beyond the hustle and bustle of the main tourist season.
While the Azores, as part of Portugal and a member of the European Union, offer the convenience of visa-free travel for EU citizens, non-EU citizens need to be aware of specific visa requirements. If you are not a citizen of a European Union member state, please check the visa requirements for your nationality before planning your trip to the Azores.
It’s important to note that the Azores, being an autonomous region of Portugal, generally follow the visa regulations set by the Portuguese government. Non-EU citizens are typically required to obtain a Schengen visa to enter the Azores, as the islands are part of the Schengen Area.
For affordable airfare, monitor various airline offers and book your seats in advance. Pay attention to potential promotions and seasonal discounts that can help you save money.
We flew from Venice to Portugal, spending our first night in Lisbon, where we enjoyed excellent cuisine. The next morning, we had a flight to Sao Miguel. We flew with Sata Azores Airlines, which offers budget-friendly flights with included baggage. We flew from Lisbon to Sao Miguel, and back from Terceira to Lisbon.
Rent a Car
For exploring the magical Azores on your own, it is almost essential to rent a car. While we noticed some public transportation on the island of São Miguel, it must be acknowledged that exploring the Azores with this mode of transportation can be challenging and may lead to significant delays. On some islands, there simply was no public transportation, or it was available only in a very limited capacity—e.g., just two buses a day, one in the morning and one in the evening.
In this light, renting a car in the Azores is crucial for a comprehensive exploration of the islands. It allows you to visit remote corners that would otherwise be inaccessible and enjoy all the charms of these charming islands fully.
One experience I would like to share relates to car rental in the Azores. While travelling to five islands, we encountered some complications due to choosing different car rental companies. A notable feature of the Azores is the relatively high deposits we had to pay, ranging from €1050 to €1450. Thanks to multiple credit cards, we were able to handle these deposits, and fortunately, the deposits were released on time.
In this context, we recommend choosing one car rental company and sticking with it. This way, you can easily transfer the deposit from the beginning to the end of the journey, preventing potential issues. We opted for Ilha Verde Rent a Car on three islands, and it proved to be an excellent choice, highly recommended for future travellers to the Azores.
For a complete experience of multiple islands in the Azores, we recommend using ferries or internal flights. Ferries are an excellent choice for those who enjoy sea travel, while internal flights offer a faster option for moving between islands.
We travelled between islands using both ferries and internal flights. This proved to be a sensible decision, especially since we visited during the off-season when some ferry routes were not operational. Moreover, internal flights provided a faster and more comfortable means of transportation. We chose SATA Azores for all internal flights.
SATA Azores offers internal flights between major islands such as São Miguel, Terceira, Pico, and others. Their services are crucial for travellers who want to explore multiple islands during their visit to the Azores or simply reach destinations within the archipelago more quickly. In addition to excellent connectivity between islands, SATA Azores also contributes to the development of local tourism and the economy, playing a key role in smooth travel throughout the beautiful and diverse Azores archipelago. We flew from São Miguel to Pico and from São Jorge to Terceira.
For travel between the remaining islands, we chose AtlanticoLine. Ferries proved to be a comfortable, straightforward, and cost-effective option. The Azores offer regular ferry lines throughout the year, which we took full advantage of during our journey. Some lines operate seasonally due to weather conditions. CLICK HERE for information on ferry routes between islands. Here you can find all schedules and prices for inter-island ferries.
Travelling to the Azores outside the main season allowed us to easily book accommodations without encountering difficulties. For all our stays, we relied on Booking.com services, where we effortlessly reserved double rooms with breakfast included. CLICK HERE and book your room now.
The average cost for this type of accommodation was around €60 per night. We were more than satisfied with the quality of accommodations in the Azores, which had a relatively high standard. All facilities were carefully maintained and provided us with a high level of comfort. An additional advantage was the friendly price, contributing to a positive experience of our journey through this beautiful Portuguese archipelago.
Travelling to the Azores during the main season requires booking of accommodations in advance, as prices rise and occupancy increases rapidly. Therefore, for those planning to visit the Azores during the main season, we strongly recommend preparing in advance. Prior booking not only ensures a peaceful night’s sleep but also allows for a greater choice of available rooms.
What to Pack
When packing for a trip to the Azores, it is advisable to include various clothing suitable for all weather conditions, including light and warm clothing, as well as waterproof gear for unpredictable weather. Do not forget hiking shoes and lightweight shoes for exploring the islands. For sun protection, it is recommended to have sunscreen with a high protection factor.
Maintain personal hygiene with proper toiletries and a basic first aid kit containing pain relievers and remedies for digestive issues. If you plan to engage in outdoor activities such as hiking or beach visits, include appropriate equipment such as hiking gear and swimwear.
Great news, in the Azores, you can drink tap water! You can confidently enjoy tap water in the Azores, as it is potable and complies with high-quality standards. The Azores islands are known for their clean and untouched natural resources, which is reflected in the quality of tap water. We drank tap water on all the islands we visited. On some islands, the water had a slightly strong taste of chlorine, but we didn’t encounter any other issues.
In the Azores, you will be spoiled with delicious and home-cooked food that will delight every food enthusiast. Seafood lovers, in particular, will enjoy the abundance of fresh and diverse fish and seafood offered by local restaurants. The variety of fish and seafood will truly satisfy your taste buds.
Additionally, cheese and wine enthusiasts will have an incredible experience. The islands are renowned for excellent cheese dairies that offer a wide selection of exquisite and top-quality cheeses. The nuanced flavours and high quality of the cheese are evident in every bite.
To enhance your culinary experience, indulge in local wines that pair perfectly with the diverse cuisine of the Azores. We are enthusiastic about everything we tried, so we warmly recommend immersing yourself in the culinary diversity of these charming islands.
The only thing we missed was fresh salad which was hard or expensive to get.
The Azores are often covered in clouds and fog, especially at higher altitudes. This atmospheric characteristic can affect visibility and panoramic views, so it’s useful to monitor weather conditions through web cameras or other sources of information when visiting scenic spots.
Spot Azores is a very useful website, especially if you plan to explore higher-altitude areas where fog is a common issue. We thoroughly checked the weather conditions at these points before our trip. On the island of Sao Miguel, we waited four days for the skies to clear over Sete Cidades and Lagoa do Fogo. Once we noticed good visibility, we quickly headed to the location.
Spot Azores is indeed a handy tool, covering all the islands and featuring cameras at the most popular tourist spots on the islands. CLICK HERE for the website.
How many islands to visit?
The Azores consist of nine charming islands, with São Miguel, Terceira, and Pico being the most recognizable. For an exceptional experience, we warmly recommend exploring multiple islands, ensuring you allocate enough time for each destination to truly enjoy unique experiences.
The number of islands you visit depends primarily on the time you have available. It’s essential to know that some islands require more time for comprehensive exploration than others. In our case, we had 17 days to travel around the Azores, allowing us to visit five islands. For example, we spent 6 days on Sao Miguel, 4 days on Pico, 2 days on Faial, 2 days on São Jorge, and 3 days on Terceira. This time distribution enabled us to experience each island fully and delve into the unique features of each.
Travelling to the Azores is an unforgettable experience that will linger in your heart long after returning home. With excellent weather, breathtaking nature, and friendly people, you’ll discover the beauty of nature and experience genuine Portuguese hospitality on these islands. Following these tips will ensure your journey to the Azores is filled with exploration, relaxation, and unforgettable moments.