The Azores Islands are a stunning Portuguese archipelago that invites travelers to bask in the sunshine, cross volcanic landscapes, and enjoy the following essential experiences during a vacation.
From embracing the pulsating energy of São Miguel Island’s humming towns to admiring the marine life swimming the azure seas from lofty viewpoints, wading in the balmy waters of geothermal lakes, and more, the unforgettable experiences are endless on the Azores Islands.
In this essential guide to the Azores Islands, we share everything you need to know about the islands and more to give you an idea of what to expect when you visit the coastlines of the Azores.
Often the first essential experience to enjoy in São Miguel Island. Sete Cidades will sweep you away as you stroll the hydrangea-hugged pathways that weave across the fringe of the Caldeira Sete Cidades crater. The colorful topaz and emerald hues of the twin lakes can be absorbed from these heights along the crater’s edge before you slowly descend through the sweeping natural paradise to the breathtaking bay of Lagoa Azul. Here, you may spend some time soaking in the sea and grabbing a refreshing drink to celebrate your exquisite hike.
Volcanic fumaroles crack the geothermal landscape of São Miguel Island and pour steam from deep within the earth’s crust over the rugged terrain. These fumaroles are not only for admiring but are the source of a unique culinary tradition practiced by locals of the Azores Islands. You will join a guide for an exciting taste of Cozido, a Portuguese mixed meat boil, cooked within the piping hot fumaroles. The stew slowly simmers in pots placed inside the volcanic ground and the result is a tender and tantalizing dish you will not find anywhere else in the world.
Hiking is a fantastic way to appreciate the stunning natural beauty of the Azores Islands as well as capture the sensational seascapes from towering vantage points. While trails climb the peaks of mountains across the Azores, Mount Pico remains one of the most challenging and rewarding treks in the archipelago. Trekking enthusiasts of all levels can swoon over gorgeous views from the edge of Pico Alto after a brisk hike up the rocky cliffs where centuries of lava flow have formed unique geological formations dotting the slopes of Pico.
The volcanic landscape that composes the majority of the Azores Islands continues to shape the environments that travelers flock to and experience the marvelous wildernesses of the Azores. Across São Miguel Island, geothermal activity bubbles and boils and has become a feature the Azores are famous for. There is no better way to experience the fascinating geothermal nature than from within the embracing waters of São Miguel’s geothermal lakes. Giant lily pads float on the tranquil oasis and birds sing from the backdrop of evergreen trees, a picture-perfect moment that you will lap up during your stay.
Whales circle many of the Azores Islands, yet São Miguel Island offers some of the best whale watching opportunities across the glassy seas of Portugal. The archipelago is an impressive and immense whale sanctuary from which visitors can frequently witness the enormous marine creatures leap from the water and crash down beneath the surface. They are typically joined by pods of dolphins racing across the shimmering sapphire sea and playing in front of observation decks overlooking the Azores. You may also capture images of the marine creatures up close during cruises out to sea.
The famous Azores Island of Terceira is home to a marvelous history dating back to 1534 that reflects in the charming Renaissance buildings that compose the seaside skyline of Angra do Heroísmo. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city retains significant cultural traditions and heritage displayed in museums, galleries, and boutique stores peppering its warm and friendly streets. Featuring a sheltered harbor, a labyrinth of alleyways, and access to an enchanting peninsula, Angra do Heroísmo is a historic jewel worth taking time to explore at a slow and comfortable pace.
The Azores Islands blend the wonders of nature with the spirit of seaside living in towns hemmed between the stretching sapphire seascapes and the rolling hills. From the history of Angra do Heroismo, Terceira Island to the scenes of Sete Cidades, São Miguel Island, Zicasso can take you to experience the essentials on our Azores Islands Vacation Packages. For insight into Portuguese travel, check out our Portugal Travel Guide. If you want to book a trip or learn more, contact a Zicasso travel specialist by completing a Trip Request or calling us on 1-888-265-9707.