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Azores Travel Guides

Travel bloggers share their tips for the Azores

Last year I went to the Azores for the first time. Hiking, whale watching and bathing in hot springs was on the programme. I had asked around among my blogger colleagues, which I couldn’t miss at all. And here are the tips I got.
Thank you, all bloggers for participating and all readers now have fun – a small firework of inspiration for the next trip to Sao Miguel and Co.

Anna and Vanessa from the travelogue

At what time of year were you in the Azores and on which islands were you travelling?

We were on Sao Miguel in May. As we didn’t have that much time, we preferred to visit an island first. Because you need one week to explore this beautiful island, especially without getting into stress.

What do you like most about the Azores?

The nature!!! Simply breathtakingly beautiful. Everything is so green, the hydrangeas bloom at every corner. (read more on our blog, there are also a lot of pictures of the amazing nature!)

Photo Credit: the travelogue
Photo Credit: the travelogue

What was your personal highlight on the Azores?

Definitely the viewpoint at Lagoa do Canario! An amazing view! Not for people who are afraid of heights, but everyone should have been there. A bit hidden and not so easy to find, but a walk along the lake and the viewpoint is definitely worth it.

What kind of transport did you use to get around?

By rental car. A little tip from me: do not take the smallest rental car. Sometimes it is very steep and that was sometimes very adventurous with a small Renault.

Can you especially recommend an accommodation?

We stayed the whole week at the Azorean Urban Lodge* in Ponta Delgada. A super cute little hostel with great owners. They were really helpful! Every room had its own bathroom and the rooms were super cutely furnished. There was also a pool with a great terrace. You can find pictures on the blog.

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Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to the Azores?

Bring more time and explore more islands and even a bigger rental car. Otherwise everything was great!

Tanja from Vielweib on Tour

At what time of year were you in the Azores and on which islands were you travelling?

At the end of September, just before all hotels close, we took off once more towards the sun. The weather was perfect: not too hot and not too cold or rainy. Unfortunately we only had one week for our Azores holiday, so we stayed on the main island São Miguel. That should be enough for us as a first stopover and we were not disappointed – on the contrary, our love for the Azores was awakened and the longing to come back again.

Photo Credit: Vielweib on Tour

What do you particularly like about the Azores?

Where do I start and where do I stop? The Azores are a special place. Almost at every corner new spectacular things await you. The nature is impressive. There are fantastic beaches, metre-high ferns and plants that make you think you are on holiday. On other corners, cowbells ring out that you think you’ve travelled to Switzerland. Furthermore, on the main island there are Europe’s only tea plantations, beautiful hydrangea trees, hot springs and breathtaking geysers. And all this is not discovered in a tourist frenzy, but very individually paired with a special cosiness and friendliness of the Azorians.

What was your personal highlight on the Azores?

Actually, I walked around the island all week with astonished views. Unfortunately I could not participate in the dolphin trip, because I had broken two fingers on the island and I would not have been able to hold on to the boat. I cannot decide on a highlight. The teatime with the plantation owner Cha Gorreana was not only nice, but gave me very special insights into the life of the locals. Fascinating was the bath in the hot springs of Caldeira Velha and again and again the views. Every few metres the inhabitants of São Miguel set up free picnic areas for everyone. Not only that it was meticulously clean (as everywhere on the island), here we always stopped, enjoyed the view and let the soul dangle.

Photo Credit: Vielweib on Tour

What kind of transport did you use to get around?

Renting a car is compulsory if you want to explore São Miguel. If you are good on foot, you can certainly hike everything, but you have to be very fit.

Can you especially recommend an accommodation?

We had chosen a 4 star hotel in the south, which was still open in late season and offered two single rooms. The latter is rarely the case on São Miguel. It was a classic hotel holiday, not bad, not very nice – even though bed castles are not to be found on São Miguel and our location was lonely. On my next trip, however, I would book a small monastery or an original old boarding house. There are supposed to be many of them on the island and we have been able to discover beautiful ones on the island as well.

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to the Azores?

As described I would look for another place to stay. Then of course not break your fingers, take part in the dolphin trip and definitely plan an island hopping with more time.

Michaela und Kathrin from Weltspuren

In which season were you in the Azores and on which islands were you travelling?

We were in the Azores in summer 2011, in July. We visited four of the nine islands, namely Terceira, Flores, São Miguel and Pico.

What do you particularly like about the Azores?

The islands are not crowded with tourists. The landscape is beautiful, especially I remember the rhododendron bloom on Flores. Often a great view of the sea accompanied us while hiking.

Photo Credit: Weltspuren

What was your personal highlight on the Azores?

Of the four islands we visited, I found Flores the most beautiful. The hike from Ponta Delgada to Fajã Grande was especially great there. Blooming rhododendrons and a wonderful view of the sea were our constant companions. The boat trip off the coast of Flores was also great: we saw great caves, beautiful waterfalls and bizarre rock formations.

I also really enjoyed the trip to Corvo. A pack of wild dolphins accompanied us on the crossing; the Caldeirão do Corvo, a volcanic crater with two lakes, was equally impressive.

Photo Credit: Weltspuren

What kind of transport did you use to get around?

We flew from island to island in small planes. Our holiday in the Azores was a hiking holiday, so we spent a lot of time on foot. Sometimes we took a taxi to get to the starting point of the hikes, and we would be picked up again at the end of the hike. Rarely we went by bus (especially on São Miguel). There was also a car stop.

Can you especially recommend an accommodation?

Most of the hotels were altogether ok, but nothing special. The INATEL Flores* was great, situated at the sea, with elegant and cosy interior and a very good hotel restaurant.

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to the Azores?

We spent a total of 14 days on the islands and agreed after the trip that we should have visited more islands. Some islands are very small, 1-2 days per island are enough. Although we hiked a lot, we would hike even more on a next trip.

Nicole from Unterwegs & Daheim

At what time of year were you travelling in the Azores?

I was there in early May. However, as the climate in the Azores is constant and mild all year round, the Azores are a suitable destination for a holiday all year round. I flew to Terceira – the third largest island in the Azores and from there to Sao Miguel – the most popular island in the Azores for tourists.

What do you particularly like about the Azores?

The Azores enchant with their indescribably beautiful nature and landscape. Steep rocky cliffs, underground caves, hot springs, green valleys, blue lakes and the secluded tranquillity of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean give the Azores their own charm. Those who love nature and like to hike will find a paradise in the Azores.

Photo Credit: Unterwegs & Daheim

What was your personal highlight on the Azores?

I found the Terra Nostra Park on Sao Miguel very beautiful. This landscape park is certainly one of the most beautiful in the world. A green oasis with many trees, ponds and lakes, simply beautifully laid out and great for relaxing. In Terra Nostra Park there are also hot springs where you can take a bath. There is also a hotel and a restaurant where you can enjoy the typical sulphurous cuisine. If you are on the Azores, you should definitely stop by here.

Photo Credit: Unterwegs & Daheim

What kind of transport did you use to get around?

I flew from Düsseldorf to Terceira on the maiden flight of airberlin. From Terceira with a small plane of TAP Portugal or SATA – these are local airlines with which you can fly from island to island. On the islands, we actually always travelled by minibus, as we were travelling as a small group.

Can you especially recommend an accommodation?

In Terceira we stayed at the Terceira Mar Hotel*. The 5-star hotel is situated at the foot of Monte Brasil and offers a unique view of the sea and the local mountain of Terceira.

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip?

Yes, I would definitely stay longer and take more time to enjoy nature, go hiking and whale watching – unfortunately this was not possible in only five days I spent on the two islands.

Eva from Hidden Gem

At what time of year were you in the Azores and on which islands were you travelling?

We are tied to the school holidays and so we went to the Azores in July. During the high season. Nevertheless it was surprisingly relaxed. Anyone who, like us, feels that southern Europe is basically too crowded in summer should consider the Azores so as not to have to travel halfway around the world and still find some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle.

We spent 9 days on São Miguel. A good time frame for numerous discoveries but also 1-2 lazy beach days.

What do you particularly like about the Azores?

I only know São Miguel. But the fact is, this island in the Azores has already struck me right in the heart.

I had only vague ideas about what would await me there. Among the Portuguese, the islands are even frowned upon as rather boring, and have otherwise been increasingly visited by itinerant people and self-appointed marine biologists.

I am nothing of the sort and I was blown away. The nature is impressive and so green – a mixture of Ireland, New Zealand and Hawaii. There are cliffs, azure crater lakes, hot springs, black lava beaches, the perfect surf wave, rock pools, ideal diving and whale watching conditions, whole avenues of hydrangea bushes with flowers the size of football and in the island capital Ponta Delgada, probably the best vegetarian restaurant in Portugal. Mhm!

What was your personal highlight on the Azores?

For me, Sao Miguel was an overall experience I hadn’t expected and I was very enthusiastic about it. There was absolutely nothing for me to complain about. The island itself was one of the highlights.

Photo Credit: Hidden Gem

What kind of transport did you use to get around?

We had a rental car and that is clearly my recommendation. There are regular buses on the island, which are quite cheap. However, I didn’t understand the system very well and because of its lack of relevance for us.

More remote places, beaches and destinations in the interior of the island are difficult or impossible to reach by bus.

Can you especially recommend an accommodation?

Definitely. We stayed at what was then a brand-new bangin’ Eco Beach resort. At the best beach on the island. It was perfect, but despite the opening offer no bargain.

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to the Azores?

Don’t forget to visit some of the other islands and adjust your travel time to the whale season. I would like to see some of the marine mammals.

Thanks to all bloggers for participating and for the many tips and recommendations!

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Cover picture: the travelogue

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