Azores Holidays 2019 / 2020
Created by volcanic eruptions, the nine islands of the Azores hold an enviable position in the Atlantic Ocean, nestled between Europe and North America. Lying 1500 km off the coast of Lisbon, these Portuguese islands are a unique holiday destination, with dramatic landscapes and stunning scenery.
Azores holidays offer something a little different; you can spend your mornings swimming in the deep blue waters off the islands’ spectacular coastlines, your afternoons hiking around the rugged landscape and reaching mountainous peaks, and your evenings experiencing the incredible Azores nightlife.
We offer a fantastic range of holidays to Sao Miguel, Azores; the biggest of the islands with everything from natural hot springs to historic 16th century forts. Our cheap holidays to the Azores are ideal for that extra special getaway, transporting you to a truly exclusive destination for amazingly affordable fares.
People also ask
Can you fly direct to the Azores?
Many flights from the UK to the islands of the Azores will connect in mainland Europe; often in Portugal. However, Ryanair do offer a direct flight from Manchester Airport to Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel island.
Is English widely spoken in the Azores?
The official language of the Azores is Portuguese. However, many Azoreans will speak some English. In tourism hotspots, especially in hotels and restaurants, you should have no problem communicating.
Do you tip in the Azores?
Tipping customs in the Azores are similar to those in mainland Portugal. A 5 - 10% tip is typically left in restaurants, although this is optional; tipping is usually reserved only for good or exceptional service.
Can you drink the tap water?
Tap water is safe to drink in the Azores, and can be used to fill reusable bottles. However, you will find that bottled water is offered as standard in restaurants. If you prefer, you may request tap water.
As this is a collection of 9 islands, there’s certainly no shortage of beaches on an Azores holiday! No matter what island you choose to visit, you’ll find the Azores beaches to be absolutely spectacular.
- The best beaches on Sao Miguel are definitely Praia Populo, Praia Água d’Alto, and Praia Ribeira Quente which all offer super soft, volcanic sands. Praia Porto Formoso, the longest white sand beach in the Azores, is also not to be missed, and features an impressive, rugged cliff face looming high above.
- If you’re fascinated by the black volcanic sands that can be found across the Azores, be sure to visit the island of Faial, home to the longest black sand beach found on this group of islands. Praia do Norte stretches from Cedros to Capelo, and is close to the beautiful, exciting city of Horta.
- On Santa Maria island, you’ll find more white sand beaches than you will on any of the other islands, such as Praia Formosa and Praia São Lourenço. The latter is especially stunning, with terraced vineyards and its very own nature reserve, where you can see all sorts of wildlife endemic to the Azores.
- On all of the islands of the Azores, you’ll find pebble beaches dotted up and down the coastline, so there’s never a shortage of beautiful, calm, natural places to sit back, relax and enjoy a picnic. Some of the more secluded beaches are typically less busy; ideal if you prefer a quieter environment.
Nightlife in the Azores is mainly clustered on Sao Miguel island, particularly in the capital city of Ponta Delgada, which sees the greatest number of visitors as the most popular arrival and departure port.
- The Lava Jazz bar is a place to ‘taste and chill’ and has earned a solid reputation as the live music hotspot of Ponta Delgada. The bar has a number of house artists who come to entertain the crowds, and there’s a great menu of tasty bar snacks that you can enjoy with your beer, wine, cocktails or liqueurs.
- The Acro 8 Art Gallery & Bar in Ponta Delgada has an epic timetable of various performances, including live music, theatre, and art exhibitions. If you’re keen to visit this iconic nightlife hub in Sao Miguel, it’s worth checking what’s on each night so that you don’t miss out on something really special.
- Ponta Delgada boasts a number of nightclubs, so you can dance the night away in this beautiful holiday destination. Many of the clubs stay open until the early hours of the morning, and become increasingly popular when the bars and traditional Portuguese tavernas start to close for the night.
Azores for couples
Couples will have plenty to do on their holiday to the Azores. Whether you want to relax on one of the many sandy beaches, sip cocktails all day long, or are looking for adventure, you’ll find it in the Azores.
- Enjoy a romantic dinner in one of the many quaint and rustic traditional Portuguese restaurants, which are scattered all across the islands. Be sure to sample the delicious locally-produced wines (the Azores grows 15 red and 18 white grape varieties), and the Portuguese favourite, Vinho Verde.
- Get away from the crowds and head to one of the Azores pebble beaches. While not quite as luxurious underfoot, these beaches are typically quieter, offering a more secluded, intimate experience, and they’re ideally suited to romantic seaside picnics – perfect for sampling the local Azorean cheeses, like Sao Jorge.
- Make the most of the beautiful, romantic environment that surrounds you in the Azores. With a warm Subtropical/Mediterranean climate (even mid-winter lows still hover around a comfortable 12 degrees) this is the perfect place to sit out in the evenings, watching the sunsets and gazing across the ocean.
Things to do in the Azores
With most of the 250,000-strong Azorean population living in the Sao Miguel capital of Ponta Delgada, this authentically Portuguese city, located close to the island’s airport, has plenty to offer visitors.
- One of the best things to do in the Azores is simply to take a look at the incredible nature that’s all around you. Dolphins and whales flock here, and there are many options for taking diving tours off the coast, or even shark adventures for those travellers looking for something more adrenaline-pumping!
- Sightseeing is popular in the Azores, and there are many amazing places to see on Sao Miguel island, such as the natural hot springs in Furnas, the unbelievable rich blue waters of the Lagoa do Fogo crater lake, and the rugged valleys of Nordeste. You could even plan a visit to the Gorreana tea factory.
- Island hopping in the Azores is also a hugely popular activity. While Sao Miguel is a great destination, each of the islands has its own distinct character and culture, with a huge variety of different attractions. If you only have time to see one other island, Terceira is a firm favourite of travellers to the Azores.
Isolated from the European mainland, much of the food consumed in the Azores is produced locally, making Azorean cuisine familiar, and yet remarkably different to the typical dishes found in Portugal.
- Many restaurants in the Azores offer mouthwatering fresh seafood, caught locally off the coast. Delicious and highly rated seafood restaurants are scattered across the islands, although the majority can be found on the island of Sao Miguel, particularly in the bustling, energetic capital of Ponta Delgada in the south.
- Must-have menu items at restaurants in the Azores include local Azorean wines and cheeses, freshly caught fish, grass-reared animals… and tea! The Azores is the only tea-producing region in Europe, benefitting from a prime position in the Atlantic, which experiences high enough temperatures to grow tea.
- Along with local produce, many restaurants in the Azores offer traditional Portuguese foods. It’s not unusual to find restaurants serving up classic soups and stews bursting with Mediterranean influences, such as piri piri seasonings, garlic, and bay leaf.
Azores family holidays
Azores family holidays are very much centred around the numerous outdoor activities on offer throughout these 9 fantastic, isolated volcanic islands.
- For families that enjoy a good walk, there are plenty of family-friendly hiking trails to enjoy. Why not take a walk around the Caldeira Seca or the Caldeira do Alferes? Both offer stunning views, and form part of the Sete Cidades Massif; a huge volcanic mass with cones, craters, lakes, and incredible lava domes.
- If your little ones love to play in the sand, there are countless beaches across the Azores, some with golden sands, and others with black volcanic sands that will add to the excitement. These beaches are perfect for soaking up the Portuguese sunshine, and there’s lots of watersports activities here, too.
- Whale watching tours can be organised in the Azores, and make a thrilling adventure for all the family. Getting up close and personal with the world’s largest mammals is a truly awe inspiring experience, which you and your family are sure to remember forever.
The Azores culture is truly unique, influenced by Portuguese ruling and proximity to southern Europe, yet completely independent in terms of its own history. It’s a rich, fascinating culture waiting to be explored.
- The islands of the Azores are primarily Roman Catholic, and religion plays a big part in the nation’s culture. There are many religious festivals held throughout the year, including the Holy Ghost Festival, and the Santa Maria Festival. Expect lots of music, dancing, feasting, and celebrations in the Azores.
- There are many museums across the islands of the Azores which give a glimpse into local history and culture. The Carnival Museum on Graciosa island is well worth a visit if you’re island hopping, while on Sao Miguel, the Carlos Machado Museum showcases the very best of Azorean natural history.
- If you’re interested in a bit of Azores history, you can find out more about the farming colonists who settled on the islands from Portugal and transformed the region into a rich agricultural area. Today, agriculture forms a big part of the local economy, with major exports that include oranges and wheat.