Known as the Hawaii of the Mediterranean and similar in its description to destinations like New Zealand, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Azores are home to a hair-raising collection of adrenaline junkie activities and adventure sports. An excellent way to explore the islands, as well as getting all the best views, all holiday makers should consider taking part in at least one of the area’s thrills. Those who enjoy the ultimate rush will find ample opportunities to paraglide, cliff jump, skydive and bungee jump and more. Visitors with a taste for low-key thrills will discover an action-packed itinerary of surfing, horseback riding, volcano hiking and zip lining to keep their holiday exciting.
When you aren’t enjoying the adventures packed into your Azores holiday schedule, it may well be worth taking some time out to indulge in some ultimate relaxation and enjoy a quiet walk in the truly breathtaking natural landscape of this archipelago. Named as one of the most sustainable locations on the planet, with three biospheres and award-winning natural parks and marine reserves, you’ll be blown away by the Azores astounding beauty. Whether you choose to admire it all from the top of one of its many rolling hills or delve a little deeper into its fantastical cave labyrinths, there isn’t a single view here that should be missed.
An Azores holiday is ready and waiting with swathes of sparkling ocean for you to set sail on. One of the world’s top yachting and sailing destinations, you can fly in, moore up and enjoy the islands from the deck of your ship in perfect bliss. A particularly popular spot is the marina in Horta, on the island of Faial. Here you’ll be able to enjoy a little culture as the jetty is festooned with murals painted by previous crews, like a seaside gallery. And if you feel the need to leave your vessel, Peter’s Cafe Sport is always open to new and returning seamen alike as a place to mingle with other seafaring enthusiasts.
Whether you choose to spend your time on land or sea, a dip into the ocean is a must at some point during your holiday in the Azores. Not least because the waters are beautifully clear and pleasantly warm but also because of the incredible array of ocean-dwelling inhabitants you could get a glimpse of. The Azores are best known for whale and dolphin watching as the area is a halfway house for residents such as sperm whales, common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins, while other creatures of the deep, such as the famous blue whales merely pass through during their migratory journeys. Divers will also get the chance to see a myriad of underwater species from loggerhead turtles to rays.
An exciting day trip for all travellers to the area, the islet of Vila Franca do Campo can be found less than a mile from the coast of São Miguel island. Deriving its name from the town Vila Franca do Campo, which it sits opposite to, the islet is said to be the end product of an ancient underwater, volcanic eruption. The crater like appearance of the islet, with its almost unbelievably green foliage, as well as its miraculously perfect circle of a lake has made it a hotspot with nature photographers. Not alone in their enthusiasm for the small spit of land since the Red Bull Cliff Diving world championship was held here, it has also been a gathering place for worldwide water sports enthusiasts.
Like many of the fascinating features of the Azores islands, the Terra Nostra Park is an area that’s home to some natural marvels which make it a must-visit place for all. The Valley of Furnas, for example, is a year-round attraction due to its constantly pleasant temperatures which rarely drop below 15 degrees, its enthralling geological history as a dormant volcanic crater and, of course, the thermal baths.
A scenic as well as a fun destination, the Ponta da Ferraria is a natural ocean-side pool that can be enjoyed by all travelers, especially those who aren’t ready to brave the waves of the ocean. Situated between Ginetes and Mosteiros on the western tip of Sao Miguel Island, this unique spot is also fed by a hot spring which makes it a great spot for a swim year-round with an average temperature of 28 degrees. A few nips and tucks have seen the pool gain a ladder for ease of access and some large imported rocks so you can continue to enjoy this place without the fear of disappearance due to erosion.
Something a little different, the Augusto Arruda Pineapple Plantation is a unique stopover on your Azores itinerary but one which everyone, except the pineapple haters, will enjoy. São Miguel Island is famed for its pineapples and here at the plantation, you’ll be able to find out more about the surprisingly fascinating history of the fruit which spans more than 100 years. A living museum like no other, the Augusto Arruda Pineapple Plantation offers visits free of charge as well as complimentary tastings of their pineapple liqueur, which is made using a secret family recipe.
The temperatures in the Azores rarely ever drop below 14 degrees or rise above 25 degrees, the water is always warm and the sun is almost always shining. The only consideration that seafaring visitors or avid swimming should take into account is that during the winter, wave conditions can become a little bit wilder so save any boat trips for a summer trip, from June to September.
If you hold a British Citizen passport or an EU National passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Portugal and are visa exempt for 90 days. For the latest information on travel regulations, visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal/entry-requirements.
The currency in Azores is the Euro (EUR).
The main language spoken in Azores is Portuguese.