The Azores Travel Guides

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The Azores

The Azores is an archipelago of nine inhabited islands in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between North America and Europe. 


The volcanic islands are roughly divided into three groups.  The Eastern Group includes Sao Miguel and Santa Maria; the Central Group includes Graciosa, Pico, Sao Jorge, Terceira and Faial, and the Western Group includes the islands of Flores and Corvo. 


The language is Portuguese and currency is the euro.  The climate is tropical and perfect for growing crops such as bananas and pineapples.


Once you are in The Azores the best way to travel between the islands is by air or ferry.  Each island has its own airport.  Bicycles and scooters are popular ways to get around (check your travel insurance regarding cover and liability issues if renting a scooter). 


Sao Miguel (also known as The Green Island) is the largest and most populated of the island chain.  It is also home to the presidency of The Azores.  The cosmopolitan capital city of Ponta Delgada is the largest city of all the islands.


The Azores is a favourite destination for snorkelling and scuba diving, having a wide array of marine life and terrain including caves and shipwrecks, and mix of sandy and rocky seabed.   Some Marine Reserves and areas are restricted, depending on the time of year.  There are some sandy beaches but this is not a typical beach resort destination. 


The Azores has plenty of fascinating marine life and is popular for whale and dolphin watching.  The islands are a popular haven for yachts and boats making Atlantic crossings, where they stop for some R&R and to refuel and restock.


Visit the island museums to learn about the fascinating history and explore the culture of the islands. A good place to start might be the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angra do Heroismo on Terceira or the ancient vineyards on PicoIsland.   Animal lovers be warned:  they have bullfighting on some of the islands, but it is different to the Spanish style and the bulls are not killed. 

Whether you desire an exciting activity holiday or time to relax, the islands have so much to offer, from fascinating hiking trails, cliffs, waterfalls, caves, volcanoes, craters and crater-lakes.  It is also a great place for bird watching, being on the migration route for both American and European species, and with many captivating native species.  Bird watching tours and guides are available. 


The islands have some breathtaking scenery with mountain peaks, rolling hills, lush greenery, and are known for beautiful and fragrant plants, flowers such as Hortensia (Hydrangea), Azaleas, Wild Ginger, Camellia and Japanese Pine.

If you are looking to enjoy some golf and relaxation, why not try a spa and enjoy the waters of the natural thermal springs. 

Other activities available on the islands include swimming, canyoning, rappelling,  big game fishing, sailing, windsurfing, paragliding, climbing, geocaching (treasure hunt using GPS), tennis, and horseback riding.

Before your trip to the Azores we recommend a visit to the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the latest travel advice as part of their ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign.  If eligible, travellers should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is valid in The Azores.  However, the EHIC should never be used as a substitute for travel insurance. 


Although the EHIC provides emergency medical care on the same terms as Portuguese nationals, it does not cover non-urgent or ongoing treatment, medical repatriation, or many other travel-related mishaps such as lost or stolen luggage.  Always check for any exclusions and that your travel insurance covers all your planned activities.


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Inclusion in this Travel Guide does not guarantee travel insurance is available in any country at any given time. Travel Insurance is not available in countries where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued an advisory against travel.

We strongly advise a visit to the FCO website for updated travel information and general travel advice before you book and pay for any travel.