Introducing the Azores Islands

A once forgotten archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a destination for outdoor adventures and superlative nature.

From April 26th, Portugal’s Azores islands are only a direct flight away from Prague.

Every island is unique – vineyards, lava tubes, crater lakes, beaches, surf, culture, cuisine, landscapes and more.

This introductory guide should give you a feel for the Azores. We’ll happily discuss your specific interests individually.

Overview of the Azores Islands

Nature dominates the Azores. These are wild islands in the middle of the Atlantic, created by volcanoes and defined by roaring waves.

It’s rare to find such an adventurous destination connected by direct flights. Smartwings are flying on Tuesdays and Fridays, starting April 26th and continuing until early November.

We recommend at least one week. It’s around five hours by plane and travelling around the archipelago requires some time and patience.

Spectacular coastlines dominate the Azores, but this isn’t a beach destination

The Azores are beautiful islands, but they’re not for a beach holiday, nor will you find a good selection of luxury hotels. Luxury here is found in nature.

Welcome to a destination for people wanting to explore some of the last truly untouched nature in Europe.

Any new flight roster can quickly change a place. We are seeing this happen in Madeira, another great Portuguese island, which is in danger of becoming a mass destination.

The Azores are still one of Europe’s best under the radar destinations. For one or two summers you have the opportunity to discover them, before the crowds arrive.

Experiences to discover on the Azores

Getting around these islands is not straightforward. But don’t concern yourself with that. We know the logistics and will advise you personally.

Think first about the experiences on offer and what you want to do.

1. Whale watching. These islands are one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries, a place to see up to 20 different species of whale, both migratory and resident. And you can swim with wild dolphins too. A private whale watching adventure is the signature experience on any Azores holiday.

2. Hiking is the other essential thing to do in the Azores. There are dozens of great hikes, for all interests and abilities, all across different islands. The Ten Volcano Trail goes 21 kilometres around Faial, from the island’s peak to sea level. It’s just one example. If you enjoy hiking go to the Azores. If you don’t like hiking, we’d usually suggest a holiday elsewhere.

3. Exploring volcanoes. These islands are volcanoes and Pico is the most impressive example. It’s over 2000 metres high (Portugal’s highest mountain), complete with enormous lava tubes, vineyards, hiking trails and endless views. Pico looks as much like Middle Earth as New Zealand.

4. Just over 400 residents keep alive their language and culture on Corvo island. It’s a community with Europe’s best preserved pre-medieval culture and traditions, complete with juniper latches instead of door handles. Close to Flores, it’s a day trip destination that’s also great for birdwatching and hiking.

5. Gin tasting may seem unexpected. These are, after all, islands of volcanic vineyards and a long history of distilleries. With the smell of juniper in the air, gin tasting in Sao Miguel is a taste of the islands’ contemporary side. Set in a spectacular natural location, as everything always is here.

6. Surfing, mountain biking and canoeing, on the same day. It’s possible on Sao Jorge, the most dramatic of all the islands. Terceira is another good island for surf, where the waves are combined with vineyards, fishing villages, hydrangeas in the forest and lava tubes covered in stalactites. Just note, surfing in Azores is for intermediate and advanced levels only.

7. Canyoning is a little like spending two hours in a highly adrenalin-fuelled waterpark. Except you’re out in untouched nature. Rappelling down waterfalls, cliff jumping into lakes, swooshing down natural water slides. You follow a river, through a canyon, from on high to down below. Is this canyoning adventure something for you?

8. Exploring the best of Sao Miguel is almost certain to be part of your holiday. It’s the largest island and your point of arrival to the Azores. Sete Cidades is the most famous attraction, two crater lakes that are now well known on Instagram. We like the hot springs of Furnas, where you can enjoy the spa and eat food cooked on underground thermals. Also on Sao Miguel are Europe’s only commercial tea plantations.

Where to Stay & How to Get Around

Remember, the Azores are all about exploring dramatic nature. It’s an undeveloped destination where you shouldn’t expect a high level of luxury accommodation.

Similar to planning trips to the Faroe Islands, we ensure you’re as comfortable as possible, at the best properties available, and make the islands your private adventure playground.

After flying to Ponta Delgado we recommend couples spend a few nights at White, the archipelago’s best property. It’s an adult-only property with nine suites and one villa, in a sublime coastal location.

White Exclusive Suites & Villas, Sao Miguel

Octant Hotels Furnas is another option on Sao Miguel island, a modern property amid the natural hot springs and thermals of Furnas. It’s not five-star, but it’s decent and there isn’t really a five-star option in the Azores.

Travel between islands on local flights, or with private yacht charters. Private jet charters can also make sense for some itineraries. It’s 1h20 flight between Sao Miguel to the east and Flores, the westernmost island.

Across the other islands we know some small, boutique accommodations. For example, a modern private villa at Pocinho Bay on the island of Pico.

Planning your Azores Holiday

Is this your idea of a holiday destination?

The Azores presents endless opportunities for travellers who like nature and outdoor exploration. It’s amazing that such a destination is now so accessible.

We prefer travel between June and September, as you will enjoy warmer and drier days. Plus, it’s a destination that doesn’t become overrun during the peak July and August months.

Creating a trip really depends on what you want to do and where you want to go. Surf, hike, spa, drink, look for whales or stand on a cliff a kilometre above the ocean?

We’ll admit, in this vast archipelago there’s still plenty we don’t know. There’s still a lot that only the locals know. That’s why we have a trusted local partner to help us create your holiday.

Has the Azores piqued your curiosity and interest? Let’s discuss how this newly connected destination could be your next holiday.

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