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The archipelago of the Azores is an autonomous region of Portugal. This group of islands of the Atlantic Ocean is an ultra peripheral area of the European Union.

Latest census data reports just over a quarter of a million residents live on these islands but with a diaspora of more than two million living overseas, primarily in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and mainland Europe. In the Channel Islands they have for long formed a substantial minority so that public phoneboxes feature dialling instructions in the Azores dialect.


The Azores consist primarily of 9 main islands:


These nine volcanic islands are situated in the northern Atlantic, about 1,500 km (950 mi) from the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula and about 3,900 km (2,400 mi) from North America. Seismic activity, though rare, still occurs on occasion.


While ancient and medieval legends tell about Atlantic islands which could have been the Azores, the first known inhabitants were Portuguese, who settled in the 15th century. The Azores became an important waypoint during the Age of Discovery.


The archipelago is spread out in the area between 37° N and the parallels of latitude that pass through the Lisbon area (38° 43' / 38° 55' N), giving it generally a tepid, oceanic, subtropical climate, with mild annual oscillations. Daily maximum temperatures usually range between 15°C (59°F) and 25°C (77°F). The average annual rainfall increases from east to west, and it ranges from 700 to 1600 annual millimetres on average, reaching 6300 millimetres on Mount Pico, the highest Portuguese mountain at 2351 metres. The Azores high, an area of high atmospheric pressure, is named after the islands.

You should be warned, if what you are searching is a beach holiday with plenty of sun, the Azores are not right for you. However, if going to the beach is just one of the activities you will do, it should be just perfect. Climate in the Azores can vary during the day from bright sunny, to rainy and back to sunny.


The official language in Azores is Portuguese. On most of the nine islands, the variety of Portuguese spoken is very similar to standard European Portuguese. The primary exception is the local "Micaelense" dialect spoken by many of the inhabitants of the largest island, São Miguel, very unlike the Portuguese spoken in the mainland. Even people from mainland Portugal and the other Azorean islands find it difficult to understand "Micaelense". Otherwise, most people involved with tourism speak at least enough English to communicate with English-speaking tourists.

Get in

The Azores are part of Portugal and thereby of the European Union and Schengen Area.

By plane

The main entry point is Ponta Delgada Airport (PDL IATA)—also called João Paulo II Airport—on the island of São Miguel. However, international airports are also on Faial, Flores, Santa Maria, Terceira islands.

Free connecting flight from SATA

Anyone flying from mainland Portugal, or Funchal, are eligible for a free connecting flight to any of the islands. The free flight must be arranged at least 7 days in advance and can be booked through the SATA Air Açores website

By boat

The Azores are a common stopover for small craft crossing the Atlantic, especially when crossing from west to east. There are facilities for small craft at least in Lajes das Flores on Flores, in Horta on Faial, in Ponta Delgada on São Miguel, in Angra do Heroismo and Praia da Vitória on Terceira, and on Santa Maria (all of these ports of entry). It may be possible to join a crew for the voyage.

The Azores are also a waypoint for many cruise ships on transatlantic routes.

Get around

By plane

SATA Air Açores offers flights between each of the islands. The cost for each flight is capped at around €90 by the authorities. Flights are faster but more expensive than the ferry, and are the only way to travel between the eastern, western and central island groups during low season.

By ferry

Ferries connect each of the islands and are operated by Atlanticoline. There are several lines that operate:

Regular lines

  • Blue line - runs between Horta, Faial and Madelena, Pico
  • Green line - runs between Horta, Faial; Madelena, Pico and San Roque, Pico
  • Pink line - connects Flores and Corvo

High-season only

  • Yellow line - visits every island except Corvo
  • Purple line - runs between Sao Jorge and Terciera

Youth discount on ferries with the Interjovem Card

The Interjovem Card limits the cost of any ferry trip to €7.50 making the ferry by far the cheapest way to travel between islands. The card is available to anyone between the ages of 13-30 and costs €40. Buy it from:

  • The official app - available from the Play Store on Android
  • Azores Youth Hostels
  • Atlanticoline
  • RIAC (Integrated Network for Support to the Citizen) service points
  • Travel agencies
  • Clube Naval da Horta
  • Academic Association – University of the Azores

By hitch-hiking

Azoreans readily pick up hitch-hikers. Given the poor bus service on the islands hitch-hiking is often the easiest way to get around for those without a car.

By car

Renting a car is the easiest way to get around the islands, with companies providing cars and scooters on every island.

By bus

On most islands there are bus services, crossing the main villages. On the smaller islands, however, the buses may have only a few runs per day or none at all on certain days (Sundays, holidays).

By taxi

Taxis are centrally regulated throughout the islands so visitors pay the same rate as locals. In São Miguel (2015), it costs about 10€ between the two ends of Ponta Delgada; out of town trips are 20-30€ or 40-50€ to the farthest parts of the island.

By bicycle

Cycling around the islands is possible if you are in great shape, and don't mind a lot of hill climbing.


See the Regions section above for points of interest in each island.


São Miguel and other islands

  1. Start in São Miguel Island
  2. From Ponta Delgada (in São Miguel), fly to Faial. Do a whale watching tour.
  3. Take the boat to Pico Island. Do a whale watching tour. Climb Pico mountain if you are in good shape.
  4. Take the channel boat to São Jorge Island. Fly to Terceira Island.


Many activities and sights are accessible only through private tour companies. Half-day and all-day tours start at 50-60€ and can cost upward of 100€. The tours are generally very high quality and worth it.

You can hike on every island but it's best in Flores, Sao Jorge and Sao Miguel.

  • Whale and dolphin watching. Every town with a marina offers whale watching. They take you out on small boats and often get you within ten yards of the whale. Futurismo is a recommended provider for whale watching tours.
  • Velvet Adventure Sailing. Spend time sailing between the islands and exploring what each one has to offer. The boat moors in sheltered marinas or anchors in secluded bays.
  • Off-road mountain bike circuits
  • Moto 4 Rides
  • Bird Watching
  • Donkey Rides
  • Fishing
  • Sport Fishing
  • Ferry
  • Yachting
  • Rental Bike, riding bike is a great way to get to know the islands.
  • Guided Tours, the best way to get to know the islands is to take a guided tour.
  • Volcano Climbing at Pico island
  • Hiking



The euro (€) is the currency of the Azores. Restaurants and shops usually can't take MasterCard or Visa cards, however ATMs are widely available.


Handcraft from all the islands is very good.

The Azores is the only place in Europe that produces tea.


There is a "meat and potatoes" mentality when it comes to the cuisine and vegetables can sometimes be hard to come by.

Fresh fish and local grass-fed beef are very good. One of the main dishes is Bife à Regional, a steak with a delicious local sauce.

Sao Jorge island is famous for its cheese and must be tried. Fresh pineapple from Sao Miguel island is unbelievably good.


Sagres and Super Bock are the best Portuguese beers you can find on the island. Especial is the local beer and it is very good.

You can also ask for local sodas "Kima" and "Laranjada".



Camp-sites are available on every island. They are typically well equipped and cheap or free. The VisitAzores website provides an up-to-date list of the available camp-sites.


There are few hostels outside of Ponta Delgada, and these become fully booked during high season so book ahead of time.


Hotels are available on every island.

Stay safe

There is very little crime in the Azores. What little crime exists is mostly drug related. There are no reports of crimes against tourists.

Go next

Flights within other islands, plus Madeira/Funchal (FNC IATA), Lisbon/Lisboa (LIS IATA), Porto/Oporto (OPO IATA).

Azores (Bradt Travel Guides)

David Sayers

Bradt's Azores guidebook is the only comprehensive guidebook to the nine-island archipelago, a nature-lovers' wilderness perched at the western extremity of Europe in the mid-Atlantic, and one of the best places in the world for whale watching. This new edition continues to provide the strong geological and botanical information that is so integral to the islands and essential for all nature lovers, but it also has an expanded focus taking in the land- and sea-based activities which have become a significant part of the Azores tourism offering in the past few years. Also included is all of the practical information needed to make the most of these new opportunities, plus a full update on the accommodation upgrades that have taken place in recent times to cater for the influx of new visitors. The Azores has strong links with the USA, with a healthy diaspora, and a shared history through emigration and whaling. An increasing number of visitors from the USA are choosing to visit. Green, and with a mild climate throughout the year thanks to the Gulf Stream, each island has its own attractions and identity. Safe and welcoming, the islands are drawing in a whole new group of visitors, mainly from Europe and the USA, attracted by the diversity of outdoor activities, easier accessibility and improvements to the visitor infrastructure. The Azores volcanic origin make for a rugged, diverse landscape, a suitable backdrop for excellent walking, mountain-biking and canyoning, while whale-watching, kayaking, windsurfing and fishing provide off-shore opportunities for independent travelers and adventurous families alike. The islands' 500 year history is well-documented in a host of museums, allowing visitors to learn about the fluctuating fortunes and strategic importance of the archipelago across the centuries. Attractive architecture, carefully preserved festivals, three islands with UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status, an interesting range of flora and many botanical gardens are all covered in this guide.

Top 10 Azores (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide)

DK Travel

True to its name, this travel guide covers all of Azores's major sights and attractions in easy-to-use top 10 lists that help you plan the vacation that's right for you.

This brand-new pocket travel guide for Azores will lead you straight to the best attractions this area has to offer, from exploring Mount Pico to a scuba and snorkeling adventure in the islands' waters.

Expert travel writers have researched and contributed to this edition of DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Azores.

   • Itineraries help you plan your trip to Azores.    • Laminated pull-out map includes color-coded design, public transportation maps, and street indexes to make it easy to use.    • Maps of walking routes show you the best ways to maximize your time.    • New Top 10 lists feature off-the-beaten-track ideas, along with standbys like the top attractions, shopping, dining options, and more.    • Additional maps marked with sights from the guidebook are shown on inside cover flaps, with selected street index and metro map.    • Fresh typography and layout throughout.

You'll still find DK's famous full-color photography and museum floor plans, along with just the right amount of coverage of history and culture. A free pull-out map is marked with sights from the guidebook and includes a street index and a metro map.

The perfect pocket-size travel companion: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Azores.

Series Overview: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Top 10 are handy travel guides that take the work out of planning a trip. Packed with amazing ideas, informative maps, insider tips, and useful advice, DK's Top 10 guides lead you to the very best your destination has to offer. The pocket size make these the perfect guide to take on vacation. Discover the history, art, architecture, and culture of your destination through Top 10 lists, from the best museums, bars, and sights to the places to avoid. Visit TravelDK.com to learn more.

Azores: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks (Rother Walking Guides - Europe) (English and German Edition)

Roman Martin

The Azores, previously known primarily in connection with weather maps, has drawn more and more visitors in recent years. Nine different islands of volcanic origin belong to this archipelago, which, politically, belongs to Portugal. Corvo, the smallest of the Azores, measures only 17 square kilometres, compared to São Miguel at 757. The island of Pico contains the highest mountain of Portugal, which bears the same name as the island and stands at 2351 m. Sheer coasts and white beaches, picturesque fishing villages, wonderful lakes, lots of wind and a rich array of flowers attract island enthusiasts with a yearning for exploration. The author, Dr. Hannelore Schmitz, has selected a variety of 40 tours for this Rother Walking Guide, spanning from the largest to the smallest of the Azores. The diverse range stretches from coastal walks with the option of bathing, to walks around Caldiera and island crossings, to an ascent of Pico. On the island of São Jorge, the Fajãs, with their fertile plains at sea level, surrounded by cliffs, are especially inviting for walking. Blessed by the climate, even tropical fruit thrives in some of these flourishing gardens. The tour recommendations of this handy walking guide, described in detail, are generously illustrated with colour photos. For easy orientation, each walk is accompanied by a map excerpt on a scale of 1:50,000. Comprehensive introductory chapters familiarise the reader with this exciting archipelago, and several tips on special features and sights complete this excellent guide, which is a must in your suitcase.

Azores: Car Tours and Walks (Sunflower Landscapes)

Andreas Stieglitz

The Azores, nine islands in the Atlantic halfway between the Old World and the New, rise above sea level from a depth of several thousand metres. They are all volcanic in origin and all are covered in this guide.Key features:30 main walks, with many variations21 picnic suggestions, ideal as very short walks1:50,000 topo maps5 car tours 3 on São Miguel and 1 each on Faial and Terceira2 fold-out touring maps showing walk locations ideal for planningplans of Ponta Delgada (São Miguel), Horta (Faial) and Angra do Heroísmo (Terceira)public transport informationonline update serviceThe Azores are not the remains of the legendary continent of Atlantis, which is said to have sunk in the ocean once upon a time. Nonetheless, there is an aura of mystery about this lush green archipelago. It is a paradise for lovers of natural landscapes.There are awe-inspiring mountains (like Pico, the highest in Portugal), peaceful valleys with exotic plants, enchanting lakes of stunning beauty amidst extinct volcanic craters, charming hill country with fields and meadows, spectacular hydrangea hedges criss-crossing the landscape, and magnificent coasts lined by picturesque villages and historical towns.The best months for walking in the Azores are May to October.This guide is part of the Landscapes Series, with 50 destinations dubbed the blue Bibles by the Sunday Times and chosen by readers of Which? as one of the four top travel guide series (from a field of 18).

Azores (English, Spanish, French, Italian and German Edition)

Freytag & Berndt

Explore Azores Islands with this Freytag&Berndt double-sided geographical and road map. The best way to plan your trip, prepare your itinerary, and to travel independently in this Portugese Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Top10 Tips: This map includes a Top10 of most interesting sights. Touristic information on the map. The legend is in English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Slovak, Hungarian, and Czech.

The Azores: The Bradt Travel Guide

David Sayers

The Azores are the Atlantic Ocean's best-kept secret. Here life is lived at a slower pace. Amid the quiet pastures and pretty fishing villages, a tranquillity reigns which belies the turbulent geological past that gave birth to this cluster of volcanic islands.

Azores: The Bradt Travel Guide allows you to get the very most from a glorious landscape. Scale the rugged sides of Pico mountain or take a gentler stroll to the mythical lakes of Sete Cidades. Walk the length of Europe's westernmost coastline on the island of Flores or dive among fabulous underwater lava formations. You cannot fail to be enchanted by these garden islands of the Atlantic.

This guide contains: information on where to stay and where to eat; clear maps and town plans; information on culture and history; scenic walks; illustrated guide to the islands' key flora; whale-watching, diving and fishing. (5 1/4 x 8 1/2, 272 pages, color photos, illustrations, maps)

Michelin Green Guide Portugal Madeira The Azores (Green Guide/Michelin)


The updated Green Guide Portugal, Madeira and The Azores opens the door to discovering the delights of this sunny country, from remote fortress villages and beautiful sandy beaches crouched below ochre cliffs, to fascinating UNESCO cities and busy island resorts. Rely on Michelin's renowned star-ratings system when deciding on where to go and what to see and do. Color photos, detailed maps and recommendations for hotels and restaurants complete the picture for a memorable visit.

Attractions reviewed and rated, using Michelin's celebrated star-rating system, from the churches, palaces and museums of the 3-star town of Evora, a fine example of Portugal's 16C golden age , to the one-star town of Beja, once a thriving Roman colony which later came under Muslim control.Walk-throughs of major museums, galleries, churches and attractions; includes floor plans to zoom in on highlights.Discover the mountainous Serra da Estrela area through one of several drives, or take in the sights of Porto while meandering through the city center, stopping to sample a traditional octopus stew or barbecued fish. Michelin walking and driving tours offer a more in-depth, personal experience of an area.Comprehensive illustrated sections on modern-day Portugal, Madeira, and the Azores: their history, politics, art and culture―all written by experts in their fields.Sidebars throughout the guide cover various topics from the 70mi Fresco Route in the Portalegre region to the exuberant Burning of the Ribbons festival in Coimbra celebrating student graduation. Detailed visitor information given for every attraction, opening hours, entry fees, tour times, phone and website. Michelin area and city maps.Includes recommendations for great places to eat and stay for every budget.

Michelin Companion Publications include:

Michelin Portugal Map 733 at a 1:400,000 scale covers Portugal and includes an index and an enlarged inset map of Lisbon. Michelin Lisbon Map 39 with a scale of 1:11,000 covers the city of Lisbon, with details on one-way streets, main car parks and public buildings.Michelin Laminated City Maps for Lisbon (scale 1:17,000) and Porto (scale 1:15,000) include subway/metro maps and selected Green Guide sights.

The MICHELIN Guide España/Portugal (Spain & Portugal) for carefully researched, objective recommendations to over 1800 restaurants and 800+ hotels. Anonymous inspectors use the famed Michelin star-rating system to create an extensive selection of great places to eat and stay for all budgets. Descriptive symbols and an English legend tell you all you need to know (minimal text is in the language of the country.) Our famous one, two and three stars identify establishments serving the highest quality cuisine – taking into account the quality of ingredients, the mastery of technique and flavors, the levels of creativity and, of course, consistency. In addition, the Bib Gourmand symbol (also known as the inspectors' favorites) highlights restaurants offering good quality at a good value.

The MICHELIN Guide Main Cities of Europe for restaurant and hotel selections in Lisbon.

Reise Know-How Azores Map - 1:70,000 (English, Spanish, French, German and Russian Edition)

Reise Know-How Verlag Peter Rump GmbH

Folded road map of the Azores archipelago off Portugal. Includes index and 10 maps. Printed on PolyArt paper (waterproof, tear-resistant, recyclable plastic material).

Azores, 5th (Bradt Travel Guide)

David Sayers

The Azores are verdant, tranquil, diverse, exquisitely beautiful and always welcoming.  These nine green islands are the embodiment of old-world charm and include an elegant capital, remote villages, glittering blue coastlines and spectacular volcanic landscapes.  This is the only guide in English that provides details of travel and activities alongside in-depth background information. This new edition features new adventure activities such and newly opened gardens. With this guide visitors can visit Europe's only tea plantations or step into the hot springs and gurgling mud pools of Furnas.

The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores

Diana Marcum

From a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer comes an exuberant memoir of personal loss and longing, and finding connection on the remote Azorean Islands of the Atlantic Ocean.

Reporter Diana Marcum is in crisis. A long-buried personal sadness is enfolding her—and her career is stalled—when she stumbles upon an unusual group of immigrants living in rural California. She follows them on their annual return to the remote Azorean Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, where bulls run down village streets, volcanoes are active, and the people celebrate festas to ease their saudade, a longing so deep that the Portuguese word for it can’t be fully translated.

Years later, California is in a terrible drought, the wildfires seem to never end, and Diana finds herself still dreaming of those islands and the chuva—a rain so soft you don’t notice when it begins or ends.

With her troublesome Labrador retriever, Murphy, in tow, Diana returns to the islands of her dreams only to discover that there are still things she longs for—and one of them may be a most unexpected love.

An Amazon Charts Most Read book.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.


The crime rate is low in the Azores and petty crime such as theft and pickpocketing is uncommon.

In some areas, streets may be poorly lit and deserted at night. Be vigilant and avoid walking alone after dark.

Beaches and water activities

While beaches are generally considered safe, do not leave your personal belongings unattended.

During the summer months, deaths by drowning have occurred on beaches and in swimming pools. Take warning flags on beaches seriously. The Maritime Police have the authority to fine bathers who disobey the lifeguard’s warning flags. Don’t swim at beaches that link to/from rivers, as the water currents can be very strong. Don’t dive into unknown water as hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death.

In the fall and winter months, be cautious when walking along beaches close to the water’s edge as waves can be very unpredictable in size and come onto shore further than expected with strong undertows. Do not visit beaches or coastal areas during periods of severe weather warnings.  Exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Look out for signs warning of cliff erosion. Falling rocks are a hazard and the authorities can fine those who ignore warning signs.

In marine areas, coral, jellyfish and other ocean life found along reefs can poison, sting, or cause infection if touched or stepped on. Ask local authorities about the presence of such species and whether they are dangerous.


Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.


Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.


Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
  • Vaccination is not recommended.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects and Illness

In some areas in Western Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.



There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Canada and Portugal are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Portugal to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Portuguese authorities.

Driving laws

An International Driving Permit is recommended.


Severe windstorms occasionally occur. Severe rainstorms occur and can cause flooding and landslides, resulting in damage to infrastructure, and hampering the provision of essential services. For up-to-date information on the situation, visit the Portuguese Civil Protection Agency website.

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