Flights to Azores
The Azores is an autonomous region of Portugal comprising an archipelago of nine volcanic mountains. The islands are grouped into three regions – Western (Flores and Corvo), Central (Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial), and Eastern (São Miguel and, Santa Maria). The largest municipality is Ponta Delgada on the largest island, São Miguel. The island of Pico is home to Mount Pico, the highest point in Portugal, which measures 7,731 feet high.
Agriculture and fishing have been the primary industries of the Azores, but tourism is growing as travelers increasingly discover its stunning natural beauty. In addition to dramatic cliffs, lakes, and hot springs, the mild, wet climate contributes to a lush green landscape thick with hedgerows of flowering blue Hydrangea bushes.
Because the remote islands were settled sporadically over the years, the cuisine, culture, and traditions are varied. But its religion is primarily Roman Catholic and the most important events are the festivals of the Holy Spirit that take place between May and September, featuring religious processions and rituals. The Azores also celebrate Carnaval with music, costumes, masks, and floats, as well as bullfights and the running of the bulls in the streets.
João Paulo II Airport (PDL) is an international airport on the island of São Miguel that opened in 1995. It services flights to all the islands in the Azores, Portugal, Europe and North America. Delta Air Lines is the only U.S. airline that serves the Azores.
- Taxi service is available at arrivals
- Private car service can be arranged. Providers include Ponta Delgada Taxi or Brasil & Silva Ida. – Virver – Viagens e Descobertas in advance
- Rental cars are available, but they do not operate at the airport. Visitors must take a taxi or car service from the airport to the rental car agency
The Azores is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. The landscape is so phenomenal, all of the activities are designed to immerse you in nature so you can steep in the beauty.
Hiking and mountain biking are popular activities, thanks to excellent trails systems on each island that traverse uplands, coastlands, and everything in between. Bring your own bike or rent one from a vendor.
Because of its position in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Azores are internationally recognized for its bird watching. If you’re lucky, you may spot the rare Azore bullfinch or Monteiro’s storm petrel. Tour operators include Gerby Birding and Endemic Azores.
One of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries is located in the waters of the Azores. More than 20 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises live and breed there. Several tour operators are available to take you out on a whale seeking expedition, including Aguitar, Cetacean Watching, and Ocean Emotion.
Go diving in the Azores and swim with whale sharks, devil rays, and five kinds of sea turtles. The best time for diving is June through September. Book a tour with one of several dive centers, including Dive Azores, Diving Graciosa – Nautigraciosa, and Flores Dive Center.
Azor is a waterfront hotel that opened in São Miguel in 2016. The bold, contemporary design features lots of blond wood, big windows and white linens for a clean, minimalist look that accentuates the water views. Rumor has it, guests can sometimes spot sperm whales from the rooftop bar.
White Villas & Suites, also in São Miguel, is a nine-room, waterfront retreat with an open-air restaurant and a wellness practitioner who offers yoga classes, underwater meditation, massage, and Watsu aquatic bodywork.
For a unique experience, stay at Pousada Forte da Horta, a 16th century fortification on the island of Faial. The rooms are fairly basic, but the waterfront grounds are lovely, and there is a swimming pool and restaurant on site
The Azores may be made up of islands, but it is not a sunny, tropical paradise. The climate is subtropical oceanic, which means it is very mild, windy and often rainy, especially in the northwestern islands. Average temperatures range from the low 50s to the mid 60s during winter months, and from the low 60s to high 70s in the summer. Skies tend to be cloudy from October through April. Rainfall averages 37.4 inches a year in São Miguel and 56.7 in Flores. Mount Pico often has snow on its slopes in winter and spring.