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Visit the Azores: the essential to know before leaving

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Pau Monfort
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Do you want to go to the sea and the mountains? Are you in love with small villages with the air of yesteryear, but also large cities with incredible architecture? Do you want a calm and restful stay or do you prefer to party until the end of the night? So visit Portugal differently by visiting the Azores archipelago!



Why travel to the Azores?

Right in the middle of the Atlantic, the Azores archipelago enjoys an oceanic climate, resulting in mild temperatures. The sea can reach up to 23 ° and never drops below 16 °. On the Azores archipelago, you feel like you are experiencing all four seasons in just one day. It is an unpredictable climate which means that the days can be very sunny, like very rainy.



Whatever the weather, you can still start the ascent of the Pico. You will discover hydrangeas, camellias, azaleas, junipers, or ferns, and admire the tea plantation in Sao Miguel. On the coast, in the midst of seas, lakes or islets, Cape Verde terns and shearwater move obediently. You can come and go to Santa Maria, Flores and Corvo, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico, Faial and Terceira, these islands that make up the Azores archipelago.

Volcano Peak

What are the must-see visits to do in the Azores?

This little Portuguese paradise of nine islands, lost in the Atlantic, fascinates hikers and nature lovers. The volcanic lands of the Azores also amaze passing travelers who are enthusiastic about the natural beauties of the place. Here are some of the must see or do in the Azores.





Sail between the islands of the Azores to meet some cetaceans

Over 25 species of marine mammals are present all year round in this part of the ocean. Various whales and a few orcas settle there during the extended summer period, extending from March to May. The Azores archipelago is renowned for being one of the most important whale sanctuaries in the world. If you go on a sea trip, chances are you won't come back disappointed. Why not take advantage of this maritime getaway to swim with some dolphins ?

See sperm whales

Self-guided hike on Santa Maria Island

These are mainly the natural beauties and awesome feeling of freedom that we remember from a walk in these lands. Each island of the archipelago brings you its share of surprises and contrasts. Santa Maria offers you the opportunity to stroll smoothly or more sportily between beautiful lakes and D'impressive volcanoes. The icing on the cake, you will also be given the opportunity to splash around on the edge of one of the natural hot water pools from the botanical garden. Then why not indulge yourself in a little lazing on one of its sumptuous white sand beaches ?

Santa Maria

Try a farm adventure on Terceira Island

In authentic farmhouses completely restored, taste the culture and agricultural traditions of the place. By living this experience, among the local population, you will learn more about l'élevage, la picking and the practices of the region. These shared moments, in unspoiled nature, are a source of welcome rejuvenation. To enhance your stay, take a few steps hikes pedestrian and cyclist or move in sea ​​kayak !





Terceira (Azores)

Cycling along the lakes of Sete Cidades

This cycling mop allows the visit freely de l'île San Miguel. Formed by ancient volcanic craters, these beautiful lakes show you the way to reach some steep hills. Watchtowers flourish on the trails and make these views unforgettable. Lose yourself in the lush nature of the Azores! Enjoy a volcanic panorama simply unique!

seven cities

Sip a drink on Pico Island after climbing its volcano

Why not Gravir le volcan Ponta do Pico which culminates at 2 meters above sea level? Embark on this ascent, accessible to average athletes. Once at the top, take the time to admire the surrounding islands. To reward you for your efforts, you will find various tapas bars and restaurants in Madelena. The place is ideal to recover from your emotions and your sporting challenge while enjoying a drink and some local specialties in an enchanting setting and to music.

Madelena

Explore the lake of fire in São Miguel

On the way to an unusual place in the Azores, the lake of fire ! This site is renowned for being one of the most beautiful places on the island. Nestled in the crater of the Agua de Pau stratovolcano this fabulous lake with crystal clear waters. On its 2 km long, you will surely find the place that suits you to enjoy the spectacular view. Above all, go early! In the morning, a soft mist dances above the water point and inevitably invites you to dream.





Lagoon of Fire

When is the best time to go?

Do not expect to experience dry periods in the Azores, it rains there all year round. The archipelago enjoys a oceanic climate and temperatures can reach there 25 ° C in summer and get off around 12 ° C in winter. You can therefore easily enjoy the constant mild temperatures of the place. However, it is preferable to stay there between June and September, despite the large tourist influx.

If you are planning high altitude hikes, the off-season is for you. April and May, or September and October are to be preferred. These periods, out of season, also allow you to consider your stay at a more democratic price. You will be able to enjoy swimming, walks and natural discoveries with ease. The rainiest period, between November and February, is strongly discouraged.

PRACTICAL TIPS : Consult the climate forecast for the capital Ponta Delgada to determine when to go to the Azores.

What budget is to be expected on site?

You will easily find mid-range accommodation for two people for one person. fifty euros a night. These prices fluctuate depending on the location and the time of year. If you are staying in a tourist town in high season, this price could, unsurprisingly, more than double. By spending a hundred euros per night for two people, you will benefit from comfortable luxury accommodation.

Meals are affordable and with about twenty euros you can feast on an average restaurant. Be careful, all appetizers offered before the meal are chargeable! You might as well know it and avoid a bad surprise when you add it. Eating on the go is pleasant and costs less than 10 euros. If you choose a rental car, plan to spend 60 euros per day all inclusive. To travel to either central island, the ferry crossing will cost you just a few euros. Crossings to remote islets are more expensive, of course.

How to get to the Azores from France?

To get to the Azores archipelago, the only means of transport is by plane. Only 3 of the 9 islands have an international airport: São Miguel (Delgada airport), Terceira (Lajes airport) and Faial (Horta airport). Thanks to the airline SATA, you can benefit from tariffs including your flight and your stay in hotel. TAP Air Portugal is the other company offering regular connections to the Azores.

The flights offered are international and the transport of your luggage (up to 30 kg) does not entail any excess price. To end your trip, you will take the boat that serves each of the islands. Please note that no direct flight exists from France and that a stopover in Portugal (Lisbon or Porto) is compulsory.

Faial Island

Comment se déplacer aux Açores?

It is important to determine which islands you want to visit during your stay and how. If your choice is the central islands, choose The ferry ! Regular and inexpensive, it will get you to your destination without worry. If you prefer to travel to more remote islands, a internal theft will save you time and energy.

To travel inside the islands, choose the taxi, the rented car, the bus or againhitch-hiking. The inefficient public transport network places the use of rental car. International agencies tend to be found in São Miguel, while local ones are popping up everywhere else. Remember that, while the central islands are known to be calm, the excitement is everywhere in São Miguel, even on the roads! The bus remains a means of transport easy, affordable which claims all the same patience and organization. Note that if the network is properly developed on São Miguel, Terceira or Santa Maria, this is not necessarily the case on the other islands of the archipelago.

Taxi use is comfortable and the most used means of travel by travelers in the Azores, after the rental car. Do not hesitate to share it! Hitchhiking is common and also possible with all the necessary precautions, of course.

What to eat during a trip to the Azores?

As in Portugal, gourmets or bird appetites will find their happiness in the multitude of cod recipes. Accompanied by rice or potatoes, with or without sauce, it will awaken your taste buds.

The cabrito assado (roast kid) or the cozido à portuguesa (stew), as well as the cabbage soup (caldo verde) are delicious. When it comes to pastries, pastéis de nata (egg tarts) are eaten without hunger, like pao de lo, and pasteis de bacalhau (cod fritters). What to put full the belly!

Where to sleep, on which island to stay?

The places of accommodation will clearly depend on the trip you are planning within this archipelago and especially on the time you have available. If you want travel all over the Azores, you will inevitably have to adapt your accommodation to your places of visit. If you stay a few days on site, be content to browse a group of islands only. Stay at São Miguel (Azores) is the best alternative. On this coveted island, you will find all types of accommodation, from comfortable hotels to camping, including guesthouses. Stay at Ponta Delgada can be comfortable and interesting. Indeed, you will have the opportunity to move easily and could even try a foray on Santa Maria Island, close enough.

The central islands, quite frequented, are easily accessible between them. You will be able to find accommodation there without difficulty, according to your desires and your budget. From the whole group, Terceira (Azores) remains the island offering the most amenities. If you want visit the neighboring islands, the ideal is to stay more than 10 days and adapt your accommodation to the planned stages. For ease, prefer places suitable for welcoming visitors: Madelena in Pico, Horta in Faial, Santa Cruz in Graciosa and Velas in São Jorge.

The western islands, Flores and Corvo, the most exotic, offer less diversity of accommodation. There are also significantly fewer tourists there. A few hundred inhabitants welcome you over a few square kilometers. The accommodations are more authenticity , close to nature and plunge you into another world, lulled by pirate legends.

The crater of Corvo Island

Useful information

Here is some practical information that will be useful to you in preparing your trip:

  • Formalities: For European nationals, a valid identity card is sufficient to stay in the Azores.
  • Health : You can obtain a European health insurance card, to be requested from social security before your departure.
  • Cash : the Azores being a group of Portuguese islands, the euro is in force in the archipelago.
  • Visitor Center : The website of the tourist office will give you additional information on what to do and where to stay.

Embark on an unforgettable stay in the Azores archipelago!

Have you planned a trip to one of these Portuguese islands? Which one do you prefer? Tell us all in the comments!

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