things to do in the Azores

The Azores islands are an adventure lovers’ paradise situated out in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean.

This nine-island archipelago is a popular place for whale and dolphin watching, as well as outdoor sports, including surfing, climbing and hiking.

The islands boast incredible natural sites, from cascading waterfalls to incredible wildlife watching, multiple natural pools formed from the previous volcanic activities of the island, spectacular hikes leading to sweeping views of calderas and lakes, and so much more.

Though Portuguese in language and culture, each island has its own unique charm and character that is a world away from mainland Europe.

Ready to discover the beauty of the wild Atlantic islands on a trip to The Azores? Let’s take a journey and get inspired by all there is to see and experience with 75 fun things to do in the Azores.

SÃO MIGUEL ISLAND

Considered to be the Azores’ largest island, take a trip to São Miguel Island, and its capital Ponta Delgada.

Bask in the beauty of the crater lakes of Sete Cidades Lagoon, or unwind perfectly in one of the many thermal springs such as Ponta da Ferraria.

1 – Gaze at the beauty of Sete Cidades Lagoon

Sete Cidades, Azores

The Sete Cidades Lagoon is known to be one of the 7 Natural Wonders due to it being formed on a crater of an inactive volcano.

There are two, green/blue-tinged lakes, said to be colors based on high algae concentration, connected via a narrow straight, and visitors can walk across the man-made bridge to appreciate the incredible sight.

For incredible viewpoints check out Boca do Inferno for crater lake views, Cerrado das Freiras for a side-to-side comparison of each lake size, and Vista do Rei for panoramic views of Sete Cidades Lagoon.

Whether you hike up to the viewpoints, take an exhilarating jeep, quad, buggy or bike tour, or make a splash kayaking, rest assured there are countless ways to experience and enjoy this marvelous natural beauty.

2 – Have lunch and unwind at Terra Nostra Park

Terra Nostra Park, Azores

Uniquely beautiful is Terra Nostra Park, granting visitors therapeutic thermal springs and a 200-year-old garden in the village of Furnas.

Enjoy a stroll through the massive garden, showcasing some of the local flora of the island, and varieties of other plants from other parts of the world. Everything from camellias, azaleas, ferns, and other plants with dozens of species reside within the garden.

Make your way to the mineral-rich, 35-40°C, golden-tinged waters, and relax and unwind for a bit. Make sure to bring a swimsuit and towel that you don’t mind potentially ruining due to the contents of the water.

Make sure to have lunch at the grand Terra Nostra Garden Hotel & Restaurant potentially before entering the park. If you have lunch with them, the entrance to the park is free.

3 – Get the experience of a lifetime whale watching

whale watching in Azores

Whale watching on São Miguel Island should make its way to your list of things to do in the Azores for the incredible memories of seeing whales and even dolphins in their natural habitats.

It’s said that the best two seasons to go whale watching in the Azores are April to August to watch the blue whales, fin whales, and sei whales. October is also a good month for humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins.

Book a whale watching tour, and learn from marine biologists sharing fascinating information regarding the different water species that you’ll be seeing, as well as safety and precautions to take.

Various tours depart from different points on the island, including Ponta Delgada, and Vila Franca do Campo, each offering different boats to travel on, safety jackets, and other protective clothing.

4 – Spend a day exploring Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park

Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park, Azores

Visit the stunning Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park, and bask in the greenery galore throughout its protected land environment from hydrangea flowers, and ferns of all different species, to cascading waterfalls and gentle brooks.

Dating back to the 16th century, this park located on the northeastern part of São Miguel Island also boasts watermills, fountains, an abundance of hiking trails, and even a few picnic areas.

Canyoning is a major activity to do at the park, as well as gently going down a beautiful waterfall with rappels and small jumps and landing in a natural pool.

The places where these activities take place do not have deep waters, therefore you don’t need to be a perfect swimmer to participate.

The entrance and parking to the park are free.

5 – Climb up the steps of the Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz

Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz, Azores

Located in the southern region of the island is the Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz – a stunning white chapel, situated on the top of a hill, adorned by a set of white and blue mosaic steps leading to the top.

Visit the lovely chapel, get incredible views of Vila Franca do Campo, and get unmatched sunset views if you visit during the winter months. Enjoy a peaceful and almost secluded experience at the white chapel if you visit in the early morning or evening.

Built in 1764, the legend behind the chapel says that an image of the Virgin Mary was found consistently on the hill, and every time it was removed to be taken to the priest, it would reappear in the same spot. Thus, the chapel was built.

6 – Explore Ponta Delgada on a walking tour

Ponta Delgada, Azores

Consider a locally crafted city tour of the historic Ponta Delgada, where history co-exists beautifully with the modern sophisticated lifestyle of the city.

Walk past iconic city monuments such as the Town Gates, 18th-century 3-arched city gates situated in Praça de Gonçalo, Forte de São Brás, a beautiful fortress on the coast, boasting Renaissance design from 1552, and the São Sebastião Church, the 17th-century Baroque church which survived a devastating earthquake in 1755.

Step inside the beautiful Teatro Micaelense opened in 1951 which quickly became a center for culture, theater, and art on the island.

Enjoy a local guide on a city tour, who will share all the important facts and must-know places, and consider a food tour if you’d like to take on the city’s history via its food scene.

7 – Take a dip in the thermal spring in the ocean at Ponta da Ferraria

Ponta da Ferraria, Azores

Enjoy the Termas da Ferraria, the natural thermal pools in Ponta da Ferraria, offering a unique thermal spring situated directly on the sea, on the west coast of the island.

Ranging hot water temperatures between 30ºC and 50ºC, mixed in with the cooled water from the ocean makes the Termas da Ferraria hot springs experience, tolerable for those with temperature sensitivity, and exquisitely relaxing.

Make sure to visit during a low tide, as the tide levels will influence the temperature of the thermal springs. The tides can be tracked by checking the local weather.

The beach is known to have more than a few pointy rocks so bring good shoes. Whether you can or can’t swim, the thermal springs have different depths and various ropes and ladders to safely enjoy the water.

8 – Take a hike in Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake)

Lagoa do Fogo, Azores

Lagoa do Fogo also known as Fire Lake, is a crater lake situated amongst a volcanic interconnected system in Água de Pau Massif.

Check out the sweeping views from the multiple viewpoints such as Miradouro da Barrosa and Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo to get all-encompassing views of the lake.

Hike the various paths, ranging from easy to challenging. The easy hike is around 40 kilometers (1-2 hours long), and the challenging hike is a circular 11-kilometer hike (approximately 4 hours long). Join a quad bike tour, if you prefer a dose of fun adrenaline.

Visit the Caldeira Velha Natural Monument, officially marking the Lagoa do Fogo as a natural monument. Enter the building, learn about the natural heritage of the area, and admire the architecture of the building blending beautifully with its surroundings.

9 – Feel the breeze of the waterfalls

best waterfalls in São Miguel Island, Azores

The waterfalls in São Miguel Island are some of the most stunning, abundant, and accessible ones to enjoy.

Check out Salto do Cabrito inside of Ribeira Grande, where visitors are able to breathe in the misty cascading falls, and also enjoy canyoning at this waterfall.

Salto do Prego located in Faial da Terra, boasts an incredible natural shower surrounded by lush and thick forest. It takes around 2 hours to reach the site which goes parallel to a river and has easy-to-read signs throughout the hike.

Visit Salto da Farinha Waterfall in Salga, Achadinha, considered to be one of the island’s tallest waterfalls, reaching up to 40 meters high.

Poço Azul waterfalls are notable for their exquisitely blue natural pools that form at the bottom of the waterfall, perfect for swimming.

10 – Enjoy hot springs and beyond in Furnas Valley

Furnas Valley, Azores

Located on the eastern side of São Miguel Island is Furnas Valley, known for the beautiful Furnas Lake situated in a volcano crater, and the marvelous hike around it.

Check out the church Nossa Senhora das Vitórias sitting on the coast of the west shore, and visit Furnas Research Center to educate yourself on the natural impacts of the volcanic influences.

Enjoy a relaxing moment at Poça da Dona Beija hot springs, and visit the spa offering visitors access to the iron-rich thermal springs treatments.

Enjoy the local delicacy called Cozido das Furnas. A dish that is cooked underground for 6 hours via the steam holes, and available at local restaurants.

Pico do Ferro viewpoint offers wide views of Furnas lake, village, hot springs, and crater, where you can enjoy the volcanic influences from above.

11 – Enjoy your days at the best beaches on the island

best beaches in São Miguel, Azores

Mosteiros Beach is known for its dark sands, influenced by the volcanic history, and boasts beautiful natural pools, and jagged rocky sights. It is a spectacular site to catch a golden hour or surf during the day.

Visit Moinhos Beach for a beautiful coastline view, soft sand, and all the facilities you’d need at a beach from lifeguards to changing rooms. Perfect for families enjoying a day out.

Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara is a surfer and bodyboarder’s heaven and the perfect place to catch some lessons. Situated along the north coast, close to surfing towns.

Agua D’Alto Beach is one of the bigger beaches, attracting locals and visitors. Enjoy the powder-soft sand, crystal blue waters, and a plethora of water activities and tours that visitors can book.

Praia do Fogo is a small beach located in a bay with extraordinary natural beauty and surrounded by tall tree mountains.

12 – Visit the tea plantations in the European tea capital

tea plantations in São Miguel, Azores

Since the late 1800s, tea production accidentally began and luckily exploded the island’s tea economy after an unfortunate bug plagued the orange groves, the main source of money for the island.

Today, visitors can see a few of the tea plantations, the only ones in Europe, and learn more about the fascinating history.

Porto Formoso Tea Factory opened its doors in 2001, welcoming visitors to try the local gold and tour the plantation to learn about the tea-making process and the important history behind the leaves.

Gorreana Tea Factory is one of the only tea plantations that survived eras of wars and customs laws making it difficult to ship tea leaves. Here, it’s said that Jacinto Leite was said to be the first person to plant tea leaves from seeds brought from Rio de Janeiro.

13 – Explore under the sea on a scuba diving expedition

scuba diving in Ponta Delgada, Azores

Enjoy scuba diving in the refreshing waters of the Azores. Visit specific spots known for the incredible marine life diversity, from different fish species, plants, and the Dori Wreck, an almost intact American World War ll ship.

Book a tour easily that will pick you up from your hotel, and provide all the safety gear and guidance on how to have the most memorable, safe, and exhilarating scuba diving experience.

Many of the scuba diving tours depart from Ponta Delgada, making it super accessible for visitors, and many tours start around $50 USD.

Most scuba diving excursions happen during the months of June-October, however, the months of September-May also offer scuba diving experiences, just a bit less than in the other months.

Enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean on the boat ride to the diving site.

14 – Try unique pineapple variations at the pineapple plantations

Pineapple Plantations in São Miguel, Azores

Dating back to the late 1800s, after the plague that took the orange plants, Augusto Arruda was the person who decided to grow pineapples on the island after the first few shipments of the fruit from Brazil.

Today, the rest is history, and interestingly enough the pineapples grown on the island are grown in greenhouses, which can be admired and learned about by visiting the pineapple plantations.

Azorean Pineapple Plantation is the home of the Azorean pineapple, which is only found on São Miguel Island. Visit the pineapple greenhouses to try this unique pineapple variation,

Augusto Arruda Pineapple Plantation is the plantation where Augusto and his family jump-started the pineapple industry on the island.

Try the unique pineapple liqueur as you learn about the work behind the first cultivations of this fruit on the island.

15 – See some of the best collection of flowers and plants at the botanical gardens

Botanical Gardens in São Miguel, Azores

Brimming with color, uniqueness, and beauty, add visiting botanical gardens to your list of things to do in the Azores.

Antonio Borges Garden is a beautiful green haven showcasing the best of botany that the island has to offer. Dating back to its original founding between 1858–1861, visitors can expect local, unique, and exotic plants native to the island, as well as small caves throughout the trails.

José do Canto Botanical Garden has been said historically to impress botanists from all over the world, stepping foot into a world of rare, beautiful, and mystical flowers and plants from all over the world.

José do Canto was a nature lover and wealthy man who started his exotic plant collection in his garden and turned eventually into the 5.8 hectares it is today.

16 – Visit the incredible Vila Franca Islet (Natural Reserve)

Vila Franca Islet, Azores

Vila Franca Islet is a natural reserve and popular tourist site not to miss, just south of the southern coast of São Miguel Island.

The lagoon is said to be the remnants of an underwater volcano, with a slight opening, allowing for the circulation of ocean water to mix with the lagoon, and thus allowing various living organisms to survive.

Many amazing activities are meant to be enjoyed, including kayaking, snorkeling to the depths of marine life, scuba diving, and even dolphin watching.

Enjoy fun glass bottom boat tours that will take you from the island, but be aware that most tours only operate from June-September during the high visit season. During that time, plan to do some sunbathing, and swim in the beautiful green/blue waters.

17 – Learn more about the Azorean culture inside the Carlos Machado Museum

Carlos Machado Museum, Azores

Opening in 1880, the Carlos Machado Museum houses various natural collections of minerals, zoology, botany, and geology, as well as art found on the island.

Growing in popularity, the museum’s collection and reach started to expand once other natural scientists started to contribute additional relevant findings from different islands nearby.

Currently, the museum’s mission is to conserve and celebrate the natural heritage of the Azorean islands and share it with the community and the world.

The museum is split into 3 permanent exhibits: Natural History, Memory of the Convent, and Sacred Heart, and it usually hosts various temporary exhibits.

Ticket prices range between 2-5 euros depending on exhibits, and offers free entry on various other days including Sundays.

18 – Check out the best viewpoints on the island

best viewpoints in São Miguel, Azores

Both Ponta da Madrugada and Ponta do Sossego offer outstanding viewpoints showcasing some of the best views of the eastern coast of São Miguel Island. As a result, both viewpoints offer incredible sunrise-watching opportunities.

Both viewpoints also win points for having gorgeous views of colorful flowerbeds and full gardens, as well as beaches dotting the coast.

Miradouro de Santa Iria is situated near the Riberia Grande and boasts not only incredible coastal views of jagged rocks meeting the Atlantic Ocean but also sights of animals and vibrant flowers.

Located on the island’s west coast is Ponta de Escalvado, near Varzea and Sete Cidades, making it a perfect stop if you’re coming from or going to these sites. Try to visit during the evening to catch the beautiful sunset.

19 – Treat yourself to a feast for the senses at Mercado da Graça

Mercado da Graça, Azores

Visit the abundant outdoor market called Mercando da Graça, located in Ponta Delgada.

Within the stalls of the market, visitors can expect to see incredible amounts of pineapple varieties, and other interesting and unique fruits and produce only available on the island.

Exotic fruits include Annonas (similar to custard apples), Araçal (similar to guavas), and not to mention its extensive dairy products available inside the famed O Rei des Queijos stall nearby.

Browse the stalls, try product samples, view everyday life for the locals, and learn about new products.

Make sure to visit the market during its opening hours typically from 7:30 am-6:30 pm every day of the week except Sundays and holidays.

Thursday-Saturday opening hours may vary opening at 7 am or 7:30 am.

20 – Take a tour of the otherworldly Gruta do Carvão

Gruta do Carvão, Azores

Only available to visit with a guided tour, is the mystical site of the Gruta do Carvão, situated on the island’s southwest corner, and known to be the longest lava tunnel on São Miguel Island.

Causing a lot of interest from historians and scientists, the Gruta do Carvão tunnel stretches a total of 2.5 kilometers, reaching from Ponta Delgado to the parish of Arrifes.

Tours can be purchased via the site’s website, and offer either short routes or long routes, with guided tour prices ranging from 7.50 euros to 20 euros depending on the tour.

Make sure to reserve your tour online ahead of time, choose between a 200-meter or 800-meter tunnel walk, and arrive on time to receive your protective gear and clear instructions.

SANTA MARIA ISLAND

Santa Maria is one of the southern islands of the Azores archipelago and is known for its red rock cliffs and sand landscapes, as well as its dry climate.

Visitors can enjoy sweeping views of the sea from its picture-perfect viewpoints and cliffs or enjoy the depths of the sea on an adventurous scuba diving excursion.

21 – Scuba dive to the blue depths of the Atlantic Ocean

scuba diving in Santa Maria, Azores

Scuba diving on Santa Maria Island is one of the best experiences to have, offering visitors a look into the great blue depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

Consider Ambrósio Reef, known to be a highly coveted scuba diving excursion, which offers a beautiful view of different sting ray varieties including the devil rays. If you want to experience incredible marine life diversity usually typical of far-out, secluded destinations not too far from land, consider Ambrósio Reefs.

The Formigas Natural Reserve is a marine biologist’s playground, where marine animal fossils, sponges, coral banks, and different marine animals move together such as the barred hogfish, yellowbelly grouper, ​​the Mediterranean rainbow wrasse, and more.

The Dollabarat Reef is extraordinary for off-the-beaten-path scuba diving, where scuba divers can observe groups of turtles, porpoises, whales, dolphins, and more.

22 – Have a picnic at Aveiro Waterfall

Aveiro Waterfall, Azores

Towering over 120 meters in height, the Aveiro Waterfall is a picture-perfect and refreshing sight to visit, situated near the island’s southeast side in Santo Espirito.

Prepare to spend around an hour, as you absorb the beauty of the cascade itself, as well as the lush forest surrounding the waterfall. Enjoy a splash in the natural pool that forms at the bottom of the waterfall.

Bring a picnic and enjoy one of the most scenic and natural dining experiences possible on the island, and take sight of the wildlife that will peek its head every now and then.

Finding the waterfall doesn’t take a while from the parking lot, but still, prepare to tread carefully as the path may be slippery.

23 – Visit the “Red Desert” of Barreiro da Faneca

Barreiro da Faneca, Azores

Attention-grabbing is the beauty of the red sands of Barreiro da Faneca. The Barreiro da Faneca is considered a protected area by many as the “Red Desert” for its dry climate and appearance.

Learn about the fascinating geological history that has turned this sand in this area a bright red color, and understand how volcanic activity and other volcanic influences have affected the landscape of this spot on Santa Maria Island.

Some of the most popular ways of seeing the Barreiro da Faneca is either driving yourself or taking a tour that will make a stop at Barreiro da Faneca.

When planning your trip, make sure to check the local weather forecast to avoid visiting on a rainy day, as this may affect the sand’s texture and may make it hard to walk on.

24 – Enjoy one of the best beaches in Azores called Praia Formosa

Praia Formosa, Azores

Located on the southern coast of Santa Maria Island in Vila do Porto, is the beautiful Praia Formosa (beach), which is widely recognized and visited by locals for its consistently warm water temperatures, and surfer-ready waves.

Contemplate the clarity of the water, and you set foot on the sandy shores of the beach, which dates back as far as 1584 as an established beach.

View incredible remnants of 15th-century fortresses nearby, or simply take in the green beauty contrast with the blue waters within the same space.

If you’re looking for music on the beach, visit Praia Formosa during The August Tide Festival, taking place on the beach every year since the 80s.

Bonus tip, consider walking to the nearby Marcela Viewpoint to observe the vast views of the sand, beach, and water.

25 – Visit the stunning views of the lighthouse and sea at Ponta do Castelo

Ponta do Castelo, Azores

Ponta do Castelo is a dramatic and jagged headland that looks over the expansive blue Atlantic Ocean and reaches around 200 meters in height and is located on the east side of the island.

The natural rock formation and hardened lava over time have exhibited different geological rock appearances, breeding life to nearby microorganisms and creating its own little ecosystem.

Hike up to the beautiful lighthouse and viewpoint at the tip of the Ponta do Castelo, to take in sweeping views of the island and water.

The name of the lighthouse is Gonçalo Vehlo, and it dates back to 1927. Its stunning white facade with its red-tiled roof adds a pop of color to the natural landscape.

The lighthouse may not be open for visitors, but the cliff is, which is definitely worth seeing yourself.

26 – View the red rocks and natural pool formation at Poço da Pedreira

Poço da Pedreira, Azores

A mining site turned natural attraction is Poço da Pedreira, which dates back to the mining era in Santa Maria Island, this site was commonly used by workers to excavate volcanic rock to build the city visitors see today.

After a while, Poço da Pedreira stopped being a place of mining, and the empty space was left where rocks had been removed, which with natural rainwater eventually turned into an attractive natural pool.

Today, visitors are able to bring lunch or a snack and enjoy the natural and geological phenomena that is Poço da Pedreira.

There is a walkway that allows interested visitors to walk to get even wider views of the natural pool and the sight as a whole.

If you’re visiting Pico Vermelho, Poço da Pedreira is only a couple of minutes walk.

FAIAL ISLAND

Known to be the location of the last volcanic eruption in the Azores, Faial Island is also characterized by its maritime culture and deep history.

Visit the island to get a taste and feel of the tropical climates, boasting wonderful natural scenery at every turn.

27 – Hike around the emblematic Caldeira Volcano

Caldeira Volcano, Azores

Looking for the best hiking tours in the Azores?

Caldeira Volcano is the highest mountain on Faial Island, offering impeccable views of the now lush greenery galore that inhabits the space.

Enjoy a hike around the island, reaching heights between 840-1040 meters and dividing into various other hikes ranging from easy to challenging. Get outstanding views no matter which trail you pick of beautiful flowers featuring local flora such as Azores Juniper, Azorean Heather, and many more.

Enjoy sweeping views of the valley below, and the sea around you, enough to inspire a moment of quiet and stillness.

Centrally located on the island, consider a hiking tour to get the best of the hiking experience on Caldeira Volcano with a trusted guide, from Horta starting at $41 USD.

Oftentimes, lunch, and ground transportation, are included as you trek through the 7-kilometer hike.

28 – Learn about the island’s whale processing history at Porto Pim Whale Factory Museum

Porto Pim Whale Factory Museum, Azores

Located within the Faial Natural Park is the Porto Pim Whale Factory, whose mission is to educate on the connection between the fishing communities of the island to the sea, as well as demonstrate the harsh realities of marine exploitation.

The fascinating museum takes visitors on a journey from start to finish, showcasing the production of whale processing, while also sharing the social, economic, and historical importance of this practice to the island.

While this fascinating practice is not used today, view the machinery once used in the actual production of the sperm whale, and how the whole whale carcass was used in its entirety.

With over 500 visitors annually, this museum must land on your list of things to do in the Azores. Tickets to the whale factory start at 5 euros for adults.

29 – Take a leisure hike around the stunning Morro de Castelo Branco

Morro de Castelo Branco, Azores

Located in the parish of Castelo Branco, on the island’s southwest corner, the Morro de Castelo Branco is an especially wonderful place to view nature and wildlife take over and making this site so special.

Known for its impressive botany growth, geological features, and housing of some of the island’s seabirds, black-winged duck, and more, make sure to bring your binoculars to see it all closer.

Known for its incredible hikes, enjoy a variety of trails, from easy to challenging, such as the 4-kilometer trail taking visitors to view incredible sites of the Castelo Branco as well as the Grutas das Anelares, which is a volcanic tunnel.

Bring a snack and refuel after or before your breathtaking hike, and enjoy it in the designated picnic areas, also boasting beautiful sights and flowers.

30 – Plan your day around a trip to the legendary Peter Cafe Sport

Peter Cafe Sport, Azores

Housing multiple important establishments in its past, the currency exchange turned weather forecast station, turned international visiting room is today a cafe that cannot be missed.

It is essentially a sailor cafe that welcomes everyone interesting in taking a bite out of local history.

Historically speaking, Peter Cafe Sport was a traditional watering hole for many yacht owners traveling nearby.

“Peter” came from a Brit who called the founder by that name, and the “sports club” came from the British and German introduction of certain sports to the locals of the island at the time.

Today, visitors can step in have a bite to eat, check out the impressive memorabilia on the wall, or walk into the museum showcasing the cafe’s history along with the island’s history.

31 – Walk around the important Horta Marina

Horta Marina, Azores

Situated on the island’s southeast corner in the nautical town of Horta is Horta Marina.

Horta Marina is considered to be the most important port in all of the Azores, but also one of the most important in the world, as it is often a pit stop for boats traveling from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, as well as playing an important role in multiple boating events and races, held nearby.

Take a walk in the port, and take note of the maritime heritage and art displayed all over the port. Images depicting sailor art are backed up by a legend that says that if a sailor leaves a painting on the wall, they will arrive at their destination safely.

Observe the natural sights and lighthouses sitting on top of hills.

32 – Hike around the Azore’s last erupted volcano at Capelinhos Volcano

Capelinhos Volcano, Azores

Ever since its last eruption in 1956 marking the Azore’s last volcano eruption to date, the Capelinhos Volcano has been a crowd attractor and point of interest for geologists and volcano enthusiasts all curious about the destruction and impacts it created.

It is said that due to this volcanic event, which took 1 year in total, many people lost their homes and income sources, forcing them to migrate out of the island.

Today, the volcano can be visited as well as the Capelinhos Visiting Center, retelling the story behind this volcano, as well as the volcanic history and influence on the Azores and people.

Check out the incredible hiking opportunities, offering sights of the lava crusts, stunning views of the sea and red stone cliffs, memorials, and a few steam holes.

33 – Learn about the extensive island botany at Faial Botanical Garden

Faial Botanical Garden, Azores

The Faial Botanical Garden offers both botanical interest and biological awareness when it comes to the natural flora and fauna of the island.

Offering multiple spaces dedicated to different plant families, including one of the recent additions of the Orchidarium, visitors can expect to view other types of flowers used in various ways from medicinal, and aromatic, to food consumption.

The Faial Botanical Gardens has been award-winning throughout the years since its opening in 1986 and has served as a center for botanical research and conservation to understand the biodiversity of the Azores.

Walk around the almost 8,000 square feet garden, located nearby Horta in a town called Flamingos. Tickets to enter the garden start at 2 euros for adults, and children 12 and under can enter for free.

34 – Enjoy a day at one of the best beaches on the island

best beaches in Faial, Azores

Porto Pim Beach is known for its perfect blue waters, warm sandy shores, and high cliffs protecting it and beachgoers from strong winds.

Conveniently located next to Horta, and offering free parking and all the beach amenities, Porto Pim Beach is a no-brainer to visit.

Showing off black-colored sand, and cliffs is Almoxarife Beach, which is often compared to Porto Pim Beach but each offers its own unique beauty.

Almoxarife Beach offers beach-goers all the beach amenities needed to enjoy a swim and enjoy different beach games and aquatic activities. By night, music starts to be heard, as Almoxarife Beach is a popular place where locals like to host parties.

Plan your trip around June-September, as that is the main season when the water temperatures gradually feel a lot warmer.

35 – Relish the mild waters for the Varadouro Natural Pools

Varadouro Natural Pools, Azores

Looking for a natural pool to refresh yourself in? Look no further than Varadouro Natural Pools, with incredible views of the sea, Castelo Branco, in a temperate, almost tropical setting.

Appreciate the beautiful color contrast of the blue waters and the dark-colored rock and cliffs, while enjoying the mild water of the ocean or the natural pool.

Equipped with amenities to make bathing in the pools and ocean easier. Enjoy the local cafes and restaurants nearby, offering the best of local foods to recharge after the pools.

Make it an extended trip, and plan a camping experience with your closest friends using the camping spaces near the natural pools if you’d like.

The Varadouro Natural Pools are located on the western side of the island.

36 – Deeply learn about local history Horta Museum

Horta Museum, Azores

Learn more about the cultural and artistic history of Faial Island inside the Horta Museum, located in the heart of the capital city of the island.

Within the museum, check out the permanent collections exhibiting pieces that date back to the 16th century, including art pieces, paintings, and antique furniture.

Learn about the traditional pieces of craftwork using metals, porcelain, and wood, as well as the techniques and tools to make such crafts.

View relics that describe Horta’s longtime maritime heritage, and how communication between marina and ships worked back then, as well as exhibits detailing more about the sea’s influence on the island, naval aviation, and much more.

Look up the events calendar, and check out events put on by the museum, diving deeper into the fascinating history of the island.

PICO ISLAND

Know to be the second largest island in the Azores, Pico Island’s small population allows visitors to feel like they are walking through uncharted territory, stumbling into natural pools all over the island, virtually untouched hiking trails, and sights of the emblematic Pico Mountain.

Enjoy the wine region, and finish off your evening enjoying the best of Pico gastronomy at Cella Bar.

37 – Test your limits climbing Pico Mountain

Pico Mountain, Azores

The tallest mountain in Portugal, Pico Mountain reaches a staggering height of 2351 meters above sea level, enticing the most adventurous mountain climbers to make the 7-8 hour hike.

A guided tour will share not only the best ways to get to the top of the mountain, but also offer hiking tips, hydration reminders, and the perfect motivator to keep even the most tired climber going.

Day and even night tours are available to any traveler wanting to make a memory they’ll never forget like standing seemingly above the clouds or watching a breathtaking sunrise.

If mountain climbing is not your thing, Pico Mountain is also known for unmatched stargazing opportunities as well as amazing hiking trails, which start from Mountain House.

38 – Check out the innovative and sustainable architecture at Gruta das Torres

Gruta das Torres, Azores

Visit the fascinating Grutas das Torres, enriching any traveler’s lust for adventure with a walk through a cave connected to one of the longest lava tubes in Portugal.

Measuring 5150 meters long, the lava tube is said to have been formed during an eruption 1500 years ago.

Visit the Grutas das Torres visitor center, an amazing example of sustainable building innovation, molding, and adapting to scale based on its natural surroundings.

Visit the center, admire the award-winning architectural work, and learn more about the fascinating geological and volcanic formations of the Grutas das Torres.

Book a guided tour to help lead the way through the cave, as well as provide the proper safety equipment to explore.

39 – Learn about whaling at the Whaling Industry Museum & Whalers’ Museum

Whalers Museum, Azores

Get to know the massive whaling industry that was very popular in the Azores, and today is currently being promoted and showcased to the world as an integral piece of Azorian history and heritage.

Whaling is the process of hunting and capturing whales to utilize them for human survival, and on Pico Island, you can visit the Whaling Industry Museum and Whaler’s Museum, where you can enter the 19th-century whaling boat houses.

Inside, check out the 5 permanent exhibits, covering topics in Azorean whaling boat core, blacksmith tent, shipbuilding, and a crafts tent showing artisanal work called scrimshaw.

Unique in its kind, this is a must thing to do in the Azores in order to learn about the factory which was in use between 1946 to 1984.

40 – Enjoy some memorable dolphin watching

dolphin watching in São João, Azores

Do some dolphin watching on Pico Island, and observe over 15 different varieties of dolphins in their natural habitat.

Departing from the Lajes do Pico Harbor, a typical half-day tour lasts around 3 hours out at sea.

Due to its abundance of dolphin varieties, it is almost always guaranteed that each tour group will see at least a few dolphins peek their heads from the water.

Enjoy a ready-for-you dolphin-watching tour, equipped with a helpful tour presentation, safety briefing, and proper attire, and be ready to experience some of the most beautiful animals in the world, as you gaze out of the boat toward some of the most beautiful island views simultaneously.

Dolphin-watching tours start out at $52 USD per person for a half-day experience.

41 – Find your own natural pool to relax in

Natural Pools in Pico Island, Azores

Check out Poça das Mujas, offering a quaint, blue-colored natural pool with a platform and ladder to gently go into the warm waters on the eastern part of the island.

Santo António Swimming Pools offers 3 swimming options, 2 artificial pools beside 1 natural pool. Despite being artificial, the water used is taken from the sea and filtered.

Criação Velha Natural Swimming Pools is surrounded by volcanic rock cliffs, which naturally filter the water in the natural pools, giving off beautiful transparency to the water.

São Roque do Pico Natural Swimming Pool is on the north coast of Pico Island and offers a picturesque natural pool with clear blue waters.

Arinhas Natural Swimming Pool is a perfectly wonderful and secluded natural pool on the south of the island, surrounded by black volcanic rock.

For a truly secluded experience and for confident swimmers, check out Lajes do Pico Natural Swimming Pool offering virtually untouched, crystal blue waters, that will gently sway you into full enjoyment.

42 – Hike the beautiful Lagoa do Capitão Trail

Lagoa do Capitão Trail, Azores

The Lagoa do Capitão Trail is a stunning 9.3-kilometer trail offering an abundance of natural life, local to Pico Island, and offering sights of Pico Mountain.

Starting off in the central highlands on the island, near Captain’s Lagoon, the dirt trail will take approximately 3 kilometers to get to Pico Mountain.

Local trees such as the Azores junipers adorn the trail as well as birds native to the area like the European Estrelinha bird. Pack your bird-watching gear if you’d like to catch the amazing wildlife on the way.

The trail is considered medium challenging, taking a little over 3 hours to complete. It is recommended to bring proper equipment and clothing to sustain longer and powerfully on the hike.

43 – Join a wine tasting on the island known best for wines in the Azores

wine tasting in Pico Island, Azores

Enjoy a splendid afternoon tasting some of the island’s best wines.

Pico Wine Museum is located in Madalena (northwest coast of the island) and is the perfect place to kick off your wine adventures.

Pico Island is the island known best in the Azores for its wine production, and Pico Wine Museum (recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site itself) showcases the historic home where wine production began.

Inside and throughout the museum, gaze at the vineyard, and wine press, surrounded largely by leafy vegetation, including the local “Dragon Trees”.

Learn about the wine-making process dating back to the 15th century, and inside, try the sweet red wine.

Wine tasting tours are offered, priced at a little over $100 USD for 8 hours worth of wine, eating, learning, and fun.

44 – Have a quaint picnic inside Parque Florestal do Mistério da Prainha

Parque Florestal do Mistério da Prainha, Azores

Prainha Mystery Forest Park is a wonderful stretch of grassy land, where families and locals enjoy spending time in nature, having a picnic, and bringing their kids to enjoy the park facilities.

Located on the north coast of the island, enjoy taking a walk on one of the scenic trails that lead to other nearby parks, as well as a magnificent viewpoint.

Enjoy the gratifying panorama of green vegetation such as pine trees, and colorful camellias, surrounded by the blue waters of the São Jorge channel and views of Pico Mountain.

Fascinating enough, check out the volcanic influence within the park, as remnants of previous eruptions are visible via the crusted lava layers and jagged rock formations that adorn the park.

45 – Take one of the most scenic drives on Longitudinal Road (EN3)

Longitudinal Road, Azores

Drive down one of Portugal’s most scenic roads, the Longitudinal Road (EN3). The start of the famous drive can be found in Miradouro Da Papalva, on the west coast of the island.

It has been recommended that in order to enjoy the majesty of the scenes of EN3, it would be better to divide the drive into 2 days, as there are tons of stops to make along the way, from other viewpoints to incredible wildlife sightings, beautiful vegetation to take in, and so much more.

Get iconic contrasts of crisp blue, as it meets with the vibrant green of the landscape. Make sure to bring your good camera, and make sure to check the weather forecast so that you can plan a sunny day for your drive to see everything in full color.

46 – Have a truly memorable meal at Cella Bar

Cella Bar, Azores

Visit one of the most beautiful restaurants/bars on Pico Island, and the Azores as a whole.

Cella Bar is a work of true art architecture-wise, as it is a restaurant that was constructed to fit in with the scenery and nature of the island, taking shape of a whale.

Indulge in some of the best delicacies showcasing the best of Pico Island’s gastronomy, located on the island’s western coast in Madalena.

Relish the sunset from the terrace that extends out to the sea, overlooking the mountainous sight of volcanic remnants, along with the fresh breeze of the Atlantic.

Enjoy everything from a list of selected wines produced on the island, as well as a list of carefully crafted cocktails, highlighting the freshness of ingredients found on the island.

TERCEIRA ISLAND

Serving unlimited enchanting viewpoints of the ocean and nearby islands, Terceira Island has heaps of historical and natural abundance to enrich anyone’s travel itineraries.

From visiting a family-owned cheese factory to off-roading with your new best friends in uncharted territory, Terceira Island calls to the adventurer within.

47 – Learn about the island’s volcanic history at Furnas do Enxofre

Furnas do Enxofre, Azores

Trace back to Terceira Island’s volcano history on your visit to the Furnas do Enxofre volcano park.

Explore the natural habitat that formed after the last eruption in 1761, and enjoy the multiple hiking trails, inviting visitors to take a look at the impressive nature, amazing wildlife, and remnants of the volcanic activity.

Visit the Furnas do Enxofre visitor center, located at the entrance of the park, to view the photography of the island, learn about the volcanic history of the island, artifacts found throughout excavations throughout the island, and much more.

Try visiting earlier in the morning when there are fewer people on the trails and when the springs emitting steam become more visible due to the slight drop in temperature during that time of day.

 

48 – Go inside a volcano cavity at Algar do Carvão Natural Reserve

Algar do Carvão, Azores

Located inside the Caldera do Guilherme Moniz (volcano cavity) is the natural reserve of Algar do Carvão.

Created by a series of eruptions, each one with great force, created a few wide cavities inside the volcano, and today, visitors are able to uniquely visit them.

Inside, various minerals can be found as a result of water erosion throughout the year, and other minerals deposited from the volcanic rock.

Perfectly safe to explore, the Algar do Carvão offers a magnificent view of the force of nature, especially volcanos. Book a guided tour to get detailed information and a guided experience during the walk.

Entrance to the Algar do Carvão starts at 5 euros per adult during high season, and although open all year round, low season (October-March) visits may require advanced booking.

49 – Visit the interesting Gruta do Natal (Natal Cave)

Natal Cave, Azores

Also known as Galeria Negra or Gruta do Cavalo, Gruta do Natal is a natural attraction that draws crowds of people to see the lava formation inside the cave.

Gruta do Natal is located in the center of Terceira Island, the cave has tours to guide visitors through the system of volcano caves created throughout the years.

However most popular during a certain holiday, Gruta do Natal translates to Christmas Cave, and that is because, during this season, Christmas mass and other church events take place inside the cave.

Visit the Gruta do Natal Interpretation Centre, to get a full understanding of the reason why certain religious events, even weddings, are held inside the cave, view photos of the cave, and learn more about its geologic and cultural history.

50 – Drive to Serra do Cume Viewpoint

Serra do Cume Viewpoint, Azores

Get outstanding nature views at Serra do Cume, standing approximately 545 meters high above the plains below, with views of Praia da Victória on the horizon.

Located southeast on the island, visitors standing on the viewpoint can also appreciate mountain views looking west.

Getting to Serra do Cume is relatively easy from Angra do Heroísmo, the historic capital of the island, only taking around 22 minutes driving north.

If you would prefer not to drive, consider a Serra do Cume tour, offering more than just a visit to the viewpoint.

Various tours offer stops along the way to the viewpoint, including secluded churches, natural pools, and even a quick stop at Algar Do Carvão.

For adventurous seekers, check out off-roading on a buggy tour on the plains near Serra do Cume.

51 – Get an in-depth appreciation of Terceira Island at Angra do Heroismo Museum

Angra do Heroismo Museum, Azores

The Angra do Heroísmo Museum is a collection of various historical, social, and military pieces that help illustrate the history behind Terceira Island.

Divided into 3-4 different buildings, each building hosts a different exhibit including transportation of the 18th and 19th centuries, the story of the Atlantic, traditional arts, stonework, and more.

Check out the Carmina Contemporary Art Gallery, where visitors can walk through exhibits of the island’s modern, contemporary art.

The Baptist Military Nucleus of Lima showcases several interesting exhibits promoting discussion and thought over different topics.

The museum is constantly holding events as well as temporary exhibits worth checking out on the museum’s website.

The museum is located in the heart of the historical capital city Angra do Heroísmo, on the southern coast of the island.

52 – Learn about and try local cheese at Queijo Vaquinha (Cheese Factory)

Queijo Vaquinha, Azores

Opening in 2002 officially after renovating the previous factory, the Queijo Vaquinha (Cheese Factory) has been welcoming eager visitors interested in learning about and trying the different varieties of cheese known on Terceira Island.

Completely a family-run business, João Coto first began the factory, and today is in charge of the farm and milk production exclusively reserved for cheese making, while his family takes care of the cheese-making process.

Visit the factory and get a cheese tasting after visiting the production facilities.

Try the Cheese Vaquinha O Terceira Island – cow’s milk-crusted cheese with a soft to semi-soft consistency, traditional of the island, and also try the Spicy Kitty Cheese, which has crusted soft to semi-soft consistency, mixed with specks of Azorean peppers.

The factory is open every day Monday-Sunday, 10 am – 10 pm.

53 – Take a walking tour of Angra do Heroísmo

Angra do Heroísmo, Azores

Angra do Heroísmo is the historic capital city of the island of Terceira, and is considered a World Heritage town due to its 15th-century history, still visible today at the turn of every corner.

Wander through the streets in a locally crafted tour and view the beauty of the city besides idyllic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Take a historic walking tour of Angra do Heroísmo, and take sights of the Duke of Terceira Garden, showcasing a beautifully manicured garden reminiscent of the 19th century, and the Cathedral of Angra do Heroísmo, the 16th-century cathedral with white and peach colored tones.

A city tour will give you all the information that will help you go deeper into the history behind buildings like the Jesuit-built Capitães Generais Palace and the military use of the São Sebastian Fort.

54 – Get the best viewpoints of the island and sea

best viewpoints in Terceira, Azores

Miradouro da Cruz do Canário is a viewpoint located on the southeast corner of the island, offering views of the Atlantic Ocean as well as sights of the Cabras Islets. On a couple of days, you may even catch a whale peeking its tail through the water.

Visit Miradouro do Pico das Cruzinhas to view the cross monument dedicated to the Second World War and also share extraordinary views of the historic city.

Situated on the western side of the island on the coast of Serreta is Miradouro da Ponta do Queimado, with views of the stunning blue coastline, and even sights of nearby islands.

Make your way to Miradouro da Serra de Santa Bárbara, where you’ll be able to see plains, and farmlands, on the coast of the blue Atlantic Ocean.

55 – Visit at least one of the natural swimming pools on the island

natural pools in Terceira, Azores

Terceira Island is known to house some of the calmest and most quaint natural swimming pools and is worthy of adding to your list of things to do in the Azores. Located throughout the island, here are a few natural swimming pools to visit.

Check out the stunning Porto Martins Natural Swimming Pools brimming with natural beauty and the perfect amenities making your swim relaxing and easy. Swim amongst the beautiful contrast of black rocks and blue sea.

Situated on the northern side of the island is the beautiful Biscoitos Bathing Site, a wonderful site of volcanic rock circulating the blue, transparent water. Nearby, stop by the Casa Agricola Brum, the winery not too far from the bathing site known to produce local Verdelho wine.

56 – Visit the capital city’s famed park Monte Brasil Recreational Forest Reserve

Monte Brasil Recreational Forest Reserve, Azores

Take a walk around the various hiking trails, admire the impressive scenery and local vegetation or visit the 16th-century Castle of São João Baptista all inside the beautiful Monte Brasil Recreational Forest Reserve.

Located in the center of the island, Monte Brasil overflows with abundant wildlife such as birds and even deer, beautiful sights of the island, and sea from some of the hiking peaks.

Originally formed from a volcanic eruption, the park is a popular place for locals and visitors to bring a picnic, and enjoy a moment with nature.

Take note of the local trees and flowers, many of which are native to the land. The park is considered protected land therefore visitors can take all the pictures they want, but cannot rip out any of the vegetation.

57 – Spend some time at the pristine Lagoa das Patas

Lagoa das Patas, Azores

The quaint setting of the Lagoa das Patas (duck lake) is one not to miss, located in the center of the island.

Enjoy the lush environment of local flowers, pine trees, and shrubs surrounding the crystal, almost mirror-like lake in the middle, said to receive water from the nearby Serra de Santa Bárbara. Sit or stand near the lake and admire the beauty of the green lilies collecting on the surface of the lake.

Check out the aromatic Japanese red cedar also adorning the area, and enjoy a picnic, or take a hike to absorb a bit of forest bathing.

The park is open all year round, and if you visit early in the morning, you may see fog take over the park, giving the park a mystical vibe.

58 – Tap into your adventurous self on a jeep tour

jeep tours on Terceira Island, Azores

Get your adrenaline going with an incredible adventure off-roading on a Jeep tour in Azores.

Jeep tours offer visitors not only a dose of adventure but also a great way to sightsee some of the most abundant and mystical natural parks and sights throughout the island.

Go through the road less traveled, and see local vegetation in its absolute natural form, untouched lakes, towering mountains, and of course, views of the stunning Atlantic Ocean.

Many tours will also offer lunch in the middle of the forest with a local drink or wine, as well as ground transportation to your hotel.

Jeep tours start around $60 USD and go upwards a little over $100 USD per person, for a multi-hour adventure. If you like to feel adrenaline, this is your activity.

GRACIOSA ISLAND

Dotted with quiet natural pools, incredible volcanic caves, wondrous hikes, and 18th-century churches, Graciosa Island is the perfect quiet, nature-rich island escape that your senses are looking for.

59 – Visit the healing waters at Termas Do Carapacho

Termas Do Carapacho, Azores

Termas Do Carapacho is a thermal bath located on the southern coast of Graciosa Island in the parish of Luz, offering visitors waters said to have healing powers, that range between 35ºC and 40ºC.

Infused with minerals such as magnesium and sodium, many locals visit the thermal baths to heal certain health issues and simply relax their muscles. Enter the spa-like resort housing these relaxing waters, and indulge in a session yourself after so much sightseeing.

The spa offers a variety of treatments from hydromassages to Vichy showers, and various other services meant for relaxation in an indoor setting, with views of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.

The Termas Do Carapacho is open every day except Mondays, 10:30 am – 4 pm.

60 – Explore the insides of Furna do Enxofre

Furna do Enxofre, Azores

Visit the subterranean cave called Furna do Enxofre, located in the Caldeira da Graciosa. It is a cave carved out by lava during one of the many volcanic eruptions nearby.

The attention-grabber of this site is perhaps it’s perfectly tall ceiling, allowing a significant amount of light to enter through the entrance, which is done through a staircase.

Visitors may enter the cave to explore the cold water lake inside, and interesting mineral growth, as well as learn about the other nearby lava tunnels called Furna do Abel and Furna da Maria Encantada.

Furna do Abel was formed through the gas emission of the lava, and Furna da Maria Encantada is a 15-meter-long tunnel that cuts through the crater wall and ends up showing an amazing view of the crater.

61 – Visit the red sand beach of Praia do Barro Vermelho

Praia do Barro Vermelho, Azores

Praia do Barro Vermelho translated into English means red clay, indicative of the beautiful red sand shores.

An often popular bathing site for locals and visitors located on the north coast of the island, Praia do Barro Vermelho visitors are welcomed to bathe in the open water, whose average summer temperature is around 21° Celcius, as they step on a basalt-based seafloor.

Sunbathe or sit on the swings located on the beach, and take in the sight of the perfect waves crashing onto the red sand.

Perfect for families or solo travelers, there are complete beach amenities available, such as restaurants, changing rooms, and a lifeguard on duty.

Make sure to visit during the summer seasons in order to ensure that a lifeguard will be on duty, otherwise, it may not always be guaranteed.

62 – Visit the 19th-century churches on the island

Church of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, Azores

Wander through Santa Cruz da Graciosa, the island’s capital city, where the historic old town streets, take visitors through its history, and bestows some of the beautiful monuments and churches not to be missed.

Learn about the Church of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, situated in the municipality of Santa Cruz da Graciosa. The church dates back to the 18th century and was built in order to house a newly brought image of Guadalupe from Mexico, during the early settlements of the island.

Check out the Parish Church of Santa Cruz da Graciosa, which dates back to the 18th century, and also goes by its full name, Igreja Maritz de Santa Cruz da Graciosa. The beautiful facade boasts white and black stonework, and in the interiors, you can see iconic blue tilework and Flemish statues.

63 – Hike the beautiful Serra Branca to see the Pico da Caldeirinha

Serra Branca, Azores

Serra Branca is known for its white grainy, volcanic rock, and is a popular nature hike that is considered a bit more on the easier side.

With an average of 8.7 kilometers in length and usually taking around 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete, it’s a hike that is worth considering adding to your list of things to do in the Azores.

The trail crosses the island from west to east, where visitors can start the hike at Serra Branca Wind Farm Park.

Perhaps one of the highlights, other than arriving at Vila da Praia, is the Pico da Caldeirinha (the peak of the volcano) the highest volcano cone of the Serra Branca (375 meters high), offering outstanding views of forest-covered mountains, and on clear days even beyond to other islands.

 

SÃO JORGE ISLAND

Known for its cheese-making traditions, and abundant Fajãs, São Jorge welcomes visitors to walk through its historic streets of Velas Village, taking sights of the natural parks, and taking a dip in one of the most beautiful natural pools found on the island, Simão Dias Natural Pool.

64 – Visit the bountiful Sete Fontes Forest Park

Sete Fontes Forest Park, Azores

Visit the stunning Sete Fontes Forest Park, known to be one of the most natural reserves on the island, covering an estimated 12 hectares.

The park offers families and travelers of all kinds the perfect natural escape, with multiple walking trails, inviting visitors to admire the natural abundance of local flora and fauna like ferns, azaleas, and cryptomerias.

Enjoy sights of moss-covered trees, surrounding calm streams, lakes, and springs, as well as a chapel a little further down dedicated to São João Baptista, built in the late 70s.

Take your children to enjoy the parks and playgrounds at the park, as well as the little petting zoo featuring local animals like pigs, parrots, and deer.

Catch amazing viewpoints within the park offering views all the way out to surrounding islands on a clear day.

65 – Get lost in the picturesque streets of Velas Village

Velas Village, Azores

Check out Arco Natural de Velas, a beautiful naturally formed arch framing a view of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the perfect pit stop from or to the natural pools and Velas Village.

The yellow and white Municipal Auditorium of Velas is the place to go to watch a movie and cultural events.

The Jardim da República is a beautiful garden space to relax sitting on one of the benches, or taking a stroll down the shady cobblestone pathways. It’s centered in the heart of Velas Village, a social gathering spot for many locals, and crowded with small children playing on the playgrounds.

The Preguiça Natural Pools is a beautiful bathing spot to take advantage of the extremely stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, and the scenic sight of the boulder next to the natural pools.

66 – Take a dip in one of the most beautiful natural pools, Simão Dias Natural Pool

Simão Dias Natural Pool, Azores

Overflowing with picturesque blue and green colored, transparent waters is the stunning Simão Dias Natural Pool, situated on the northern coast of the island in Fajã do Ouvidor.

Though the mild waters are a huge drawing point for locals, so are the dramatic volcanic rocks encompassing the natural pools, dark and jagged due to previous lava activity, contrasting beautifully with the dark turquoise color of the water.

Celebrated by many as the most beautiful and largest natural pool on the island, there are also multiple viewpoints on the cliffs above to give visitors a birds-eye view of the beautiful pool.

Visit during the morning hours when there are fewer people, and when the sun is blocked off partially by the towering cliffs, making it a pleasant experience.

67 – Visit the famed Fajãs of São Jorge Island

São Jorge Fajãs, Azores

Fajãs are natural phenomena created when lava activity or collapsing cliffs create a flat surface on the edge of the cliffs, creating a platform that offers beautiful views of nature besides the ocean.

São Jorge Island is known to have many Fajãs, the first one to check out is Fajã de São João, located on the northern coast of the island, offering breathtaking views of the green coast contrasting with the blue ocean.

Fajã dos Cubres was named one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal for its yellow flower views, intermingling with the coastal lagoons, and a walkway that leads to a stunning viewpoint on Topos Mountain not to miss.

Fajã dos Vimes, located on the southern coast of the island offers beautiful views, as well as Fajã Grande, offering waterfalls, and incredible hiking opportunities.

68 – Learn about the island’s cheese-making history at the Dairy Cooperatives of São Jorge

Dairy Cooperatives of São Jorge, Azores

São Jorge is considered one of the main capitals of dairy in the Azores, a practice and tradition that goes back as far as the 15th century when the island was being settled.

Since the late 80s, the production of cheeses made in São Jorge has been restricted to only the island, meaning you cannot get this kind of cheese anywhere else. The cheese in São Jorge is described as semi-hard, with a distinctive spice to it.

Therefore, a visit to the many cheese factories situated all over the island is in order to try the dairy deliciousness.

Consider UNIQUEIJO, located in Beira, which offers tours of their facilities, and teaches visitors their cheese-making process, as well as getting to sample the best of São Jorge cheese.

FLORES ISLAND

Flores Island translated to English means Flower Island, which the island definitely lives up to during the summers, when the island is covered in multiple colors of flowers including hydrangeas and goldenrods.

From Flores Island, check out Corvo Island (the Azores’ smallest island) for the day, only a 40-minute ferry ride.

69 – Feast your eyes on the beauty of Poço do Bacalhau Waterfall

Poço do Bacalhau waterfall, Azores

Located in the heart of Flores Island is the iconic Poço do Bacalhau Waterfall, a cascade of fresh rainwater that falls from 90 meters above and collects a small pool at the bottom where people may swim.

When visiting the island, make sure to check if the forecast has been rainy, as that is when the waterfall will most likely be abundant with water, and can even forge a path towards the Atlantic Ocean, creating a beautiful scene of nature taking over. The rainy seasons tend to be around September-April, December being the rainiest.

If you visit during the low rain season, a weak trickle may be seen instead.

Surrounded by green moss-covered mountains, there is no hiking required to reach this waterfall, as it’s directly accessible from the road.

70 – Spend hours staring at the beauty of Lagoa Funda e Lagoa Rasa

Lagoa Funda and Lagoa Rasa, Azores

Created into a series of seven volcano craters, the Lagoa Funda (deep lagoon) and Lagoa Rasa (shallow lagoon) are amongst many of the lakes within Flores Island, situated next to each other.

Each lagoon is situated at different levels, for instance, there is a 150-meter difference in height between Lagoa Rasa and Lagoa Funda, so make sure to take your time at the viewpoints, mostly offered at each lagoon.

When visiting Lagoa Rasa, make sure to stop by the Miradouro Calderia Rada e Funda, offering impeccable views of the caldera and both shallow and deep boilers, surrounded by green vegetation.

Make sure to plan your trip to these lagoons as best you can by checking the weather forecast. On gray days, there can be a heavy mist obstructing the sweeping views.

71 – Get reflective Poço Ribeira do Ferreiro (Alagoinha)

Alagoinha, Azores

Forming part of the Morro Alto Forest Preservation Zone is the Poço Riberia do Ferreiro, a stunning, fully green, cliff showcasing multiple waterfalls leading to a mirror-like lake.

Though it is difficult to reach this stunning landscape by car, it is recommended to wear your most comfortable shoes in order to walk through a 10-15 minute bridge that goes over Poço Ribeira do Ferreiro.

The hike may be a bit steep, but it is absolutely worth it as the hike is described as mystical itself.

A bonus tip mentioned by travelers is to try to schedule your trip to the waterfalls during sunset, as that is when the golden rays cast their light on the green cliffs and waterfalls, further illuminating the beauty to an unreal level.

72 – Take a look at the natural design of Rocha dos Bordões

Rocha dos Bordões, Azores

Another beautiful natural sight not to miss is Rocha dos Bordões, a natural formation created by large, multiple basalt columns, created via the cooling lava of the previous volcanic activity.

Widely attracting visitors and locals all year round, the best time to see the Rocha dos Bodões is during the sunset hour when the light cast on the rock creates a beautiful view.

Though the attention-grabbing factor of the Rocha dos Bordões is the base columns, it is also the beautiful green moss and vegetation that creates a beautiful contrast with the blackness of the rock.

Check out Miradouro da Rocha dos Bordões to get an outstanding view of the rock formation, where visitors will also see other remnants of the volcanic action that was part of this region.

73 – Get impressive views of Lagoa Negra e Lagoa Comprida

Lagoa Negra and Lagoa Comprida viewpoint, Azores

Lagoa Negra (Black Lake) forms part of the Seven Lakes of Flores Island and is known as the deepest of them all with 100 meters of depth. Lagoa Comprida (Long Lake) is the lake next to Lagoa Negra.

Walk the loop trail that goes around the lakes to really get the full view, and get to take in the blue and green colors of the lake.

Similar to Lagoa Funda e Lagoa Rasa, Lagoa Negra and Lagoa Comprida are islands that were created over a series of seven volcanic craters.

Check out each lake’s viewpoint, also offering sweeping views of the lakes, the craters as a whole, and the incredible vegetation surrounding the area.

The viewpoints are located inside the Reserva Florestal Parcial da Serra de S. Barbara e dos Misterios Negros, on the island’s west coast.

74 – Refresh yourself in the Santa Cruz das Flores Natural Pools

Santa Cruz das Flores Natural Pools, Azores

One of the island’s main attractions during the summer is the Santa Cruz das Flores Natural Pools, located in Santa Cruz.

The result of a volcano eruption culminated with the creation of this natural pool, forming a beautiful shallow pool with blue, crystal water, perfect for families. Surprisingly warm with calm waters, make sure to visit early in the day if you are visiting during the busy summer season.

While swimming in the stunning blue waters, you may even catch sight of a few fishes here and there, so keep an eye out. Stop by the nearby cafe, Buenavista Cafe after a refreshing dip for a refuel.

75 – Spend a day taking in the tranquility of Corvo Island

Corvo Island, Azores

Corvo Island is the smallest island in the Azores, but don’t let that fool you in terms of things to do. Take a 10 euro ferry from Flores Island, which takes around 40 minutes total to arrive.

Birdwatching and hiking, are some of the best things to do on the island, so make sure to bring your binoculars to catch sight of birds like Eurasian wigeons, wood pigeons, and ruddy turnstones.

Climb up to Miradouro do Caldeirão, boasting sweeping views of the crater of the volcano that created the island. Take in the sight of green vegetation surrounding the lakes in the center.

Finally, stroll around the capital Vila Nova do Corvo, go inside the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Milagres and stop by the museums in town to further enrich your experience.

How to get to the Azores?

Flights are the best way to travel to the Azores, as ferries only transport people between islands not from anywhere else.

Though every island has an airport, Ponta Delgada in São Miguel Island is the main airport receiving the most amount of international flights. Terceira Island does have direct flights from the UK, Canada, and Portugal.

If you’re traveling from European countries like the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, there are direct flights that you can take to Ponta Delgada.

Those traveling from the U.S, Canada, Cape Verde, and Bermuda, can also take a direct flight to Ponta Delgada.

Traveling from Lisbon, there are more direct flights available to Faial, Santa Maria, and Pico Islands.

For airport transfers, there are buses and certain taxis and private transfers available. However airport transfers may be limited on the other islands, so you may consider renting a car in those cases.

How do you travel between islands in the Azores?

Once arriving in Ponta Delgada, traveling to your final destination island is easy and possible via Inter-Island Ferries.

Depending on the season you’re traveling, make sure to keep an eye on the schedule, as ferry schedules change constantly based on demand.

Where to stay in the Azores?

The Azores has a great variety of accommodations to choose from, many of which are a mix of hotels, hostels, villas, and private homes.

Choose from rooms with views of the incredible vegetation and gardens, or a view to the blue, transparent waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Many hotels and homes for rent are available in the historic capital cities of each island, which is a great option for visitors wanting to stay close to the sites.

Choose from 5-star hotels to budget-friendly hostels dotting each island’s highly coveted areas.

Make sure to compare and choose the best rate as early as you can, especially if you plan to visit during the high summer season.

Where to go next?

While planning your trip to the Azores, consider adding other important Portuguese destinations to your itinerary including Madeira, Lisbon and Porto.

Final thoughts

Welcoming travelers from all over the world with endless nature, impressive volcanic and geological features, and stunning natural pools dotting each island, the Azores Islands must be on your list of places to visit soon.

We hope you enjoyed our complete list of 75 fun things to do in the Azores, and that we offered plenty of inspiration for your next trip.

Happy travels!