Top 10 Things to do in Azores!
The nine islands of the Azores offer you a wealth of fun things to see and do! The volcanic eruptions that created these islands has left a magnificent mark on its landscapes. You’ll find lagoons, steaming geysers, lush vegetation and fantastic views over the ocean. The Azores is a dream destination for nature lovers, with a wide variety of marine and land wildlife, as well as the exotic fauna and flora. If you’re a but adventurous, there are over 200 caves you can visit, delving into mountains and along the rocky coastline. We’ve put together a list of fun things to see and do when planning a trip to Azores.
1. Swim in Volcanic Pools
Imagine yourself floating around in warm steaming natural water? Sounds good doesn’t it? The Azores offers you a variety of natural volcanic pools to explore, each with its unique surroundings. Caldeira Velha offer two hot springs in its natural park, with lush greenery surrounding you. If you’re a bit more adventurous, try the Ponta da Ferraria Pool. A bit tricky to reach as you will have to navigate the rocky coast to reach the cove, but well worth the effort! Terra Nostra Gardens has a wonderful thermal pool that may look a bit icky due to its brownish coloring, but don’t worry, that is the accumulation of iron and minerals, so it’s a wonderful experience to soothe the body!
2. Taste the Traditional “Cozido” in Furnas
One dish you do not want to miss in Azores is the traditional “Cozido das Furnas”, more interesting due to the fact that it is cooked in the hot springs of the island! A delicious mix of vegetable and meats, cooked for approximately 5 hours under ground in the hot volcanic steam. You can find many tours that include this delicious Azorean dish, or venture out on your own to restaurants that specialize in Cozido!
3. Search for Dolphins and Whales!
Azores is one of the best places in the world to view dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. All islands offer boat tours for whale and dolphin watching, and they are very successful trips, but if you are looking for the best experience, Pico island is a wonderful option. You can see these magnificent mammals all year round, though April to September is the best time of the year to take one of these tours! Early summer is the best chance to see the Blue Whale. Check out some tours HERE!
4. Climb Mount Pico!
Mount Pico is the highest Portuguese mountain, towering at over 2000 meters! While not a standard rock climbing trip, this is more of an extreme hike, many seasoned climbers don’t get to make it to the very top, but it’s always worth the trip! You can book a tour like this one, which is recommended as guides know their way around and can help you navigate the easier trails. If you choose to go it alone, you will have to register at the Casa da Montanha. Here they will give you a GPS and track you while you are climbing, for safety purposes. You do not need to be super athletic to brave Mt Pico, but this is a challenging adventure that we highly recommend if you are visiting Azores!
5. Get to Know Sete Cidades!
Sete Cidades is one of the most popular location to visit in Azores, so don’t miss out! You can join a tour, or rent a car and venture out on your own! Sete Cidades, or Seven Cities, is a small town on the western part of the island of Sao Miguel. You’ll find various lagoons and volcanic craters along the way, along with the spectacular Sete Cidades lake! We recommend starting at the Miradouro Vista do Rei, where you will get a prime view of the spectacular half blue half green lake. Here at the Miradouro, you can also stop at the Monte Palace Hotel, which is abandoned, and suspected to be haunted! On the way down to the town of Sete Cidades, there are other wonderful locations to visit such as Lagoa do Canario and also Boca do Inferno Viewpoint. The town of Sete Cidades is small and very traditional, a great place to wander around and grab a bite to eat! While in Sete Cidades, we recommend visiting Sao Nicolau church!
6. Explore the Terra Nostra Park!
Get ready for a brilliant adventure at Terra Nostra Park, and bring along your swimsuit! This romantic botanical park boasts thousands of plants and trees from around the world in gardens dating back 200 years! You’ll also get a chance to bathe in the thermal pools of the Park, and can even grab a bite to eat at the onsite restaurant. Take some time to explore, as the walking trails are quite lovely and you’ll find the most incredible flowers and plants along the way
7. Go Underground at Gruta do Carvao
We know the Azores are created by volcanic activity dating back thousands of years, but why not take a bit to get to know the largest lava tunnel on the island of Sao Miguel? Extending over 2500 meters, this natural creation is worth a visit! You’ll start your tour with a video presentation, get kitted up with a helmet and head underground! We recommend wearing sturdy shoes to get around inside and photos are allowed, so bring along your camera! If you plan on visiting other islands, you can find more lava cave tours. If you are on Terceira Island, check out Algar do Carvao or , Gruta das Torres on Pico Island. or Capelinhos Volcano on Faial Island.
8. Enjoy a Cup of Tea!
Gorreana tea is one of the oldest teas of Europe, and is currently the only plantation in the continent! A combination of museum and factory, you’ll enjoy walking around the plantation and learning all about tea production and get to sample the green and black tea!
9. Learn all about Pineapples!
Pineapples are known as the fruit of the island, why not visit the Arruda Pineapple Plantation? A fantastic experience ending with tastings of fresh pineapple and even pineapple liquor! There is also a gift shop on the grounds with lots of fun souvenirs and of course fresh pineapple for sale!
10. Go Island Hopping!
With nine islands, you will most certainly want to get around and know more of Azores than the popular Sao Miguel. It’s quite easy to get around the central islands by ferry and you can cover quite a few islands during your stay! There are daily ferries between the islands of Sao Miguel, Sao Jorge, Terceira, Faial and Pico, and they are relatively close by, so you would be looking at 30 to 90 minutes each way.