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Azores

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Hydrangea-clad road in the Azores

The Azores [1] are a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean and are an autonomous region of Portugal. It is an ultra peripheral area of the European Union.


Latest census data reports just over 250,000 residents live on the islands. Estimates are that more than 2,000,000 emigrants and their descendants live off the islands, primarily in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and mainland Europe.

Regions[edit]

It consists (mainly) of 9 islands:

With major emigration from the Azores in the early and mid 20th century, many people also refer to a 10th Island in the New England areas of Fall River, Province Town, and Providence. But there are so many areas where Azoreans have settled from Canada to Hawaii, from California to Florida, and dotted across the world. It is not fair to name any one location as the tenth island. But the Azorean Diaspora is strong and proud of their history and ancestry. To solve the problem dispersing away from the islands has caused, the Global Village of Azores Nation [2] has sprung up to help unite the Diaspora in the true tenth island, online where thousands of people from and connected to the Azores gather to socialize and share stories from their lives, wherever they may live now.

Cities[edit]


Understand[edit]

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

Climate[edit]

The Azores islands have a subtropical climate with high humidity and often experience fluctuations in weather patterns.

Talk[edit]

The official language in Azores is Portuguese. On most of the nine islands, the variety of Portuguese spoken is very similar to standard European Portuguese. The primary exception is the dialect spoken by many of the inhabitants of the largest island, Sao Miguel, where the many individuals employ a local "Micaelense" dialect [3] very unlike that found on the Portuguese mainland. In fact, even the people from Mainland Portugal and the other Azorean islands find it difficult to understand them at first. For those visiting the Azores on holiday, however, the good news is that most of the people involved with tourism speak at least enough English to be able to communicate with tourists.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The main hub is in Ponta Delgada Airport (PDL).

Major carriers serving include


  • SATA Airlines [4] Is based in the Azores. (US tel.: 800-762-9995, Portugal: 351 296 209 748) connects New England, Oakland and Canada with the Azores, with flights from Boston and Toronto. The carrier is part of the SATA Group and called Azores Express in the US (had interline agreements with US Airways) and SATA Express in Canada (interline agreement with WestJet), which connects the Azores with mainland Portugal. Connects Azores with major European hubs like London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris, it also has a useful connection to Gran Canaria, Madeira and serveral other European destinations.
  • TAP [5] Portugal's flag carrier, also flies on the major connections between Lisbon and Funchal.

Get around[edit]

On most islands there you can rent a car. On most islands there are also bus services that run around the islands, crossing the main villages. On the smaller islands however, these may have only a few runs per day, or none at all on certain days (Sundays, holidays).

These being volcanic islands, in many places the terrain is steep and rugged. The roads wind around very steep hillsides. Cycling around the islands is possible if you are in great shape, and don't mind a lot of hill climbing.

This is a great place for going around island to island and even town to town by boat. Almost every town is on the shore and most have ports. One of the best known sailing ports in the world is Horta, on Faial Island. There is a large and fully equipped marina that has catered for many famous boats and regattas. The marina is ideally placed in downtown Horta. Some other islands have marinas, like Terceira and São Miguel. Even when a marina is not present many of the larger villages have a harbour suitable for mooring a sailboat or yacht.

See[edit][add listing]

Lagoa das Sete Cidades, a beautiful hour glass green and blue body of water known as a caldera northwest of Ponta Delgada. It is storied with myths and legends.

Lagoa das Furnas, an active caldera with steam vents, mud pots and geysers, locals cook food in earth ovens available in picnic areas.

Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake) is a beautiful caldera lake high up in the mountain and known for its dramatic views and white sand beach.

At Faial Island see Horta Harbour where all sail boat stop, Faial Caldera and Capelinhos volcano.

At Pico Island you can climb the mountain, 2351 meters above sea level. It is the tallest mountain in Portugal. Idealy you climb the mountain in the afternoon so you can see the sundown when you are in the top. Normally it takes 2 to 3 hours to climb. More if you are not fit. Then in the morning to see the sunset you climb a little mountain that is called Pico Pequenino (Little Pico) that the mountain has on the top. From there you can see the islands of Faial and São Jorge perfectly.


Itineraries[edit]

Sao Miguel, fly to Faial from Ponta Delgada, take the boat to Pico Island, take a boat for Whale watching at Faial or Pico, climb the Pico mountain if you are in good shape, take the channel boat to S. Jorge and then fly to Terceira Island. In each Island the best is to rent a car (cheaper) or to hire a taxi to see around all the Islands and enjoy the views.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Whale and Dolphin Watching . Every town with a Marina offers whale watching. They take you out on small boats and often get you within ten yards of the whale.
  • Velvet Adventure Sailing, [6] Spend time sailing between the islands and exploring what each one has to offer. The boat moors in sheltered marinas or anchors in secluded bays.
  • Angra, a historical city, an UNESCO heritage patrimony city, in Terceira island. (Airport: Terceira (TER)/ Lajes / Praia da Vitoria/ Angra).
  • Off-road mountain bike circuits
  • Moto 4 Rides
  • Bird Watching
  • Donkey Rides
  • Fishing
  • Sport Fishing
  • Diving
  • Ferry
  • Yachting
  • Hiking
  • Rental Bike, riding bike is a great way to get to know the islands.
  • Guided Tours
  • Volcano Climbing at Pico island
  • Canyoning at São Jorge [7]

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Handcraft from all the islands is very good.
  • Tea - one of only two places in Europe that produce tea (the other is Cornwall).

Eat[edit][add listing]

Fresh fish is very good. There is also a large amount of cattle on the island and the local grass fed beef is very good. There is a "meat and potatoes" mentality when it comes to the cuisine and vegetables can sometimes be hard to come by. Sao Jorge is famous for its cheese and must be tried. Fresh pineapple from Sao Miguel is unbelievably good.

Drink[edit][add listing]

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

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

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Stay safe[edit]

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

Get out[edit]

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

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