Everyone dreams of a tropical island getaway, and the first instinct is to travel to the Caribbean or even Southeast Asia. However, if you are looking for an intimate and less crowded alternative, one of the best places are the Azores Islands. The Azores are composed of nine volcanic islands in the Atlantic. In fact, almost all volcanoes on Portuguese soil are found in these islands. The islands are 2.5 hours away from Lisbon by plane and are relatively small (each with a population of less than 140,000). Azores Islands group tours are the perfect vacation getaway—off the beaten path and packed with attractions.
Azores Islands feature stunning landscapes, spectacular waterfalls, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and delicious cakes and biscuits.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Azores Islands travel destinations and activities below.
Azores Islands highlights and features
1. Montanha do Pico
On the tiny island of Pico is where you can find the highest point in all of Portugal—the Montanha do Pico. At 2,351 meters, this stratovolcano may appear menacing, usually disappearing into the clouds. However, many have since discovered that it is actually not too difficult to scale, and in fact, does not require advanced equipment. The jumping-off point is at the visitor center and there is a marked route to the summit. It is best to make an ascent on a clear day so you can get a clear view of the Graciosa, Faial, Terceira, and Sāo Jorge islands. This could also be the highlight of your Azores Islands photography adventure. The views are unbelievable!
2. Have cakes and biscuits
It is not often that you travel far for cakes and biscuits. But for Azores Islands—it is a journey worth taking. The islands serve their own cakes and biscuits, including Dona Amélia, which are small cakes made from melkana, eggs, corn flour, sugar, raisins, and cinnamon. These cakes were first created in 1901 to celebrate the visit of King Don Carlos and his wife from whom the cakes were named after. The horseshoe-shaped cookies called Especies de Sao Jorge and stuffed with filling including black pepper, fennel, lemon, and cinnamon are also worth trying. Another favorite is the Pudim conde da praia, made from sugar, potatoes, butter, eggs, lemon, and cinnamon.
3. Islet of Vila Franca do Campo
What better thing to do on vacation than sunbathing on the slopes of an ancient caldera and swimming in its crater? The islet of Vila Franca do Campo is a breathtaking spot, just a kilometer off Sāo Miguel. It is shaped like a partially submerged cone and has lush vegetation on its walls. The lagoon in the center is fed by the ocean but is completely shielded from currents. Going there is easy too, with a boat service from the pier.
The Azores provide the perfect reprieve from our busy lives. Azores Islands group tours allow you both moments of rest and adventure. So what are you waiting for?