This post details my 10 day Azores itinerary and is part of my Travel Itineraries series which details my trip summaries, reflections, and tips to help you plan your trip.
Some of the things you can expect to find in these posts include:
- Quick Overview of the Trip: Purpose, Transportation, Time of Year, etc.
- Daily Breakdown: Sightseeing, Food highlights, etc.
- Succinct Trip Reflections: What I would leave out, adjust, and keep
- Links to More Information: Blog Posts, Pinterest Planning Board, Useful Websites, etc.
When researching places for our honeymoon, the Azores popped up on my radar. While we ended up in New Zealand for our honeymoon (See 13 Day New Zealand Itinerary), the Azores stayed on my mind. Eventually, we had a period of vacation time and circumstances that made an Azorean itinerary a good fit. In addition to being snake-free, the landscapes and unique location were a major draw. We also wanted a place where we could unwind and relax.
Time of Year
10 days (not including the night we arrived and the morning we left)
Getting There and Around
We flew round-trip from Frankfurt to Lisbon. Then we took flights from Lisbon to the Azores. We flew to each island and rented cars there. We pre-booked the rental cars and pick up/drop off was at the airport.
You Should Know That…
There are nine islands that make up the Azores. We visited three: Terceira (3 days), Pico (3 days), and São Miguel (4 days). We chose these islands based on ease of travel, sites offered, and difference from one another. I had to spend some days working on my dissertation during this trip and I also got a little cold. So there are days where we didn’t do much, but you could fill them with activities. Also, for each island I will summarize any food highlights.
Day 1: Terceira
We arrived late in the evening the night before, picked up our rental car, and drove to our hotel in Angra do Heroísmo. We had a relaxed morning and in the afternoon we drove around the island (clockwise). Our main stops were Biscoitos, Quatros Ribeiras, Lajes, Praia da Vitória, and São Sebastian. I really enjoyed seeing such a diversity of sites around the island and it was a good way to kick off our trip.
Day 2: Terceira
I worked in the morning. In the afternoon we hiked Monte Brasil near Angra do Heroísmo. This was a super enjoyable hike with great views of the coast and ocean.
Terceira Food Highlights
Restaurante Caneta: We had lunch at this fairly famous restaurant in Altares.
Tasca das Tias: We enjoyed a dinner at this cozy restaurant in Angra with plenty of comfort options.
Day 3: Terceira + Pico
In the morning we drove to the highest point in Terceira – Santa Bárbara. While this is definitely an industrial area, it was great to see the view. We departed Terceira and flew to Pico.
At the Pico airport, we picked up our rental car and headed to Prainha. In Prainha we stayed in an ‘agriturismo’ right at the water. It was our favorite accommodation of the trip.
Day 4: Pico
We attempted to go on a whale-watching tour, but opted to go the next day because the conditions were not ideal to see a whale. Instead, we toured various lagoas (lakes) in the eastern part of the island including Lagoa da Rosada and Lagoa do Capitão. Then we drove to Madelena to see Museum of Wine and have dinner.
Day 5: Pico
We visited the Museu dos Baleeiros (Museum of Whalers). I especially appreciated the documentary that they encourage you to watch before visiting the rest of the museum.
Then we (successfully) went on a whale-watching tour. For the rest of the day, we drove around the eastern part of the island after relaxed in our agriturismo.
Day 6: Pico
I was a little sick this day. We originally wanted to hike Mount Pico in the morning, but we slept in instead.
In the early afternoon, we visited the Gruta das Torres, which is a cave and the largest lava tube in Portugal. The cave can only be accessed by a guided tour so be sure to check the Gruta das Torres Visitors Center website to see when guided tours are occurring.
After, we checked out The Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture Interpretation Centre (CIPCVIP) in Lajido. This is a permanent exhibition that introduces visitors to vineyard culture in Pico.
Pico Food Highlights
Casa Âncora: This place has excellent food, drinks, and service. I loved their octopus. It was our favorite restaurant of our entire Azores trip.
Day 7: São Miguel
We flew into São Miguel and checked into our hotel in Ponta Delgada. We had lunch in town and I worked in the afternoon.
Day 8: São Miguel
We first visited Ponta da Ferraria, a popular ocean-side swimming spot that is heated by geothermal activity. While we didn’t go swimming ourselves, the views alone were worth seeing.
We then drove to the Sete Cidades – a massive volcanic crater. The iconic image of the Sete Cidades is the contrasting colors of the Lagoa Azul (blue lake) and Lagoa Verde (green lake) in one shot. We took in our first views of these lakes at the Visto do Rei. Right next to the Visto Rei is an abandoned hotel that boasts some of the best views of the two lakes (venture at your own risk).
We then went to the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno, which is a popular trail that allows you to see not only Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde, but also Lagoa do Santiago and Lagoa Rasa. While we didn’t have clear skies, the views were pretty great.
Up next was a quick visit to Lagoa do Canário.
We then stopped at the Miradouro do Cerrado das Freiras to take in more views of Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde before making our way down to the village of Sete Cidades (not just the name of the crater). We came too late to partake in any active water sports, but we did enjoy seeing Lagoa Azul up close.
Day 9: São Miguel
I worked in the morning. We hiked the Lagoa do Fogo in the early afternoon. This was our favorite hike of the trip.
Check out my post on visiting the Lagoa do Fogo.
Towards the late afternoon, we quickly visited the tea plantations in Gorreana.
Day 10: São Miguel
We spent the first part of the day driving around the Nordeste region. This area is often described as rugged and a bit wild given its irregular terrain and lush vegetation. We first stopped to see the Farol Do Arnel – the first lighthouse of the Azores. Just below the Farol Do Arnel is the Vista dos Barcos where we took in views of boats and the coast. We then visited the drove to two viewpoints in the Nordeste region – Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego and Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada. Both viewpoints house manicured lush gardens and plenty of spots to take in coastal views.
Then we drove to the village of Faial da Terra. From there we hiked a lush forest before arriving at the waterfall at Salto do Prego. We then drove to Furnas where we briefly visited the hot springs in Caldeiras and then ventured to have a quick peek at Lagoa das Furnas. The next day we took an early flight to Lisbon.
São Miguel Food Highlights
Louvre Michaelense: We came here for breakfast three times during our trip and it hits the spot if you like to have a more substantial breakfast. The breakfast area is on the second floor. If you feel like you might be walking into someone’s apartment, you’re in the right place.
Quinta dos Sabores: This quaint, family-run restaurant offers a set menu featuring primarily locally grown ingredients and flavors from around the world. Make sure to reserve in advance.
Travelling around the Azores was a fun and relaxing trip. It was interesting to see the difference in landscape across the 3 islands we visited. Overall, I was pretty happy with what we saw and the time we spent at the various sites and locations. Here are some quick reflections:
What I Would Leave Out
The main thing I would have left out from this trip was working on my dissertation. If you have to work while travelling, I do recommend staying somewhere with a view. The views from the agriturismo in Pico definitely made working more enjoyable.
Check out the post: 5 Tips for Writing Productivity While Travelling
What I Would Adjust
Personally, I have a hard time getting over the smell of sulfur. I don’t have anything against Furnas and I think it’s worth seeing. For me, a 20-minute visit at the Caldeiras would be more than sufficient because of the smell.
I honestly wish we made more time to swim and soak up certain spots. There were many instances where the weather and temperature didn’t allow for it, but I think it’s something we could have made a point to do. In São Miguel, thermal springs are a solid option if bad weather is forecasted for most of the day.
What I Would Definitely Keep
I really enjoyed the hikes on this trip. I felt like there were a lot of options and, for many places, we could adjust the trek to fit our needs (and fitness level) for that day.
Check out the post: Visting the Lagoa do Fogo in the Azores
If you ever wanted to go whale watching, I think the Azores (especially Pico) is the place to do it.
Renting a Car
I would 100% recommend renting a car (book it in advance). We saw so much on all three islands without feeling overwhelmed.
I hope our 10 day Azores itinerary helps you as you plan your trip. If you want additional resources, check out my Pinterest Planning Board for Azores Travel.
Be sure to check out my other Travel Itineraries!
Are you planning a trip to the Azores? What are you planning to check out? Let me know in the comments below!