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Know before you go: Azores Islands travel tips

Flower and coastline

Planning a trip to the Azores Islands? Check out these five Azores travel tips you should know before visiting!

1. YOU’LL NEED A CAR (OR A TOUR) TO GET AROUND

The Azores islands aren’t huge, but they’re big enough that you’re going to need some wheels if you want to explore. While there are tours available, renting a car will allow for much greater flexibility (plus plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the scenery!). Luckily—and I can only vouch for São Miguel here—roads are well-kept, traffic is light and driving is easy.

View of the shore on Sao Miguel Azores

2. WATCH OUT FOR STOPPED CARS

São Miguel is full of beautiful hydrangeas in shades I’ve never seen anywhere else in the world. It’s not just visitors who like them, though. Multiple times on our trip, we encountered cars stopped in the middle of the road while their drivers picked flowers on the side of it. There are lots of windy roads and blind curves on São Miguel, so watch your speed going around them or risk rear-ending a flower-picker.

hydrangeas overlooking the ocean
hydrangeas overlooking a cliff near the ocean

3. THE BEST VIEWPOINTS ARE MARKED

Driving around the Azores, it’s tempting to want to stop every few feet to take photos. The views are really just that amazing. But luckily, the Portuguese have already scouted out the very best ones for you.

If you learn one word on your trip, make it “miradouro,” which means viewpoint. You’ll see signs all around Portugal clearly marking where to stop, and each miradouro has ample parking. Every time we thought to ourselves, “This should be a miradouro! They missed one!” we would drive past a miradouro 30 seconds later with even better views that what we’d found. Seriously, they really thought of everything. 

Miradouro sign
Tiled Miradouro de Santa Iria sign

4. DON’T RELY ON WEATHER CAMERAS

If you read anything about weather in the Azores, you’re likely to hear that it can be pretty unpredictable. If you’re trying to plan your activities around the weather, your concierge or tourguide is likely to point you to the webcams set up near popular sights; they allow people to scope out conditions before venturing out. 

Don’t believe everything you see, though. We saw nothing but solid cloud cover blocking Lagoa do Fogo for two straight days on the webcam, and when we finally drove over there to see for ourselves, the entire lake was perfectly visible!

Lagoa do Fogo from above

5. THE WATER’S FINE

If you’re anything like me, island = swimming opportunities. But if you’ve missed summer, don’t worry too much about the temperatures you might see in the forecast. São Miguel is bubbling with geothermal activity, making for tons of hot springs across the island. You can enjoy the warm water any time of year! 

Outdoor pool at Furnas Boutique Hotel

Stairs down to cliffside hot springs
People in outdoor hot springs pool

Orange hot springs pool

For more on the Azores, check out these posts on the perfect four-day itinerary for São Miguel and our award stay at Azor Hotel.

Hope you found Azores travel tips helpful! Are you planning a trip to the Azores? What other questions do you have? Let me know in the comments! >>

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Carly

November 4, 2018

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3 Comments

  1. Reply

    Nadalie Bardo

    December 8, 2018

    Such a gorgeous place to visit. I could take a dip in that pool. The perfect place to explore!

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