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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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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