Nine volcanic islands make up the Azores archipelago in the North Atlantic. Sao Miguel, Faial, Terceira, Pico, Santa Maria, Corvo, Flores, Sao Jorge and Graciosa.
All nine islands are often called the Hawaii of Europe, and it’s not hard to see why. These tropical islands are surrounded by stunning coastlines, unspoiled nature, and natural beauty.
Although the Azores are a part of Portugal, they have their own culture, history, and traditions, making life different from the mainland.
These islands offer something for everyone, whether you’re on a backpacking trip, travelling as a family, or on your own.
Just some of the fun experiences you can have in the Azores, include, adventure tours, walking tours and even a variety was water activities such as whale & dolphin watching, and canoeing.
For this 1 week’s itinerary to the Azores, I have included 4 nights staying in Sao Miguel and 3 nights in Faial with a day trip to Pico Island. Here’s why:
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Sao Miguel is the biggest Azorean island. It is made up of six volcanic complexes making this island beautiful, with stunning lakes, and thermal springs.
Like all nine islands, it is impossible to not find something exciting to do. There are activities and tours to fit everyone’s requirements while ensuring you do not miss out on everything there is to see.
You can choose between food tours, jeep tours taking you off the beaten path, and many more.
Must-see places include Ponta Delgada, Furnas, and Sete Cidades.
Located in the centre of the Azores, you will find the Island of Faial. A beautiful island covered in blue hydrangeas during the summer months.
Here is where the last volcanic eruption happened and there is still evidence of this today. See how this island is still standing after the volcanic activities.
Faial is surrounded by picturesque views of Pico mountain and a dramatic coastline.
On Pico island, you will find the tallest mountain in Portugal. It has the tallest point at 2351m high.
It is possible to hike on Pico mountain however I have not included hiking on this itinerary as it takes around 7 hours therefore there wouldn’t be any time. If you do want to climb the mountain, I recommend staying 1 night in Pico so you can dedicate a full day to the hike.
This island is covered in grey volcanic rock left by volcanic eruptions. Even houses in rural places are made from volcanic rock so it’s definitely an interesting sight to see.
How To Get There
Flights to the Azores are operated by Tap Portugal and Azores Airlines. Depending on where you are departing from, you may be required to transit at Lisbon airport. Usually, the transit time is only a couple of hours.
Most international flights will arrive into the main island which is Sao Miguel (Ponta Delgada). You will then need to get another flight onto any of the other islands.
Click here to check the best flight options.
Getting Around The Azores
Flying – Island hopping is easy in the Azores. Flights are operated by SATA. There are daily flights between each island.
Ferry – Ferries are the easiest way to get between Faial, Pico, and Sao Jorge. There are many ferries throughout the day. You can purchase tickets locally at the ticket office.
Car – Car hire is a great and affordable option on all islands. Driving around is pretty simple too. The roads are clear and there are many signs.
Transfers – If you book activities to other parts of the island, most of them will pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation.
Where To Stay
No matter which island you visit, they are not short of amazing options on where to stay. Choose between hotels in the town centre or rural properties in the middle of nature.
Sao Miguel – I recommend staying in Ponta Delgada. There are many options and some hotels have beautiful views of the ocean.
Another place I would recommend staying is in Furnas. In Furnas, you are closer to nature and get a real feeling of life in the Azores.
Faial – I recommend staying in Horta, the capital of Faial. Horta is a beautiful town by the harbour with great restaurants and stunning views. Activities will also start from Horta.
Sao Miguel, Faial, and Pico all offer fun activities to give you the chance to explore every beautiful part of the island.
Most activities mentioned in this itinerary can be booked through viator.com. I love booking activities on viator.com. They are easy to use, have great prices, and allow you to cancel an activity free of charge up to 24 hours before.
Check out this ultimate 1 week itinerary to The Azores:
Day 1 – Arrive in Sao Miguel
Arrive into Ponta Delgada airport and take your pre-booked transfer to your accommodation.
Check in to your room and settle in.
If you have time in the evening go for a walk nearby where you are staying.
Get lots of rest so you can be prepared for your fun week ahead.
Day 2 – Sao Miguel
Today, go on an ‘Off The Beaten Track Jeep Tour’ to Sete Cidades, in the western part of Sao Miguel.
This is a half-day tour starting at 9 am and taking you on a 4-hour journey. You will be picked up from Ponta Delgada, either from your hotel or if you are not staying in the Ponta Delgada you will be picked up from the town centre.
You will see beautiful lakes including the most spectacular lake in the Azores, Lagoa das Sete Cidades, a lake that half of it is green and the other half is blue.
Another thing you will get the chance to see is the Lagoa das Empadadas – a lake surrounded by Japanese Cedars and Azaleas.
You will also be driven around the crater to see the amazing views of the Sete Cidades Crate. Be prepared for breathtaking views.
At the end of the trip, you will be taken back to Ponta Delgada. Just in time to try out one of Ponta Delgada’s great restaurants for some tasty local food.
This afternoon explore Ponta Delgada and go on a ‘Best of Ponta Delgada Walking Tour’. Learn about the town’s history and culture, and visit some of the most important points including the Porta’s da Cidade, a landmark in the middle of Ponta Delgada.
You will also visit the Botanical gardens, described by locals as a magical garden.
Day 3 – Sao Miguel
See a side to Sao Miguel that hasn’t yet been discovered by many. Today join the tour ‘Hidden Gems of Sao Miguel Island Full Day Tour’ and get ready to go off the beaten track and get to know the real Sao Miguel.
This tour starts at 9 am from Ponta Delgada and lunch is included.
You will spend the day visiting waterfalls, coasts, and mountains. Seeing picturesque views wherever you go.
This tour is suitable for everyone as there are no difficult walks involved.
Day 4 – Sao Miguel
Today, spend the day exploring Furnas. Furnas is known for its hot springs, and thermal pools, and is also where the traditional dish ‘Cozido’ is cooked.
This is a full-day tour that will take you to Furnas and also the Terra Nostra Garden. This garden is home to an iron-rich hot water swimming pool with temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees. This is a unique experience and you will get the chance to go for a swim in the pool.
This tour will start and end in Ponta Delgada. The duration of the tour is 8 hours.
Day 5 – Arrive into Faial
It’s time to say goodbye to Sao Miguel and head over to the island of Faial. There are regular flights from Sao Miguel, so catch a late afternoon flight and spend one last morning in Ponta Delgada.
This morning go on another amazing adventure and go Whale & Dolphin watching.
You will go on a RIB Boat along the Southern Coast with a guide. The guide will take you to where there have been recent sightings of whales and dolphins.
There are more than 20 different species in the Azorean water. You will get 3 hours to try and spot a few.
In the afternoon, head over to the airport for your flight to Faial.
Once you have arrived and checked in to your accommodation, go for a stroll by the harbour in Horta, taking in all the stunning views.
Day 6 – Faial
Spend the day getting to know the beautiful island of Faial. Join the Faial Full Day Tour to see the island’s most amazing and interesting parts.
You will visit ‘Capelinhos’, the location of the last volcano to erupt in the Azores back in 1958. An amazing sight you will not want to miss. There is also a lighthouse here and you will be able to climb to the top to be met with panoramic views.
This tour will also take you to ‘Flamengos’ – known as the only parish in Faial that is surrounded just by mountains and volcanos.
Visit some of the Azores’ most beautiful beaches and also ‘Caldeira’ which is the largest volcanic crater in the Azores.
This tour will pick you up from your accommodation and will last for 8 hours before heading back to Horta.
Day 7 – Faial
Leave Faial for the day and go visit its neighbouring island, Pico. Pico island is packed with culture and history so you will not want to give it a miss.
On this tour, you will learn about its whaling history, visit amazing wineries and explore rural villages.
See miles of stunning landscapes and an island covered in grey volcanic ash.
At the end of the trip you will be taken back to Horta by ferry.
Day 8 – Return Home
The amazing week in Azores has come to an end. Time to make your way to Horta airport and catch your flight home.