The Azores are often described as "Europe meets Hawaii" with a mix of Iceland's striking volcanic landscapes, but those who visit these islands will quickly realize that they are truly unique beyond comparison. Having remained relatively off the radar for decades, the islands remained largely untouched and undiscovered by tourists, perfectly preserving their natural beauty and authenticity.
The mild, temperate climate gives these islands year-round appeal for nature lovers, adventure sport and wellness seekers, food and culture buffs, surfers looking for an off-season jaunt and even bloggers and photography enthusiasts who will be blown away by the endless content they’ll find on the islands.
Beach bums and ocean lovers will be pleasantly surprised by the islands’ gorgeous black sand beaches, natural ocean pools, and world-class diving. Being located in the middle of the Atlantic brings unpredictable weather no matter the season. But, no matter the forecast, visitors and locals alike can enjoy the thermal pools of the Azores any time of year. You can find warm water to relax in year-round in one of the many natural thermal pools and hot springs.
How to get to the Azores? Getting here is easy, but leaving is hard
Portugal’s exotic, secret Azores Islands are the perfect destination for those looking for a place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature.
Smack in the middle of the deep blue Atlantic Ocean, they are the perfect place for a quiet retreat or wild adventure. But don’t let their remote location fool you — just a two-hour flight from mainland Portugal and a four-hour flight from Boston or Toronto, the Azores are much closer and more accessible than you might realize.
Getting around the Islands: We’re here to help
The locals in the Azores often joke around and say they go from one island to the other by foot when the tide is low; if only it were that easy! Though the islands appear fairly close to one another on a map, island hopping around the Azores requires a flight or two most of the time.
Inter-island flights run between all nine islands on a daily basis via the small regional airline Sata Air Açores. Flight time varies from as little as 20 minutes to an hour depending on the islands you’re flying between, and whether there are any short stops on other islands along the way.
Although culturally and geographically similar, each island of the Azores has its own distinct personality and flair. To truly experience the authenticity, uniqueness and striking natural beauty of these islands, make sure you visit more than one!
In addition to short inter-island flights, you can also get around between the islands by ferry. In the Summer months, the Atlânticoline ferries run various seasonal routes between all nine islands. Traveling between islands by ferry can be pretty time consuming, so unless you prefer a slow-paced cruise on the Atlantic, we’d recommend you plan to take flights.
There are a couple of exceptions to this seasonal ferry service that make visiting multiple islands on a shorter vacation easier and faster for visitors. If you plan to visit any of the islands in the “Triangle Group” of Faial, Pico and São Jorge, you can easily hop on a ferry for a day trip year-round. In fact, Faial and Pico Islands are so close to each other that many residents actually commute to work between the two. You can also travel between the islands in the Western Group, Flores and Corvo, by ferry year-round (weather permitting.)
ON THE GROUND TRANSPORTATION
You’ve made it to the Azores! Now it’s time to fully explore these beautiful islands. What’s the best way to get around? You have a few options.
Feel like having someone else do all the driving on your vacation? We’ve got you covered. Azores Youth Hostels partners with some of the best tour operators in the Azores to provide you with the best insider knowledge and local expertise on your guided tours and experiences.
Public Transportations & Taxis
Public buses are available, but they don’t run frequently. Taxis are an alternative option, but be sure to carry cash if you plan to use one as the local taxi service does not accept credit cards.