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I’ve been lucky to have visited the Azores 5 or 6 times taking coach holidays on tour there. The Azores are an amazing destination to visit. Before we jump into the list let me just explain where and what they are!

Azores Holidays – What Are the Azores?

The Azores is an archipelego of 9 islands set off the coast of Portugal (about 1.5 hours flying time)

The Azores is an autonomous region of Portugal. They have their own President and some of their own laws.

Each of the 9 islands is completely different with different dialects, cultures, food and drink.

azores holidays post
The famous green and blue lakes

Holidays in the Azores

The Azores Are Still a Bit Undiscovered

If you ask people about the Azores most will not have heard of them and won’t be able to locate them.

In terms of tourism, whilst the Azores is growing in popularity, it doesn’t have, or indeed want large-scale developments. As such it still retains much of its local character. There aren’t lots of large hotels for example.

Whilst tourism numbers are growing they aren’t huge. Visitors are around 100,000 per year and around half of these are people from mainland Portugal or Portuegese people coming back from the USA for example.

The population of the Azores is 250,000 across all nine islands.

There is a sustainable tourism development plan to manage tourism activity and future plans.

Azores Holiday

The Azores Are Rural

Often holidays can involve going to cities or busy places such as resorts. However, the Azores are definitely rural even in the busiest parts of the islands.

That gives Azores Holidays a relaxing and laid-back feel.

The main things you are likely to get held up by on the roads are cows or tractors.

The Azores Holidays

Each of the Islands is Completely Different

Although I haven’t visited all of the Azores each of the islands I have visited has been completely different.

They have had different dialects, different foods, different scenery, different activities and a different culture.

Exploring the 4 main islands is like exploring 4 different destinations.

Holidays in Azores

The Azores are Beautiful

One of the things that the Azores are famous for is its hydrangeas. Interestingly these are not native but invasive species. They have now become a popular reason to visit the Azores.

There are so many other beautiful things to see in the Azores though. There are geothermal areas, beautiful coastlines, flat plains, stunning rock pools, caves including an extinct volcano, calderas, promenades and so much more.

In places, the Azores feel like a rainforest, in others like a lunar landscape or a huge farm. It is incredibly varied.

Azores Portugal Holiday

Whale Watching

If you go to the Azores you really should do some whale watching. It’s one of the best places to see whales as they stop and feed during their migrations. One guide described the Azores as a buffet for whales.

Faial is one of the best places to spot whales. There is a very deep channel between Faial and Pico which can be very rich in food.

Amazingly the old whale watch towers which were used to spot whales for hunting are now used to spot whales for tourists. Even more amazing is the fact that some of the whales passing through the Azores would have been around at the time they were hunted in the area.

Azores Portugal Holidays

The Azores are Very Safe

Wherever you go in the Azores you are going to be safe. The crime rate is very low. You are going to be on an island in the middle of the ocean so where is anybody going to go?

There is no need to worry about walking around on your own or late at night.

As with any travel it pays to be sensible of course!

Holidays to Azores

The Azoreans are Very Friendly

Whilst there is some inter-island rivalry the Azorean folk are super friendly. They enjoy tourists visiting.

Like folk in rural areas, they have time to chat, which is something that sometimes gets missed in our busy lives.

Holidays in the Azores

Amazing Food

The food in the Azores is amazing. The Azores were cooking with spices long before those of us in Western Europe knew what they were.

Each island has its special dishes and also its own cakes. The local cheese is amazing thanks to the local dairy industry. There are also locally grown pineapples which make wonderful jams.

From meat stews full of delicious spices to butternut squash coated in cinnamon aromatic spices feature a lot. There is also an abundance of fresh fish and the amazing dish of Cozido. Cozido is a meat and potato stew cooked in the ground using geothermal heat.

One of my favourites are Melia cakes. The name means honey cakes but my local guides said they should have been renamed Melanie cakes because I ate so many of them.

Holiday Azores

There’s Always a Festival

Festivals are a huge part of life in the Azores. There are religious festivals, fishing festivals, music festivals, and more.

Whatever time of year you travel there is likely to be something happening.

In Terceira, there is a rope bullfighting season. This bullfighting is a rite of passage for local young men trying to impress the young girls. The idea is to tough the bull on the head with your hand. The bulls are left to run through the village on very long ropes. No sticks or implements can be used. Once the bulls have done a few bullfights they get to spend the rest of the year relaxing in a field.

Further Reading

If you have found this Azores Holidays article useful you might also like;

Algarve Holidays – all you need to plan your trip

Monte Gordo – discover this Eastern Algarve gem

Vilamoura Holiday – all the practical info you need

Find more ideas of places to visit on my Travel Inspiration page

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