The volcanic archipelago of the Azores, comprising nine islands jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, is still considered relatively uncharted territory for travelers. While these Portuguese territories have recently gained a reputation for their hot mineral springs and first-class whale-watching, the Azores are still a reasonably priced escape for visitors interested in vacationing off the beaten path. From the breathtaking volcano that practically overwhelms the island of Pico to the lush local flora of Terceira and the magnificent whale-watching tours of Faial, travel to the Azores will satisfy your wildest island daydreams. Let Travel + Leisure’s Azores travel guide point you to the best sights on all nine islands, with breathtaking natural wonders and adrenaline-pumping activities.
Things Not to Miss in the Azores
• Whale watching on Faial
• Visiting Lagoa das Furnas, a hot spring with steam vents, mud pots and geysers
• Climbing the volcano on Pico
• Bird-watching on São Miguel, where you may just see the endemic "Priolo"
• Hiking through the subtropical flora and hidden waterfalls of Flores
• Visiting the UNESCO heritage city of Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira Island
• Scuba diving off Terceira
When to Go to the Azores
The Azores enjoys a balmy climate year-round, so make your Azores travel plans at your leisure. Keep in mind that summers will be hotter and more humid, while the winter season sees cooler climates that might discourage any long swims in the Atlantic. Visit the Azores in the summer if you’re interested in whale watching; travel to the Azores in the spring for the ideal temperatures. However, the climate can be temperamental year-round, so be prepared for occasional showers and storms.