Composed of nine volcanic islands 950 miles west of Lisbon lies the stunning Azores archipelago. Often described as the tips of the lost continent of Atlantis, the islands maintain an Old World charm that is difficult to find almost anywhere else in Europe.
Our tailor-made Azores holidays allow you to discover the wildlife, the people and the spectacular volcanic scenery of each unique island. Choose from our inspiring range of activities, and we’ll help you put together an unforgettable Azores experience.
Getting to the Azores
Flight connections to the Azores from the UK, mainland Europe, the USA and Canada are excellent and there are lots of options to consider. There are weekly direct flights from the UK with a flight time of 3½ hours and daily flights via Lisbon from Heathrow and Manchester. There are also direct flights from Lisbon, Oporto, Funchal, Toronto, Montreal, Boston and San Francisco. Most routes are served by TAP Air Portugal and Azores Airlines (previously SATA Air Azores) but the budget airlines, Ryanair and Easyjet also provide some convenient connections.
Getting around the Azores
All nine islands are linked by regular inter-island flights and there are reasonable ferries between a few of them.
These are fairly limited but it is possible to sail between Flores and Corvo, between São Miguel and Santa Maria and there is a good service around the central group of islands, particularly between Faial, Pico and São Jorge.
These are an excellent way of getting around as many drivers speak English and prices are very low compared to the UK. The vehicles are generally quite new and of a high standard.
This is available on most islands and we can reserve this for you. Vehicles are generally fairly new and range from super mini to people carrier. Petrol is a little lower in price than the UK. The Portuguese drive on the right and the Azorean roads, although sometimes bumpy, are generally quiet and fairly well sign posted on main routes. Mopeds and bicycles are also available for hire and a European style license (with photo ID) is required for all motorised vehicle hire.
All nine islands are linked by the local airline (Azores Airlines/SATA Air Azores), whose planes operate scheduled flights around the archipelago. They operate like buses flying to one island, stopping for 20 minutes, then flying on to another island, making island hopping easy. Planes used are usually 40 and 80 seat twin propeller Bombardiers.
If you're not in a rush, then the Azores are a wonderful place to sail. We have access to skippered yachts (and some bareboat) on Sao Miguel, Terceira and Faial and itineraries can be tailored to you as long as the weather cooperates. For more information on sailing, see our Activity page.
Visas are not needed by UK or EU passport holders. You should check with your nearest Portuguese consulate if you have a passport other than these. Check your passport is valid until after your planned return date and it is recommended that you take a copy of your travel insurance policy for consultation in case of emergency.
There are no special health formalities for visitors to the Azores and local hospitals are well equipped, should you be taken ill. We will let you know of any special fitness requirements for tours before booking.
There is no additional hotel tax in the Azores, however all hotels in Lisbon are required to charge a room tax of €1 per person per night. At present this tax cannot be pre-paid and all hotels are required to issue a guest invoice at either check-in or departure in order to collect the tax. Children under 12 years are exempt and the total is subject to a maximum of €7 per guest.
Travellers cheques are expensive to cash but ATM machines are common in most towns – remember to take your PIN number for your ATM card though! Credit cards are only accepted in larger restaurants and shops so you will still need currency (Euros) for smaller establishments.
The Azores are UTC/GMT -1 hour. Lisbon / mainland Portugal is on GMT.
There are many pleasant cafés and restaurants (many of which we list in our 'mini-guide' to the Azores book we send to you when booking) on all the islands and prices are reasonable. For dinner (with wine) allow £12-£25 per person, although it can be done more economically. Local beef, pork and chicken are readily available and few dishes are highly spiced. Local fish is a speciality and greatly varied. Azorean bread and cheese are excellent and easy to find. Salads are fairly readily available although often are quite basic and vegetarian dishes are slowly starting to appear on menus. There are small supermarkets in most towns and like all shopping, prices are displayed and fixed. It is safe to drink the water from the tap.
If you do not speak Portuguese, you should not worry about getting by in the Azores. Many Azoreans have lived abroad for part of their lives and the young people often speak excellent English. Learning a few Portuguese phrases is always appreciated however, and you can make friends quickly if you have a go – our 'mini-guide' information booklet contains some phrases to get started!
The Azores must be one of the safest holiday destinations. There is very little crime and no dangerous animals. The Azoreans are very family focused so children are welcome everywhere and our clients always comment on how hospitable and friendly everyone is.
The weather in the Azores is changeable! The islands enjoy a mild temperate climate throughout the year and benefit from the Gulf Stream; a current of warm water that heads north east from the Gulf of Mexico. The average air temperature varies between 11 and 26°C depending on the time of year and the surrounding ocean averages between 15 and 23°C. Being so far out in the Atlantic, the islands are prone to rainy days at any time of year, and without these showers of course, you could not enjoy the beautiful flora on the islands.