January through to March tends to be the quietest time of year. That’s mainly due to the weather – you could see a week of sunshine but you might also see a little rain – which helps to make it cheapest time of year to visit the larger islands of Sao Miguel and Terceira. Both islands are great if you enjoy exploring on foot or by car, the restaurants and café bars are pretty quiet, and you’ll have your choice of the best rooms at the best hotels.
The Azores Rally usually runs towards the end of March. It’s very popular with the residents of Sao Miguel – if you’re not a rally fan but you’re planning to visit the island’s beauty spots, we’ll structure your trip so the rally doesn’t disrupt your stay.
Sao Miguel’s Tremor Festival has now settled into a regular slot in the last weekend in March. 2023 will be the festival’s tenth anniversary – it’s best described as a leftfield music festival, and it’s gradually grown into a major component of the islands’ thriving contemporary arts scene.
The islands have long been acknowledged as the best place in Europe to observe ocean wildlife, and April through to the end of May is arguably the best time to visit the Azores for whale and dolphin watching. Resident species of common dolphins and sperm whales can be seen throughout the year, whilst spring sees the larger migratory species passing through as blue whales and fin whales head north for the summer months. It’s not an exact science but sightings generally peak in April and May – our Blue Whale Watching holiday is dedicated to sighting these magnificent beasts.
The Festas do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres (or Santo Cristo for short) is the largest religious festival in the Azores. It’s centred around the capital Ponta Delgada and the city’s hotels fill-up very quickly, very early in the year. For 2023, Santo Cristo will be from 12th to 19th May.
June’s Sanjoaninas festival on the island of Terceira is one of the Azores’ most popular, most colourful week-long celebrations, with the streets of the capital Angra de Heroismo filled with parades, concerts, street theatre and the best street food. The festival always adopts a theme – we’re still wating for 2023’s theme to be announced, but the festival will run from 17th to 25th June.
Splitting your stay between Terceira and it’s smaller neighbour Graciosa is a great way of experiencing the two sides of the Azores: culture and cuisine courtesy of Terceira, and peaceful, rural living on idyllic Graciosa.
For many, July and August are the best time to visit the Azores. Being the hottest months, it’s peak season and the most popular time to visit all the islands – particularly Sao Miguel and Terceira as they’re both well-connected to the outside world by direct flights from the UK, USA, Canada and mainland Portugal. It’s important to add: even in this peak period, the Azores are never as busy as the big capital cities of mainland Europe.
The smaller islands of Santa Maria, Flores and Graciosa are always fairly quiet, which is a big part of their appeal, but we strongly recommend booking holidays to these islands early – accommodation is very limited and fills up extremely quickly.
July’s Walk and Talk Arts Festival began life as a Ponta Delgada-based contemporary arts project in 2011. It’s expanded rapidly to encompass the whole of Sao Miguel and (since 2016) the island of Terceira. The festival’s focus hasn’t changed: to encourage the creation of new art inspired by, and in dialogue with, the Azores. It’s always a diverse program of exhibitions, artist-in-residency seminars, dance and theatre performances, and concerts in urban, rural, indoor and outdoor spaces.
If you’re not tied to the school holidays, September is the best time to visit the Azores if you’re thinking of an island hopping holiday. Our most popular combinations of islands are Sao Miguel, Flores and Faial, followed closely by Sao Miguel, Sao Jorge and Terceira. If you’re a keen walker, September’s ideal for hiking the three central islands of Faial, Sao Jorge and Pico – combining the very best of the Azorean trail network.
Also in September, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series makes it’s annual visit to Sao Miguel. It’s an exciting, fairly bonkers event as (professional) competitors high-dive from the Ilhue d’ Vila – a collapsed, extinct volcano just off the coast of Vila Franca do Campo. COVID prevented the series visiting the islands this year, but we’re hoping it’ll make a triumphant return in 2023. Whale watching trips are suspended on the weekend of the event – we’ll carefully plan your stay so you’re able to whale watch midweek and attend the diving series.
Heading towards the end of the year, October and November are the months we tend to visit ourselves – the islands are quiet after the summer peak and the sea’s still warm enough for a little wild swimming. It’s also the best time to take advantage of our exclusive Special Offers – keep an eye on our Holiday Ideas page or follow us on Facebook to grab the best deals.
And finally into December – Azorean’s love Christmas and New Year, and a tailor-made variation on our Best of Sao Miguel holiday would be the ideal way to make the most of the islands’ festivities.
You could spend Christmas Day relaxing in the iconic hot springs and geothermal swimming pools at the Terra Nostra Hotel in Furnas, before welcoming in the New Year in the capital city Ponta Delgada.
The Praca de Goncalo Velha square is the place to be – there’s live music by the famous Portas do Mar city gates, and as the clock of the Igreja Sao Sebastiao tolls the countdown to midnight, the marina is illuminated by an explosion of fireworks.
We specialise in tailor-made holidays to the nine islands of the Azores. Our experienced team of specialists are ready to put together your personalised trip; just give them a call on 017687 721020.
Our island hopping holiday to the Azores was absolutely amazing,
This is a long email, so you might want to go grab yourself a cuppa before you start reading.
We just wanted to send you an email to say thank you so much for everything.
Our island hopping holiday to the Azores was absolutely amazing, it was far beyond our dreams and expectations, and that is certainly because of you and all your plans in putting this together for us. We just loved every second (apart from me and canyoning, we do not get along, but the boys absolutely loved it!) we just can’t believe all the things that we have seen, and done, and learned about! What an incredible place!
We have certainly been bitten by the Azorean bug and we can’t wait to get back there to explore the other islands. They’re very special places, each of them for their own right.
We felt as though we were treated like royalty from the minute we arrived in Sao Miguel, even the weather was kind to us (largely) we seemed to miss the adverse weather, either arriving somewhere that had had storms the day before, or leaving just before they arrived. We did have one morning of heavy rain when we went to the tropical gardens at Furnas, but we did manage to see some of the gardens before we gave up and went back to Caloura, where there was glorious sunshine, so we spent the afternoon at the pool and made the most of the Especial and fresh lemonade from the snack bar.
Every single person that we met, we were struck by how hard they work, and how happy they all are. Many of them never leaving the island they were born on, because, why would they want to?!
We love the Azorean people and their love and pride for their islands. Their sustainable way of living also struck deep with us. It’s the way we try very hard to live ourselves. Dave’s business is retrofit insulation, preparing old housing stock to a better more eco friendly way of conserving energy, so the way they live and respect their land, was of great interest to us.
For us all, Flores is a very special place. We went to the restaurant maresia while we were there and met the owner and his son. Although the restaurant itself is eclectic to say the least, after chatting to Vincent, we understood his dads way of living and the food was outstanding! We can’t wait to visit again.
All of our guides were amazing! Their knowledge and passion is admirable.
We just loved every second and can’t thank you enough for making our trip so smooth and completely stress free.
I will spend today writing reviews online for all the companies and guides that helped us on our trip.
A million thanks to you all Jake.
The Cole family
Personal service and efficient!
You really listened to what type of holiday we wanted and tailored our week accordingly. You understood what we were looking for and were so helpful and knowledgeable. Very personal service and efficient!
Linda from Norfolk
Professional and personal service!
Everything you do, you seem to do it professionally. I know I’m not your only client, but you make me feel like I am.
Bryan from Stoke
Azores Choice provided a prompt, helpful service. they found us the perfect accommodation for our needs and provided superb, expert advice on how to spend our week walking on San Miguel. I would certainly use them again.
Joan from Durham
Recommended small travel company!
Great little company with friendly staff. Organisation of flights & accommodation very efficient. When problems arise they are helpful and very reasonable in their efforts to resolve them. We would definitely use them again for a return trip.
Really great! Would use again!
Very efficient, friendly, helpful. Excellent local knowledge. Everything ran very smoothly, from supplying the tickets to airport pick ups and hotel bookings. Lovely accommodation selected. No complaints!
A wonderful break in a beautiful environment!
Everything was excellent. The information and organisation, the hotel and the island itself all exceeded our expectations. Whale watching and other trips out, fantastic. We will book again!
Great honeymoon package and experience!
They provided a great package at a good price. We found them to be helpful and a quality service was provided.
Nicola and Christopher – Winchester
Top notch service. Highly recommended!
Excellent service throughout. Very informative, with lots of literature, maps and the like. Attended their offices in Ponta Delgada – very impressed with Olivia, friendly and helpful. Paul was first class.
Lynne in Welton-by-Lincoln
Great company for first time Azores visit!
Really great company, will be recommending them. We had never visited the Azores before but this company helped us decided which islands to visit.