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10 must-have experiences in the Azores

Portugal's Azores Islands boast aquamarine seas, volcanoes and exotic wildlife. From bathing in thermal baths and cooking food in volcanic ovens to walking along the lush paths of Caldeira de Cima Gorge, here are our top-ten must-do experiences in the Azores.


Walk to Sete Cidades

Follow the hydrangea-lined path along the edge of the Caldeira Sete Cidades crater to uncover striking topaz-blue and emerald-green twin lakes. Beyond these giant green hollows, far-reaching views of the Atlantic Ocean stretch to the horizon. You'll feel on top of the world as you explore this natural phenomenon before descending to the picturesque bay of Lagoa Azul.

Visit Europe's oldest tea plantation

Head to São Miguel Island on our Azores Island Hopping Tour to find Europe's oldest commercial tea plantation. Emerald green tea plants cover the countryside, and local workers busily pick fragrant leaves ready for production. A family-run business, Gorreana was established in 1883, and the packing is still done by hand today. Take a tour of the factory, walk through the plantation and enjoy a delicious cup of freshly-brewed tea.

Hike amongst UNESCO World Heritage vineyards

Neat grids of knee-high stone walls stretch as far as the eye can see at Pico Island's UNESCO World Heritage vineyards. Producing delicious wine since the 15th century, these small squares, sheltering the grapes from the wind and trapping the sun's heat, each hold two or three vines. Wander amongst these iconic basalt walls and get a closer look at this fascinating cultivation before sampling a few of the local wines.

Feast on geothermal-cooked Cozido

Enjoy a delicious lunch cooked in the volcanic fumaroles of Lake Furnas on São Miguel Island on our Azores Island Hopping Tour. The traditional dish of Cozido is unique to the Azores. A mix of meats and a variety of locally grown vegetables are stewed in a pot and slow-cooked by natural geothermal heat underground. Not a process to be rushed, the stew is steamed for many hours before its ready, but the finished result is a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness that will have you begging for more.

Go whale-watching

The Azores archipelago is one of the largest whale sanctuaries in the world. Join our Azores Island Hopping Tour to go in search of giant sperm and short-nosed pilot whale swimming in the temperate coastal waters of Sao Miguel Island. Hugely respected by the locals, we view the whales at a safe distance. Still, even from afar, their mighty presence is remarkable and is a sight you'll treasure forever.

Swim in geothermal lakes

The incredible geothermal energy of São Miguel Island can be seen and felt on the beautiful shores of Lake Furnas where thermal springs and boiling mud pools bubble on the surface. Visit the botanical gardens of Terra Nostra on our Azores Island Hopping Tour to uncover mirror-calm ponds, giant lily pads and verdant trees. Let all of your worries fade away as you immerse yourself in this tranquil oasis and take the opportunity to bathe in the beautifully warm thermal pools.

Go back in time in Angra do Heroismo

The oldest city on Terceira Island, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angra do Heroismo, dates back to 1534. Charming Renaissance architecture built from local volcanic rock adorns every street plaza. Walk to the peninsula fort for spectacular views over the sheltered harbour and explore a labyrinth of narrow streets in the old town on our Azores Island Hopping Tour.

Trek across the black sands of Capelinhos volcano

Don your walking boots to explore a network of trails around the island's black volcanic sands. The eruption of Capelinhos volcano in 1958 buried much of the nearby coastline in deep layers of ash, and the abandoned lighthouse is the only building still visible above the surface of this newly formed terrain.

Ascend Pico Alto

Challenge yourself to climb the summit of Alto on the Azores Island of Pico on our Azores Island Hopping Tour. This eight-kilometre moderate-to-challenging walk boasts incredible views across the straits to neighbouring Faial Island. Clouds mask the peak of this domineering volcano, but smaller cones litter its craggy slopes, and lava flow caves have been carved into the rockface by molten rock.

Walk the Caldeira de Cima Gorge

Walk along the 700m-high ridge of the lush Caldeira de Cima Gorge down to the rocky coastline of Sao Jorge on our Azores Island Hopping Tour. Steep slopes reaching down to the water's edge are draped in a blanket of rich green forest. Azure-blue sea laps the golden sand bays below and fluffy white clouds bubble up over neighbouring islands in the distance.


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Have we got you excited about the Azores? Browse our exciting small group tours, including cultural discovery trips and group walking trips. 
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