Summer in the Azores Islands is the prime time to visit any of the islands. Most people go during the months of May through to September because the weather is great at this time of year, making it perfect for many water and beach related activities. And for those with ties to the islands through family, this a good time to visit due to the many religious festivals that occur.
As you can probably guess, I enjoy vacations in the Azores Islands at any time of year. But it is always nice to go when the weather is hottest and I am really looking forward to going this summer. Here are some of the things I look forward to when planning a summer trip:
Spending Time on the Beach
There are many Azores Beaches worth visiting. Sao Miguel, the largest of the islands, has many to choose from. Faial and Santa Maria have very nice beaches as well. Santa Maria's are considered the best because of their white sand. Sao Miguel's beaches attract a number of surfers, especially those on the north coast where the swell is a little bigger.
Relaxing at the Scenic Lookouts
As you explore the coastline of the islands you will come across many scenic lookouts. Most are roadside stops with gardens, picnic areas, barbecues and fantastic views like the one at the lookout of Santa Iria and the one at Caloura. If you pack a lunch before a day of exploring, you will enjoy stopping at any of these lookouts while enjoying lunch.
Of course, if you don't feel like packing a lunch, you can enjoy one of the other things I look forward to:
The Cafe's and Restaurants
Every town has at least a couple of choices for food and drinks. Some are big and fancy, others are tiny and barely noticeable. During the day, I tend to stop in for a simple sandwich, often just Azores cheese on a fresh baked bun. Often out on the patio or on the sidewalk so I can enjoy the weather and atmosphere of the town. In the evening, there are a wide variety of restaurants to try out with wide menus featuring, fish, beef, chicken and now some vegetarian options as well in many cases. Everything is enjoyed at a nice easy pace, just like the islands.
Exploring the Villages
In between scenic lookouts, there are many little towns and villages. It's a lot of fun stopping in and going for a walk through town. There are many buildings that date back 500 years so the architechture is nice to see. And each town has a central square, usually near the main church in town. One of the most scenic towns has to be Sete Cidades. I think I have had lunch there every time I have been to Sao Miguel. And of course there is the capital city of Ponta Delgada, it's worth spending a day there walking the old cobblestone streets and checking out all the shops.
Here's a picture of me in front of the harbour at Ponta Delgada:
Getting Out On The Water
With a location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a thousand miles off the coast of Portugal, you can probably imagine that there is water just about everywhere you look in the Azores. So it's no surprise that there are many opportunities to enjoy the ocean. There is sailing, deep sea fishing, whale watching, surfing, diving, snorkeling, ferry rides, and just about any other water related activity.
Checking Out The Natural Scenery and the Gardens
Due to its moderate climate with plenty of precipitation, the Acores have lush, vibrant wooded areas and the gardens do exceptionally well. There are so many gardens on the islands that are maintained with pride, both public ones and private ones.
Supporting the Local Industry
It's always good to go see the pineapple plantations, the liquer factories, the distilleries (try the fire water if you're brave), the tea plantations, the potteries, the markets, and other local industry. Might I recommend this Azores Winery
There's lots to do beyond what I have already mentioned: hiking; rappelling; paragliding; golf; tennis; horseback riding; watching bulls run the streets (and running with them ... this is in Terceira); exploring caves; mountain climbing (Pico); paintball; jeep tours; waterparks (Lagoa and Vila Franca do Campo); and more (like shopping).
Feedback Before My Next Trip?
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See you again soon!
All the best,