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Island paradise.

Floating in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean lay nine volcanic islands which will simply take your breath away with their unspoilt natural beauty. Together, the islands form the Azores which offer a fantastic holiday location unsurpassed by other more highly visited destinations. The largest island is São Miguel, accompanied by eight smaller islands including Santa Maria, Faial, Graciosa, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, Corvo and Flores.

Whilst São Miguel is the most popular base for tourists, it is possible to island hop by plane or ferry so you can discover each and every one. Each island is as stunning as the next and with a host of flora and fauna, stunning volcanic craters, lakes and valleys, forests and waterfalls you’ll never be short of things to see and do. Be sure to make the most of your holiday here when you hire a car.

Find out more about driving in Azores. You may also like to view our Azores car hire destinations.

Azores Tourist Board: The official website for the Azores Tourist Board- a useful resource for planning your trip to the Azores.

Things to see and do

  • Visit the hugely impressive Sete Cicades Lake which rests inside a large crater. Many myths and legends surround the lake and it is a popular place to visit.
  • Grab some gear and go diving as there is a world of underwater activity to discover for both new and experienced divers. There’s plenty to explore from shipwrecks to underwater caverns and caves.
  • Jump aboard one of the whale watching tours which depart from many locations for the opportunity to get close to some the mammoth mammals of the ocean.
  • In such beautiful surroundings, it goes without saying that the Azores are perfect for walking and hiking. Get your boots on, get going and be rewarded with picture perfect, panoramic views. For those wanting a challenge, take on Pico Mountain; the highest mountain in Portugal which towers at 2351 metres.
  • Adrenaline junkies may like to give paragliding a try. It’s a perfect activity due to the hilly terrain and will provide a great bird’s eye view of the landscape below.
  • The volcanic activity on the islands has formed many gurgling mud pools, thermal pools and thermal springs and Furnas Valley is the perfect spot to experience them. You can even have your dinner prepared for you by the locals in the form of a meat stew which is cooked in the hot earth for several hours.
  • Visit the Terra Nostra Park and Gardens for a tranquil afternoon in pleasant surroundings. There is also a thermal swimming pool to enjoy.

Festivals and events

  • Festas do Espirito Santo (The Holy Ghosts Festivals) are usually held on all of the islands so you’ll generally catch at least one during the holiday season. There are parades and sometimes soup and bread is provided to spectators. (April – October)
  • Ponta Delgada hosts the Festival of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres (the Festival of Christ Lord of Miracles) on the fifth Sunday after Easter each year. The city is witness to parades around the flower filled streets and general merriment. (April)
  • Traditional bull running events called Tourada a corda are held at different locations across the islands each week, primarily on Terceira Island. (April – September)
  • Be sure to hit Santa Maria for the August Tide Festival which sees both national and international musicians perform for a week each year amongst other festivities. (August)
  • The Wine Harvest Festival referred to locally as the Festa das Vindimas, is held on Pico Island and has been for the last century and is a very popular event. (September)

Time difference

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