Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean we’ll find 9 autonomous Portuguese islands full of nature, historical towns, volcanoes, lakes and amazing landscapes.
During the colonial rule these islands, especially Terceira, were used as technical ships stop for ships on the way to Brazil, as well as tactical point during the second world war. Nowadays is a idyllical and quiet travel destination far from the big crowd of tourist.
- Sao Miguel
- Sao Jorge
- Santa Maria
How to reach and move around Azores Islands
At the time to write this article there are two weekly low cost flights with Ryanair from Porto or Lisbon to the main two isles: Terceira and Sao Miguel. Also there is an internal/national airline Azores Airlines , this airline is not low cost but offer and excellent service.
For moving around the isles there are ferries working only during the summer time and spring because of the winds, Ocean conditions and high touristic session. Outside touristic session the only alternative is the flight ticket with the official airline Azores Airlines. The best option if you have lack of time because there are several flights a day (Around 3) with good schedules and fight time is around 1 hour between Terceira and Sao Miguel the only problem is the cost of the ticket: around 100 euros.
For ferry timetable and reservations follow the next link: https://www.atlanticoline.pt
This is in historical island in Azores and the place where the first city was founded, Agra do Heroísmo, which is also part of Unesco World Heritage.
For moving around this isle the public transport is good but the frequency is a little bit bad for some touristic areas but walking around the countryside is an unique and recommendable experience; the landscapes are quite similar to the Irish’s countryside but we’ll appreciate the difference in the typical Portuguese architecture.
If you can’t rent a car unfortunately there is not a weekly or daily transport card. Only individual tickets are available to buy at the bus. For the public bus timetable and destinations there is an useful android app or just the official website: http://www.evt.pt/percursos/
Main destinations in Terceira
- Praia da Vitória
- Agra du Heroísmo
- Fonte du bastardo
- Furnas do Enxofre o Parque de los volcánes
- Reservas Forestales
- Sao Sebastiao
One of the most lovely and historical town in Terceira is Praia da Vitória. This is an small town if we compare with the capital Agra do Heroísmo. In the town we can visit the historical Cathedral built around 1500 and a big port.
The Crow Jewel of this isle is the historical city of Agra do Heroísmo. This city was the first city founded in the isle and is also the site where the majority of the historical buildings are. Here, nature and urban life live in harmony and we can also enjoy the amazing views of the city from Brazil Mount.
Biscoitos located in the north of the island is famous for the vineyards and health resort formed by volcanoe’s rocks.
Sao Sebastiao is another lovely town which is highly recommended to visit
In the Terceira’s center is where we’ll find the majority of Natural attractions but unfortunately is not possible to reach via public transport. Only the coast is easy to reach by bus.
How to get to Agra?
Terceira Airport is located in the north of the island and far from the capital, Agra do heroísmo. Due to the distance and lack of night transport, if we want to save money the best option is booking a hostel or B&B close to the airport. If the flight arrive during the day time there is a direct bus but the frequency is bad and is not available during the weekend; the best alternative is transfer with another bus in Praia.
Due to lack of sidewalks, the road are dangerous specially at night when the main road from and to the airport is busy and lack of proper lights. So the best option is take a taxi from the airport to the next urban area.
São Miguel Island
Sao Miguel is the most visted by the tourist, because of that the transport frequencies and connections are better and there are more touristic options in it capital Ponta Delgada than Agra in Terceira. IIn order to cover the majority of touristic places in the isle the minimum recommended is 4 or 5 days.
Main destinations in São Miguel
- Ponta Delgada
- Sete Cidades
- Ribeira Quente
- Vila Franca do campo
Ponta Delgada is the capital of São Miguel and one of the biggest city in Azores; from here there are buses to practically every part of the isle divided by zones:
- Red Line: Cover the south and surround Ponta Delgada.
- Green Line: Cover the north
- Black Line: Cover the west of Ponta Delgada.
For bus timetables you can check the following website or just download the app: http://www.smigueltransportes.com/
Vila Franca do campo is one of the most beautiful towns in the isle. Located between Furnas and Ponta Delgada; is easy to reach by public transport and if the main destination is Furnas there is also a bus transfer with good schedule.
Furnas is one of the main and most interesting touristic destination in the isle; basically the town is surrounded by natural cauldrons which give off a strong smell of sulfur. The other interesting thing is the fact that the town itself is located inside a volcano.
In the lake area there is also a 1 hour trekking path with an amazing views of the lake and coast.
Sete Cidades is also another site where there are inactive volcanoes.
Another unmissable site is Nordeste; this town is the farthest from Ponta Delgada, around 2 hours by public transport. The town itself is not really attractive but there are an amazing coast views in the lighthouse area close to the center of the town.
Also if the weather is good and for explore the area there is short trekking route (around 1 hour) from Nordeste to Lomba da Fazenda.
In the north of Ponta Delgada there are a couple interesting towns easy to reach by public transport. Examples of these are Capelas y Fenais da Luz with amazing views from the cliffs.
The weather is an island weather; that means is rainy at night and occasional rain during the day; windy as well, especially in the cliff area and close to the Ocean. Temperature is very nice all the year.
Euro is the local currency here. There are not too many ATMs, so is better carry cash and obviously change for the bus.