The Azores are a cluster of volcanic islands 2 hours west of mainland Portugal. We found a pretty phenomenal flight deal back in May, and though I, nor anyone we knew had ever been to these islands, we figured why not, and booked!

When it came time to plan our one week getaway, we were honestly not sure what to do -- spend the full week on the main, largest island (Sao Miguel), or hop around and explore the eight others, each "famous" for different things: beaches, hiking, wineries, bird watching, etc. Being low season, we were worried we might spend too much time in transit between islands, so settled on the full six days in Sao Miguel.

We booked a hotel on the east side of the island (Furnas) for the first half, and stayed in the main city centre (Ponta Delgada) for the remainder. Though the weather was highly unpredictable, we had a truly fantastic time -- hikes leading to postcard-worthy views; lush, immaculate landscapes cared for by the local people; curvy, potentially nauseous invoking coastal drives; crossing paths with a street light only once the whole week; abandoned buildings growing older each day; daily fresh fish; and copious amounts of Portuguese red wine. The island has so much to offer and makes for an incredible destination for a relaxing escape.

TO SEE + DO //

botanical gardens, terra nostra, furnas
thermal baths, terra nostra, furnas
salto de prego hike, from faial de terra through sanghuino
scenic coastal drive from furnas to nordeste
pico de ferro viewpoint, furnas
geysers at lagoa de furnas, furnas
visat do rei viewpoint + hike, sete cidades
abandoned monte palace hotel, sete cidades
walk from lagoa do canario to viewpoint (!!!)
sete cidades lakes
hang out by the shore in monsteiros + watch the crashing waves
stroll along the pier in ponta delgada + grab a beer by the marina
viewport + hike, lagoa de fogo
thermal baths, caldera velha
gorreana tea plantation
ermida de n.s. domonte church + viewpoint, caloura
abandoned convent, caloura
visit the pineapple greenhouses at the arruda pineapple plantation
senhora de paz viewpoint, vila franco de campo


cozido stew, slow-cooked in the furnas geysers, terra nostra, furnas
restaurant garajau, ribeira quente
fish dinner at tasca, ponta delgada
epic pineapple cake at tasca, ponta delgada
tapas + wine at reserva bar, ponta delgada
pineapple ice cream at the tea plantation
local fish lunch at caloura bar esplanada, caloura
lunch or dinner at cais 20 (apparently the grilled limpets are a must)
indulge in a local pastry - queijadas de vila, vila franco de campo
sample pineapple jams, chutneys and mustards at the pineapple plantation
traditional fish, salad + potato lunch at snack bar jordao


We split out time between the east, and central; in hindsight, I would recommend staying in Ponta Delgada and taking day trips from there. Pack a lunch for daily picnics, and enjoy dinner in the 'city', where options are abundant.

happy travels!