Planning a Stopover Trip in the Azores: A Week in Paradise

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Last updated on June 14, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 6 minutes

The Azores, a group of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic, are a hidden gem that’s gaining popularity among travellers. Known for their lush landscapes, rich culture, and unique biodiversity, these islands offer a magical escape from the ordinary.

Now, thanks to Azores Airlines’ stopover program, you can add a stopover of up to 7 days in the Azores while flying between North America and Europe. This program is a fantastic opportunity to explore the Azores, particularly the islands of São Miguel and Terceira, and immerse yourself in their enchanting beauty.

The Stopover Program

Azores Airlines’ stopover program allows you to add a stopover in the Azores for up to 7 days on your journey between North America and Europe (or vice versa). This program is available on flights operated by Azores Airlines, and the option to add a stopover will be automatically suggested when you search for your flight on their website. You can choose to have your stopover on the way out, on the way back, or both.

The stopover can be on the island of São Miguel or Terceira, and you can also choose to add experiences to your trip through their partner, Azores Getaways. Alternatively, you can arrange any tours yourself.

São Miguel vs Terceira

Terceira is great, but if it’s your first time to the Azores, you absolutely must visit São Miguel as there’s just so much to see and do there. If you plan to visit another island, you’ll also find that there are lot more flights to and from Ponta Delgada Airport on São Miguel. Read our guide to the Azores for an overview of each of the different islands.

That’s not to say you can’t visit another island as well, including Terceira, if you arrange flights or a ferry yourself. 7 Days is enough time to visit 2 islands. You can view flight timetables and prices at azoresairlines.pt.

You’ll want to give yourself at least 3-4 days on São Miguel in order to see everything. Accommodation can be booked through Booking.com or Airbnb.com. For car rental, discovercars.com, rentalcars.com, and AzoresRentalCars.com are all helpful comparison websites.

Exploring São Miguel

Lagoa do Fogo

São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores, is a paradise for nature and adventure lovers. Here, you can hike through lush landscapes, soak in natural hot springs, and swim with dolphins.

We suggest booking a car (see discovercars.com or AzoresRentalCars.com) or arranging a tour in order to maximise your time on the island. While you can stay anywhere on the island if you have a car, most people stay close to Ponta Delgada. Accommodation options can be found on booking.com.

The following are some of the attractions you should try to visit on São Miguel:

  1. Lakes: São Miguel is home to some incredibly beautiful lakes, many of which are housed inside the craters of former volcanoes. Visiting at least one, particularly Sete Cidades, is an absolute must.
  2. Thermal Pools: Relax and take a dip in São Miguel’s thermal pools. There are several of them on the island, each with their own charm. Poça da Dona Beija is a good one to visit.
  3. Monte Palace Hotel: Go urban exploring in this abandoned hotel. Although not an official attraction on São Miguel, thousands of people visit the ruins of the former 5-star Monte Palace Hotel every year. This is right next to Sete Cidades, so you can combine the two.
  4. Tea Plantations: São Miguel is home to two tea plantations, the only place in Europe where tea is grown. Gorreana Tea Factory is the largest and most popular of the two tea factories on the Azores, but Porto Formoso is also very charming and worth visiting.
  5. Local Cuisine: Try the local dish “Cozido,” a stew that’s cooked in a volcanic pit. This is one of the “things to eat on São Miguel,” so something to add to your foodie bucket list.

Discovering Terceira

Serra do Cume

Terceira, the second most populated island in the Azores, is known for its charming towns, colorful landscapes, and rich history. The island’s capital, Angra do Heroísmo, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasting well-preserved Renaissance buildings and a beautiful bay. Terceira also offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, bird watching, and exploring volcanic caves.

Again, we suggest booking a car (see discovercars.com or AzoresRentalCars.com) or arranging a tour in order to maximise your time on the island. While you can stay anywhere on the island if you have a car, most people stay close to Angra do Heroísmo. Accommodation options can be found on booking.com.

The following are some of the attractions you should try to visit on Terceira:

  1. Miradouro da Serra do Cume: This viewpoint offers one of the best views on the island, with the fields below looking like a patchwork quilt. On a good day, you can see all over the island.
  2. Monte Brasil: A beautiful green area with several walking routes that take you to the top. Deer roam freely throughout, and many are quite tame so you can get up close to them.
  3. Biscoitos: This neighborhood is famous for being home to Terceira’s wine production. It’s also home to some great natural swimming pools, which are perfect for cooling off in on a warm summer day.
  4. Dona Amélia Cakes: These are not only the best cakes in the Azores, but one of the best cakes in Portugal. You can try these cakes at pastelaria O Forno in Angra do Heroísmo.
  5. Alcatra: This is Terceira’s main regional dish, a meal that’s slow-cooked inside a clay terracotta pot. The result is a very dark and rich stew that’s perfect for mopping up with bread.
  6. Queijo Vaquinha: While São Jorge is the Azores island that’s most famous for cheese production, Terceira actually produces some great cheese as well. The best place to try it is at Queijaria Vaquinha just outside of Angra do Heroísmo.
  7. Cerveja Brianda: This is a craft beer that’s produced in Angra do Heroísmo. You’ll find it in plenty of restaurants, snack bars, and supermarkets around the island. One of the best places to try it is at Queijaria Vaquinha, the island’s local cheese producer.
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