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Best Ways to Explore the Azores

Situated in the Mid-Atlantic, the 9 islands of the Azores are a glorious mix of caverns, lakes and greenery shaped by their volcanic past. As a holiday destination the Azores remained relatively unknown, but there is so much to be discovered in this beautiful place! You can dive to the islands’ depths to discover the rich wildlife, you can enjoy canyoning, surfing, hiking, paragliding…there is never a dull moment with plenty of things to do in the Azores.  With a minimum temperature of 16 °C the islands are the ideal destination for a holiday adventure and are easy to access by plane. Read on to discover our favourite ways to explore this Atlantic paradise.

Things to Do in the Azores - Crater Lakes

#1 Diving

The Azores were formed thousands of years ago by volcanic activity and form part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This means there is as much of the islands to be discovered underwater as on the islands themselves. Diving is a fantastic opportunity to experience the unique lava formations as well as the abundance of marine wildlife. Each island offers something different but you could spot manta rays, blue sharks, whale sharks, sea turtles, octopuses, huge pelagic fish and a large variety of colourful fish, such as Mediterranean rainbow wrasse and Azores chromis. There are even wrecks of 15th and 16th century ships and from the Second World War to be explored.

For the best experience, make sure to do your dive with a local expert. Best Spot Azores Dive Center is our favourite and is based in Ponta Delgada on São Miguel. They are the only PADI 100% AWARE and 5* dive resort in the Azores and combine diving expertise with a conservation attitude. You will dive with professionally trained PADI instructors and in small groups of no more than 6 to ensure you get the right attention. Whether you are an experienced diver or a complete beginner Best Spot will make sure you have the best experience in this unforgettable region. They can provide you with PADI courses or one-off dives around São Miguel and off-shore.


#2 Sailing and Boat Trips

One of the best ways to explore the archipelago is by sea, as it gives you the chance to see more than one island and explore hidden bays and inlets. See the different vibrant greens of the islands descend down to the deep blue of the Atlantic oceans, see the reflections of the islands crater lakes and marvel at the dramatic cliffs as you sail by. Best of all exploring the islands from a boat gives you the opportunity to see whales and dolphins up close in the wild! The Azores are one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries and you can spot over 20 different species of cetaceans in their waters. There are plenty of sailing and boat trip options to choose from, whether you are looking for a multiday sailing trip or a one-day boat trip from most of the islands. Make sure not to miss this experience during your stay! It is also easy to combine it with a diving or snorkelling trip.

Flores the Azores

#3 Canyoning

If you want an exhilarating experience while exploring the unique geology of the Azores, then why not try out canyoning during your stay? This intense activity is not for the faint of heart but is great fun for beginners as well as the more advanced. The islands of São Miguel, São Jorge and Flores are the best for canyoning and give you the chance to abseil down waterfalls, fissures and canyons formed by the islands’ volcanic past. It is always best to canyon with an experienced guide and most companies will also provide you with all the necessary safety equipment. Canyoning requires you to be reasonably fit and be able to handle ropes, hike, climb and swim.


#4 Hiking

A bit less intense, hiking allows you to discover the islands at your own pace. Recent restorations of ancient footpaths formerly used by the islanders to transport goods and animals, have created an extensive network of trails for walkers. They lead to breath-taking vistas and through landscapes unique to the Azores with the striking blue of the sea almost always in sight. Make your way through tunnels in the rock and foliage, along cliff tops and the edges of crater lakes, as you take in the beauty of the archipelago. You can choose to follow the paths alone with a map or join a hiking tour with a local guide. Guided tours are often with groups and take in some of the best spots on the islands with guides sharing their knowledge of the wonderful places you visit.

Pico Azores Volcano

#5 Paragliding

For a truly unique experience of the Azores, head into the sky with a paragliding session! The islands are known as one of the top places in Europe for paragliding and the islands even have their own paragliding festival. The village of Sete Cidades on São Miguel is one of the most beautiful locations and you can fly across the island taking in the stunning views of the island against the Atlantic. Fly over the volcanic craters and the crater lakes of Fogo and Sete Cidades. The best time to paraglide is in the summer months, though it is possible to fly all year round from several different spots across the different islands. Explore the Azores in an unforgettable way by soaring through the sky with the Atlantic all around you for thousands of miles.