The Azores Islands (aka the Azorean Archipelagio) consists of 9 islands and some small islets in the Atlantic Ocean. They lie roughly 900 miles NW of Portugal’s coastline, and 2400 miles off of the East coast of the United States. They vary in size, height, width and, provide a wide variety of spectacular sights whether in or on the Ocean, or on the land from the lowest points to their highest peaks.
The Azores Islands have been on National Geographic’s top 10 “best of summer vacations” list. The allure for most is that the islands have something for everyone. The islands are largely unspoiled from it’s quaint and charming villages to the highest peaks and, last but not least, stays can be quite economical if you plan well. Whatever your interests, plan ahead and most of all, before landing put on your “go with the flow” face and relax because once you land, you will then be on “island time” embrace the unexpected things that will become your future stories and memories, and you can not be disappointed!
We welcome you to come explore the wonder of these islands. Enjoy the vacation of a lifetime.
Paperwork Required for Travel to the Islands:
- United States Travelers:
- Must have a passport, must have a visa if staying longer than 90 days. A Visa can be obtained through your closest Portuguese Consulate.
- European Travelers:
- Must have a passport, or the European equivalent. As the Azores is part of Portugal, they fall under the same Schengen Area Agreement as does the majority of Europe, but you need to carry proof that you are a Schengen Area citizen.
For Flights to the Islands — Plan Ahead, Pack Light, Save Money:
- United States Travelers:
- Luggage rates are increasing so we recommend airlines based on what we feel will provide you a service for specific reasons which we will explain. Having said that, always look at luggage requirements for your international flight and use that weight despite liberties Southwest gives.
- Inside the U.S.A., to fly to the East Coast we recommend flying Southwest Airlines if they serve your area to Boston.
- They haven’t developed “unfriendly” baggage fees
- If there is a problem with a flight and you miss your Southwest flight they will credit the fare you paid so you don’t lose all your money as you book a new flight (Go online and sign up for frequent flyer account to facilitate this process – before booking).
- The only airline that serves the islands from Boston, Massachusetts, is currently (2015) Sata Airlines. Currently your price per ticket depends on how much luggage you are carrying. PACK light, SAVE money!
- Book your luggage through to your final destination because sometimes, you will pay more in between islands if you don’t. Also, make sure what you do pay for your ticket includes your luggage fares for your return flight. Don’t assume, look at your receipt they give you at the counter before leaving the counter. HANG ONTO your luggage claim numbers JUST IN CASE!
- European Travelers:
- As of 2015 Ryan Air serves Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel from Lisbon. It is probably the cheapest way to get to Sao Miguel although, TAP airlines and Sata Airlines flies into points in Europe as well. Pack light and consider staying in a house or rooming house that has a washer dryer at least once during your trip if you do pack light.
- NOTE: Sometimes, we have access to some pretty cool and/or unique places to stay less expensively and, this is especially important IF the hotels or residentials on the islands are full between June and October.
- Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
- There are 3 main groupings and, if you understand the groupings it will help you get in between islands easier. It is best to explore your entry island as you are LEAVING the islands rather than at the beginning because if there is any inter island flight or weather problems you don’t miss your international flight. Again, SAVE your international EXIT island for LAST!
- Sata Airlines is the only air provider between the islands.
- Ferry Eastern Group: Travel between can be reserved through Atlanticoline (Boat Name: Santorini). The trip takes roughly 3 hours.
- Ferry Central Group: Travel between can be reserved either via Atlanticoline (Santorini – Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico, Faial, Graciosa, Flores) or Transmacor (between Sao Jorge, Pico, Faial). You have more boats with Transmacor with better schedules, but the (Atlanticoline) Santorini is the only way to do Sao Miguel,Terceira, Graciosa and Flores by water.
- Ferry Western Group: Santorini is the only way to get to Flores by water. There is a very small ferry that runs between Flores and Corvo it may hold 12 passengers.
Local Island Travel:
- Aside from Terceira and Sao Miguel, Island buses cannot be considered a reliable source of transportation. First, you would have to know their schedules (you can try a tourism office on each island) and IF you could figure that out you would probably find that you MISSED THE ONLY BUS that day or for several days. Each time we try to get a “pin” on the timetable it changes and, we are tired of chasing that donkey! Most people don’t want to waste time hunting buses or hoping today’s arrives eventually.
- Rental Cars are available from island to island however, most are completely booked June through September so, it is wise to either find a house that comes with a car OR, plan to hike or taxi it.
- Taxi’s are available usually and in line at the local town square. Any cafe can probably help you find someone but they get busy too so if one picks you up from the airport make arrangements with them if you need one for the next day. Get a price for your trip BEFORE you get in the car that way, there are no surprises. Taxi tours range from 17 per hour, to between 100 and 180 euro for an island tour, so it is important if you go that route that you establish a price you are happy with the day before you are to be picked up.
- If you prefer a hotel over a house or room rental, you need to book at least 4-6 months ahead because on the islands (besides Sao Miguel), they may be entirely booked by groups traveling by February or March of the year you are traveling. You can generally still find housing in private homes or rooms but they start filling up in February and March when the hotels are full.
- If you are having a problem finding a hotel, a vacation rental, room etc. contact me, and maybe I can find you a connection! email@example.com