It’s said that the Azores are one of the best kept secrets in Europe with a peaceful and always welcoming environment, with a rare beauty and breathtaking landscapes. Check it out!
The Azores are a transcontinental archipelago in the northeast of the Atlantic Ocean that belongs to Portugal. It consists of nine main islands divided into three groups: Western Group (Corvo and Flores), Central Group (Faial, Graciosa, Pico, São Jorge and Terceira) and Oriental Group (Santa Maria and São Miguel). Azores have a smooth and uniform climate influenced by the warm current of the Gulf of Mexico. This means that the average temperature in winter is similar to the average temperature in summer (similar but not equal, 12ºC / 24ºC). In a single day it is possible to go through the four seasons (I speak from experience!).
The island of São Miguel is the largest and most populous in the Azores as it has an area of almost 750 km² and measures 64.7 km in length by 8-15 km in width. It’s an island of volcanic nature with seismic activity because it is located at the triple junction between the North American (NA), Eurasian (EU) and African (AF) plates. São Miguel is usually the favorite option for those visiting the Azores for the first time.
Curiosity: A natural inhabitant of the island of São Miguel is called ‘micaelense’.
I went to Azores with my parents and my boyfriend from the 19th to the 26th of August, that is, for 8 days / 7 nights. At a time when COVID-19 didn’t allow us to travel abroad, we chose to go to Azores (and it was a huge surprise!). I checked everything at the last minute because that was when we decided, but luckily we managed to do everything we wanted. We went by TAP and I opted to buy a cancellation insurance. The flights plus insurance for the 4 were € 507.28 (about € 125 per person). For the hotel I did a lot of research but we ended up opting for the Azoris Royal Garden Hotel, a 4 star hotel in the center of Ponta Delgada, which was € 697.8 for each room with breakfast. The easiest way to get to know the various points of the island is by car, so we rented a car at Europcar and collected it at the airport as soon as we arrived. It was a very good trip where we were able to know the different points of the island and rest in the various spas and the hotel pool.
With an active virus in an active transmission phase, there are few precautions when it comes to travel. To enter Azores, it’s necessary to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to the trip, which is paid by the Autonomous Region of the Azores. To schedule the test you just need to call the laboratory and proceed with the scheduling saying the reason and give all the personal data. On the day of the test it’s necessary to bring documentation to prove you booked and payed for the trip. The results of the tests are sent by email or by SMS and, afterwards, it is advisable to fill out a form with the test result and respective proof, the place where you stay, among other information. If you don’t fill this form in advance, during the flight it will be delivered to you by the hostesses. At Ponta Delgada airport, the procedure is simple. When disembarking from the plane, just follow the arrows that will take you to a tent outside where several questions are asked and the form is delivered (or the code if you filled it out online). If you stay on the island for more than 5 days, it’s mandatory to perform a second test to despite the COVID-19. On the 4th day of your trip (or on the 5th) you should receive a call telling you when and where you will have to do this test. If the result of this test is negative you are allowed to return to your country.
My travel itinerary
I went on a trip to Azores with a well-organized itinerary for scheduled days and restaurants. However, not always everything happens the way we plan. The weather in Azores is very unstable so we had to adapt the itinerary several times in order to be able to see everything we wanted. I can say that we enjoyed the three main lagoons: Sete Cidades, Fogo and Furnas without any fog. Was there a secret? Yes it did and I will share it with you! There are several sites that show cameras in real time from different regions of Azores to know where to go! Before leaving the hotel, we always saw what the weather was like at the place where we planned to go and we adjusted our itinerary taking this into account.
I am going to leave you now with the places I visited each day and with some photographs to appreciate the beautiful places that Azores has to offer.
– Day 1: Flight from Porto to Ponta Delgada, Água de Pau, Caloura and Água d’Alto
– Day 2: Furnas and Terra Nostra Park
– Day 3: Povoação, Nordeste, Rabo de Peixe and Pineapples Arruda
– Day 4: Lagoa do Fogo, Caldeira Velha, Ribeira dos Caldeirões and Gorreana Tea
– Day 5: Center of Ponta Delgada, Lagoa do Canário and Sete Cidades
– Day 6: Vila Franca do Campo
– Day 7: Poça da Dona Beja and Ponta da Ferraria
– Day 8: Return flight
In an overview, this was our trip to the Azores. We managed to visit all the places we wanted. Due to COVID-19 there were few people on the island and the main attractions were almost empty! I wasn’t sure what to expect from Azores but I was pleasantly surprised and I want to go back to see the other islands that must also be amazing!