A mild climate all year round, exceptional volcanic setting and an endless coastline surrounded by deep blue dark waters make the Azores a paradise for any outdoor enthusiast. If you are looking to explore the beautiful scenery on some gentle hikes, discover the rich marine life surrounding the islands or seeking adrenaline pumping action on a canyoning or coasteering adventure, the Azores have it all and it is easy to combine a large selection of activities over just a short period of time.
The Azores are a hiking paradise with each island offering fantastic and well
maintained walking trails taking you to the most scenic spots on the islands. You will mainly walk along forest paths, farm roads and paths along roads.
Each island offers hiking opportunities of various levels and lengths. It is difficult to pick out just a few as there is hardly any spot on the whole archipelago that does not offer great hiking opportunities, so no matter what island you chose, you can be sure to be rewarded with fantastic scenery and nature.
Santa Maria - quiet and off the beaten track hiking routes. The great hiking route takes you across the whole island while shorter trails take you along the coast, through lush green nature and small villages
São Miguel - popular scenic hiking routes around the crater lakes of Sete Cidades, Furnas or Lagoa do Fogo, several coastal hiking trails all across the island, challenging mountain trails in the Eastern Pico da Vara and scenic hikes in Ribeira Grande Nature Reserve along waterfalls and geothermal springs
Terceira - Mountain and coastal hiking trails around the Natural reserve, the Caldera and the geothermal area
Graciosa - circular great hiking route taking you around the island and several smaller hiking trails along the coast, around the Caldera and geothermal area of the island
São Jorge - coastal hiking trails connecting "fajas" and panoramic mountain trails crossing the mountain ranges
Pico - several hiking trails leading up or around Pico mountain, coastal trails
Faial - several hiking trails along the coast, extinct craters and up to the interior Caldera of the island
Flores - great hiking route along the Western and Northern Coast, trails along the faja grande and the interior of Flores
Covo - hiking trail leading up to and loop walk around the Caldera
As there is only little traffic on the small roads, the Azores are very suitable for cycling. There are no fixed or sign-posted cycling routes, but it is possible to either book guided cycling tours (private or in a small group) or to rent a bike and to venture off on your own. The hilly volcanic terrain makes the islands perfect for mountain-biking, but it is also possible to opt for easy and more leisurely scenic cycling routes along the coast.
São Miguel, Terceira, São Jorge, Faial or Pico all offer great possibilities to explore some of the beautiful nature by bike.
Kayaking & SUP
Kayaking has become immensely popular over the last decades and there are both plenty of opportunities to explore some of the beautiful lakes or the Atlantic ocean on a kayaking or SUP adventure around the Azores.
The island of São Miguel offers the best possibilities for kayaking and SUP around the Sete Cidades Lakes, Furnas or the Vila Franca do Campo islet.
Diving & Snorkeling
The crystal clear blue waters around the basaltic islands make the Azores a fabulous spot for both snorkeling and diving, where you can enjoy great views and a huge variety of fish and other marine inhabitants. Over the summer months, you might be lucky to spot some manta rays.
Guided snorkeling tours are taking you to the best spots to take a dip in the refreshing waters and to enjoy the best experiences of the submarine world.
There are great spots for snorkeling around all of the Eastern and central islands while special snorkeling/diving adventures are possible on Santa Maria (snorkeling with Manta Rays) or Faial (blue shark diving). São Miguel, Pico and Faial are also great spots to swim with dolphins. As dolphins are very sociable and curious animals, it is possible to encounter them very closely in the open water. Please keep in mind that dolphins are also very vivid and quick, so you will need a bit of stamina to keep up!
Whale & dolphin watching
More than 24 species of whales and dolphins can be found around the Azores
islands. Whaling has been prohibited since 1987 and whale watching has taken its place since, using the knowledge and skills of the former whalers to spot the herds. Many tours guarantee a success at nearly a 100%. Sperm whales, spotted dolphins and grampus are most common, but you might also spot blue whales, finback or humpback whales. Boats are only allowed close to the mammals for a limited time and have to keep a distance of at least 50m at all times.
Due to its strong link to whaling tradition, Pico is the most popular island to board a whale watching tour and tours are taking place regularly between April and October. In general, São Miguel, Pico and Faial offer good options for whale or dolphin watching tours.
Canyoning & Coasteering
Both activities have become hugely popular over the last couple of years and the basaltic ground with the rugged coastline around the islands makes the Azores the perfect setting for this highly enjoyable adventure. Chose to follow a mountain river in a beautiful nature setting or enjoy the scenic views over the coastline while climbing, swimming and jumping in and out of the refreshing waters. Available as half or full day guided small group adventures on São Miguel, Santa Maria and São Jorge.
Due to the ongoing thermal activity deep below the islands, the Azores are blessed with some wonderful spots where you can relax in those naturally heated nature pools in a beautiful lush and green nature setting. Especially the island of São Miguel offers good options to take a dip in the warm sea or a warm lake surrounded by lush nature and special tours even let you enjoy a night swim.
Not only do the Azores have a lot to offer for anybody who wants to get active and close to nature, you will also find a great selection of cultural experiences to enjoy.
São Miguel is the only place in Europe where tea is grown and Gorreana has been growing tea since 1883. Experience a traditional harvesting day while enjoying the great landscape and fresh air. Take part in the different stages of tea production from picking to packing and learn about crushing, fermentation and the drying process.
Food and drink
Azorians have a proud culinary tradition and there are many options to experience this tradition in various and unique ways. From preparing and cooking your own traditional 'cozido' over hot steam rising from the hot springs at Furnas, wine harvesting and tasting on Pico island to traditional cooking classes and dinner parties in intimate settings, the tasty heritage of the islands has many faces and lets you enjoy its many layers in your own way.
A unique history lies behind every town, village and island and private tours will make sure that you will not miss any of the fascinating stories behind the historic walls and buildings. From unique TukTuk tours in Ponta Delgada, private walking tours in Angra do Heroismo and Horta to fascinating discovery and heritage tours across the islands, sometimes a well guided tour is all that is needed to create a connection between people and the surrounding.