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Exploring the Azores: Top Outdoor Adventures on Each Island for Your Next Adventure Holiday

The Azores, a Portuguese archipelago of nine stunning islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, offer a plethora of adventures for every type of traveler. Each island is full of outdoor adventure and boasts its unique charm, landscape, and activities, making it a challenge to choose which one to visit. To help you decide, we have put together our guide of the best outdoor adventures on each of the Azorean islands.


Hiking on Flores Island, the Azores, Portugal; The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

São Miguel: The Hub of the Azores, Best for Nature and Outdoor Enthusiasts

São Miguel is the largest island of the Azores and is the main hub of the archipelago. As the main island, São Miguel offers easy access through it's main airport Ponta Delgada with frequent flights serving many routes to Europe and North America. With an array of exciting activities to satisfy traveler's thirst for adventure and breathtaking nature, São Miguel is a perfect island for outdoor enthusiasts.

Begin your exploration by immersing yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Sete Cidades and Lagoa do Fogo lakes. Marvel at the contrasting hues of blue and green as you stand in awe of these stunning natural wonders. Venture into the lush greenery of Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park. Embark on invigorating hikes through dense forests, where hidden waterfalls cascade into emerald pools.

But the wonders of São Miguel extend beyond its terrestrial landscapes. Prepare for an unforgettable marine adventure as you embark on thrilling whale watching and dolphin encounters off the coast. Witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, a truly humbling and awe-inspiring experience.

After a day of exploration, indulge in relaxation at Furnas, where mineral-rich hot springs await. São Miguel offers also a list of adrenaline-filled activities like canyoning. While navigating rugged canyons this experience promises thrills and excitement against the backdrop of São Miguel's unparalleled beauty.


Caldeira Velha Thermal Pool, Sao Miguel, Azores, Portugal; The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

Santa Maria: The Sunny Island, Ideal for Beach and Nature Lovers

Santa Maria is known as the "sunny island" of the Azores due to its abundant sunshine throughout the year, creating an idyllic paradise for travelers seeking warmth and relaxation. Santa Maria boasts some gorgeous golden sandy beaches such as Praia Formosa and São Lourenço.

Step back in time as you explore the picturesque town of Vila do Porto, where historic architecture whispers tales of past centuries. Wander through cobblestone streets lined with charming buildings, each telling a story of the island's rich heritage and vibrant culture. For those craving exploration, lace up your hiking boots and embark on adventures through verdant forests. Santa Maria also offers unparalleled opportunities for aquatic adventure; explore the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean snorkeling amidst colorful coral reefs or diving into the depths of underwater caves. Or choose to get onto the water windsurfing, kayaking, or paddleboarding along the island's pristine coastline.


Formosa Beach, Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal; The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

Terceira: The Vibrant Island, Best for History and Culture Buffs

On Terceira Island, every moment is a journey through time and culture, perfect for those interested in connecting themselves to the roots of the Azores.

First of all, you can’t miss Angra do Heroísmo, a UNESCO World Heritage city. Explore its historic center, where centuries-old buildings stand as silent witnesses to the island's storied past, inviting you to uncover the secrets of its colonial heritage. Venture into the heart of the island's volcanic landscape and marvel at the otherworldly beauty of Algar do Carvão cave, a natural wonder formed by ancient eruptions. Discover the enigmatic Biscoitos lava rock pools, where crystal-clear waters beckon you to swim and explore amidst dramatic geological formations.

Experience the pulse of Terceira's vibrant local culture as you join colorful festivals where you can immerse yourself in the rhythms of traditional music and dance.

Terceira Island Museum shows insights into its maritime past, from the age of exploration to modern-day.


Historic Center of Angra do Heroismo, Terceira Island, the Azores, Portugal; The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

Graciosa: A Peaceful Getaway for Slow-Living

The island of Graciosa is a small and secret paradise where pristine natural beauty and tranquility await those seeking an escape from the ordinary. As a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Graciosa beckons with its unspoiled landscapes and abundant biodiversity, inviting you to reconnect with nature in its purest form. Relax and rejuvenate in the natural thermal pools of Termas do Carapacho, where warm waters soothe the body and soul. Embark on adventures along the scenic trails of Serra Branca and Pico Timão. Uncover the island's hidden treasures as you explore its volcanic caves and underground lakes. After a day of exploration, lounge on secluded beaches or gaze out over dramatic cliffs, and you will experience that Graciosa offers a sense of serenity that is truly unparalleled.


View from the Caldeira Trail, Graciosa, the Azores, Portugal; The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

Pico: The Majestic Mountain Invites Hikers and Wine Enthusiasts

Welcome to Pico Island, where the impressive Pico Mountain towers over a landscape of vineyards and lava fields offering an unforgettable experience for adventurers and wine enthusiasts alike.

Conquer the highest peak (2,351m) on the Azores and in Portugal as you embark on an exhilarating journey to the summit of Monte Pico. Ascend through rugged terrain and ever-changing landscapes, rewarded with panoramic views that stretch across the Atlantic Ocean and to neighboring islands.

Indulge your senses in the UNESCO-listed vineyards of Pico, where centuries-old traditions and volcanic soils combine to produce wines of exceptional character and complexity. Explore the vineyards and taste the unique flavors of Pico's renowned wines.

Immerse yourself in the island's whaling history at the Whaling Museum in Lajes, where exhibits and artifacts tell the story of a bygone era. Discover the challenges and triumphs of a once-thriving industry that shaped the identity of Pico and its people.


Wine Museum on Pico Island, the Azores, Portugal; The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

Faial: The Blue Island, Best for Water-Filled Adventures

Faial Island is known as the Blue Island of the Azores for its blooming hydrangeas in different blue colors that you can witness all over the island (especially between May and September). But Faial also stands out for water-filled escapades!

Set sail to the iconic marina of Horta and immerse yourself in the colorful waterfront scene, where historic sailboats and modern yachts mingle against a backdrop of azure skies and emerald hills. Explore the charming streets lined with vibrant murals and quaint cafes, each corner a testament to Faial's rich maritime heritage.

Dive beneath the surface of the crystal-clear waters of the Marina Reserve and discover a world teeming with life and color. Snorkel amidst coral reefs where exotic fish dart and play in the sunlight. Faial offers endless opportunities for exploration beneath the waves but also above on thrilling whale-watching tours.

Those who prefer to stay on land, hike to the summit of the Capelinhos volcano and admire its dramatic landscapes, where lunar-like terrain meets sweeping ocean views.


Capelinhs Volcano, Faial Island, the Azores, Portugal; The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

São Jorge: Ideal for Adventurous Souls looking for an Off-beaten Destination

São Jorge Island is a paradise of cliffs, crags, and fajãs, and is renowned as one of the greenest gems in the Azores archipelago.

Explore the island on the challenging trails of Fajã dos Cubres and Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo, where rugged terrain and breathtaking vistas await intrepid hikers. Traverse lush forests and winding paths discovering the island's untamed wilderness and hidden wonders.

Visit the charming villages of Velas and Calheta, where centuries-old traditions come to life against a backdrop of picturesque streets. Immerse yourself in the warmth of local hospitality as you explore historic landmarks and São Jorge's rich history at the Museu Francisco de Lacerda.

Finally, ascend to the summit of Pico da Esperança and be rewarded with panoramic views that stretch across São Jorge and beyond.


Hiking along Fajã da Caldeira do Santo Cristo, Sao Jorge, the Azores, Portugal; The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

Flores: Untouched Eden, Best for Wilderness and Photography Enthusiasts

Flores Island is a haven for wilderness and photography enthusiasts seeking to immerse themselves in the untamed beauty of nature.

Explore the stunning waterfalls and natural swimming holes of Cascata da Ribeira Grande, where crystalline waters cascade down moss-covered cliffs into emerald pools below. Hike along the scenic trails of Morro Alto and Poco da Alagoinha, where breathtaking vistas and rugged landscapes await at every turn. Immerse yourself in the unique flora and fauna of Flores Island, every encounter offers a glimpse into the island's rich biodiversity and ecological significance.

Visit the charming village of Fajãzinha, nestled amidst dramatic cliffs and green rolling hills, where traditional houses exude rustic charm and timeless beauty.

Finally, don't miss out on Flores' breathtaking secluded coves, that guarantee picture-perfect shots for any photography enthusiast.


Waterfalls on Flores Island, the Azores, Portugal; The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

Corvo: The Tiny Treasure, Best for Serenity Seekers and Birdwatchers

Corvo Island is a tiny treasure, where time stands still and nature reigns. It’s a perfect destination where serenity seekers and birdwatchers alike find solace amidst breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife.

Ascend to the summit of Monte Grosso and be rewarded with panoramic views that stretch across the island, a vista of rugged coastline, verdant hills, and endless horizons.

Discover the rich birdlife of Corvo Island, where rare species such as the Monteiro's Storm Petrel find sanctuary amidst cliffs and crags. Embark on birdwatching adventures along coastal trails and secluded valleys or relax on the secluded beaches that dot the island's coastline. Corvo lets you reconnect to nature to the fullest!


Caldeirão,  Corvo Island, the Azores, Portugal; The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

Each of the islands of the Azores offers a unique adventure, whether you're seeking nature, culture, relaxation, or adrenaline-pumping activities. Whichever island you choose, you're guaranteed to experience the natural beauty and fascinating backstory that make the Azores a truly unforgettable destination.


Contact us and discover more hidden gems and exciting adventures for your next trip to the Azores in our Azores Outdoor Adventures, Azores Family Adventures and special experiences on the Azores collections.


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