Ready to discover the best things to do in the Azores? This archipelago is a true paradise for adventure seekers, so let’s explore. 

From hiking and scuba diving to exploring charming towns and villages, there’s no shortage of things to do in this enchanting destination. Read on to discover our pick of the very best.

Best Things to do in the Azores

Wander Around the Streets Near Portas da Cidade

Portas da Cidade, Azores

Let’s start with one of the most charming places to visit on the Azores islands – Portas da Cidade, located on São Miguel.

Portas da Cidade, which means “city gates” in Portuguese, is a set of three arches that mark the entrance to the old town of Ponta Delgada, the capital of São Miguel. The arches were built in the 18th century and are one of the most iconic landmarks on the island. Not to mention that they are ridiculously beautiful.

As you pass through the arches, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Ponta Delgada. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful old buildings, narrow streets, and bustling cafes and restaurants. The old town is full of character, with plenty of opportunities to explore and discover the island’s history and culture.

Explore Parque Terra Nostra

Parque Terra Nostra, Azores

Some of the very best things to do in Azores include heading to the archipelago’s verdant parks. And our favourite is Parque Terra Nostra, on the isle of São Miguel. 

Why visit? Well, the main reason is to see the natural hot springs. The park features a large, warm pool that is fed by a natural spring, and is the perfect place to relax and soothe those aching muscles after hiking in the Azores. We’ll be diving right in.

Though that’s not the only reason to visit this beautiful Azores landmark. Explore a wide variety of plant species from around the world, including towering fern trees and exotic shrubs. 

And, if you fancy nerding out, you’re in luck. The garden is both beautiful and educational, with informative signs throughout that explain the different plant species and their unique characteristics.

History lovers are covered, too. Parque Terra Nostra is also home to a beautiful 18th-century mansion that has been restored and converted into a museum. The museum features exhibits on the history of the park and the island of São Miguel, as well as displays on the flora and fauna of the Azores.

Hike to Lagoa do Fogo

Lagoa do Fogo hike, Azores

Looking for a breathtakingly beautiful spot to visit on the island of São Miguel? Let us introduce you to Lagoa do Fogo. This stunning crater lake is one of the most beautiful natural wonders on the island.

Lagoa do Fogo was formed by volcanic activity thousands of years ago. And one of the best ways to explore is on foot, so get your hiking boots ready and prepare to sweat.

If you fancy a far more chilled-back approach, there are several lookout points around the lake that offer equally beautiful panoramic views. The Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo is definitely our favourite.

We promise that the reward of hiking to the lake is well worth it, though. End your trek by swimming in the lake’s clear, refreshing waters. Be warned, the water can be very chilly in the early morning. Brrr.

Read Next: 8 Incredible Azores Hikes

Marvel at the Sete Cidades Lake

Sete Cidades Lake, Azores

Another stunning landmark you need to visit is the Sete Cidades Lake. There’s plenty to do here, but we recommend exploring the area by hiking around the lake to one of the many viewpoints. Though you can also take a kayak or paddleboat out on the water.

This lake comes with a pretty sad origin story: the lake is actually made up of two separate bodies of water, one blue and one green, which are said to represent the tears of a princess and a shepherd who fell in love but were forbidden to be together. 

Stroll Through Angra do Heroísmo

Angra do Heroísmo, Azores

While the Azores’ wild side is pretty impressive, make sure you swing by Angra do Heroísmo for a taste of Azorean history and culture. This is, without a doubt, one of the top things to do in Terceira.

This gorgeous city is steeped in history; it was founded in the 15th century and is home to several historic sites and cultural treasures. Some of the spots you need to visit include  the Cathedral of Angra, the Fort of São João Baptista, and the Duke’s Palace. 

Though we recommend allotting a few hours to soak up the city’s charming streets, beautiful architecture, and vibrant culture. And one of the best ways to do this is on a walking tour with a local guide.

Admire the Beauty of Capelinhos

Capelinhos, Azores

For an experience as unique as it is beautiful, make sure you pay a visit to Capelinhos. This is a volcanic site on the island of Faial that was formed by a series of eruptions in the 1950s. Spotting it is one of the best things to do in the Azores.

The site is a stark and otherworldly landscape, with black volcanic rock, ash, and sand stretching as far as the eye can see. 

You can explore the site by hiking through the landscape and learn more about the geology of the area. Or visit the Capelinhos Interpretation Center, which offers informative exhibits on the eruption and its aftermath.

Go Scuba Diving

Blue Water, Azores

With waters that gorgeous, it should come as no surprise that the Azores are home to some of the best scuba diving sites in the world. Crystal clear waters, abundant marine life, and stunning underwater landscapes are practically guaranteed.

Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, there are plenty of options to choose from, including exploring shipwrecks, swimming with dolphins, and marvelling at colourful fish and coral. 

Some of the most popular diving sites include the Formigas Islets (our favourite!), the Princess Alice Bank, and the Dori wreck. However, if you want to learn more about scuba diving in the Azores islands, we recommend checking out the official website to find more of the best spots.

Climb Mount Pico

Mount Pico, Azores

Feeling brave? We’ve got just the Azores activity for you. At 2,351 metres, Mount Pico is the highest mountain in Portugal – and we dare you to tackle it. 

There’s no doubt about it: the climb is challenging. But it’s also super rewarding, with stunning views of the surrounding islands and ocean. You can opt for a guided tour to the summit, but the trail is straightforward enough to be hiked without. 

Be sure to bring warm clothes and sturdy shoes, as the temperature can drop significantly at higher altitudes.

Trek Through Parque Grená

Another stunning park – and one of the best things to do in the Azores – is Parque Grená. Again, you’ll find this spot on the island of São Miguel. 

This park truly is a haven for nature lovers, offering stunning views of the island’s lush vegetation, waterfalls, and plenty of hiking trails for all abilities.

Though the real reason you need to visit Parque Grená is for its natural waterfall, which cascades over rocks and into a tranquil pool. Not only is this an epic place to cool off on a hot day, but it also means that the park is also home to a variety of plants and animals, including endemic species such as the Azorean laurel and the bullfinch.

But if, like us, you’re a fan of hiking, look no further. The hiking trails in Parque Grená are well-maintained and offer a range of difficulty levels, from easy walks to more challenging treks. You’ll be treated to stunning views of the island’s rugged coastline, lush forests, and picturesque countryside along the way.

Unmissable Azores Tours

Furnas Hot Springs

Furnas Hot Springs, Azores

Looking for the best Azores tour? We’ve found it. Relax and rejuvenate at the hot thermal springs of an active volcano during an enchanting evening tour departing from Ponta Delgada. 

On this excursion, you’ll head to the volcanic complex of Furnas in Povoação, where you can immerse yourself in the warm and soothing waters of Poça da Dona Beija. 

But that’s not all. This tour also includes a guided nature walk and a traditional meal – a regional stew, slowly cooked underground using the natural heat emanating from the thermal springs.

Whale Watching

Whale Watching, Azores

Embark on an exhilarating marine wildlife adventure led by biologists and naturalist guides, and discover the fascinating world of whales, dolphins, turtles, fish, birds, and the rich marine biodiversity of the Azores Islands. 

Delve into an educational and informative tour, where you can see these incredible creatures up close and learn more about their habitats, behaviours, and conservation efforts.


Canyoning, Azores
Image credit: GetYourGuide

On the hunt for an adrenaline-fueled adventure in the Azores? We hope you’re ready to rappel, jump, slide, and rock slide on this epic canyoning tour. Kick off your thrilling journey by testing your skills with your first descent, abseiling beside a magnificent waterfall that stands at around 5 metres.

As you venture further down the river, brace yourself for an exciting toboggan water slide followed by your first jump from a height of approximately 2 metres. Wade through the refreshing river as you approach the second abseil, which measures around 7 metres and ends in a natural pool.

For those opting for the full-day tour, enjoy a picturesque picnic amidst nature before completing the adventure with a comfortable car ride back to town.


Kayaking, Azores
Image credit: GetYourGuide

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, one of the best tours in the Azores is this kayaking excursion near Vila Franca de Campo.

As you paddle your way through the tranquil sea, we guarantee that you’ll be enchanted by the scenic views that surround you. Keep an eye out for the abundant marine life that populates the waters, such as dolphins, sea turtles, and a variety of colourful fish.

Swim with Dolphins

Dolphins, Azores

You can swim with dolphins in a number of locations around the world, but nowhere is quite as magical as the Azores. Board a Zodiac boat and embark on an unforgettable encounter off the coast of São Miguel.

This two-hour activity takes place in small groups to ensure an intimate and personalised experience. And, prior to each swim, you’ll receive a comprehensive briefing from one of the biologists, who will provide you with guidance on how to interact with the wild dolphins respectfully. Which is VERY important.

Terceira Lava Cave Tour – Algar do Carvão

Lava Cave, Azores

One of the coolest Azores tours is this one that allows you to explore the Algar do Carvão. This Azores volcano hike involves trekking to a lava tube nestled inside the caldera of the Guilherme Moniz volcano, not far from Angra do Heroísmo. 

Travel back in time and witness the aftermath of a basalt eruption that tore apart a pre-existing lava flow and triggered the formation of a Strombolian volcano with two distinct cones. Head inside and discover some pretty fascinating geological features of the cave, including ferrous deposits and silicate stalactites. 

The best part? Witness the rare beauty of a small pond and marvel at the smoke that emerges from the ground – all from within the cave!

Things to do in Azores: Practical Information

Azores landscape

The Best Month to Visit Azores

Wondering when to book your trip to the Azores islands? July and August are the best times to visit the Azores. That said, this is peak season and will be the most expensive time. Visiting in the shoulder months of June and September can cut the costs down massively.

How to Get to Azores

It’s likely that you’ll be flying to Ponta Delgada on São Miguel, and these flights run year-round from mainland Portugal. You’ll then need to catch another flight if you want to visit some of the smaller islands.

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