Cost of a two-week trip to the Azores18/06/2023
Things to do in Terceira island28/06/2023
Itinerary for Two Weeks in the Azores Islands
I arrived in the Azores in May 2023, with a rather spontaneous decision and without a planned route.
The plans I had in Portugal were cancelled, and I already had a flight booked, and my partner who I hadn't seen in 3 months was coming to Portugal as well.
We were thinking about what to do instead of our canceled plans, and then I remembered a special place that I hadn't really heard of before, that my friend had traveled to about a year and a half ago.
I sent a message to that friend and started asking him about the Azores and all the information he could give me.
After the conversation with him, I still had to convince Malcolm, my partner, that that's where we need to go..!
It wasn't too difficult a task once I told him the phrase "hot springs" :)
And so, we quickly started planning all the details for the trip (and I also wrote a post about it that can be very helpful for you in planning your trip to the Azores) , we boarded a flight (he is from the USA and I am from Israel), and we arrived in Portugal..!
I spent my first days in mainland Portugal and that's where we met, but I will start the description of our two-week trip to the islands of Sao Miguel and Terceira, from the moment we landed on the first island - Sao Miguel.
If you are interested in knowing how much this whole trip cost us, you are invited to read the post on costs for a two-week trip to the Azores >>
Welcome to our journey through the Azores Islands :)
Day 1: Ponta Delgada - the capital city of the Azores
From the city of Lisbon we caught a flight in the afternoon straight to the capital city of the Azores called Ponta Delgada.
The flight left from a tiny yet hectic terminal at the Lisbon airport, and lasted about two hours.
At eight in the evening we landed on the small runway on Ponta Delgada, collected our backpacks and wonder of wonders - there is no way to get from the airport to the city center by public transport. (There are taxis if you are not stingy like us).
In our case, we decided to pick up the rental car only the next day in the city center, so we did not have the option of getting to the city center by car.
What's more, while we were walking towards the nearest bus station, about a quarter of an hour's walk away, we decided to try to hitch a ride, and we were stopped by a nice local guy who took us to the door of our hotel.
After settling down in our hotel, we went for an evening stroll around the city center.
Football celebrations in Ponta Delgada
Because it was the day Lisbon beat some other team in soccer which apparently hadn't happened in a few years, the city's main street was bursting with red-clad people rocking cars and cheering.
And especially making noise :)
But it was nice to see the energy of the people and rejoice in their joy.
After that we stopped to eat at almost the only place that remained open and offered relatively healthy food, and from there we continued to the boardwalk to sit down and eat what we had ordered
In the city center we walked between Portas de Cidade , arch-shaped gates that were built in the 18th century. They are right in the main square, so you can't miss them.
And right next to them is Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião , a beautiful and impressive Catholic church.
The rest of the evening we walked around the small streets and returned to the hotel.
Day 2: Furnas
From Ponta Delgada, we packed our bags, collected the car, did a huge shopping spree at the supermarket and headed east towards the town of Furnas.
This is the only place that the rain radar showed that might be dry. It was not dry.
There was no planning at all for our itinerary, but we simply worked according to the will of the universe to make it rain on us.
We didn't make much of a pre-planned itinerary. Rather, each day we looked at the weather forecast and rain radar, and went to where we thought weather would be best that day.
We rented the car from ANC , and we were very satisfied with their service. They also provided us with transportation to the car rental office and back to the airport on our last day on the island.
We made the reservation for the car through the Rental Cars website>>
Since we had quite a few errands, and also quite a bit of rain, we made our way to Furnas quite slowly, and stopped at all kinds of beautiful observation points along the way.
When we arrived in Furnas we tried to find hot springs for the first evening, but it was so rainy that we just tried to peek at a hot spring and ran back to the car (I mean, I didn't even get out of the car, Malcolm went to look and ran back to the car).
We spent our first evening at a cute campsite where we pitched a tent, and prayed that tomorrow would be a less rainy day.
Back to the hot springs of Furnas
The next day we got up early in the morning, had breakfast, folded the tent and went for a walk in the town area.
The first place we reached is the place we failed to enter the night before because of the rain called Lagoa Das Furnas.
In the lake area we went to see Fumarolas Lagoa das Furnas , a cool geothermal phenomenon of bubbling mud that the locals cook dishes in. (ie in a pot, yes?).
And from there we started a cute walking route around the lake which is about 8 km long, but it is quite easy. (You can expand it to all kinds of other areas if you want).
After the route we continued to Parque Terra Nostra which is a really beautiful and recommended park, and it has a stunning botanical garden where you can walk around for hours, and also a strikingly brown hot spring where you can enjoy yourself.
The park, containing the hot springs and the botanical gardens, is also the site of a very highly rated hotel.
When we finished our day in Furnas it was already a bit late, and we went looking for a nice place to spend the night.
We found some used car lot/car mechanic shop in the countryside, and the owner of the place told us it was okay for us to set up a tent there for the night.
Day 3: East of the island to Chá Gorreana
In this portion of the trip we didn't have any specific destination that we were aiming for and mostly we traveled all over the eastern part of the island according to the weather and its development.
We started the day very early right at a really nice and cute hiking trail called Ribeira do Faial da Terra Trailhead.
We only did the part up to the Cascata Salto do Cagarrão waterfall, about a kilometer and a half in one direction.
Along the route, relatively at the beginning, there is an ancient building with a small cave inside. Take a look in the cave and you'll see something nice there :)
Since we still hadn't eaten breakfast, we didn't continue to the next waterfall, and decided to go back to cook at a really cute picnic spot we found nearby (there are picnic tables ALL over the island along the main roads).
After that we continued our drive and stopped at the cat observation points located along the eastern coastline of the island.
There are two points, the first is Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego,
which I liked a little more.
And the second point is Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada which is also very beautiful.
The area itself is really beautiful, and we took the small roads and not the main road in this part of the island.
The ideal place on rainy days
This road took us to the Cha Gorreana tea factory, where we arrived just in time for the weather to turn on us again.
We took a (free) guided tour of the factory, and sat down to drink tea and eat cookies in the cafeteria of the place.
When the rain stopped we went for a walk in the tea growing fields that surround the factory, and we even got to see a bird eating a worm, quite cruelly it must be said.
After the visit to the tea factory we drove to a really beautiful spot called Parque de Merendas do Pesqueiro and went down from there with the car all the way down.
At the end of the road there is a descent to the beach of the area (not a particularly impressive beach), but on the other side there is an amazing view of a waterfall and picnic tables.
We really liked the spot so we stayed in this area for the night.
Day 4: The towns of Achadinha and Salga and the surrounding area
After a very windy night, we got up for breakfast at the beautiful spot where we spent the night.
It was a day of many nature walks and waterfalls.
After breakfast we started a short walking route to a waterfall called Poço Azul.
On the way there was even a much nicer waterfall for my taste and Malcolm decided to have a swim.
After that we made a jump to another hiking trail (which in practice can be connected to the previous one and make one long trail), and there we also visited two really nice waterfalls Queda de Água do Salto da Farinha.
We didn't walk the whole route because we were already fed up with waterfalls, and they all looked the same to us.
We were also a little tired at this point from sleeping inside the tent which wasn't ideal, so we decided our next mission was to pamper ourselves!
To the hot springs
After we finished walking a lot, we started driving towards Lagoa do Fogo , trying to visit one of the hot springs in the area.
We killed some time there and drove back and forth because there were long waiting lists for both the Caldeira Velha and Termas das Caldeiras springs.
Finally we entered the Termas das Caldeiras and spent the last daylight hours there.
After visiting the hot spring, we tried to find a nice place to spend the night and started climbing up the mountain with the car.
As we got higher the place became more and more hazy until we could barely see the trees in front of us.
Since it was cold and windy there, we ended up spending the night further down in the area of Caldeira Velha, because we had access there early in the morning :)
So that you don't have to lioter like us, you should make a reservation in advance for these springs.
Day 5: Lagoa Do Fogo
We started the morning with a fun and relaxing dip in the springs of Caldeira Velha, which in my opinion are the most recommended on the whole island..!
We were so happy that already at 11 in the morning we had finished breakfast, a visit to the springs and a shower, and that the rest of the day was ahead of us.
It's just that I had a genius idea to sit in the car and charge the cell phone for fifteen minutes, but without starting it, which killed the battery and we got stuck in the parking lot of the springs.
We tried to push the car down the hill and jump start it, and nothing helped, so we got stuck for an hour or more in the middle of the road there.
The rental company came to rescue us and within a second they started the car for us and we could go on our way.
We decided to give a second chance to an observation point in the obscure area we climbed yesterday, and it was the best decision we made on this trip.
We reached the observation point Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo , not knowing at all what awaited us.
When we arrived, we were presented with such a beautiful view, and we couldn't believe that we almost skipped it.
At the lookout point I found a small path and we started walking on it, and we unknowingly found ourselves on a walking path towards the lake shore - the most beautiful walking path we did in the Azores.
The route is about 3 km long, and requires a real ascent and descent, but definitely worth every step.
We rested a bit on the shore of the lake and went back up because we were already hungry and thirsty.
After a short stop for pizza on the way and a parking ticket, we continued towards the Sete Cidades lake area.
Towards sunset we took a short walk to the beautiful viewpoint Miradouro da Grota do Inferno where we sat down to rest a little from the long day we had.
In the evening we found a cute place to pitch a tent, where we spent the night.
Day 6: Sete Cidades
We woke up to a beautiful view of clouds sinking into the lakes, which personally moved me very much, and Malcolm whined that I had startled him awake for it.
We started by driving down to the Sete Cidades Lake District, the Green Lake and the Blue Lake, but our morning was still quite foggy.
We found a cute campsite where we made breakfast and played with the birds that came to visit us.
We then went up to two beautiful viewpoints on the lakes - Miradouro do Cerrado das Freiras which is the lower point for viewing the lakes, but definitely packed with hikers, and then continued up to Miradouro da Vista do Rei , the higher viewpoint.
We actually drove up the mountain just for the views, and immediately after that we went back down towards the west coast of the island.
On the way to the west coast, we stopped to eat pizza and quench my desire for watermelon, and we continued towards the Praia dos Mosteiros beach, which is located in the town of Mosteiros.
After resting there for a few hours we started driving towards the Ponta da Ferraria hot spring.
Malcolm found a place to climb rocks while I tried to catch up on some sleep in the car, and towards low tide, we started walking towards the hot spring.
Listen, it was a one of a kind experience.
We didn't get a relaxing and quiet hot spring experience, but a real aerobic workout that we laughed at non-stop.
Maybe these are the conditions or maybe we just fell on a slightly stormy day, but that's what made this whole thing an unforgettable experience..!
Important note - because it's a hot spring that connects to the ocean, to be able to swim when the water is warm you have to come at low tide.
It is very advisable to check the appropriate times before arriving..!
Like many other places, this is one of the things you really shouldn't miss when visiting Sao Miguel Island. You can read the list of all the things you shouldn't miss in Sao Miguel in the following link >>
Adventures of our last night on Sao Miguel
After visiting the spring we tried to find a nice place to cook dinner.
It was our last night on the island, and we were looking for a place that would be on the way to Ponta Delgada.
We found a really cute place, with picnic tables and even running water and decided to spend the night there.
After we cooked and set up a tent, we went to sleep.
In the middle of the night, a group of young locals arrived (drunk and drugged), who didn't really care about our existence.
I won't go into the depth of the story, but even though we asked them to be a little more quiet (they sat down two meters from our tent), it got to the point where they deliberately made noise with their hands, mocked us and also decided to pee on our tent..!
When it happened we were already angry, and the story ended with them leaving and us going back to sleep.
It's just that even before we fell asleep they decided to come back to take revenge on us and break the glass of one of our car windows and run away.
We found ourselves waiting for the police to arrive in the middle of the night so we can file a complaint, after not being able to sleep for a minute because of those bunch of young people.
We spent the rest of the night on the road towards Ponta Delgada waiting for the police station to open in the morning.
Meanwhile we were sitting in a small cafe where there was almost a violent incident between locals and Portuguese.
It must have been a rough night for everyone there on the island :)
Traveling to the Azores soon? Don't forget to get travel insurance
Day 7: Terceira Island
So after a sleepless night, hanging out at the police station, returning the car, driving to the airport and a short flight - we arrived to Terceira Island..!
We collected our bags, the new vehicle, and decided to shake off the energies of the previous night and continue enjoying our trip.
If you wanna read about all the best things to do on Terceira Island, Click here >>
We rented the car in Terceira through the Angrauto company, who brought us a really pampering car. We made the reservation here as well through Rental Cars website >>
We bought some more groceries and went to the vacation house we rented for the next two nights.
When we arrived the apartment wasn't ready yet so we wandered a bit on the nearby beach. Here, we found human made pools which are filled and recirculated after every high tide.
In general, this whole place was really beautiful and quiet, which is exactly what we needed.
As soon as we entered the house that day, we never left :)
We showered, did laundry, and I fell asleep at eight in the evening without even eating before because I was tired.
Day 8: Celebrating a birthday in the Azores with a visit to Algar do Carvão
After I finally got a good night's sleep we woke up in a sunny morning for my darling Malcolm's birthday.
We wanted a relaxing day and that's what we did.
In the morning we went to do real shopping at the supermarket located in the capital city of Terceira, and we bought a lot of food for the birthday celebration and for the duration of the trip.
After that we prepared breakfast and pancakes (an American take on 'breakfast'), and continued our restful day.
At noon we drove towards the Algar do Carvão lava cave, which was actually very cool.
You can buy a combined ticket for this cave and another cave called Gruta do Natal.
We decided that today we would only visit one cave, and when we left we started an impromptu hike around the cave.
After that we returned to the apartment for more rest and to prepare a pampering dinner as well :)
Day 9: Cat and chicken breeding
We spent our last morning in the apartment quite slowly, and in the afternoon we packed up and went to explore the second cave - Gruta do Natal.
After that we drove to the city of Angra do Heroísmo towards the sweetest kind of colonialism in the world - a colony of cats and full of roosters - Cat Colony on Monte Brasil.
I think we spent about an hour near a family of roosters, petting cats and watching deer walking around.
A cute and magical place, which is full of small houses for cats and there is also a cute observation point at the end of the city called Miradouro do Pico do Facho.
Little by little the weather started to gang up against us and we decided to drive to the campsite where we spent the night.
The camping site is called Parque de Campismo Raminho and it is fully equipped and completely free.
It has tables, running water, and a place for a barbecue, and on nice days on the island it's a perfect place to pitch a tent.
We had a rainy and cold night where we couldn't even cook (we couldn't find isobutane for our stove). We prepared cold food in the car and I decided to sleep the night the car and Malcolm in the tent.
This was also my major breaking point on this trip.
I was tired of tents and rain, and especially of their combination :)
Day 10: Passagem das Bestas and Rooster
I woke up in the car to a rainy morning, and went to wake up Malcolm in the tent.
We were still without food because we couldn't find gas to connect to our gas stove, nor could we start a fire because everything was wet.
We decided to eat something at the only cafe we found in the area and drove to it.
The weather slowly improved and we decided to do one of the recommended walking routes on the island called Passagem das Bestas.
This route definitely improved my mood and the views on it were really beautiful.
After the track we went to the Lagoa das Patas lake which we passed by about a million and one times during our island trip but never really stopped at.
We decided we would try to light a fire in one of the barbecues there so we could cook all the food we bought.
When we got there we miraculously managed to light a fire, then a bunch of locals told us to go to another place in the lake where there was a fire ready for us to cook on.
They pretty much saved us. Although the fire wasn't exactly ready, there were coals and means of starting a fire, and soon I took on the role of the Israeli in me, I prepared the barbecue, and we simply cooked all the food we had..!
We didn't know when the next time we would have such a good place to cook, so we decided to just prepare everything!
During the cooking, without any fear that they would become a meal themselves (animals can sense vegans), ducks, roosters and other small birds gathered around us.
Apparently they have already gotten used to getting food from the travelers who come there.
I got really attached to one of the roosters and named him Quinoa.
He ate quinoa from my hand, and was really cute and a little cheeky because he stole a hot dog from us (vegan of course).
After visiting the lake, we decided that we had no more energy to endure a night in a tent and booked a room at the Virgin City hotel.
We arrived at the hotel in the evening and it was one of the nights I slept best in the entire trip.
Day 11: Angra do Heroísmo
We used our morning for a walk in the city.
Angra do Heroísmo is a colorful and cute city and you can wander around quite a bit.
We walked around the old city and went towards the Jardim Duque da Terceira, a cute and beautiful botanical garden, and you can climb up to an amazing viewpoint and the Memória a D. Pedro IV monument.
After wandering around the city we drove towards Pico Gaspar, a short and cute walking route that takes about 20 minutes/half an hour to the top of the crater that was created there.
Part of the walk is quite exposed so you have to be careful. In addition, we had a pretty crazy wind, but the views around are worth the small investment :)
After that we drove around the small towns of the area like Fonte do Bastardo, but we didn't really find a nice place to sit and rest there.
Towards the evening we returned to the hotel where we spent another night.
Day 12 and last: the most beautiful trail on the island (and in my opinion in all the Azores Islands)
We took our last morning on the island quite slowly.
We packed our equipment, had breakfast and in the early afternoon we went to do a hiking trail, which became one of my favorites in the Azores.
Trilho Rocha do Chambre is a walking route of about 9 km in length, of moderate difficulty, with views that change every few steps.
The route is a round trip and takes about two to three hours of walking, and there are many beautiful observation points along it.
After the hike we prepared an afternoon meal and drove towards our last stop on the route Miradouro da Serra do Cume - a highly recommended vantage point for watching the sunset.
We got there before sunset and stayed there for a while until it was about to get dark.
From there we drove to the airport where we spent the night, returned the car and boarded an early morning flight back to Lisbon.
Notes and more information about our itinerary in the Azores
As I mentioned, we traveled in the Azores for almost two weeks, a trip that started and ended in the city of Lisbon.
We booked all the flights to and between the islands through the Skyscanner search engine. Book flights here >>
All flights left on time and we had no special problems in this part.
Another flight booking website that I usually order from is Kiwi - I am attaching a link to it as well if you want to make reservations through it.
We ordered both vehicles through the Rental Cars website which gives options at attractive prices to car rental companies in the Azores.
Another site we checked through and offered similar prices is Economy Bookings.
I am attaching links to these two sites so you can compare for your convenience.
We found all our accommodations through the Agoda website - Reserve here >>
Recently they started putting up holiday apartments there and you can find really good places to stay.
We made a SIM card while we were in Lisbon through Vodafone , which works great on all the islands.
There are branches of the company in the main cities of each island, and you can also find them in some of the airports.
We didn't get such an affordable package, so we suggest checking other options.
If your device supports E-SIM, it's really worth trying Airalo's service. Check out E-SIM services here >>
Most of the attractions we did on the islands did not require advance booking except for the Caldeira Velha hot springs. A link to the reservations appears in that section of the post.
Accommodation in a tent in the Azores
We spent most of our nights on the islands in a tent.
Basically , unregulated overnight accommodation is illegal in the Azores and therefore not necessarily recommended.
There are many camping sites with a nominal cost of 10 euros or so (and even some for free), and it is recommended to go to them.
The Azores are completely safe.
It is true that we had an unpleasant incident, but it does not at all speak to the local population and the safety conditions on the islands.
Everywhere in the world there are people who don't like tourists, and we all have bad days sometimes.
Take care of yourself but also remember that most people in the world are not here to hurt anyone else.
Yes, we recently heard from the car rental company that car break-ins have become more common on São Miguel Island, so it is advisable not to leave bags or valuables in the car.
The costs of our trip to the Azores
I detailed all the costs of our trip including flights, car rentals, accommodations, attractions and more in a separate post here on the blog.
It seems to me that I have really summarized here all the information I have to give about our itinerary in the Azores.
If you have any more questions feel free to write in the comments and I will gladly answer.
Don't miss the post of - 12 things not to miss in Sao Miguel Island. There are some things there that I myself missed and did not make it into my itinerary, but I think you will enjoy it.
And if you do decide to go, there is a whole blog post that describes how to plan a trip to the Azores that I believe will help you a lot.
If my content helps you during your travels, I would love for you to help me continue to grow and create more content. The most wonderful way, apart from continuing to visit my blog and use my links, is to follow me on Instagram..!
Thank you very much for the support and I wish you an amazing trip to Sao Miguel in the Azores :)
All photos were taken by me, and may not be used without permission.
I have a confession..
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you book something through them, the prices are the same, AND you are getting me closer towards my first million ;)
My dream is to make a living from this blog, and I hope that while I help you fulfill your travel dreams, you can also help me get closer to my dream.
So if you appreciate the content you read and you trust the value of my recommendations, I would love for you to book your travel reservations through those links.
Enjoy your trip :)