How to divide the time to spend nine days visiting the Azores Islands?
The Azores Islands is an archipelago of the Portuguese territory, constituted by nine islands. These islands are organized into three groups accordingly to their relative position and proximity: Oriental Group, Central Group, and Occidental Group.
- Oriental Group: Santa Maria Island and São Miguel Island
- Central Group: Pico Island, São Jorge Island, Faial Island, Graciosa Island, and Terceira Island
- Occidental Group: Flores Island and Corvo Island.
There are many websites where you can retrieve geographical information about the Azores Islands, so I won’t spend much time on this subject.
Also, to know its geographic position, you can go to Google Maps or access here.
Despite the Azores being part of Portugal, it is totally different from the mainland. It is far from sufficient to say that you will find in the Azores a unique environment, is like visiting a different country but with the same language although with a specific accent.
In between the several Azorean islands, you will also find vast differences.
While some islands are green, with a considerable number of lakes and waterfalls, other islands will give you dark landscape colors with impressive mountains.
These differences between islands are not only in the landscape but also in their traditions and ways of being.
At São Miguel island, you will find the biggest island of the archipelago. It is a very green island, quite exuberant, with an architecture based on black and white buildings.
Pico island, for example, looks like dark and dry because of the dark volcanic stone, and the locals love to paint their dark stone houses doors with red color… the result is fantastic.
All islands are GREAT, each one different from the rest.
With nine islands and, considering the difficulties of access to some of them, it is totally impossible, or challenging, to visit them all in one week.
I believe it doesn’t worth your while to do it like that.
If you’re planning a one week tour, or 9 days for that matter, you will need to make choices regarding what islands to visit.
In this post, I will focus on a 9 days tour.
Still, I will write another post considering a two-week tour, and these two possibilities will be very different.
When selecting where to go and what to do, naturally, that the answer will depend on your personal preferences.
– in case you are more willing to go trekking the answer will be to visit islands like Flores or São Jorge;
– but if you are more of a general tourist, maybe plan to spend more time at São Miguel and Terceira.
For the sake of the explanation, I will divide the people that are interested in visiting the Azores in two big groups:
Relaxed Group: Those that are more like a general tourist, want some cultural activities but not too dull, some walks but not too tricky or not taking too much time, and want to take some pictures, have some relaxation moments but get to know the place.
Active Group: Those interested in knowing the area while doing some physical activities like walking, maybe trekking, or scuba diving, photography, sea kayaking, etc. Despite all the above, are also interested in getting to know the place.
Note: that, things like local food and wine tasting, getting to know people, and some relaxing are included in both groups, naturally.
I know that splitting the people into two groups like this is probably not fair, but this is a blog post, not a scientific study … give me a break.
So, now “How to divide the time to spend nine days visiting the Azores Islands?”
Please, bear in mind that I don’t like to travel with tight schedules nor being all day rushing. I need to feel I’m making the most of my time in a balanced way.
What is right for me is not necessarily the best for you, so you will make your own decisions.
Relaxed Group: mixed tour with some cultural activities, some photo opp’s and some walks – 3 days at São Miguel island + 2 days at Pico island + 1 day at São Jorge Island + 3 days at Terceira island.
Active Group: plenty of opportunities for walking, scuba diving, serious photography, surf, rock climbing etc – two possibilities: A) 3 days at São Miguel island + 2 days at Pico island + 2 days at São Jorge island + 2 days at Terceira island or B) 3 days at São Miguel island + 3 days at Flores island + 2 days at Pico island + 1 day at São Jorge Island.
This is only an idea of how to split time in between islands. You will decide what is best for you.
The Azores Islands are in my shortlist of favorite destinations. I’ve been traveling there for many years, and I know all the islands deeply.
There are infinite possibilities to do a wide variety of activities like walking, photographing, lying down on the beach, jumping from cliffs, cultural visits, you name it.
It is tough to select some islands to visit in one week, leaving out many other beautiful places. However, this is real life with its limitations of time and money.
I’m not considering the logistic difficulties you can find when booking flights to the Azores.
It will always depend on where do you come from.
For sure, I will have the opportunity to explain the reasons behind the above-selected islands.
For more texts about the Azores Islands, please access here.