Formed by volcanic action, the Azores is a small clutch of islands where dramatic scenery inspires outdoor pursuits. Its crater lakes, mountains, forests and beaches make every moment feel like you’re in a postcard, while its towns and cities are filled with cultural treasures that captivate. Visit ancient churches, swim in a volcano lake and investigate an underground lava cave as you explore the islands.
The main gateway to the Azores is Ponta Delgada, the capital of São Miguel, the largest of the islands. Visit the 16th-century Convent and Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Esperança, noted for its lavishly decorated interior, and tour the parish church of São Sebastião, which dates back to the early 16th century. See the large banyan tree at Antonio Borges Park and watch a show or a movie at the Micaelense Theater, a popular cultural center.
A short drive from here you’ll find crater lakes and thermal springs. Marvel at the scenic splendor of Caldeira das Sete Cidades, where a volcanic crater is filled with lakes, or swim in the thermal pool at Terra Nostra Park.
With a temperate climate year-round and a rich diversity of landscapes, the Azores lend themselves to outdoor adventures. Hike along trails that pass by the main volcanoes on the island of Faial or kayak in crater lakes and in the sea around Terceira.
Explore the island of Pico, home to the highest mountain in Portugal, Mount Pico. The Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture is a dramatic region where vineyards are growing among the black lava grounds. Venture underground to study the bizarre lava structures of the Gruta das Torres lava cave.
Other popular scenic destinations in the Azores include the Furna do Enxofre volcanic cave of Graciosa, the historic churches and nature reserves of São Jorge and the waterfalls and crater lakes of Flores.
Reach the Azores by flying into Ponta Delgada on São Miguel. Traveling between the islands is easy with regular boat services, although some flights operate between the islands.