Ker & Downey has compiled the ultimate Azores bucket list to help kickstart your adventure. Here are the 15 best things to do in the Azores.


A magical archipelago off the coast of Portugal, the Azores Islands are a remote collection of nine volcanic islands surrounded by breathtaking beauty. Here in paradise, adventure and natural beauty awaits at every turn.

Each island is a wonder in its own right. However, all are known for their enchanted lagoons, dramatic cliffs, dormant volcanoes, imposing waterfalls, colorful flowers, islets and fajãs, as well as deserted beaches that will take your breath away.

There is so much to explore that the locals say it takes a lifetime to discover the Azores. As such, Ker & Downey has compiled the ultimate Azores bucket list to help kickstart your adventure. Here are the 15 best things to do in the Azores:


São Miguel Island

São Miguel, the largest island in the archipelago, is known as the “Green Island” for its lush vegetation, verdant valleys, and diverse flora and fauna. The island has the capital city of Ponta Delgada and plenty of natural attractions. Highlights include the twin lakes Sete Cidades, the hot springs of Vale das Furnas, the beautiful botanical garden Terra Nostra with its thermal pool, and the Ribeira dos Caldeirões waterfall.

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 1. Hydrotherapy Octant Furnas Hotel

1. Indulge in a Thermal Hydrotherapy Circuit

Pamper yourself with the hydrotherapy circuit conducted with thermal water from Furnas. Exclusive to Octant Furnas Hotel, the circuit includes Sauna, Laconium, Turkish Bath, Aromatic Showers, and Dynamic Pools. Then complement it with a spa treatment incorporating volcanic ash -- the perfect way to refresh after a long journey.

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 2. Waterfalls

2. Plunge into Hidden Waterfalls

The Azores are home to many hidden waterfalls that can only be reached by hiking through dense forests and rugged terrain. But it’s worth the adventure. One of the most famous is Salto do Prego, on the island of São Miguel. This 65-foot waterfall drops into a natural pool and is a true paradise for nature lovers.

3. Taste the Cuisine of Ponta Delgada

A gastronomic tour of Ponta Delgada, the main city of the Azores, reveals artisanal restaurants and delicious cuisine. In addition to enjoying amazing food and drinks at eight establishments, you will also visit some of the main sights of the city and learn their historical context

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 4. Sete Cidades Octant Furnas

4. Drive in a Jeep to Sete Cidades

With a private driver and a sturdy vehicle in your corner, you can scale the vertiginous route to the region's iconic twin lakes, Sete Cidades, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal. According to legend, the Blue and Green lakes were formed by the tears of a shepherd and a princess who shared a forbidden love.

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 5. Botanical Gardens Octant Furnas

5. Explore the Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens

Named one of the best "Green Retreats" by Condé Nast Traveller, Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens prove yet another Azores bucket list item. Also located in Furnas Valley, the botanical gardens date back to 1775. They also boast a massive Camellia floral collection -- a paradise for plant lovers. The natural park also has a thermal pool filled with volcanic water from the hot springs.

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 6. Furnas Cheese

6. Sample the Queijo do Vale

The hot springs of Vale das Furnas (Furnas Valley) are worth the trip alone. However, once you reach the valley, you will see how the local inhabitants use the volcanic activity to cook their meals. Case in point? The region’s famous Queijo do Vale, the cheese of the Furnas Valley, which you can taste at a family-run cheese producer.

Pico Island

If you are looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, look no further than Pico Island. Named after its majestic volcanic peak, Pico Island also boasts many hiking trails and nature reserves to explore. However, it is best known for its UNESCO-designated vineyards, where visitors can taste the unique wines of the region.

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 7. Pico Mountain

7. Hike the Highest Mountain in Portugal

The ultimate Azores bucket list experience, Pico Mountain is a 7,700-foot-high volcano. It was also named another one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal. The journey to the top is not easy, but it’s a rewarding hike that takes you through lush forests and breathtaking lunar landscapes. In the end, you will enjoy panoramic views over the surrounding islands and the endless blue horizon.

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 8. Grotto

8. Venture into Gruta das Torres

Armed with helmets and flashlights, take a guided tour of the largest lava tube in Portugal: Gruta das Torres (3.2 miles long). This one-hour exploration introduces you to the caves 1,500-year history and geological formations.

9. Savor the Vinho do Pico

Travel back in time on a tour of the vineyards, wineries, and villages of black houses made of volcanic stone. The Culture of Pico Wine has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As such, you will get to know its history and taste its unique flavors.


Faial Island

Lose yourself on the “Blue Island” of Faial, so named for its abundance of blue hydrangeas. Its landmark Capelinhos Volcano is considered the westernmost point of Europe. Additional highlights here include Caldeira do Faial, Praia do Norte, and Castelo Branco Hill. Perhaps even take a dip in the ocean… the choices are yours.

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 10. Whale Watching

10. Go Whale Watching

Whale watching tours are definitely one of the best things to do in the Azores. While you can witness marine life on most any island in the archipelago, Faial offers some prime sightings. Indeed, the Azores play host to a third of the world’s cetacean species, including blue whales, humpback whales, and sperm whales. It is therefore one of the best destinations in the world for whale watching trips and dolphin encounters.

11. Take a 4x4 to Capelinhos Volcano

Go off-roading to see the Capelinhos Volcano, one of the best things to do when visiting the Azores. The volcano erupted in 1957, creating a new landmass that expanded the island’s size by 2.4 square kilometers. While here, explore the lunar-like landscape around the volcanic crater, which includes black sand beaches.


Terceira Island

With a landscape similar to Ireland or Iceland, Terceira promises a wealth of adventure and wonder. Plus, it has the Azores' oldest city, Angra do Heroísmo, the historical capital of the archipelago and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 12. E Biking

12. Ride an E-Bike on Terceira

Discover the wonderful Terceira Island on an e-bike tour. Here you can find fantastic trails that take you from the mountain to sea level. Plus, the famous mild climate makes this activity enjoyable all year round. Some of our favorite options include the four peaks of Monte Brasil, the forests and sea of the West Coast complete with cheese and wine tasting, and the green areas and historic monuments of Praia Vitória.

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 13. Terceira Island Lava Tube

13. See the Sleeping Volcanoes and Caves

Because of its small size, you can easily explore the volcanoes, craters, and caves of this island in the Azores on a half-day tour. First, reach the Gruta do Natal (Christmas Grotto), a lava tube.

Then explore the Furnas do Enxofre (fumaroles field) and Algar do Carvão, a volcanic cave, nearby. This is a highlight and one of the best things to do in the Azores: entering an inactive volcano! Finally, stop at Serra do Cume viewpoint and enjoy the spectacular view of one of the largest craters ever formed on Terceira Island.

São Jorge Island

São Jorge Island resides in the central group of the Azores archipelago along with Terceira, Graciosa, Pico, and Faial. This "Triangle" of islands is therefore easily accessible via ferry.

Azores Bucket List 15 Best Things To Do In The Azores 14. Swim With Dolphins

14. Swim with the Dolphins

The island of São Jorge boasts stunning natural beauty and abundant marine life. It is therefore one of the best places to see and play dolphins in their natural habitat. Have you ever imagined swimming with dolphins in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? This is your chance to do so.

15. Sip Espresso in Fajã dos Vimes

São Jorge is renowned for its fajãs, the fertile volcanic terrain located on the foot of coastal cliffs. Because of the micro climate of this particular fajã, it is the only place in Europe where coffee is planted and harvest. The artisanal Café Nunes offers the best place to sip an espresso and enjoy the views.


Check Off Your Azores Bucket List

Time to pack your bags, escape to paradise, and see all of the best things to do in the Azores. Contact a Ker & Downey Travel Designer to customize your Azores adventure, and read more about the seasonality and pricing in Southern Europe. For even more travel inspiration, follow us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

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