Overview

Introduction

Sunvil discovered the Azores in 1990 and since then we have been one of the leading promoters of responsible tourism to this, one of the last paradises on earth. We invite you to step into the past and discover the beauty and tranquillity of these fascinating islands.

The Azores form an enchanting archipelago of nine emerald green islands set in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal (1,500km) and North America (3,900km). At one time thought to be part of the legendary lost continent of Atlantis, the islands were discovered in the 15th century by Portuguese navigators en route to the New World and became the link between Europe and the Americas. In fact, they belong to Portugal and are part of Europe.               

A year round destination

A year round destination

The Azores are accessible and rewarding all year round due to their favourable climate. 

Spring

April is a peaceful time on all islands and the month for Azaleas, especially in Furnas (Sao Miguel). The area around Furnas Lake is wonderful at this time of year. May sees the second largest religious festival in Portugal take place in Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel). The ‘Festas de Santo Cristo dos Milagres’ (Christ of Miracles) takes place between 02-09 May and includes many cultural events, celebrations and a street procession through the capital city. 

Summer

A profusion of hydrangeas can be seen throughout the archipelago during early summer (Jun-Jul) creating colourful natural hedges along roadsides and small pastures. Flores, literally named the island of flowers, is a perfect example and best seen in July when the hydrangeas are in full bloom.

August is the month of festivals across the nine Azorean islands. Two of the main festivities take place on the central islands of Pico and Faial. Sea Week on Faial brings the island to life with musical performances and a number of regattas (August).

Whaler’s Week (August) on Pico pays homage to those who worked within the whaling industry and includes musical performances and celebrations. Other festivals include the musical ‘Festival of the Sea’ on Santa Maria (3rd week of August), and the festival of Praia Vitoria on Terceira (August).

July-September can also be a lovely time to visit the Azorean beaches (weather dependent). The Azores is not a traditional beach destination with most beaches made of volcanic black sand and shingle. In addition to the small beaches and coves, all of the nine Azorean islands have a host of natural rock pools, filled with ocean water and heated by the sun. Swimming in these pools whatever the weather is a delight.

Autumn

One of the best ways to explore this mid-Atlantic paradise is on foot, and each island offers a variety of marked trails to suit all abilities and interests. Walking can be enjoyed all year round due to the mild temperatures of the archipelago but, we love walking during the autumn months when the landscape is ever-changing in colour and the trees turning from lush greens to reds, oranges and yellows.

We operate our own guided walking holidays on Sao Miguel. We also offer individual guided walks on Santa Maria and Pico. We feel that these walks are the most scenic routes that the islands have to offer. Our walks can also be incorporated into a tailor-made holiday, designed to meet individual requirements.

The autumn months of September and October play host to a variety of festivals including the Holy Ghost festivities (April-September). October is also the peak of the bird watching season on the island of Corvo, when North American vagrants pass by.

Winter

During the winter months, with average temperatures of 14°C – much warmer if you’re sitting in the sun, unsettled weather means that the islands do not attract a large number of tourists. This is the time to see the real Azores, meet local residents and truly experience their way of life.

Christmas is a relatively low key and traditional affair. This is a religious community and nativity scenes are prevalent in Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel) and many towns and villages throughout the islands. On New Year’s Eve in Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel), there is a popular firework display in the main square with brass bands, sometimes rock bands, and free food and drink dispersed amongst the crowds. Similar celebrations, on a lesser scale, can be enjoyed in Angra do Heroismo (Terceira), Horta (Faial) and many smaller towns and villages across the archipelago.

In February (04-12 February) Carnival is celebrated throughout the islands. In Ponta Delgada, grand balls are held and a matinee masquerade ball takes place on the 12th February (Sunvil Discovery can pre-book tickets for clients wishing to attend these events); and on the last day of the festival an entertaining water battle takes places at the marina.

About the climate

The weather in the Azores is mild and quite changeable. The average temperature ranges from 14 to 22 degrees centigrade. Sea temperatures range from 15 to 23 degrees centigrade. It is not uncommon to experience four seasons in one day! If it is overcast in the morning, by early afternoon the sun will be shining. By late afternoon it may rain and be windy late evening. Be prepared for mixed weather on walks. Disruption to flight schedules and ferry crossings may occur, especially in winter, due to adverse weather conditions. Should flights/ferries be delayed or cancelled our local agent would be on hand to assist with alternative arrangements and overnight stays (if required).

About the food

Portuguese cuisine: delicious soups are popular as a starter; main course is either fish (including excellent seafood dishes) or meat (mainly local beef, spicy sausage or pork) accompanied by potatoes and vegetables. Salads are not very exciting and vegetarian dishes rare (although the Aldeia da Fonte in Pico does offer more choice than others). The desserts are mainly fruit (exquisite pineapple), flavourful cheeses, mousse and sweet cakes. Average cost of a 3-course meal with wine is 20 Euros per person.

Flight information

SATA Azores Airlines
 
Scheduled weekly service, every Saturday, from London Gatwick to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel)
 
05 May to 20 October 2018 (Saturday)
S4 541 London Gatwick / Ponta Delgada 20:30 / 23:30
S4 540 Ponta Delgada / London Gatwick  14:55 / 19:40
 

  • Departures from London Gatwick (South Terminal)
  • Luggage allowance is 23kg (international and inter-island flights) / 10kg for infants
  • In-flight meals included
  • The Azores is one hour behind the UK all year

 
SATA Advanced seat reservation: We are able to pre-book specific flight seats for our clients. If you have a preference for a window seat, aisle seat, seating together etc. please contact us and we will reserve these seats for you (subject to availability).
 
SATA Excess Baggage: If you are intending to take golf clubs, dive equipment, bicycles or surfboards abroad then please advise us at the time of booking. We will inform the airline and advise if and what the charge will be above your normal luggage allowance.


Ryanair
 
Weekly flights, every Saturday, from London Stansted to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel) or every Thursday from Manchester to Ponta Delgada  
 
05 January to 30 March 2018 (Saturday)
FR 2631 London Stansted / Ponta Delgada 18:10 / 21:15
FR 2630 Ponta Delgada / London Stansted   13:00 / 17:45
 
31 March to 27 October 2018 (Saturday)
FR 2631 London Stansted / Ponta Delgada 14:35 / 17:40
FR 2630 Ponta Delgada / London Stansted   18:05 / 22:50
 
07June to 25 October 2018 (Thursday)
FR 9032 Manchester / Ponta Delgada 05:45 / 08:40
FR 9033 Ponta Delgada / Manchester 09:20 / 14:10

TAP Portugal
 
Scheduled daily flights with TAP Portugal (via Lisbon) to the Azores
 
We are able to tailor-make holidays using TAP Portugal daily flights from London Heathrow, London Gatwick or Manchester to Lisbon with a connecting flight to the Azores (Sao Miguel, Terceiraand Faial).  As the flights do not always connect on the same day, an overnight stay in Lisbon may be required on arrival and/or departure.  Please contact Sunvil for details and prices.

 

 

Frequently asked questions

 1. Where are the Azores?
The Azores archipelago comprises of nine unique Portuguese islands located in the mid-Atlantic between Portugal (932 miles) and North America (2,423 miles).

2. When is the best time to travel to the Azores?
Ideally the answer would depend on what your interests are, but in general the peak time would be between April and October when the weather is at its most settled. The Azores is particularly beautiful in the Spring (Apr-Jun) when the archipelago erupts into vibrant colours with the bloom of hydrangeas, agapanthus and ginger lily.

3. Is there a direct flight from the UK?
Sata International operate a direct flight from London Gatwick to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel) every Saturday from mid April to end of September. Daily departures are also available with TAP Portugal from London Heathrow or Manchester via Lisbon.

4. Which island(s) would you recommend for my first trip to the archipelago?
We would recommend the island of Sao Miguel as an ideal island for an introduction to the Azores. There is plenty to see and do during a week long stay. Take a drive to see a fabulous volcanic crater lake; visit a pineapple factory and tea plantation; bathe in a thermal hot pool in Furnas' botanical park; swim with dolphins; play a round of golf – the list goes on. For a multi-centre holiday the islands of Sao Miguel, Faial and Terceira are popular combinations for first time visitors.

5. Which island(s) are particularly good for walking?

All the islands are good for walking but some of the most scenic walks can be found on Sao Miguel, Sao Jorge, Flores and Santa Maria.

6. What wildlife am I likely to see in the Azores?

24 of the planet's 80 species of whales and dolphins have been sighted off the coast of the Azores. During the summer months (Jul-Aug) migratory species including pods of baleen whales, pilot and beaked whales, Atlantic-spotted dolphins, striped dolphins and turtles pass the islands. Whereas, in winter and spring (Oct-Jun), species of baleen whales such as fin whales, sei whales, humpback whales and blue whales are likely to be seen.

7. Can I travel between the islands by boat?

Travel between the islands by boat is possible but not always recommended as the distance between most of the islands would mean that the majority of your day is spent travelling. The exception would be the central group of islands, Faial, Pico and Sao Jorge which, due to their close proximity, are only a short ferry crossing from one other (between 30-90 minutes). For connections between other islands we would recommend inter-island flights.

8. What is the weather like in the Azores?

The Azores has a mild climate year round (15 degrees in the winter and reaching 25C degrees in the height of summer) making it the perfect destination for outdoor activities such as walking, whale watching, kayaking and jeep tours.

9. What are some of the highlights of the Azores?

Sea activities such as whale and dolphin watching excursions, swimming with dolphins, trips on a glass bottomed boat; guided island tours with plenty of photo stop opportunities; colourful festivals including the Festas de Santo Cristo (Christ of Miracles) – the second largest religious festival in Portugal which takes place in Ponta Delgada between 23-29 May; bathing in a thermal pool; walking through the botanical gardens of Furnas; visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angra do Heroismo (Terceira); ordering a gin and tonic at Peter's Cafe (Faial) – a must for any visitor to the island; and a climb up Mount Pico, the highest point (2,351km) in Portugal.

10. Is it expensive to eat out?
The cost of living in the Azores is extremely reasonable. A coffee is about 60p; a draft beer just 90p; a two-course dinner including drinks approx. £22.



Whale Watching Code of Ethics

Read the Code of Ethics

Foreign Office advice

We’ve partnered with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Aware campaign to help provide top tips and advice for planning for your trip abroad. It’s important to do some research before you travel to learn about any necessary visas and vaccinations required for entry to your destination, understand any unusual laws and customs and to be aware of the latest travel advice for the region. Click on the link below for more information on what to prepare for your trip overseas. You can also sign up for email alerts and follow @FCOtravel on Twitter for alerts whilst you are away.

Visit gov.uk/travelaware for more information

Useful information

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Angela Feeney
Angela Feeney
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT - 1 hour

Currency

Euro

Language

Portuguese

Average flight times

4 hours 5 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Talk to our The Azores expert

Rosanna Melaragni
Rosanna Melaragni

Rosanna is the head of our Discovery Department which covers tailor made holidays to Portugal and the Azores, Italy and Sicily, Scandinavia and the new programme to Spain. She is our longest serving member of staff having joined in 1994 after completing an honours degree in French and Italian and subsequently working for a tour operator in Yorkshire. She is responsible for brochure writing, contracting accommodation, programme costing, computer inputting and generally troubleshoots where necessary. She has global knowledge of our tailor made programme.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

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The Azores

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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