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