Family-Friendly Travel to the Azores
Nilda Del Valle Heller
The Azores are an enchanting must-see volcanic island chain in the Atlantic. With its lush green landscape, distinct topography created by extinct volcanoes and incredibly warm people, the Azores is a family trip to remember. In fact, it is my sons’ new favorite destination and one we’ll return to again. Read on and you’ll see why!
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Where to stay in the Azores
Pestana Bahia Praia
Beachfront hotel in Sao Miguel with an external fresh-water swimming pool, two restaurants and a bar and two tennis courts.
Sensi Azores Nature and Spa
A 5-star property focused on experiences for the senses within a short drive to the Lagoa das Sete Cidades.
Terra Nostra Garden Hotel
Iconic Azores Islands hotel with elegant accommodations and a lush garden park for leisure.
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Things to do in the Azores
The Azorean archipelago is comprised of 9 islands, here are 2 fun ones to get you started:
Most nonstop flights to the Azores arrive in São Miguel’s Ponta Delgada airport.
Ponta Delgada: The quiet capital of the Azores and the gateway to breathtakingly beautiful crater lakes is the perfect place to start your visit.
Algar do Carvão: Visit this ancient lava tube and descend into the recess of a long-dormant volcano.
Lagoa das Sete Cidades: The most famous and iconic image of the Azores are these blue/green twin lakes surrounded by hydrangeas and intense green landscape!
Miradouro da Boca do Inferno: A footpath and hiking trail that leads to the most breathtaking outlook over Sete Cidades.
Miradouro da Vista do Rei: Observation deck to see the incredible Lagoa das Sete Cidades from above.
Portas da Cidade: Historic square with 18th-century gates in Ponta Delgada.
Praias: In the Azores the beaches are black sand beauties and a must experience.
Whale watching is a must! Futurismo and Picos de Aventura are great operators to consider. Pro tip: Skip the zodiacs if you’re prone to sea sickness. Trust me. Terceira
The island of Terceira is reachable by a short flight from Ponta Delgada airport. A rental car makes exploring the islands much easier. Try Ilha Verde Car Rental, the largest car rental agency in the Azores.
Angra do Heroismo: A UNESCO Heritage site, this tiny town is home to cute shops, cafes and natural ocean swimming pools.
Algar do Carvão: Visit this ancient lava tube and descend into the recess of a long=dormant volcano.
Biscoitos: A black lava field known for its natural rock swimming pools.
Furnas do Enxofre: A circuit of paths through a fumarole field emitting steam, carbon dioxide and sulfuric gasses.
Gruta do Natal: Sport a hardhat to explore this volcanic cave system.
Monte de Brasil: Remnants of a volcano that overlooks the Bay and City of Angra, once used as a defensive point in history.
Piscinas Naturais: Natural swimming pools dot the island’s coastline. Try to hit as many as you can during your visit. Pro tip: Hold small children’s hands while entering.
Serra do Cume: A collapsed volcano field turned geopark and overlook.
Places to Eat & Drink in the Azores
A Tasca: Traditional Portuguese tavern in the center of Ponta Delgada. Extensive and delicious menu. Pro tip: go for lunch to avoid the impossible dinner crowd.
Bar Caloura: Located right on the water with views of the sea, this is oceanfront dining Azorean-style. This spot serves fresh seafood. Most fish is caught that day. Pro tip: Go for an early dinner and order the family-style three fish special. It comes with boiled potatoes, grilled vegetables and salad.
Captain’s Table: A farm-to-table fusion of Portuguese, Turkish and Italian cuisines using Azorean ingredients. Always busy.
Restaurante Caneta: Typical Azorean cuisine in a family-run restaurant. Everything is delicious. Pro tip: They’re closed for dinner, so go for a late lunch.
Many restaurants on these small islands have limited to no availability for dinner walk-ins, especially on summer weekends. If possible, make a reservation!
Things to try:
Azorean cheese: Try them all!
Bolo levedo: A breakfast bread similar to an English muffin, but better!
Cozido: Azorean meat stew with potatoes and vegetables.
Lapas or limpets: A mollusk that looks like a mussel sitting in a scallop shell and tastes like escargot. Served with sizzling garlic butter.
Vinho verde: A fresh, light Azorean wine. Try any wine from the island of Pico!
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