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THE ULTIMATE AZORES ROAD TRIP
If you’re considering a trip to Azores, Portugal, then you’ll love the fabulous Azores itinerary we’ve cooked up for you. This fantastic round-trip drive from Ponta Delgada will transport you around one of the most beautiful volcanic islands in the world.
The Azores are a stunning archipelago of nine islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, 850 miles west of the Portuguese mainland and just over 1,000 miles from Lisbon. Tourism has emerged as one of the primary industries of these beautiful islands, and in recent years they’ve transitioned from being one of the best-kept secrets in Europe to one of the most popular destinations in the world. You’ll enjoy mild temperatures, fueled by favorable Gulf Stream currents, and an intoxicating medley of fantastic cuisine, charming dialects, and time-honored traditions which vary considerably from island to island, and town to town.
1. BEGIN YOUR TRIP TO AZORES IN CHARMING PONTA DELGADA
The capital city of the Azores archipelago awaits you, and when you disembark your plane and pick up your rental car at Joao Paul II International Airport, you’ll be greeted by one of the most beautiful and charming cities you’ve ever visited.
Our Azores itinerary allows you to check into a hotel in Ponta Delgada, exploring the city by foot, or enjoying a short day trip along the coast or inland to the Sete Cidades Massif, a striking verdant volcano which awaits just beyond the bustling city limits. Azor Hotel is one of the priciest hotels in the city, but it’s excellent if you have the budget for it. Hotel Marina Atlantico is a great mid-range choice right near the water.
We suggest dining out at a seafood restaurant during your overnight in Ponta Delgada. Restaurante Gastronomo is excellent, as is Boca de Cena. If you’re looking for a Vegan-Friendly restaurant, Rotas da Ilha Verde is a good choice, serving classic Portuguese veggie fare.
POPULAR PONTA DELGADA RENTAL CAR LOCATIONS
Pick-up your car at one of the convenient locations throughout Ponta Delgada from Auto Europe. We have spent the past 60 years forming partnerships with rental car suppliers to ensure your rental car is perfect for your Portugal Journey. Whether you are picking your rental vehicle from the Joao Paulo II Airport or any of the other convenient locations, Auto Europe is here to ensure your Ponta Delgada rental car goes off without a hitch.
NEXT STOP: 52 MINUTES
2. WEST TO SETE CIDADES AND PONTA DA FERRARIA
Rise early for the first leg of your Azores road trip – Sete Cidades is just 52 minutes away, but you’ve got an adventure-packed day ahead of you, so be sure to eat a hearty breakfast!
The civil parish of Sete Cidades is truly set in paradise. While fewer than 1,000 people reside here year-round, we think you may consider joining them when you arrive. Nestled in the center of a massive volcanic crater that spans three miles, upon your arrival you’ll discover two unique lakes carved in the basin, separated by a small bridge, which you can explore, breathe deeply, and take the best photographs of your life.
From Sete Cidades, it’s on to Pona da Ferraria on the westernmost tip of Sao Miguel Island. One of the best-kept secrets of Sao Miguel is the natural hot springs that you can bathe in here. Check out the schedule of the tides, and make your way to Ponta da Ferraria at low tide, when the rocky shore will reveal the bubbling, therapeutic waters which have been used by residents since the 15th century. As the tide rises, fresh, cool ocean waves will wash over you, leaving you invigorated for the next leg of your Azores adventure!
NEXT STOP: 1 HOUR & 10 MINUTES
3. NEXT ON YOUR AZORES ITINERARY: CALDEIRA VELHA & LAGOA DO FOGO
Hop into your Portugal car rental and head east along the northern coast of Sao Miguel. Drink in the ocean views and the vivid green of the volcanic hillsides to your right. When you arrive in the center of the island, park your car at Caldeira Velha and explore what may be the most beautiful and intimate natural waterfall in the world.
Set deep into the northern slope of Fogo Volcano, this romantic waterfall offers a steady stream of iron water which slips into a slate-colored pool. You can swim here, take photos, or bookmark it and return later to cool off after continuing to Lagoa do Fogo where you’ll stretch your legs with a memorable hike.
Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire) is a bucket list-worthy destination on Sao Miguel in the Azores. We recommend taking the day, packing a lunch, and enjoying this one-of-a-kind hike along the well-kept, 8-mile trail. You’ll enjoy sweeping views of Lagoa do Fogo, the rest of Sao Miguel, and you’ll end the day feeling deeply (even spiritually) connected to this gorgeous locale.
NEXT STOP: 8 MINUTES
4. EAST TO CHARMING NORDESTE
Portuguese for the northeast, Nordeste sits on the Northeastern corner of Sao Miguel Island in the Azores. This part of the island is densely forested, with charming openings in the trees where local farmers have cleared the land. Ponta do Sossego, Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada and Farol Ponta do Arnel are all recommended stops on this portion of the island – they offer travelers striking lookouts and views where you can snap some photos to share on Facebook and Instagram to make friends and family intensely jealous.
NEXT STOP: 46 MINUTES
5. CLIFF DIVING IN VILA FRANCA – YOUR FINAL DAY IN PARADISE!
What better way to spend the final day of your Azores trip than cliff diving in Vila Franca, Portugal! While you may not be jumping from the insane heights of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, which is set here, there are plenty of beautiful and dramatic rocks along the coast of Vila Franca, a charming coastal village, where you can get the blood flowing before your return flight.
NEXT STOP: 1 HOUR & 29 MINUTES