The Ultimate Azores Road Trip Through Portugal
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.
Read on to Drive to Discover the The Ultimate Azores Road Trip
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.
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 bucketlist-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 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
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
Conclude Your Azores Road Trip at Ponta Delgada Airport
As you drive back to Ponta Delgada
to drop off your rental car at the airport, you’ll enjoy wonderful views of the North Atlantic from the southern coast of Sao Miguel. The Azores, and in particular the island of Sao Miguel, have a way of leaving a lasting impression on those who visit, and we feel that driving the island and leaving room in your Azores itinerary for the unexpected and spontaneous adventures that are bound to occur, is the ideal way to travel.
Next stop back to the Ponta Delgada Airport: 24 minutes
Book Your Azores Adventure with Auto Europe
When you’re prepared to book your Azores trip to Sao Miguel Island, trust Auto Europe to secure you the best rate on your local Azores car rental. We have over six decades of experience negotiating the lowest rates in Europe for our clients, and when you rent a car with Auto Europe you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that our award-winning team is ready to troubleshoot and problem-solve should you run into any difficulty while on the road in Europe. Let’s go! Book now, and drive to discover the beautiful Azores island of Sao Miguel.
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