Visit Azores and tour operator Sunvil answer your most frequently asked questions on the Portuguese archipelago to help you plan your trip
The Azores archipelago comprises of nine unique Portuguese islands located in the mid-Atlantic between Portugal (932 miles) and North America (2,423 miles).
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.
Sata International operate a direct flight from London Gatwick to Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel) every Saturday from 30 March to 19 October 2013. Daily departures are also available with TAP Portugal from London Heathrow or Manchester via Lisbon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 02-09 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.
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.
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Visit Azores and tour operator Sunvil have answered your top ten most frequently asked questions on the Portuguese archipelago. Find out more about the destination, why you should visit in 2013 and how to get a FREE whale watching tour on your trip here.