Azores Vacation: 5 Stunning Spots to See on These Islands
As a family of five with three young children, Bethany Murray wasn’t sure that she was ready to take the plunge on traveling to an exotic locale. “We’ve always loved to travel and would spend several weeks each year in Anna Maria, Florida,” she says. “Like most families with young children, I didn’t think world travel was something we could manage or even afford.” After doing some research and working out a budget for an Azores vacation last year though, she has changed her mind.
This archipelago off the coast of Portugal is filled with active volcanoes, gorgeous hiking trails and rugged coastline. Best of all, unlike Iceland or Hawaii, it offers this beauty without all the tourists. Here, Bethany shares her five favorite spots to visit around the Azores.
Heading to the mainland? Check out this guide to Portugal with kids.
THROUGH THE EYES OF...
BEST TIME TO VISIT...
June to September
PARENTS WILL LOVE...
View of the Sete Cidades twin lakes, gorgeous waterfalls, and friendly locals
KIDS WILL LOVE...
Picnicking along the cliffs and getting splashed at Ponta da Ferraria
GOOD TO KNOW...
“The weather here is truly unpredictable. Plan for rain! We packed layers in our day packs, including raincoats at all times. Spot Azores is a live webcam of the island and will show you the weather. It was incredibly helpful, and we wouldn’t leave our home without checking it first.”
1. MIRADOURO LAGOA DO CANARIO
“You cannot go on an Azores vacation without making a trek to Miradouro Lagoa do Canario. Park at the entrance of the hike, but cross the road and walk through the black steel gate. When we arrived it took us forever to find this viewpoint, since this little tip couldn’t be found online. You can drive down to the end, but the gate will be locked every day by 3 pm. From here, you have the most incredible view of the Sete Cidades twin lakes. This, in my opinion, is the most quintessential shot of the Azores. You cannot visit without seeing this drop-dead gorgeous view.”
2. LAGOA DO FOGO
“Our second favourite spot was Lagoa do Fogo. Here in the centre of the island, you will find a crater filled with sparkling water. When we first arrived, the peaks of the mountains were covered in clouds. We scaled down the side of the mountain (which was relatively easy with kids) and spent several hours underneath the canopy of clouds by the water. Be sure to pack a picnic, since this is one of the few places you can actually swim. You will most likely have the place all to yourself with the flocks of royal terns (a water bird similar to a seagull).”
If you love to hike, check out this hiking adventure along Seven Valley Trails in Portugal.
3. RIBEIRA DOS CALDEIRÕES
“Another free park worth visiting is Ribeira dos Caldeirões. Before entering the park keep to the right, where you will be treated with a three-story waterfall. Once you have entered the park, the cobblestone will lead you all the way to a snack bar and several hikes for all fitness levels. It was like walking into Jurassic Park. You would expect a dinosaur to jump out at you at any given point! Interestingly enough though, we didn’t see any wildlife here. It’s like walking through Hawaii, but without any of the wildlife that you may expect. It’s great for people who are afraid of bugs!”
4. MIRADOURO DA PONTA DO SOSSEGO
“Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego is another free park with plentiful hydrangea, wild cats (my son’s favourite) and staggering views of the immense cliffs plunging into the sea. There are barbeque areas, so we packed some fresh sardines, wine and cheese, and watched the sun set. We were very popular with the stray cats!”
There’s plenty of natural beauty on the mainland, too. Check out this trip to southwestern Portugal.
5. PONTA DA FERRARIA
“You must visit Ponta da Ferraria. Here, the cold ocean water pours into a natural pool that’s surrounded by black, jagged rocks. They have set up ropes for you to hold onto while the ocean waves bombard the pool. Go at low tide, when the pool is at its warmest. The ocean waves are cold, and having them crash over you is quite invigorating! I would only recommend this for kids who are at least over the age of 10. It can be a very dangerous activity, so please proceed with caution. If you do go in, it is amazing to feel the power of the ocean!”
Want to escape to a tropical paradise? Consider going on a Maldives family holiday.