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The Azores are a true natural wonder and, with their location 900 miles from the mainland, represent the westernmost point of Europe . The 9 islands belonging to Portugal are divided into different groups, with São Miguel being the largest and today the most important island.
Many visitors end up in the Azores because of the unique flora and fauna: around 70 plant species are found exclusively on the Azores islands. The humid and mild Atlantic climate also ensures that it is green all year round. The Azores are not a classic bathing destination, but a paradise for hikers and those seeking peace and quiet.
The archipelago is also a veritable playground for whales and dolphins. In the waters off the islands, 24 different whale species can be observed, which find ideal living conditions in the nutrient-rich Atlantic.
There are some direct flights to the Azores from the US, but they are not exactly cheap, especially in spring and summer, and start at $600 in June, for example. The trick is to book separate flights and fly via Porto with Ryanair. Depending on the connection you choose, you can catch your connecting flight on the same day. Alternatively, it is also worth considering making a one-day or multi-day stopover in beautiful Porto on the outward or return journey.
You can get to Porto really cheaply from numerous US airports with TAP Air Portugal. For prices starting in the mid-$300s.
You can get flights from Porto to Ponta Delgada for as little as €35 around $35 with Ryanair. The airport is on São Miguel, the "green island", where you could also enjoy your further stay.
The Portuguese islands have a subtropical oceanic climate, which means that you won't experience much variation between summer and winter temperatures. For example, the maximum temperatures in January are 62 degrees and they rarely fall below 50. However, since the location in the middle of the Atlantic means that the climate can be expected to be changeable and unexpected wind and rain storms can be expected, it can get quite uncomfortable on the islands in winter. Especially in winter, the temperatures often feel much colder and this can also make traveling by plane more difficult.
From June to October, on the other hand, the weather remains much more stable, which is why these months are the ideal travel time for the Azores. From April you can go hiking or cycling on the island. If you like it really warm, you should travel to the islands in July or August. Maximum temperatures of around 77 degrees even allow swimming in the Atlantic.
A trip to the Azores is quite unproblematic even with little planning effort since you can get by quite passably with English, and the euro is considered a means of payment. It is only important to have rainproof clothing with you, as the weather can change very quickly. You can find simple but good accommodation on the island of São Miguel for as little as $33 per night and a double room including breakfast. When booking, make sure that the accommodation is not on one of the other Azores islands, because then you might have to put in an overnight stay to get a suitable ferry at all.
Although the island of São Miguel is the largest island in the archipelago, it is still quite manageable with a length of around 9 miles and a maximum width of around 37 miles. Of course, the most comfortable way to travel is by rental car. You usually get better prices if you book online from home. For your entire stay, you would get a car in very good condition for about $200. Provided you are in good physical condition, you can also rent a much cheaper mountain bike and explore the island by bike and on foot. Of course, there is also a network of regular buses, even if you don't reach every corner with it. However, many travelers report that hitchhiking in the Azores is not a problem at all.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with choosing different accommodations with light hiking luggage and working out a nice hiking route in advance. For inspiration, check out the official website of the Azores Tourist Board. If you want to delve a little deeper into the matter, there are also practical travel guides, especially for a hiking trip. The landscape of the island is characterized by volcanic lakes. A must for visitors is the imposing volcanic crater of Sete Cidades.
Your journey takes you to the beautiful Azores island of São Miguel, which is a real experience with its bubbling springs and bubbling geysers. Not to mention the wooded hills, the photo-worthy bays, and the great vantage points. Although the islanders, like the Inuit, are permitted to whale for subsistence, the residents voluntarily stopped hunting the marine mammals in 1987. But the spirit of bygone days can still be felt today, the flair of the old whalers drives the entire island. Many whale and dolphin-watching tours depart from the island. The sea has a high biodiversity because it is washed by the warm Gulf Stream.