Azores in August

Old Feb 8th, 2024, 06:26 PM
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Azores in August

My husband and I plan to visit the Azores for about 2 weeks in August. We will fly there together but when we depart he will head home to Denver and I will go to Madrid. We would like to visit Sao Miguel, Terceira, Faial, Pico an Sao Jorge . I am struggling with organizing the order. We will ferry between Faial, Pico an Sao Jorge.
I am thinking the we will fly (free stopover) first to Sao Miguel for 4 or 5 nights
then to Terceira and spend 4 nights.
Then fly to Horta and spend 2 nights, then ferry to Pico for 2 nights and then to Sao Jorge for 2 nights.
Then fly to PDL and each of us will depart from there.
When looking at the ferry schedule it doesn't look like there are daily ferries between Faial, Pico an Sao Jorge, Is this correct. I thought there would be in August. Possibly they are not posted yet.
Please tell me your thoughts on this itinerary.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 02:36 AM
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When we visited the Azores, we flew into Horta and stayed in the Pousada there for several nights. While there we did some walks, went out whale watching and enjoyed the food. In August all if the ferries will be running and we went over to Pico for a day trip, but could have spent to or three days there. On another day we ferried to Sao Jorge and caught a cab up to the top of the volcano and walked down to the sea. It's a longish walk and ended in many beers to avoid dehydration.

From Horta, we flew over to Terceira for another several nights and stayed near Angra. Again walking and good food. The fish is good on the islands as you'd expect. To avoid criss-crossing over the Central group, we found that our itinerary worked well and would recommend it. You can certainly fly direct to Madrid from Terceira, but the Denver leg depends on his route.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 06:09 AM
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Thank you for your reply. Sounds like you maybe liked Pico better than San Jorge. Were you able to book the ferries when you were there or did you need to book in advance?
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 07:33 AM
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we cycled a fair bit and then like Rubicon used taxis to get up mountains. Don't rush, relax, you may wake to a storm that has disappeared by midday. Ferries no booking required. Whale watching, we just wandered in. Watch out for fat boats in the harbour that may suck up local capacity. When we were there there had been no reported crime for 15 years and no doors were locked. We checked into appartments by just opening the door.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 08:40 AM
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Good to hear about ferries not needing resos because somewhere I had read said you needed to get them in advance. Which island(s) did you explore.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 09:01 AM
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https://azoresgetaways.com/en-gb/des...r-trip/ferries

ah, perhaps you will be taking a car or taking a long journey. Short journeys on foot reservations not needed
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 09:50 AM
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Thank you for the link. not sure yet if we will take a car on the ferry. Possibly considering staying on either Faial or PIco and doing day trips to each of the islands. Any thoughts on that.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 10:15 AM
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If you do take your car from Pico to Faial in August I would make reservations just in case. We're going in June and will take our rental car from Madalena on Pico to Horta on Faial on the Blue Line.
The ferry schedule for the summer, as you've seen, isn't loaded yet.
https://www.atlanticoline.pt/en/

A complete guide to all of the 9 Azores islands I purchased on Amazon
here. here.
I'm using it to plan our trip.

This is the company we plan to use for whale watching on Pico.
https://www.espacotalassa.com/en/

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 9th, 2024 at 10:26 AM.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 10:37 AM
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I think the author is someone who responded to a previous post of mine when we were going to travel earlier. He sounds very knowledgeable. What do you think of the guide. I have Eye Witness, Moon and lots of magazine articles.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 10:39 AM
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The author is a regular contributor to the Portugal Rick Steves forum, which is how I heard of his printed guide, now in the second edition. I have Eye Witness & Moon as well as tons of online articles from The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveler and other sources. I've been researching this trip for quite a while and had to cancel last June, so resurrecting it now. We'll just visit São Miguel, fly to Pico and ferry to Faial. We won't travel to Terceira. And we'll fly r.t. São Miguel departing from Madrid, where we live.

This is from Julie Dawn Fox's blog about São Miguel.
https://juliedawnfox.com/best-things...in-sao-miguel/

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 9th, 2024 at 11:12 AM.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 11:59 AM
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I am going to Madrid ( Iberia Air) afterwards to catch the train to Leon, SP where I will start the Camino trek with friends.
I am able to get a free layover on SATA so that is why we will include Terceira
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 07:49 AM
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I've been to the Azores some 14 times. Sometimes with just one our kids and sometime all 4 of us. We would use Terceira as our base mainly because we would fly into Lajes. We have spent time on Faial and on Pico and briefly visited Sao Jorge.

August is a fine time to go. Expect a little early morning rain most days. It clears up quickly. As far as ferries, just show up. I strongly recommend a rental car but do a separate rental on each Island and be sure it is a small car. Bringing a car onto the ferry complicates things and increases costs. Car rentals are easy as is driving on the Islands.

San Miguel has the University so is more lively than the others. Unless there is a reason to go there, I would skip it because the countryside, where the beauty is is much the same on Terceira and it is the furthest removed from the central group. so a longer and IMO a stop that is not necessary.

Pico is a good sized island compared to the other central islands and has unique plant life particularly in an area called mysterious.
By all means go to Terceira. You are in the bullfight season. These bullfights are nothing like what one might think, the bulls are not injured. It is more of a street festival. For safety stay behind a fence but by all means keep your eye on the bull.

If you search under my name you will find a TR called Azores with a good deal of practical info that I wrote for fellow fodorite Dave Ohio. He has a TR attached to mine.
If you are photographer you will be in paradise.
IMO Pico. does not need two nights and does require a car since the towns are not where the island's interests are. It easy and more enjoyable to overnight on Faial where Horta is interesting. and the ferries between the 2 islands are frequent and the distance is short.

Last edited by basingstoke2; Feb 10th, 2024 at 07:57 AM.
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 10:35 AM
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Thanks for the info, basingstoke,
Actually one of our good friends from Central Valley of Ca. (a rancher) hails from Terceira and is a Portuguese bullfight aficionado and has told us always to go for the Festas that are very lively. We hope to do this someday.

We are going to Pico for wine touring (staying at a wine hotel) and for whale watching but also will go to Faial. This is a trip I've been dreaming of for a long time. I've read your TR, which has been very helpful.
Were you based at one point in Lajes? Our nephew was based there for 2 years some time ago but we never were able to visit. The next trip...
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Maribel
Thanks for the info, basingstoke,
Actually one of our good friends from Central Valley of Ca. (a rancher) hails from Terceira and is a Portuguese bullfight aficionado and has told us always to go for the Festas that are very lively. We hope to do this someday.

We are going to Pico for wine touring (staying at a wine hotel) and for whale watching but also will go to Faial. This is a trip I've been dreaming of for a long time. I've read your TR, which has been very helpful.
Were you based at one point in Lajes? Our nephew was based there for 2 years some time ago but we never were able to visit. The next trip...
Thank you for the kind words. No, I was not stationed in Lajes but when active duty would use the military space A system when on leave if I could. The Azores was once an easy destination. Less so today.
As far as the bull fights, I would not call them fights since everyone, including the bull seems to be having a good time.

I read once that New England has more people of Azorian ancestry than now live in the Azores.
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 12:11 PM
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That's so true about New England, especially Rhode Island, and also the Santa Ynez valley of California, where they actually hold Portuguese style bullfights (bull wrestling only).
Our Santa Ynez valley cattle rancher friend (lives near Modesto) goes to them in the summer, and from Oakland there are summer direct flights to the Azores. (And he's done the Camino de Santiago 3 times on horseback from Porto!)

We hope to get to Terceira someday in June!
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Maribel
That's so true about New England, especially Rhode Island, and also the Santa Ynez valley of California, where they actually hold Portuguese style bullfights (bull wrestling only).
Our Santa Ynez valley cattle rancher friend (lives near Modesto) goes to them in the summer, and from Oakland there are summer direct flights to the Azores. (And he's done the Camino de Santiago 3 times on horseback from Porto!)

We hope to get to Terceira someday in June!
A perfect month to go!
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 08:18 PM
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basingstoke2, thank you for the information and suggestions. I had not heard of the bullfights, they sound interesting. I hope to make our flights there and return tomorrow and then will still tweak which islands we visit and for how long. We need to travel in August because of when I have scheduled to do a part of the Camino.
Do you have any recommendations of where to stay in Terceira or any of the islands for that matter. Love your restaurant recommendations.
You have all been so kind to share your experiences and memories, I can't wait to go.
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 10:14 PM
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Wrong valley! The Portuguese from the Azores immigrated to California's San Joaquin valley (not Santa Ynez, duh)
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 11:38 PM
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on one of our hikes we walked with a small muscular man leading a massive bull for a fair bit, maybe on a training walk ;-)
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Old Feb 11th, 2024, 05:17 AM
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For anyone interested, there are videos of Azores "bullfights" on youtube. There are often food vendors present who simply put a sheet of plywood in front of their tables when they see the bull coming their way.

Last edited by basingstoke2; Feb 11th, 2024 at 05:22 AM.
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