- the Western Azores, consisting of the islands of Flores and Corvo
- the Central Azores, consisting of the islands of Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Graciosa, and Terceira
- the Eastern Azores, consisting of the islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria.
|Capital:||Ponta Delgada, Horta, Angra do Heroísmo|
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|<map lat="38.80887660753038" lng="-28.515961555785236" zoom="6" view="3" float="right" />|
he most populated island is São Miguel with the biggest city Ponta Delgada, while Faial and Terceira also have a comparably dense population.
Be prepared for extremely unstable weather conditions. Even in summer it rains very often, but quickly stops, too. Locals call their weather "four seasons in one day".
Hitchhiking is very easy and safe on the Azores. As there are not too many main roads, it is fairly easy to get a lift to where you want to go. Locals are extremely friendly and will many times bring you directly to your destination just to help you, even if they hadn't planned to go there. Speaking Portuguese obviously helps, but many people also speak English and are happy to "practice English", especially on São Miguel. Most towns are very small, so walking out of a town and waiting at main roads or bus stops (with few or no buses passing by) is a good option. The public transport system is not very well developed, especially when trying to get to natural sites outside of towns (e.g. Mount Pico on Pico island or Lagoa do Fogo on São Miguel). This means people in general are more willing to pick you up, although some might also try to convince you that a taxi is your only choice. It is quite common to get offered rides on the back of pick up trucks, so be prepared to get a little dirty.
How to get there
If you are really talented and lucky, you might get a ride on a private sailing boat from anywhere on the world, as the Azores are an extremely popular destination for sailors, coming from as far as Australia. If not, there is no other choice than flying in, which is possible from Europe and North America. There used to be a local monopoly for flights from SATA, the Azorean airline, so prices are quite high. The cheapest way to fly in is from mainland Portugal. There are no ferries from mainland Portugal to the Azores. Since 2015, Ryanair offers regular flights to Lisbon, Porto and London Stansted. Prices are considerably lower than with SATA, making the Azores much more affordable by air (~20 euros one way).
Mind you, Sao Miguel is the most populated island, but to find a boat to Europe or North America, your best choice is Faial (Horta) - where most of the sail boats stop while doing the crossing. Everyone is very relaxed in the Azores and it is easy to get into the marinas (they're not even locked during the day.) It is possible to hitch a boat!