January is a great month to visit the Azores for nature enthusiasts and hearty adventurers. Towns and trails will be at their quietest, and once pricey accommodations can be yours for a fraction of the cost. Cooler temperatures are perfect for soaking in the picturesque hot springs on São Miguel and hiking Terceira's lush trails.


While January is considered the second coldest month in the Azores, temperatures are mild and range from 54ºF (12ºC) overnight to 63ºF (17ºC) during the day. January is also one of the wettest months of the year, with an average of 16 to 19 days of precipitation and 5.3 inches (135 mm) of rain. The eastern islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria tend to be drier than the central and western islands of Flores and Corvo. However, the ocean temperatures are the same across the Azores islands and cool down to 61°F (16°C) compared to August's high of (75ºF) 24ºC. Expect moderate wind and the occasional thunderstorm.

Crowds & Costs

Besides hiking enthusiasts and offseason travelers, the Azores remains quiet in January compared to the busiest seasons of July and August. Accommodation prices plummet, and you can find once-pricy luxury hotel rooms for half their summer rate. While some businesses close up shop for the winter, especially on the islands of Flores and Corvo, on São Miguel, you'll be surrounded by the lovely buzz of locals eating authentic stews while waiting out the rain. Reservations at restaurants are rarely needed; however, you'll want to book ahead if you're looking to soak in the hot springs in Furnas.

Where to Go

The Azores are made up of nine islands, with São Miguel and Terceira being the most populated. Due to less frequent ferries in January, you'll get the most out of your trip by sticking mainly to these two islands. Ponta Delgada, on São Miguel, is a great place to base yourself and take advantage of the lower accommodation prices and indulge at the many restaurants and shops in town. You'll also find many guided hiking tours, dolphin-watching cruises, and other activities leave from Ponta Delgada.

Sete Cidades, known for its volcanic crater lakes, and Furnas, famous for its hot springs and geothermal-cooked Portuguese stew, are other ideal winter destinations on São Miguel. On Terceira, cooler winter temperatures are perfect for exploring the picturesque streets of Angra do Heroísmo and taking in the Portuguese colonial-style buildings without the crowds. From Angra do Heroísmo, you can visit the volcanic chamber of Algar do Carvão and hike one of the many trails at Furnas do Enxofre.

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What to Do

January in the Azores is ideal for hiking and soaking in natural hot springs. Furnas, located on São Miguel, is a favorite among locals and visitors and is home to Parque Terra Nostra and Poca da Dona Beija, which are perfect for soaking in after hiking around Lagoa das Furnas. Also on São Miguel is Ponta da Ferrari, a free hot spring located in the ocean itself that's at its best within two hours of low tide.

Other incredible hikes on São Miguel include Salto do Cabrito, where you can walk on a catwalk over the top of a waterfall, and Sete Cidades, which takes you from Canario lake to the scenic viewpoint of Pico da Cruz. For off-the-beaten-path adventurers, opt for the Mistérios Negros Trail in Terceira Island, which takes you along rolling green hills to the top of Pico do Gaspar.

While it may be too chilly to sunbathe in January, you can still get out on the water and enjoy a dolphin-watching excursion. Sperm whales and Risso's, bottlenose, and common dolphins live along the Azores coast all year round, and many companies guarantee a sighting or your money back. Tours are known to be canceled or postponed due to the variable weather, so it's best to book your tour at the start of your trip to give yourself some leeway.

Events in January

MONTANHA Pico Festival, Pico Island. Between January 3 and January 31, a monthlong celebration of Portugal's highest peak occurs on Pico island. Artists from around the world are encouraged to submit films that are mountain-themed or are filmed on a mountain in an effort to recognize the signs of overtourism on nature.

Traveling to The Azores in January? Check out these great itineraries

Azores Adventure: Best of São Miguel - 7 Days. Explore São Miguel lakes, towns, and geothermal calderas while basing yourself in Ponta Delgada on this seven-day guided tour.

Self-Drive Azores Adventure: São Miguel & Terceira - 8 Days. Discover São Miguel's impressive geothermal activity and lush greenery, then transfer to Terceira to take in its colorful colonial-style buildings and unique lava formations.

More Helpful Information

The Azores in December
The Azores in February
Best Time of Year to Visit the Azores
How Many Days to Spend in the Azores