Plan a trip for early summer or fall to enjoy the best the Azores offers, including beautiful coastlines, lush forests, and otherwordly geothermal features. June and September are especially excellent months to visit, with minimal rainfall, pleasant temperatures, and plenty of wildlife out and about. The busier summer season is best for beach-goers and island-hopping, while winter is great for hiking and soaking in natural hot pools.

Seasonal Planning for the Azores

The Azores are best visited in June and September, just outside the peak summer season of July and August, when wildlife is abundant and the trails and beaches are quiet. Early summer is the best time for wildlife watching, with fin, blue, and sei whales migrating along the coastline and dolphins playing in the calm waters offshore. In summer, São Miguel Island swells with visitors looking to enjoy a mix of beach days, hiking, and diving. Accommodation costs increase, but in return, it's easy to enjoy the endless trails and beautiful beaches the Azores are loved for.

After a short peak season, the crowds disperse by September, and a mix of sunny and rainy days greet your arrival. Hike the lush trails of São Miguel, then head to Furnis to relax in natural hot pools. By winter, you'll have your pick of top-notch accommodations for a fraction of the cost. But you'll want to dress warmly to enjoy the lively streets of Praca de Goncalo Velho for New Year's Eve celebrations. No matter the season, weather can change quickly, so you'll always want to be prepared for sunshine, wind, and rain.

Seasons Pros Cons Best for Where to Visit
Spring (Mar-May) Wildflowers in full bloom; lower prices; migrating wildlife Mix of rain and sun; limited flights and ferries Whale-watching tours, hiking, Easter celebrations Ponta Delgada for Easter celebrations, Terceira for hiking
Summer (Jun-Aug) Minimal rain and pleasant temperatures for the beach; calm waters for surfing and diving Peak season crowds and higher prices; limited availability for tours and accommodation Attending music festivals, island hopping, scuba diving Corvo for hiking, Pico, Santa Maria, and Faial islands for diving
Fall (Sep-Nov) Warm waters for windsurfing; fewer crowds; lower prices Wind speeds pick up, causing delayed ferries; variable weather Hiking, relaxing in hot pools, windsurfing Lihue d' Vila Franca for Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, São Miguel for hiking and windsurfing
Winter (Dec-Feb) Offseason prices; quiet trails; Christmas and New Year's Eve festivities Chilly and rainy with limited days of sunshine; limited opening hours for some attractions; rough seas Hiking, enjoying natural hot pools, unique Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations Furnis for natural hot pools, Praca de Goncalo Velho for New Year's Eve celebrations

Spring in the Azores (March to May)

Spring flowers near Ponta do Sossego, Sao Miguel Island.
Spring flowers near Ponta do Sossego lookout, São Miguel Island

As the rainy winter season draws to a close, spring in the Azores is marked by a steady increase in sunshine, flowers, and wildlife. Temperatures remain cool, with lows around 50ºF (10ºC) and highs reaching 61ºF (16ºC), but calm waters and sunny days make it an ideal time to head out on the water in search of fin, blue, and sei whales. You'll also have the chance to spot sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins, and common dolphins, which feed around the Azores year-round.

In early spring, you may struggle to island-hop or find tours that bring you off São Miguel and Terceira islands, especially to the hardly inhabited islands of Corvo and Formigas Islets. But, if you don't mind staying on the main islands, you'll love a self-drive Azores trip filled with quiet hiking trails and less expensive accommodation. Then, as temperatures reach 60ºF (15.5ºC) in May, there's a noticeable increase in the number of ferries and tour companies operating. With the new buzz around the Azores, you'll find locals excited to return to business and offer great deals to get their tours up and running again.

Over Easter, many shops will close their doors so employees can spend time with family. As long as you book accommodation in advance, it's an excellent time to participate in Easter festivities, including Compasso, and indulge in Folar da Pascoa (Portuguese Easter sweet bread). Celebrations continue in the weeks following Easter, building up to the Azores' largest religious event on the fifth Sunday after Easter, the Feast of Senhor Santo Cristo do Milagres in Ponta Delgada.

Events in Spring

Festival Tremor, São Miguel. In late March, Festival Tremor annually celebrates the Azores' unique and surprising music culture. You'll need to be prepared for the unknown, as concerts are held in secret locations simultaneously around the island.

The Feast of Senhor Santo Cristo do Milagres, São Miguel. On the fifth Easter Sunday, a massive procession is held in the streets of Ponta Delgada, where devoted Catholics offer jewels to Senhor Santo Cristo (Holy Christ Lord).

Holy Ghost Festival, nationwide. Held on the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend, a massive feast celebrates the Holy Ghost, who brought food during a time of great famine.

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Portugal in March
Portugal in April
Portugal in May

Plan your trip to the Azores
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Summer in the Azores (June to August)

Agua de Pau, Sao Miguel Island
Agua de Pau, São Miguel Island

For three months, skies clear, temperatures reach 80ºF (26ºC), and the Azores becomes a lush tropical paradise perfect for an ultimate island-hopping adventure. Once deserted beaches come to life, and ferries fill up with those looking to explore remote islands. Summer in the Azores is the busy season. However, as these "Hawaiian Islands of Europe" have stayed relatively off the radar, you can still enjoy the scenery without fighting crowds.

June is a sweet spot for those who prefer quieter trails and also want to take a quick swim after a sunny hike. The Atlantic Ocean will not have warmed up by June, but the temperatures are warm enough to relax at the beach and snorkel with a wetsuit. By July and August, the waters are perfect for swimming, and the islands are alive with festivals, but you will find prices are roughly 25% higher than in spring and fall. 

July and August are the perfect time to test your surfing skills, with dependable waves, warm waters, and plenty of surf shops on São Miguel and São Jorge islands. Late summer is also the best for scuba diving on Pico, Santa Maria, and Faial islands, and Dom João de Castro Bank, an underwater volcano alive with fantastic sea creatures. If you'd like to stay on dry land, summer is a great time to hike the extinct volcano island of Corvo or challenge yourself with a climb up the 7,713-foot (2,351-m) Mount Pico

Events in Summer

Sanjoaninas Festival, Terceira Island. Held in June every year, the Sanjoaninas Festival lasts 10 days. The streets of Angra come to life with parades, orchestras, dancers, and tascas (food and drink stalls). 

Walk and Talk Arts Festival, São Miguel. Created to encourage new art inspired by the beautiful culture of the Azores, this festival runs for 10 days in July. Walk along art-lined roads, and learn about life on the Azores through performances and exhibitions.

Azores Burning Summer Festival, São Miguel. Discover new music while supporting ecotourism efforts over four days of pure-hearted fun. Crafted to leave the surroundings better than when the festival started, this event challenges the single-use and throw-away culture of today's world.

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Portugal in June
Portugal in July
Portugal in August

Fall in the Azores (September to November)

Hiking in lush vegetation on Flores island
Hiking in lush vegetation on Flores Island

If you don't mind slightly cooler temperatures and a spot or two of rain, fall in the Azores is a great time to visit. Water temperatures remain warm until early October, and as the summer crowds have mainly dispersed, you'll have endless stretches of coastline to yourself. Pack plenty of layers and head out for a day of hiking and relaxing at the beach on this seven-day best of São Miguel itinerary.

It's not uncommon for the weather to change from dry and warm to wet and chilly in just a few hours. Head to the volcanic hot springs in Furnas if temperatures drop, and you'll be back to enjoying sunshine and beaches the next day. Fall also sees an increase in wind, making it a great time to try your hand at wind-surfing or watch professionals speed along, dancing over waves. 

As November draws closer, temperatures drop, and days of rain are more common than sunshine. Shops will begin closing their doors on the quieter islands of Corvo and Flores, and ferry schedules will become limited. Prices drop significantly by November, and instead of families and students coming to the islands, a more mellow crowd of adventure seekers turn up. 

Events in Fall

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Vila Franca Islet. Held in September each year, professional divers take the plunge from atop Vila Franca Islet into the Atlantic Ocean.

Angrajazz, Terceira Island. Celebrating all things jazz, the Angrajazz Festival welcomes music lovers to an old bullfighting ring for intimate concerts showcasing talents from European and American jazz scenes.

Santo Cristo Folk Pilgrimage, São Jorge. On the first Sunday of September, São Jorge comes alive with fireworks, musical shows, and celebrations of food and cultural events.

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Portugal in September
Portugal in October
Portugal in November

Winter in the Azores (December to February)

Volcanic hotsprings of Lake Furnas in Sao Miguel, Azores
Volcanic hot springs of Lake Furnas on São Miguel Island

Winter is the off-season in the Azores. Direct flights are limited, ferries are often delayed, and many shops open for fewer hours until spring. However, if you bring warm layers and plan your vacation around hiking and hot pools, there's plenty to do. With a mild climate and temperatures rarely dropping below 50ºF (10ºC), the Azores are an ideal destination for those who want to escape frigid temperatures sweeping across Europe and North America while taking advantage of low-season prices.

São Miguel returns to its sleepy culture, with locals waiting out the rain in cafés, and even the most popular tourist attractions are yours to roam in peace. High-end accommodation is widely available for half the price compared to summer, and you'll see an authentic side to the Azores that's easy to miss in the busy summer months. 

Winter is also an ideal time to relax in natural hot springs. Soak in one of the many thermal baths at Furnas and enjoy the impressive greenery around you. Or, head to Terra Nostra Garden for an afternoon wandering through botanical gardens. When the sun is shining, hike Lagoa do Fogo Trail, a popular track in summer that you'll have all to yourself in winter.

Events in Winter

Christmas, nationwide. In the lead-up to Christmas, towns across the Azores are decorated with lights and decorations. Most restaurants close on Christmas day, but if you fancy a Christmas feast, book ahead at one of the few that remain open.

New Year's Eve, nationwide. Celebrations take place throughout the Azores, but Praça de Gonçalo Velho square on São Miguel is the place to be as it rings in the new year with live music, a countdown to midnight, and fireworks over the marina.

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Portugal in December
Portugal in January
Portugal in February