Best Time to Visit the Azores for Weather and Things to Do in 2023

Thinking of visiting the Azores and wondering what’s the best time for it? I’ll tell you all about it in this post.

I went to the Azores for a month between April and May and I had the time of my life. I actually fell in love with this charming destination.

I believe I chose the right season because even if it was kind of cold at the beginning and the weather was not ideal all the time, I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the islands versus the summer crowds and high prices.

In this post, I will tell you all about the Azores and the best time to visit based on my experiences and this amazing destination.

Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the nine volcanic islands that make up the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores are perfect for a trip if you want to immerse yourself in nature.

This is where you will find spectacular volcanic lakes, incredible and easy hiking trails with stunning views, thermal springs, a wealth of underwater life, and much more!

Some of the Azores’ towns are also quite charming and feature cobblestone streets, historic landmarks, and delicious cuisine. So, timing your trip to get the most out of this region is really important.

I’ll help you find out exactly that by telling you about the year-round weather, events, and things to do. Let’s get down to it.

One of the best lookout point in Sao Miguel Azores

What is the Best Time to Visit the Azores: Overview

There is no one-size-fits-all best time to visit the Azores, but there are three seasons based on the tourist activity the islands get, so let me tell you about those before we deep dive into the details about the weather.

Azores High season

The summer months (from June to August) are considered the high season for tourism in the Azores.

This is when the weather is pleasantly warm, including the water temperature, days are mostly sunny, and exploring the islands is really enjoyable.

If you love hiking though, it’s not the best time of the year because it’s much hotter.

The downside of the high season is that the islands are packed, it’s difficult to find a spot in a restaurant and you have to book way in advance to find a car rental in any of the Azores’ islands.

Also, the hotels and homes are more expensive, and even in this case, you need to book way in advance to find more options.

Views from Miradouro Salto do Cavalo
Views from Miraduro Salto do Cabalo near Furnas in Sao Miguel

Azores shoulder season

The shoulder season is basically the short period between the high and low seasons.

The time between April and May as well as the month of September and the beginning of October has decent weather compared to winter, but not as much tourist activity, so it’s a good time to visit for a laid-back vacation with fewer crowds and lower prices.

As I mentioned before I traveled to the Azores from mid-April to mid-May and although at the beginning it was quite cold, in the second part of my trip I found amazing weather.

Locals also told me that you never know. It’s a windy destination in general, but you can find calm days at any time of the year and wind even in the Summer.

However, it’s easier to find a calm ocean in the summer than in winter.

Azores low season

The late fall and winter months (October-March) tend to be the wettest and coldest time of year in the Azores, so this is when tourist activity drops to its lowest.

Some hotels and tourist spots also close up during them, and international flights to the Azores are fewer as well.

However, the temperatures don’t drop that much except for probably in January which is supposed to be the coldest month, but I say supposed because you never know with the weather.

If it’s not raining, the climate is perfect to enjoy great hikes with mild temperatures when it’s not raining.

For the best time to visit the Azores, check out the average temperature in this screenshot.
Average Temperature in the Azores © Weatherspark

Best time to visit the Azores: Weather & Things to do

The Azores´ climate is subtropical, so the weather here is characterized by mild temperatures year-round, varying by only 8 degrees Celsius throughout the seasons.

But these islands are known for their unpredictable weather, which means you might even encounter sudden rain showers and fog on a perfectly sunny day.

What may cause a change of plans is the wind, which is relatively predictable a couple of days before.

But when the wind is strong the boat tours would be canceled and rescheduled, which is one of the reasons it’s recommendable to have a plan B and to spend extra days on the island especially if you are a whale freak like me.

I had 5 whale watching tours in Sao Miguel canceled due to strong winds. Luckily I was traveling around the Azores.

Luckily, the mild Azores weather means there are plenty of things to do throughout the calendar, and you can visit any time of the year depending on your preferences.

So, with that in mind, let me give you a breakdown of the four seasons in the Azores below.

Whale Watching in the Azores
Whale watching in the Azores

Visiting the Azores in Winter

Winter is when the Azores see very little tourist activity. This is why some hotels, restaurants, and tourist spots also close up during the season, and there are fewer flights to the islands from around the world.

On the flip side, this also means that rates on almost everything are the lowest this time of year, so it’s perfect to plan the cheapest vacation to these islands.

Weather & Temperature

November to March are the wintry, cold months in the Azores. This is also the time when the weather in the Azores is the wettest, with frequent rain showers and winds on the islands.

The first two months of winter feature mercurial weather, with chances of sunny skies, strong winds, and rains occurring on the same days even.

January through March are the actual coldest months of the season. Among these months, January is the wettest month of the year, averaging 5 inches (133mm) of rain, and February is the coldest month of the year with an average temperature of 62°F (16°C).

Girl Surfing in the Azores
Girl ready for surfing in Santa Barbara on Sao Miguel island in the Azores.

Activities in Winter

Water activities are mostly a no-no during the winter months in the Azores.

But you can still enjoy hiking and other outdoor exploration on the islands, although you will have to be on the lookout for rain showers and bring along rain-proof shoes and a raincoat or umbrella.

Also, make sure you don’t miss out on the thermal springs during the winter months – they’re even better in the cold!

My favorite ones are the Hot springs in Sao Miguel, Poça da Dona Beija, and the ones in Parque Terra Nostra. I will tell you more about those in another specific post. Stay tuned.

Events in Winter

✔️ Carnaval: Carnaval is one of the biggest festivals of the year in the Azores, and takes place on every island of the archipelago. The festivities include parades, drums, costumes, and lots of local varieties of the celebration.

Also, there’s a celebration in most towns and cities, so you can enjoy this charming festival wherever you are in the Azores.

✔️ Tremor: Named after the word that means “earthquake” in Portuguese, this art festival really does shake things up on the biggest island of the Azores. The next date for it is 19th to 23rd March of 2024, and you can expect concerts, exhibitions, and much more!

✔️ Montanha Pico Festival: This unique festival takes place in January, on Pico Island in the Azores, and it’s dedicated to the highest peak of the country!

The theme of the festival is mostly artistic, but you will also get to learn more about the cultural significance of the mountains here, and get some tips on preserving our environment as well.

View of Pico mountain from Sao Jorge hotel
The first time I saw the Pico Mountain top it was from my hotel in Sao Jorge 🤣

Visiting the Azores in Spring

The low tourist activity of the Azores continues in spring, with wet days and mild temperatures, but the weather starts to improve by May. I was there at that time of the year and loved it.

Just like winters, the season features pocket-friendly prices and deals on everything from flights and accommodations to restaurants, car rentals, and activities, so it’s a good time for a budget trip.

Weather & Temperature

Spring weather is similar to winter weather – rainy and cold. The average temperature remains 62°F (16°C) early on, but starts rising by the end of the season, and reaches up to 68°F (20°C) in May.

Rains are also frequent during spring, but they’re shorter and give way to sunshine after a few hours.

Activities in Spring

The two months of spring in the Azores are part of the whale season, so whale watching in the Azores is a highly-recommended activity if you’re visiting during them.

It’s definitely an unforgettable experience. Exploring the outdoors is also not bad during spring, especially in the latter half of the season.

You can visit thermal springs and hiking trails as long as you keep an eye on the weather forecast for the day.

Events in Spring

✔️ Espírito Santo: The eighth week after Easter is celebrated as Espirito Santo (Holy Spirit) on all the Azores islands.

Despite having its origins in the medieval era, the festivities of Esipirto Santo are quite diverse, so you will find all kinds of celebrations taking place along with lively parades and feasts.

I was in Sao Miguel when it happened and Ponta Delgada, the main town was packed with many people on the street watching parades eating, and dancing.

Espiritu Santo festival decoration
Shop decoration for the Espiritu Santo Event in Ponta Delgada

✔️ Santo Cristo dos Milagres: Another huge religious event on the island like Espirito Santo, Santo Cristo dos Milagres has been an annual festival since the 16th century.

It takes place in May and the highlight of the event is the parade with a statue of Jesus Christ depicted as black-haired and dark-skinned.

Music, dancing, and decorations are also part of the celebration, so don’t miss out on this enchanting cultural celebration!

Visiting the Azores in Summer

Summertime is considered the best to visit the Azores because of the pleasantly warm temperatures that make enjoying all the top activities of the islands really enjoyable.

Skies are generally clear and sunny, so tourist activity reaches its peak between June and August.

As you might expect from the increased tourism, prices on accommodations and flights also go up during summer.

But the difference isn’t exactly night and day, and the Azores are a pretty affordable destination overall, so don’t let the price increase discourage you.

However, you do need to book in advance for those months, especially the car rental as there is a relatively limited availability of cars on the islands.

So, make sure you book way in advance, especially in Ponta Delgada, but also in Pico and Terceira, because these are the most popular ones.

The smaller islands have less demand but also less availability, so make sure you book in advance as well if you travel between June and September.

Furnas Village Close up from the Miradouro do Salto do Cavalo
Furnas village from a lookout point

Weather & Temperature

Temperatures start rising by the end of spring and are pleasantly warm when summer arrives. Expect a steady high temperature of 70-77°F (21-25°C) throughout June-August.

The ocean temperatures are also warm and welcoming, remaining between 68-75°F (20-24°C), and rainfall is the lowest this time of year with an inch of average rain each month.

That being said, sudden rain showers are still not unheard of, so make sure you bring along some rainproof outerwear even during summer.

Activities in Summer

Summer has no shortage of fun activities in the Azores. Most visitors find this season to be the best time to visit the Azores islands for good weather, lots of exploration, hiking, diving, and enjoying local events.

If you’re taking a trip to the Azores during summer, you can try pretty much every activity the region is famous for.

The whale season is all year round in the Azores island and although there are fewer species you can always see the resident sperm whales and different types of dolphins.

Also diving and snorkeling are much more pleasant in the summer as the water temperature is more decent. However, keep in mind that you are in the Atlantic Ocean, not in the Caribbean😂.

So expect some chilly temperatures in the summer as well. A wetsuit, if you dive or snorkel, will help.

Common Dolphin spotted during a whale and dolphin watching tour
Common Dolphin spotted during a whale and dolphin watching tour

Events in Summer

✔️ Azores Fringe Festival: Despite being one of the remotest fringe festivals on the planet, the Azores Fringe attracts thousands of tourists and locals alike to its vibrant festivities.

In fact, it’s one of the biggest events of the year and features so many creative forms of art, including enthralling short films, shows, performances, and exhibitions.

✔️ São João da Vila: This weeklong celebration in June takes place on several islands of the Azores (mainly Vila Franca do Campo on São Miguel) and commemorates St. John, one of the Santos populares (popular saints) of the region.

Delicious local food, music, processions, and festivities are all part of the celebration.

✔️ Cavalhadas de São Pedro: St Peter’s Day is another big June celebration in Sao Miguel that includes food, processions, and festivities, but the unique thing about it is its horse parade.

Then again, the day has been celebrated every year since the 16th century, so you will see lots of fascinating religious and pagan rituals taking place during it!

✔️ Festival of Saint Mary Magdalene: Commemorating the patron saint of Pico, this festival is the main event in the town and takes place during July.

The festival brings the usually laid-back island to life with processions and ceremonies, but it’s still celebrated in a very environmentally-friendly way.

✔️ Walk and Talk: This independent arts festival hosts various local and international artists every year and includes visual arts, performances, and music.

Mainly taking place in Sao Miguel, the purpose of this festival is to promote art in the local communities of the islands.

✔️ Festa do Chicharro: If you’re a foodie, and especially like fish, this festival is for you. Named after mackerels, the event takes place on Sao Miguel in July, and features huge varieties of fish recipes (especially mackerel), other local foods, and music.

Plus, along with enjoying all of that, you also get to explore the scenic Ribeira Quente while visiting it for the festival.

Road in Sao Miguel
Road in Sao Miguel

Visiting the Azores in Fall

Tourist activity starts going down again with the start of fall in the Azores. Though it’s officially the hurricane season in the Azores, it’s still a good time to enjoy the activities and warm weather before the winters arrive, and you can snag some deals on flights and hotels as well.

Weather & Temperature

Fall is the time when the weather in the Azores starts shifting back to the cold and wet of the winters.

The warm temperatures of summer still continue at the beginning of the season, but the overall weather is pretty unpredictable.

The highs range between 76°F (24.5°C) and 63°F (17°C), while precipitation gradually increases and averages 7-10 rainy days each month.

Water temperatures are still warm, and the humidity and winds are also not bad.

Activities in Fall

Even though the weather isn’t as nice as in summer, you can still enjoy the outdoors with the warm temperatures of fall.

Hiking, sightseeing, and spending time by the beaches are some of the top activities, and you can also go watch some whales if you visit in the first month of the season.

Angra - Terceira's Capital City - Azores
Angra do Heroismo – Terceira Capital City

Events in Fall

✔️ AngraJazz: As its name implies, this one is a jazz music festival that’s been taking place every year on Terceira since 1999.

The main idea behind the festival is to make jazz music popular in the Azores, so, even if you’re not into it, give it a try – you might like it.

✔️ CORDAS World Music Fest: The Pico Island of the Azores is the birthplace of quite a few unique string instruments, and this festival started with those in mind.

Now, it’s become an international-award winning festival that features performances with only string instruments.

✔️ Santo Cristo Folk Pilgrimage: Celebrated in Sao Jorge, this religious ceremony is accompanied by fireworks, music, and lots of merrymaking.

The festival takes place every first Sunday of September.

What is the best time to visit the Azores?

Best time to visit the Azores for whale watching

Whale watching is one of my top recommendations when people wonder what to do in the Azores. If you are following me for a while you know I have been chasing whales in Mexico and anywhere I can. (Will be heading to Norway soon 🙂

Whale watching in the Azores is one of the most popular tourist activities for the amazing experience they offer. In fact you can also combine the whale watching with swimming with the dolphin (in the wild of course) or just watch those graceful animals from the boat.

The whale season runs from April to October, but if you’re exclusively visiting to see these gentle giants up close, late spring and early summer (April through June) is the perfect time for it.

Sperm whales and some types of dolphins are resident in the Azores which means that you can potentially see them all year round, while other species such as humpback whales and fin whales can be seen only in the spring.

During my time in the Azores, I could only manage to do 4 whale-watching trips and “only” saw Sperm whales risso dolphins, common dolphins, and bottle nose dolphins besides many cute turtles.

Whale watching in the Azores islands from Ponta Delgada

Best time to visit the Azores for diving

Diving is another memorable experience that the Azores offer, which is why so many pros from around the world show up here.

But don’t worry if you’re a beginner, there are plenty of beginner-friendly sites here too.

If you want to try your hand at this thrilling activity, the best time for it is the summer and fall seasons (June through October).

This is when the water is pleasantly warm and calm, and the visibility is also really good.

Termas da Ferraria Sao Miguel Overview.
Termas da Ferraria Sao Miguel Overview.

Best time to visit the Azores for hiking

The Azores are colder and rainy outside of the summer season, which makes hiking less enjoyable, so the best time to hit the gorgeous trails of the region is between June and September.

This is when days are sunny, there’s less chance of rain, and the temperatures are pleasantly warm – making hiking and exploring the outdoors a really enjoyable activity.

On the downside hiking in the summer can get very hot so you make sure you start your hike very early in the morning.

Iconic lookout point Miraduro da Grota do Inferno
Miraduro da Grota do Inferno

Best time to visit the Azores for flowers

The Azores are home to unique flowers, and many people take a trip to these islands to see them in their natural habitat.

If you’re one of them and wondering when would be the best time for it, I recommend visiting during spring and summer.

These seasons are when most of the flowers bloom, so you will get to see the gorgeous blue hydrangeas, azaleas, ginger lilies, and many other types of flowers native to the islands.

FUN FACT– Each one of the Azores islands is named after a color. Faial Island is called the blue island because in spring is covered in Blue Azaleas. However, my guide in Sao Jorge told me that even their island is covered in blue. I guess on every island there’s an outburst of flowery colors.

Miraduro do PIco Da Ferro
Miraduro Do Pico Da Ferro View – Sao Miguel

Best time to visit the Azores for bird watching

Just like flora, the Azores have an abundance of fauna as well. These include hundreds of exotic bird species that show up on the islands during migration season, making the archipelago a go-to place for bird watchers.

The best time to see both the native and migratory birds on the islands is during spring (April through May) and fall (September through October).

This is when the birds are either nesting or migrating, giving you the best chance to spot lots of species.

Capela de Nossa Senhora das Vitorias Furnas Lake
Capela de Nossa Senhora das Vitorias Furnas Lake – Sao Miguel

Best time to visit the Azores for Festivals

The Azores celebrate unique festivals, including religious, musical, artistic, and gastronomic ones.

Some of these date as far back as the medieval era, while others are newer but just as enchanting.

Though events take place throughout the year, they’re rarer during the fall and winter months; so the best time to visit the Azores for festivals depends on the ones you want to attend.

Some of the largest celebrations, like the Santo Cristo, Espirito Santo, Azores Fringe, and Walk and Talk take place during spring and summer.

I was told by different guides that the Espirito Santo festival is the most heartfelt by locals and on every island they get together to prepare for it month in advance.

Best time to visit the Azores for cheap prices

Since summer is when tourist activity peaks in the Azores, any other time of year is great for cheap prices.

And if you want the absolute lowest prices on everything from flights, hotels, rentals, and activities, you will find them during the winter months (November through March).

The best month for cheap prices and great weather is definitely May when you get the best of both worlds!

Driving in the Azores you will find spectacular sceneries just like this one in the central road in Pico.
Driving in the Azores you will find spectacular sceneries just like this one on the central road in Pico.

How many days do you need in the Azores?

That will depend on your itinerary and how many islands you’re planning on visiting.

Usually, 2-3 days should be enough to explore the outdoors and see the main attractions of a given island, but you can even spend more than a week if you want to delve deeper.

Keeping that in mind, you can assign each island on your itinerary 1-3 days and explore multiple Azores islands.

Or, you can just pick one of them and spend the same number of days or more exploring – it’s bound to be a memorable experience either way!

Keep in mind that sao miguel is the biggest island so you may want to spend at least 4 or 5 days to see the highlights of it or the most important ones, especially if you also want to do some hiking and whale watching, as well.

I would do at least 5 days in Sao Miguel, 4 days in Pico, 1 day in Faial, 3 days in Terceira, 3 days in Sao Jorge, 1 day in Santa Maria, and at least 2 days in each of the other islands.

I am talking about a minimum time. Of course, if you have more time, you won’t get bored as there are plenty of activities on each island, especially if you are a nature lover.

The Islands of Colours

The Azores islands have been renamed by the locals in different colors according to the predominance of each color on every island.

Sao Miguel – The Green Island

Pico – The Grey island

Faial – The Blue Island

Sao Jorge – The Brown Island

Terceira – The Purple Island

Santa Maria – The Yellow Island

Flores – The Pink Island

Corvo – The Black Island

Graciosa – The White Island

Sao Miguel Coast

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you go to the Azores?

Thanks to their mild climate, you can visit the Azores year-round. This means you can go there whenever it’s convenient for you.

Most people visit during the summer because the weather is great during it and it’s also when activities like hiking, whale-watching, and diving are on offer.

I generally recommend visiting during the spring, most preferably in May, because you will still get good weather and prices and avoid crowds.

Also, it’s a way to travel in a sustainable way helping

One of the famous Fajal in Sao Jorge

Is there a rainy season in the Azores?

Yes, the Azores have a rainy season. It’s typically the winter and fall months of September through March, when the temperatures drop and average rainfall reaches its max.

Is there a hurricane season in the Azores?

There is. The hurricane season comes within the rainy season in the Azores, specifically the fall months of September through October.

The weather tends to be unstable during this time, but the chances of a major hurricane are still pretty slim during it.

Caldeiras in Furnas Sao Miguel
Caldeiras in Furnas Sao Miguel

Does it snow in the Azores?

Since the temperature never really goes negative in the Azores, snow is rare here. But snowfall does happen in the Azores, just not on every island.

The mountain island of Pico is where you will get to see snow during winter. It’s one of the few places where it snows in Portugal

It happens on the Pico Mountain, the highest peak in Portugal. Other than that, I’d say it’s hard to find snow for sure anywhere else.

What are the weather seasons in the Azores?

The Azores experience all four seasons of the year. Winter lasts from November to March, spring is in the months of April and May, summer runs from June through August, and the fall season is from September through October.

Natural pools in Terceira Island

What month is best for diving in the Azores?

The water is warm and calmer between June and October, so any month during this period is best for diving in the Azores.

This is the favorite time of year for many divers to visit the Azores.

What months can you see whales in the Azores?

Whale watching is one of the most popular activities in the Azores, and the season for it starts in April and ends in October.

Among these months, April, May, and June are considered some of the best months to see whales in the Azores, so you can take your pick from those.

What months are winter in the Azores?

Winter season in the Azores runs from November to March. It’s not only the coldest time of year (though only by a few degrees compared to summer), but also the wettest season on the calendar.

Views from Miraduro da Ilha Sabrina

What is the best month to visit the Azores?

Summer months are usually considered the best to visit the Azores. With pleasantly warm temperatures, more hours of sunshine, and fewer inches of rain, there is very little variation if you look at Azores weather by month during this season.

But this is also when the prices for accommodations, flights, and activities are at their peak, and there are more people visiting the islands.

So, if you’re on a budget or want to enjoy a crowd-free trip, the best month to visit the Azores for you might be one of the spring or winter months.

Just keep in mind that the weather is usually unpredictable, cold, and rainy during them.

What is the cheapest month to visit the Azores

There are so many. In fact, the entire fall and winter seasons (September through March) are the cheapest time to visit the Azores.

This is when tourism is almost nonexistent on the islands, making flights, hotels, car rentals, and everything else really cheap.

Port in Horta Faial
Port in Horta Faial Island – Azores

What’s the best way to get to the Azores?

As I mentioned in my guide on how to get to the Azores, my best advice is to get to Ponta Delgada, rent a car, and explore the island, then fly to Pico explore the island and take a ferry to the nearby ones.

The good news is that you can take a direct flight to it from the US, Canada, UK, and lots of European countries like Spain, Germany, France, and many more!

In some cases, you can also benefit from the stopover programs offered by some airlines to spend some days in either the Azores or mainland Portugal before taking another flight to your destination without paying anything extra for it.

The Best Time to Visit the Azores: Final Thoughts

With so much to see and do, the Azores are a paradise waiting to be explored. You can find the best time to visit the Azores for yourself with the information I have provided in this post, depending on things like what to do and see here, as well as your budget and preferences.

Just keep in mind that the weather, even during the summer months, can be unpredictable. Pack your rain gear and everything else you’re bringing, and you will be all set for an unforgettable trip to the Azores. Have fun exploring!

Before you go…

If you decide to travel around Portugal, here are some useful guides:

Read more posts about Portugal!