Wondering how to get to the Azores in the most convenient way? I’ll tell you all about it in this post, along with lots of other useful things so that you can make your way to this dreamy destination and have a blast!
The Azores archipelago is a stunning getaway known for its abundance of natural beauty, striking landscapes, delicious food, and laid-back vibe.
It’s located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, almost a thousand miles away from the mainland.
So, how does one get to this charming destination? I will tell you that and much more in this post. Let’s get started.
How to get to the Azores
Airports in the Azores
Each of the 9 islands that make up the Azores has at least one airport on it, but not all of them provide international flights or even regular commercial service. Nevertheless, I will tell you about them in this section.
João Paulo II Airport (Ponta Delgada Airport – PDL)
The airport located on the largest island (Sao Miguel) is the busiest of Azores airports. It’s just a mile away from the city center of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores.
The airport provides international flights to and from around the globe, as well as inter-island flights between the other 8 islands.
SATA (Azores Airline) provides direct flights to and from Boston and Toronto besides many other European hubs.
Lajes Field (Terceira Airport – TER)
Lajes Field is a commercial airport in the Azores that doubles as a military base. You will find flights to the nearby islands here, along with Lisbon ones.
Horta Airport (HOR)
Faial Island is another large island in the Azores with an international airport. The airport is ideal for those flying to Faial or the nearby Central Group Islands (Terceira, Pico, Sao Jorge, and Graciosa).
Santa Maria Airport (SMA)
Santa Maria is the oldest island and its airport is the earliest one to be built in the Azores, serving as a refueling stop for transatlantic planes. Nowadays, it serves as an inter-island airport and receives Lisbon to Azores flights as well.
Pico Airport (PIX)
As the name implies, this airport is located on Pico Island. Just like Santa Maria, the airport has inter-island flights and it also receives flights from Lisbon.
Flores Airport (FLW)
The airport on Flores also handles mostly inter-island flights between Ponta Delgada, Horta, Terceira, and Corvo.
São Jorge Airport (SJZ)
São Jorge has its own airport as well. The inter-island flights at this airport connect the island with Ponta Delgada and Terceira.
Graciosa Airport (GRW)
Graciosa Island has a similar airport to Sao Jorge Airport because it also only has frequent inter-island flights between Ponta Delgada and Terceria.
Corvo Island Airport (CVU)
Corvo has the smallest airport among the Azores islands, and it’s mainly only used for inter-island flights.
Airlines flying to the Azores
Operated by SATA, this is the major airline flying to the Azores. You can find SATA flights from many destinations around the world, including Azores flights from USA, Canada, and multiple European countries along with Portugal.
TAP is Portugal’s national Airline another one of the airlines flying to the Azores, it codeshares flights with SATA.
Ryanair DAC is an Irish ultra-low-cost carrier founded in 1984. It also offers flights to the Azores from Portugal and the UK, and it’s known for its pocket-friendly prices, but also for some misleading advertising.
Unless you are traveling without any bags, you usually end up paying much more than the original rate. So make sure you double-check and compare rates before booking.
Along with Azores Airlines and TAP, United operates direct flights to Azores from US. Flights go from Newark to Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel.
This is the German airline that operates direct flights between Frankfurt and Ponta Delgada alongside Azores Airlines.
A subsidiary of Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines (known simply as SWISS) provides direct flights from Zurich to Ponta Delgada.
Air Europa is the Spanish airline that offers scheduled flights from Madrid to Terceira.
TUI offers flights from Belgium and Netherlands to the Azores. The Belgium flights connect Brussels to Ponta Delgada, while the Netherlands has TUI flights going from Schiphol Airport to the Azores capital.
How to find cheap flights to the Azores
There are a lot of ways you can save money while on vacation, and looking for more affordable flights is definitely at the top of the list. So, here’s how you can find pocket-friendly rates on your flight to the Azores.
1. Book way in advance
Booking at least a month or two earlier is how you can score great deals and discounts on flights.
2. Fly on weekdays
Also, if possible, choose a flying date that falls on a weekday rather than the weekend it’s much cheaper.
3. Travel in low season
Flight rates also go down when tourist activity is low in the Azores, so you might wanna look into that when planning your trip.
The best time to travel to the Azores is in fact between the end of April and May when there are fewer crowds, lower rates, and the weather is already decent.
4. Use incognito mode when searching
5. Search at different times of the week and at night
Sometimes flight costs go really down at night or on certain days. Make sure you spend some time researching, always in incognito mode.
6. Purchase package deals
There are booking sites that offer package deals that include flights+hotels. The most common one is Expedia.
Planning a trip soon? Here are My Recommended
- TRAVEL INSURANCE – Safety Wing or TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER
- BOOK FLIGHTS – Expedia, Scott’s Cheap Flights, and always remember to compare
- BOOK TOURS – GetYourGuide or Viator. Some of their tours are refundable up to 24h in advance.
- HOTELS & HOMES – Booking.com – Expedia – VRBO
- CAR RENTALS: Discover Car Rentals
Can you get to the Azores by ferry?
The Azores are located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean about 950 miles from mainland Portugal, so there are no ferries going to them.
So, unless you are traveling on a private boat or on a cruise, flying to these islands is the only way to get to them.
There are plenty of direct flights to these islands from around the world that you can take.
Alternatively, there are transatlantic cruises that leave from the US or Caribbean islands and have stops on the Azores but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you particularly love this type of vacation on big cruises.
You won’t be seeing that much of the Azores if you just stay one or two days from the cruise ship.
The Azores at a glance
Azores Islands Map
How far are the Azores from Portugal?
The Azores islands are located roughly 950 miles (over 1,500 kilometers) from mainland Portugal, in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Travel Requirements for the Azores
The travel requirements for the Azores vary for everyone depending on where you are coming from. Since the region is a part of Portugal, European nationals can travel to the islands without a passport as long as they have a valid ID card.
If you’re coming from the US, Canada, UK, or Australia, you will need a passport but not a visa (unless you’re staying for more than 90 days). Just make sure your passport is valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you will be leaving the Azores after your visit.
Nationals from the remaining countries of the world might or might not need a visa along with their passport (and any other documentation) to visit the Azores.
I recommend checking out the official immigration rules of Portugal from either the website or a local Portuguese embassy to find out.
How to get to the Azores from Mainland Portugal
How to get to the Azores from Lisbon
There is no Lisbon to Azores ferry, so flying is the best option to get there from the capital city and anywhere else in mainland Portugal.
Azores Airlines operates the most frequent flights from Lisbon Airport to Ponta Delgada, and Ryanair, as well as TAP, also have plenty of flights going to Ponta Delgada from the city.
PRO TIP – If you are traveling from Lisbon you may want to check out my 2-day Lisbon itinerary and consider stopping by for a quick visit.
How to get to the Azores from Porto
Just like Lisbon, you will find tons of direct flights to the Azores from Porto. Most of these are also operated by Azores Airlines, Ryanair, and TAP, and they fly to Ponta Delgada Airport in Sao Miguel.
Again, you won’t find any ferries to the Azores from here either, so private yachts or a cruise are the ways to get to the Azores from Porto via sea.
How to get to the Azores from the United States
The United States is closer to the Azores than the rest of Europe. In fact, it will be very easy to get there either from Boston, or Newark with direct flights.
Also, there is only a 4-hour time difference, which helps to avoid heavy jetlag.
In fact, as I said, Azores Airlines operates direct flights to the Azores from the US. There are at least 5 flights per week from Boston to Ponta Delgada.
Azores Airlines also connects JFK New York to the Azores’ capital.
Another airline that offers direct flights to the Azores from the US is United. Their flights go from Newark directly to Ponta Delgada.
Direct flights are the best way to get to the Azores from the United States, but the flights might not be daily sometimes, so you will need a flexible travel schedule to catch one.
Apart from direct flights, the aforementioned airlines along with TAP offer flights to Lisbon from lots of US cities, including Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, and Miami.
It’s fairly easy to get to the Azores from Lisbon once you’re there – Azores Airlines, Ryanair, and TAP offer direct flights to Ponta Delgada.
Generally speaking, it should be more practical and easier to fly to Boston or Newark and then to Ponta Delgada, instead of flying all the way to Lisbon and then flying back to the Azores.
How to get to the Azores from Canada
Canada also has great connectivity to the Azores from two of its major cities: Toronto and Montreal. Azores Airlines offers codeshare flights with Westjet directly to Ponta Delgada from Toronto, so you can book yourself a direct ticket to Sao Miguel.
Montreal flights are operated by Azores Airlines as well, but they stop in Toronto before taking off for Ponta Delgada.
Also, you can book a flight directly to Terceira with Azores Airlines if you’re leaving from Toronto.
Just keep in mind that these flights are frequent only between the high season for tourism in the Azores, which runs from June through September.
After that, flights from Canada aren’t as frequent from Montreal, and Toronto only has half the usual amount of flights going to Ponta Delgada.
In case you’re planning on traveling to the Azores during the low season, you can adjust your departure dates for the available direct flights or you can alternatively fly with TAP Airlines to Lisbon and then take an Azores Airlines flight to Ponta Delgada.
How to get to the Azores from Europe
How to get to the Azores from Belgium
TUI Fly is the airline that offers direct flights to Ponta Delgada from Brussels, making it the top choice for getting to the Azores from Belgium.
However, the frequency of its flights depends on the travel season.
Flights to Ponta Delgada are the most frequent during the high and shoulder season months (April through October).
Apart from those, TUI Fly only has one flight per week for the Azores during its low season (November through March), and two flights per week between July and August.
If you’re visiting the Azores from Belgium during the high season, you won’t have any trouble with the schedule with TUI Fly.
But finding a flight that fits your vacation plans during the rest of the year might be a challenge, so you can instead fly with TAP or Ryanair to Porto/Lisbon if your schedule isn’t flexible.
How to get to the Azores from Denmark
Getting to the Azores from Denmark isn’t as convenient because, unfortunately, there are no direct flights from it to the archipelago.
But it’s also not as inconvenient as it may seem on the surface. You can just take a flight to mainland Portugal, and then take another flight to the Azores.
TAP Airlines has frequent flights from Copenhagen to Lisbon, and Ryanair offers good connectivity to Porto from Copenhagen as well as from Billund to Lisbon and Porto.
Norwegian Air Shuttle also operates direct flights to Lisbon.
How to get to the Azores from France
Azores Airlines provide direct flights to the Azores, which fly 5 days of a week during the high season months of April through October and 3 days a week the rest of the year.
Also, the same airlines have direct Porto flights going from France as well.
How to get to the Azores from Germany
Of all the places I have covered so far, Germany has the most number of airports with flights going to Portugal. Here is an overview of those:
- Frankfurt: Azores Airlines offers direct flights to the archipelago from Frankfurt during the high season (April through October). It’s just one flight per week, but a direct flight is a direct flight. Lufthansa also provides one direct flight every week from Frankfurt to the Azores during that period of time.
If the weekly direct flights don’t fit your schedule, you can also fly with Ryanair, TAP, or Lufthansa from Frankfurt to the mainland cities of Porto and Lisbon before taking a flight to the Azores from there.
- Düsseldorf: Azores Airlines, TAP, SWISS, Lufthansa and a few others offer connecting flights to Ponta Delgada from Düsseldorf. Azores Airlines and Lufthansa fly to Ponta Delgada via Frankfurt, while TAP Air offers connecting flights via Lisbon and SWISS International flights connect to Ponta Delgada via Zurich.
- Berlin: Apart from Frankfurt, there are no direct flights to the Azores from Germany. Luckily, there are plenty of direct flights to Lisbon and Porto from Berlin offered throughout the year by TAP, Ryanair, and Easyjet.
- Along with those three cities, Ryanair and sometimes TAP and Eurowings offer daily or weekly flights to Lisbon and Porto from Munich, Hamburg, Dortmund, Bremen, Karlsruhe, Nuremberg, Cologne-Bonn, Stuttgart, and Memmingen – so you can fly to Portugal from any of those cities and easily make your way to the Azores from there.
How to get to the Azores from the Netherlands
Getting to the Azores from the Netherlands is extra convenient during the high season. TUI Fly operates direct flights to the Azores from the Netherlands as well, which you can book between May and September.
These flights go from Amsterdam to Ponta Delgada and Terceira. But if you’re visiting outside of the peak tourism season, you can instead take one of the flights going to Porto or Lisbon to go to the Azores from there.
These are operated by Ryanair, TAP, Easyjet, Transavia, and Vueling.
And when it comes to flying to Porto or Lisbon before taking a flight to the Azores, you can also do it from Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
Ryanair and Transavia provide frequent flights on most days of the week to both cities.
How to get to the Azores from Switzerland
The SWISS airlines I mentioned earlier that connect flights from Düsseldorf to Ponta Delgada via Zurich are perfect for a direct flight to the Azores if you’re already in Switzerland.
But do keep in mind that the only direct flight to Ponta Delgada from Zurich leaves on Monday, (at the time I am writing this) so it might not be ideal for your travel plans.
Luckily, the same airline also provides tons of flights to Lisbon and Porto almost all days of the week year-round.
TAP also has frequent flights to Lisbon from Zurich, and some Easyjet flights take you there too.
If flying directly to Ponta Delgada isn’t an option, you can take one of those flights to get to Portugal and board another plane to the Azores from there.
How to get to the Azores from Spain
Flying to the Azores from Spain is both fast and convenient because there are multiple locations in the country where you will find flights for it.
Barcelona has Azores Airlines flights going directly to Ponta Delgada during the high season.
Other than that, Gran Canaria is where you will find a direct flight to the Azores regardless of the season – but it’s only operated three times a week by Azores Airlines.
If your schedule is flexible, I recommend taking one of these flights directly to the Azores.
But when your travel plans don’t align with the direct flight dates from Spain, you can also go with the many other flights going to Lisbon and Porto from here.
These include flights operated by Air Europa, TAP, Ryanair, Easyjet, and Iberia – and depart from Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, and Malaga.
How to get to the Azores from the United Kingdom
Just like Germany and Spain, the United Kingdom has flights to the Azores from lots of its cities – especially when it comes to connecting flights.
You can take direct flights to Ponta Delgada from London, they’re operated by Ryanair.
TAP, Azores Airlines, Easyjet, and British Airways operate daily flights to Lisbon and Porto from London so those are connecting flight alternatives.
Similarly, you can find flights to those two cities from Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bristol, and Liverpool.
So, for those of you wondering how to get to the Azores from UK, taking a flight from any of the aforementioned cities is an easy and straightforward way to do it.
Depending on what’s more convenient for you, you can either fly directly to Ponta Delgada from London or take a flight to Lisbon or Porto and then fly to the Azores from there.
How to get to the Azores from Cape Verde
The Cape Verde archipelago provides great connectivity to the Azores via planes, so you can take a direct flight to Ponta Delgada from here.
Azores Airlines operates nonstop flights from its capital city to the Azores on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the high season months.
How to travel between islands in the Azores
When exploring the Azores, I recommend having at least a few of the islands on your itinerary so that you can experience the diverse charm of the region more fully.
However, not all the islands are so close that you can cross one another on a ferry ride. Some of them are at a one-hour flight distance.
SATA Airlines provide flights to all 9 inhabited islands of the archipelago, so you can easily fly to your desired island.
Ponta Delgada has connections to every other island, but some of them aren’t interconnected with each other, which is something you should look into before planning your itinerary.
However, taking flights between the different islands get more expensive in the high season, obviously.
During the low season, I paid 60 USD each way from Ponta Delgada to Pico, from Sao Jorge to Terceira, and from Terceira back to Ponta Delgada.
In the high season is about 90 USD each way instead. If you buy one way or return, the price doesn’t change, so you can decide last minute for your return ticket in case you want to spend more time on one island.
Maybe it’s a little risky in July and August, but it’s ok in the other months.
Inter-Island ferry connections
Taking a ferry from one island to another in the Azores is both pocket-friendly and scenic at the same time.
Ferries connect all the islands, especially the Central Group Islands of Terceira, Pico, Sao Jorge, and Graciosa.
Ferries sound miles better compared to inter-island flights, right? Well, while they do save you a lot of money, the trips between islands also take longer compared to flights.
Some ferry trips take twice as long, which can be as many as 3-5 hours from one island to another depending on the distance.
Also, since the Azores region tends to have unpredictable weather even during the peak season, chances are that ferries might stop operating between certain islands because of bad conditions in the Atlantic Ocean.
Usually, ferries between the Central Group islands are a good choice. They’re far less frequently affected by the weather, and the journey times are also shorter with them.
Also, the western islands (Flores, Corvo) are connected with each other. Here below is a brief summary of the ferry lines:
- The blue line (Route between Faial and Pico)
- The green line (Route between Paial – Pico – Sao Jorge – Sao Roque)
- The pink line (Route between Flores and Corvo)
- The purple line (Seasonal route between Faial – Pico – Sao Jorge – Graciosa – Terceira – June 1- September 30)
- The orange line (Seasonal route between Sao Roque and Velas – June – September)
- The white line (Seasonal route between Faial – Sao Roque – Velas – Graciosa Operating season – June- September)
You can use the stopover option offered by Azores Airlines. It lets you choose Ponta Delgada or Terceira as a stopover for up to a week when you book a flight from Europe to America or the other way around.
For example, if you book a flight from Boston to mainland Portugal, you will get the option to choose the Azores as a stopover.
You can stay on the archipelago for up to 7 days and then be on your way to Portugal without paying any additional airfare!
Best time to visit the Azores
The Azores has a subtropical climate, so it’s a year-round destination. Except, there are changes in the weather, activities, and prices depending on the season, which means the best time for you to visit will depend on your preferences.
The majority of tourists to the Azores visit during the peak season, which falls in the summer months (from June to August).
This is when they can enjoy the most amount of sunshine hours, fewer chances of rain, pleasantly warm temperatures, and overall good weather.
But the peak season is also when the prices and crowds are at their highest. This includes prices on flights, hotels, car rentals, restaurants, and tours. Availability might also be an issue during the high season months.
For more pocket-friendly rates, the shoulder season months (April, May, and September) are great. This is when the majority of tourists either haven’t arrived or are leaving, and the prices on everything are also manageable.
The low season months of winter (November through March) are the wettest and coldest, so this is when the tourist activity in the Azores drops to its lowest along with rates on flights, hotels, rentals, and pretty much everything else.
I don’t recommend visiting during this time of year, because activities like hiking and exploring the outdoors aren’t as enjoyable in winter, but just so you know, it’s the best time to visit the Azores for a budget trip.
Travel Tips for the Azores
A trip to the Azores will be unforgettable on its own, but I’m also going to give you a few tips to make things even better when you take your next vacation in this charming archipelago.
✅ Rent a car for getting around
Although public transportation, taxis, and private transfers are all options when it comes to getting around in the Azores – renting a car is one of the best ways to explore the islands here.
It’s cheaper compared to the other options, especially if you’re planning on exploring the out-of-town attractions, and it gives you lots of flexibility.
I rented cars on every island except Sao Jorge, and I had an amazing time driving around the winding roads and stopping by the spectacular lookouts, something you cannot do on public transport and by taxi it would get too expensive.
Click on the above link to check out my detailed post on driving in the Azores.
✅ Carry some cash
While credit cards from international providers are accepted widely in the Azores, it’s never a bad idea to carry some cash on you for emergencies. Also, some restaurants may not accept cards. The currency used in the Azores is Euro.
✅ Plan lots of outdoor activities
The Azores are a world-renowned whale-watching destination, and hiking as well as exploring volcanoes, landscapes, and lakes are great here too. Don’t miss out on any of those!
✅ Sample the local cuisine
The Azores is also known for the mouthwatering food it offers. When here, try the local dishes for a delightful experience.
Local delicacies like Cozido das Furnas, Bacalao (codefish), and the local wine and cheeses.
✅ Include multiple islands on your itinerary
Every island in the Azores is unique and has its own charm and attractions, so try not to limit your trip to any one of them. Include at least a few of the islands on your itinerary to make the most of your trip.
✅ Learn some basic Portuguese
English is common in the Azores when it comes to touristy places, but learning some basic Portuguese will still come in handy when you’re out and about on the islands.
I love languages and I am pretty fluent in English, Spanish and, of course Italian, but despite my efforts, I could only say Obrigada (thank you) and Eu nao falo Portugese (I don’t speak Portuguese!)
Shame on me! next time I go back I make sure you speak more languages.
✅ Be mindful of nature
Last, but not least, is to respect the nature of these islands. Make sure you practice responsible tourism by following guidelines and restrictions along with generally avoiding any harm to the nature of the Azores (or anywhere you go).
Frequently Asked Questions about the Azores
Can you fly directly to the Azores?
Yes, there are tons of places around the world where you will find direct flights to the Azores; but there are also so many countries from where you won’t find a direct flight to the archipelago, so it all depends on where you currently are.
What is the best way to travel to the Azores?
The best way to travel to the Azores is by taking a flight.
Nowadays, connectivity to these islands is great from many places around the globe, so getting on a plane makes it really easy to travel to the Azores from the USA, Canada, UK, and most of Europe.
You will find frequent direct as well as connecting flights from these countries.
How long is the ferry from Portugal to the Azores?
You won’t find any ferries going from mainland Portugal to the Azores, because the distance is a lot and the weather in the Atlantic Ocean tends to be a bit unpredictable no matter what time of year it is.
But ferries do operate between the 9 inhabited islands of the Azores, so you can use them for affordable island-hopping.
What is the currency of the Azores?
Just like mainland Portugal, the Azores uses Euro as its official currency. Credit cards are accepted at most places, but it’s still a good idea to carry some hard cash on you when you’re visiting the Azores to avoid any inconvenience.
Are the Azores expensive to visit?
Oh well. We should define expensive first! Generally speaking, traveling to the Azores is not very expensive if you compare the destination with the rest of Portugal.
However, it all depends on what kind of trip you want to have.
If you like a luxury, then yes, the Azores can be expensive. However, if you want to travel on a budget you can do that too.
One thing you should keep in mind is that if you want to really enjoy the island and see the best of it you should either rent a car or book an organized tour which is basically the same in terms of costs.
How many days do you need in the Azores?
This is a tough one because it depends on your availability. So I should probably say, as many days as you can. I was in the Azores for a month and it wasn’t enough to see all the islands.
I spent 8 days in Sao Miguel and I didn’t see everything I wanted to see, but I was also caught by 3 days of rain which didn’t help.
However bad weather is something you need to take into consideration, especially if you go to the Azores for whale watching or hiking.
On the bright side, you can always spend some time in the hot springs and chill in the hot pools, so nothing is lost even when it rains or it’s cold.
Which is the prettiest island in the Azores?
Ah! So difficult. I loved them all because each island has something special to offer.
In Pico the black landscape and my favorite restaurant Magma (make sure you check it out), in Sao Miguel, the volcanic lakes, Sete Cidades, and Furnas, but also the beaches and much more.
In Terceiras the natural pool of Biscoitos and the spectacular caves.
Sao Jorge for its amazing and unique landscapes, and the
Fajal, stretches of land formed by lava slides landslides, or lava flow formations.
I really love them all and I can’t wait to go back and visit the ones I missed in my first trip.
How to get to the Azores? Final thoughts
I hope this post was helpful to understand how to get to the Azores Islands. 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.
Before you go…
While you are going to the Azores you may want to check out my guides to Portugal if you want to stop by on the mainland before or after visiting the beautiful archipel. Here are some interesting posts (among others):
- Is Lisbon Walkable? Tips and Places to Visit When Walking in Lisbon
- The 13 Best Hikes in Portugal That You Don’t Want to Miss 
- Where to Stay In Cascais Portugal – A Guide to the Best Areas and Hotels
- Surfing in Portugal: The Complete Guide to the Top 27 Surfing Spots
- Driving from Lisbon to Porto – the perfect 10 days road trip + practical tips
About the Author, Founder & Editor
Hello there! This is Isabella, the author of this blog, and a cat lover. I am an Italian expatriate with a Mexican permanent Residence. After 7 years of living in Cancun, I have decided to leave my job and explore my beloved Mexico and the rest of this beautiful world, starting from South America, while sharing my travel stories and offering useful travel tips about traveling as a solo female traveler and digital nomad.