Azores Islands: Cities in the Azores Islands

Ponta Delgada

Tucked away in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores Islands, these nine volcanic islands, are a hidden European gem. This volcanic archipelago offers breathtaking natural beauty, but the Azores islands also boast a rich culture and history evident in their charming cities. Let’s dive in and discover the allure of these Azorean urban centers!

Disclaimer: This article is more of an overview and a list of the cities in the Azores Islands to visit. To find more information about each city, click on the hyperlinks within the article. I’ve prepared an article for each city, so you can learn more about them.

Cities in São Miguel Island - A Vibrant and Diverse Landscape

São Miguel Island, the heart of the Azores archipelago, offers a captivating mix of urban vibrancy and idyllic small-town charm. Let’s embark on a journey through its most notable towns:

Ponta Delgada

Let’s explore Ponta Delgada, the Azores’ vibrant capital on São Miguel Island. It is probably one of the largest cities in the Azores Islands. A city where cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed buildings meet the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean, all against a backdrop of emerald-green volcanic landscapes.

That’s the allure of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores archipelago. It’s a place where old-world European charm dances with the untamed beauty of nature, creating an island escape that’s equal parts relaxing and exhilarating.

Some of the highlights of the city are the City Gates or as they are also known – Portas da Cidade. This trio of arches marks the historical entrance to Ponta Delgada’s bustling center. Close by is the Forte de São Bras. This 16th-century fortress is a testament to the island’s strategic importance. It is also the place where you can discover the captivating views of the harbor.

The City Hall Bell Tower is also another must-see in Ponta Delgada. It is best known for its panoramic views of the city’s picturesque rooftops and the glistening Atlantic Ocean. If you want to immerse yourself in the Azorean culture and history, you can do that at the Carlos Machado Museum. There you will find some fine local art, artifacts, and natural wonders. In case you are into plants, make sure to pay a visit to the Jardim Antonio Borges. Personally, I think this is one of the best gardens I’ve visited so far.

If you want to dive into the local cuisine and flavors, make sure to visit the Mercado da Graça. There you will surely find fresh seafood, sweet pineapples, and other Azorean delicacies.

For the adventurers, there are plenty of close by adventures to try. There are whale-watching tours available almost all year round, trips to Sete Cidades and Lagoa do Fogo. So, make sure to try some of them and make your trip a memorable one.

Vila Franca do Campo Islet

Vila Franca do Campo

The town of Vila Franca do Campo itself is a charming Azorean gem where you can wander through the cobbled streets lined with pastel-coloured houses adorned with volcanic rock. One of the highlights of the parish is the Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, a beautiful 16th-century church showcasing Baroque architecture.

Another spot that yarns for your attention is the Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo sitting aside of the parish. The Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo is a collapsed volcanic crater, a testament to the island’s fiery past. Millions of years ago, a submarine volcano erupted, spewing molten rock onto the ocean floor. Over time, the volcanic cone weakened and collapsed inwards, forming a caldera that eventually filled with water. The remaining rim, now partially submerged, creates the horseshoe-shaped islet we see today. This geological marvel, also known as the Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon) or Princess Ring, is a Nature Reserve teeming with vibrant marine life and birdlife.

If you are into hiking, take a moment to savor the tranquil atmosphere of the Lagoa de Congro, a freshwater lake ideal for a scenic stroll or a relaxing picnic. It is in a short distance away from Vila Franca do Campo, so make sure to pay it a visit.


Nestled amidst the lush, volcanic landscapes of São Miguel Island in the Azores archipelago, lies the captivating town of Furnas. This enchanting destination, shrouded in mist and brimming with geothermal wonders, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and unparalleled relaxation.

Immerse yourself in a wonderland of exotic flora and fauna at the Terra Nostra Botanical Garden. This verdant oasis, established in the 18th century, boasts a breathtaking collection of plants from around the world, thriving amidst steaming vents and thermal pools. Take a dip in the iconic steaming lake, some naturally heated pool rich in iron and minerals, known for its therapeutic properties.

Unwind and rejuvenate in the thermal pools of Poça da Dona Beija. These naturally heated pools offer a haven of relaxation amidst the volcanic scenery. Choose from a variety of pools with varying temperatures, all rich in minerals known for their therapeutic benefits.

Last but not least, explore the volcanic activity on display at Furnas Lagoa, a lake renowned for its vibrant green color caused by the presence of iron and copper. Observe fumaroles releasing steam and hot gases, and witness the natural phenomenon of “cooking” – local residents simmer stews in the steaming earth for several hours, resulting in a local delicacy known as “Cozido das Furnas.”

Sete Cidades

Nestled within the volcanic crater on São Miguel Island, Azores, lies Sete Cidades, a village enveloped by breathtaking beauty. Renowned for its iconic Green and Blue Lakes (Lagoa das Sete Cidades), Sete Cidades offers a captivating blend of nature, history, and local charm.

Witness the centerpiece of Sete Cidades – the contrasting Green and Blue Lakes. Capture panoramic vistas from viewpoints like Miradouro da Vista do Rei (King’s Viewpoint) and Miradouro da Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth Viewpoint). For an immersive experience, hike or kayak the crater rim, enjoying the lakes from a unique perspective.

Delve into the village’s rich culture by strolling through its streets and interacting with friendly locals. Savor the flavors of the Azores by indulging in traditional delicacies at local restaurants. Or step back in time by visiting the 18th-century São Nicolau Church. Admire the church’s architectural beauty and delve into its fascinating history.


Lagoa, a charming town on the southern coast of São Miguel Island in the Azores, offers a perfect blend of Azorean tradition and natural wonders. Lagoa is mostly known for its beautiful scenery, including the Sete Cidades crater lakes.

In the village of Lagoa, there’s not lots you can do, but if you want to dive deep into the Azorean tradition, you can visit the local ceramic factories and try some workshops at Ceramica Viera. This small factory has been working for over 150 years and is the main producer of most of the ceramics you will find on the islands of the Azores.

Other things you can do is enjoy the picturesque waterfront of Lagoa, taking in the vibrant fishing boats and the calming ocean atmosphere. Or you can simply go to the Água d’Alto beach and simply relax and calm your mind. The village of Lagoa is also a very good point from where you can reach the Lagoa do Fogo quite easily.


If you want to see the Azores off the beaten path, the charming town of Nordeste on São Miguel Island should be on your radar. It’s a peaceful corner where abundant nature, quaint villages, and unique sights intertwine, creating an unforgettable travel experience.

You have probably seen the famous lighthouse of the Azores Islands on a picture somewhere. Well, the Farol do Arnel is located near the Nordeste village, so you can visit it easily, but be mindful of the curvy downward going pathway. In fact, Farol do Arnel is the oldest lighthouse in the Azores Islands and is for sure some of the most romantic spots to visit on the island.

Next is the Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego, where you will see breathtaking panoramas and dramatic coastal views. The Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões is not to be missed as well. It offers some vibrant landscapes of waterfalls, watermills, and rich vegetation. Last but not least, Poço Azul, the hidden lake as I like to call it, offer some of the most beautiful blue waters surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.


Povoação holds the distinction of being the first settlement on São Miguel Island. Its name, meaning “settlement” in Portuguese, speaks to its rich historical significance. In the 15th century, Portuguese explorers found this fertile valley and established a thriving community. Strolling through Povoação’s streets, you’ll encounter architectural reminders of its past, from quaint houses to the historic town square.

Povoação’s natural allure lies in its diverse landscapes. Rugged cliffs give way to serene beaches, while lush vegetation blankets the surrounding hills. Some of these natural wonders are its waterfalls. Salto do Prego waterfall is known for its enchanting hiking trail which leads to it. The Ribeira Quente, or also known as the Hot Waterfall is considered the not so safe option to visit. However, it is known for its grandiosity and the hot water falling from its top.

Povoação also offers excellent trails with varying difficulty. The trail to Pico da Vara offers a hike to the highest point on the island for panoramic island views. 

Ribeira Grande

Nestled on the north coast of São Miguel Island, Ribeira Grande, translating to “Big River” in Portuguese, is an enchanting Azorean village that beckons travelers seeking a captivating blend of cultural immersion, historical intrigue, and outdoor adventure. 

It boasts a rich tapestry woven with centuries of Portuguese influence. Founded in 1478, it was one of the first settlements established on São Miguel.  A testament to its historical significance, the village center is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. There you will find the Ribeira Grande Town Hall (Paços do Concelho). This magnificent 17th-century building, adorned with volcanic rock and boasting a delicately carved stone balcony, is a captivating architectural gem.

Near it is the Nossa Senhora das Mercês church, which is a 16th century awe-inspiring church known for its Baroque façade. Last but not least, you will find the Ribeira Grande museum. There you will find lots about the traditional Azorean life, agricultural practices, and religious artifacts, offering a glimpse into the island’s unique cultural heritage. If you are a flora lover, Ribeira Grande also has a botanical garden, which you can visit and explore the indigenous Azorean plants.

The crystal-clear waters surrounding Ribeira Grande offer a haven for marine life. Snorkeling trips and diving excursions cater to all levels, allowing you to witness the underwater wonders of the Azores.

Ribeira Grande’s northern shores are a haven for experienced surfers. Praia do Areal de Santa Barbara, with its powerful waves and dramatic cliffs, is a surfer’s dream.  Surf schools offer lessons and rentals for those eager to catch a wave.

Cities in Santa Maria Island – The Sandy Paradise

Santa Maria Island offers a unique blend of historical charm, captivating natural beauty, and a relaxed atmosphere. Whether you seek cultural immersion in Vila do Porto or beachside bliss in Sao Lourenco, this Azorean gem has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and discover the magic of Santa Maria Island!

Vila do Porto

Nestled along the southern coast, Vila do Porto, Santa Maria Island’s capital, is a treasure trove of history and culture. There you can explore the 15th-century Igreja Matriz church, wander through the imposing fortifications of Forte de São Brás, and delve into the island’s rich past at the Museu de Santa Maria.

The architectural beauty of the town square is imminent. Praça da Republica is adorned with traditional Azorean houses. And you can take a stroll along the Rua do Comércio, lined with charming shops and cafes.

Vila do Porto is also a heaven for seafood lovers. The city promises to indulge you in fresh seafood dishes. Also, don’t miss the chance to try Santa Maria’s signature cheese, Queijo de Santa Maria.

Last but not least, the city is famous for its annual festival. The Espírito Santo festivities is known for its vibrant celebrations that bring all the people together. Thus, this is a great way to feel the warm hospitality of the Azorean people.

Sao Lourenco

On the eastern tip of Santa Maria Island lies the idyllic village of Sao Lourenco, a haven for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts. There you can unwind on the pristine beaches of Praia Formosa and Barreiro da Faneca, where golden sands meet crystal-clear waters.

You can also explore the underwater world. Go for either diving or snorkeling adventure and discover the vibrant marine life teeming beneath the waves. In addition to that, there are lots of hiking trails to explore. They weave along the dramatic coastline, offering breathtaking panoramas. You will for sure be able to experience the simple and slow life of this island.

Cities in Terceira Island - A Historical Adventure

Terceira Island is a land sculpted by fire, history and culture. The island gathers in itself the old and the new making it an irresistible stop on your adventure. The most prominent cities on the island are Angra do Heroismo, known as the old capital of the Azores Islands and Praia da Vitoria – the beach paradise.

Angra do Heroísmo

Angra do Heroísmo, the capital of Terceira Island, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best cities in the Azores Islands. Steeped in history, the city’s well-preserved 16th and 17th-century architecture reflects its Portuguese colonial heritage.  Wander through the cobblestone streets of the Angra do Heroísmo Historic Centre, a maze of pastel-colored houses adorned with intricate wrought-iron balconies and distinctive volcanic rock facades.  Sé Cathedral, a magnificent example of Manueline Gothic architecture, dominates the city center.  Explore the Angra do Heroísmo Museum, housed in a former 17th-century convent, to delve into the island’s rich past.

Angra do Heroísmo’s historical significance is undeniably linked to its strategic location.  Once a crucial stop on the transatlantic trade route, the city boasts a vibrant harbor.  Take a stroll along the Angra Marina and admire the colorful fishing boats and stately yachts.  Monte Brasil, a volcanic cone overlooking the city, offers panoramic views and is a haven for hiking enthusiasts.  The Fortress of São Sebastião, perched atop Monte Brasil, is a testament to the island’s defensive significance.

Angra do Heroísmo pulsates with a vibrant cultural scene.  Catch a performance at the Angra do Heroísmo Angra Coliseum, a beautiful 19th-century theater.  Immerse yourself in the lively Festas do Espírito Santo (Festival of the Holy Spirit), a colorful celebration unique to the Azores, held during the summer months.  Indulge in the island’s delectable cuisine, savoring specialties like alcatra (stewed beef) and cozido das Terceiras (a hearty meat and vegetable stew).

Praia da Vitória

Praia da Vitória, Terceira’s second-largest city, is a modern hub known for its relaxed atmosphere and proximity to Terceira Lajes Airport.  The city boasts a beautiful beach, Praia da Vitória Beach, a haven for sunbathers, swimmers, and windsurfers.  The Ponta da Vigia Lighthouse, an iconic landmark, offers stunning coastal vistas.  Explore the Praia da Vitória Municipal Museum, showcasing the island’s natural history and maritime heritage.

Nature enthusiasts will find much to explore in Praia da Vitória’s surroundings.  Head to the Algar do Carvão, a volcanic cave formed centuries ago, for a glimpse into the island’s fiery past.  Hike through the Terceira Natural Park, a protected area encompassing volcanic craters, lakes, and lush vegetation.  Go whale watching in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island, where pods of dolphins, whales, and other marine life can often be spotted.

Cities in São Jorge Island – The Rugged Paradise

São Jorge Island, a volcanic marvel nestled in the heart of the Azores archipelago, beckons travelers with its dramatic landscapes, unspoiled natural beauty, and a rich tapestry of culture. While its volcanic craters, verdant pastures, and endemic flora steal the spotlight, the island’s charming towns offer a glimpse into the Azorean way of life.


Velas, the island’s capital, is a vibrant town where traditional Azorean architecture meets modern amenities. Colorful houses adorned with volcanic rock facades line the cobbled streets, their balconies overflowing with vibrant blooms. The Praça da República, the town’s central square, pulsates with energy, particularly during festivals when locals gather, their laughter echoing through the air.

History buffs will be enthralled by the Santa Bárbara Convent, a 17th-century structure that now houses the São Jorge Museum.  Here, a fascinating collection of artifacts unveils the island’s rich past, from its geological formation to its cultural heritage. Don’t miss the Fábrica da Baleia, a former whale processing factory turned museum, offering a glimpse into the island’s whaling history.

For a taste of local life, head to the bustling Mercado Municipal, a lively marketplace overflowing with fresh produce, handcrafted cheese (São Jorge Cheese is a local delicacy, don’t miss it!), and traditional Azorean souvenirs.  After a day of exploration, unwind on the black sand beach of Velas, where the volcanic landscape meets the refreshing embrace of the Atlantic Ocean.


Calheta, a tranquil village nestled on the island’s western shore, is a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. Black sand beaches bathed in warm sunshine and crystal-clear turquoise waters beckon visitors seeking a refreshing escape. Kayaking and snorkeling are popular activities here, allowing you to explore the vibrant marine life beneath the surface.

For those on a quest for adventure, Fajã da Calheta, a fajã (flat land formed by lava flows reaching the sea) accessible by a scenic cable car ride, offers a unique experience.  Here, explore hidden coves, hike through verdant landscapes, and discover charming natural pools ideal for a refreshing dip.

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Fajãzinha, a hidden gem on the island’s eastern coast, is a haven for those seeking tranquility and a connection with nature.  Accessible by a scenic footpath, this secluded village boasts a dramatic landscape of verdant valleys and cascading waterfalls. The Fajãzinha Natural Reserve is a paradise for nature enthusiasts, with its endemic flora and fauna creating a breathtaking tapestry of life.

Cities in Faial Island - The Blue Island

Tucked away in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, Faial Island in the Azores is a gem waiting to be discovered. Known as the “Blue Island” for its mesmerizing hydrangeas, Faial offers a blend of vibrant towns, stunning natural landscapes, and a rich cultural heritage. In this article, we’ll journey through the charming cities of Faial Island, exploring their unique attractions and hidden treasures.


Horta, the bustling capital of Faial Island, is a must-visit destination. No trip to Horta is complete without visiting Peter’s Café Sport, a legendary bar serving sailors for over a century. Soak in the maritime atmosphere, enjoy a drink, and leave your mark on the walls as generations of seafarers have done before you.

Continue next to Horta Marina where colorful sailboats from around the world find a safe haven. Take a leisurely stroll, admire the vessels, and feel the energy of travelers preparing for their next adventure.

Last but not least, indulge in the fresh flavors of Azorean cuisine in Horta’s restaurants. Savor delicious seafood dishes, try the famous local cheese, and pair your meal with fine regional wines.

Praia do Almoxarife

Praia do Almoxarife boasts breathtaking landscapes and exciting activities. You can relax on the unique black sand beaches of Praia do Almoxarife, contrasting beautifully with the turquoise waters.

Or embark on an unforgettable whale-watching tour off the coast for the chance to observe majestic whales and playful dolphins in their natural habitat.

If you’re an adrenaline seeker, Praia do Almoxarife is a haven for surfing, windsurfing, and other exciting water sports.


Escape the hustle and bustle in the serene village of Cedros. Cedros offers stunning hiking trails amidst lush vegetation, leading you to breathtaking viewpoints overlooking the island and the ocean. Immerse yourself in the vibrant green landscapes of Cedros, filled with native plants and the vibrant blue hydrangea blooms that make Faial famous. Find peace and tranquility in Cedros, a place where you can connect with nature and breathe in the fresh Azorean air.

Cities in Pico Island - The Mountainous Vineyard

Among this stunning Azores archipelago lies Pico Island, a land of towering mountains, lush vineyards, and charming coastal cities. If you’re seeking a unique and unforgettable travel experience, let’s dive into the captivating cities of Pico Island.


Madalena, the vibrant capital of Pico Island, greets you with its stunning views of Faial Island across the channel.  This picturesque city offers a delightful blend of history, natural beauty, and Azorean hospitality.

Madalena’s rich history is woven into its streets. Explore its charming churches and museums, uncovering stories of its past.  Stroll along the cobbled lanes, admiring the traditional Azorean architecture.

Embark on a whale-watching adventure, a highlight of any visit to Pico. Spot majestic whales and dolphins as they grace the waters surrounding the island.  Visit the vineyards that are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and sample the distinctive wines produced from the island’s volcanic soil.

São Roque do Pico

São Roque do Pico embraces the eastern coast of the island, showcasing the Azores’ raw beauty. This town boasts a rich whaling heritage and offers breathtaking natural attractions. Delve into São Roque do Pico’s fascinating past at the Whaling Industry Museum. Learn about the traditional hunting methods and their significance to the island’s culture.

Hike to the summit of Mount Pico, Portugal’s highest peak, for panoramic views that will leave you in awe. Explore the Gruta das Torres, an impressive lava tube system. A trip from Sao Roque do Pico is probably the best option to reach both sights.

Lajes do Pico

Discover the historical charm of Lajes do Pico, a town steeped in Azorean traditions. Its rich past, natural wonders, and lively festivals make it a must-visit destination. Explore the stunning natural pools near Lajes do Pico, perfect for a refreshing dip in the Atlantic waters.

Make sure to experience the vibrant spirit of Pico Island during one of its Whalers Week. This Pico Island festival, established in 1883, honors Our Lady of Lourdes. Originally religious, it evolved to include the whaling community and now features a dancing and music procession and celebrations taking place in late August.

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Cities in Graciosa Island - The White Island

Graciosa Island, known as the “White Island,” stands out with its charming towns and villages, volcanic landscapes, and a relaxed way of life.  Let’s dive into the cities of Graciosa and discover what this special island has to offer.

Santa Cruz da Graciosa

Santa Cruz da Graciosa is the main hub of the island, a picturesque town with whitewashed houses, narrow streets, and a welcoming atmosphere.

Santa Cruz holds a rich history, reflected in its churches like the Parish Church of Santa Cruz da Graciosa and the Church of Santo Cristo, as well as in the fascinating Ethnographic Museum.

Wander the cobblestone streets, admire the central square with its bandstand and candelabras, and enjoy a coffee at a local cafe. Explore the Cruz da Barra and soak in the views from the Mount of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda.

São Mateus da Praia

São Mateus da Praia, once the island’s municipal seat, boasts a rich history and stunning natural surroundings.

Admire the Church of São Mateus, home to one of the most beautiful pipe organs in the Azores. Learn about local history and traditions in the village’s small museum.

Relax on the beaches of Praia or Barro Vermelho, swim in the natural pools, and explore the unique rock formations along the coast.


Guadalupe offers a glimpse into Graciosa’s agricultural heartland and invites you to experience the authentic Azorean lifestyle. Witness the island’s agricultural heritage by visiting farms and vineyards, and perhaps sampling the local wine. Hike the trails that wind through the island’s landscapes, enjoying panoramic views from viewpoints like Serra Branca.

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Cities in Flores Island - The Natural Jewel

Flores, known for its dramatic landscapes and charming towns, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and Portuguese-influenced culture. Let’s explore some of the must-visit cities on this enchanting island.

Santa Cruz das Flores

Santa Cruz das Flores, the island’s capital, exudes an air of tranquility and historical charm. Santa Cruz das Flores boasts a rich history dating back to the 15th century when Portuguese settlers arrived. Stroll through its cobblestone streets and admire the traditional whitewashed houses adorned with colorful accents.

Visit the historic churches, the charming museum showcasing local artifacts, or enjoy a leisurely picnic by the picturesque harbor and relax at the natural pools formed by volcanic rock.

Lajes das Flores

The picturesque town of Lajes das Flores sits on the southern coast of the island. Surrounded by rolling hills and lush greenery, it offers a glimpse into authentic Azorean life. Lajes das Flores is a haven for nature lovers. Hike to the iconic Rocha dos Bordões, marvel at towering waterfalls, or take a refreshing dip in a crystal-clear lake.

Fajã Grande

Tucked away on the western coast of Flores Island, Fajã Grande is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. Fajã Grande is home to over 20 waterfalls cascading down lush cliffsides into the Atlantic Ocean. Witness the raw power of nature up close!

Explore this peaceful village and experience a slower pace of life. Chat with friendly locals, indulge in fresh seafood, and admire the island’s unique architecture.

Cities in Corvo Island – The Peaceful Jewel

The Azores Islas archipelago, a Portuguese haven in the middle of the Atlantic, is known for its dramatic landscapes and lush islands.  Among these gems lies Corvo Island, the smallest of them all. This remote outpost boasts a breathtaking beauty and an unusual feature – it’s home to just one single town, Vila do Corvo.

Vila do Corvo

Nestled on a gentle lava flow, Vila do Corvo unfolds with a captivating charm. Quaint stone houses with white trim line its narrow streets, creating a picture-perfect scene. This small town is the beating heart of Corvo, where daily life hums along with a quiet rhythm and a sense of deep-rooted community. Sources suggest that Vila do Corvo had an established presence by the 16th century, with settlers primarily arriving from mainland Portugal and other Azorean islands. Mysteries still surround early inhabitants, with legends of Flemish settlers and even escaped Carthaginian refugees contributing to the island’s lore

From Vila do Corvo you can reach the Caldeiras and experience some of the most breathtaking views in the archipelago.

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I hope that you have found this post about cities in the Azores Islands useful. Do you plan to visit any of the suggested places this season?

Which one is first on your list?