When planning a vacation, many people like to choose beautiful places with idyllic surroundings and awe-inspiring scenery. We spend most of our lives living in gray cities and seeing the same old sights each day, so it’s only natural that the majority of people like to get away from all that mundanity every now and then and enjoy a more natural and beautiful environment. This is why islands are so popular and the dream of living on a private island is shared by millions; islands offer beautiful beaches, untouched wilderness, and thoroughly relaxing settings for endless adventures and never-ending days and nights of fun in the sun.
If you're planning an island vacation, be sure to consider a trip to the Azores. Officially known as the Autonomous Region of the Azores, these islands are an autonomous region of Portugal but are located over 1,000 miles away from the Iberian coast. There are nine major volcanic islands that make up the Azores, with each one having its own unique charms and landscapes. In addition, despite being located in quite a northerly location, the Azores enjoy a very comfortable climate for large parts of the year, with mild to warm temperatures, offering the perfect conditions for sand and water activities down on the beach.
Best Beaches in Azores
Consistently ranked as one of most overlooked and best places to book a vacation, the Azores will take your breath away. The beauty and pristine nature of these islands is unparalleled by most other locations all around the world, with each island featuring picture-perfect landscapes and acres of untouched land. The islands also have some of the finest beaches in the world, making them a wonderful spot to get in touch with nature and slip into a state of total relaxation. If you’re planning an Azores vacation, read on to learn all about the best beaches of these Portuguese islands.
Praia de Santa Barbara
Situated just by the city of Ribeira Grande on the island of São Miguel, the Praia de Santa Barbara is one of the best surfing beaches in the Azores. The conditions vary at different times of the year, so you'll need to keep an eye on the forecast and speak to other surfers to learn more, but if you come at the right time, you'll be able to ride some enormous waves and really test your surfing skills. If you're not a surfer, you can still have fun climbing around the rocks or relaxing on the black sands of this beach.
Named due to the many natural pools formed among the volcanic rocks all around this area, Natural Pool is one of the most visually impressive and uniquely striking beaches in the Azores. It's located in Mosteiros on the island of São Miguel. You won't find soft sands here, but the rocks are simply astonishing and provide some incredible photo opportunities, while the pools can be lovely for soaking and swimming.
Many of the beaches of the Azores tend to have black sands and lots of volcanic rocks all around, but if you're looking for something a little more classic and traditional, don't miss out on Praia Formosa. This beach is found on the island of Santa Maria, just outside Vila do Porto. It's a long stretch of golden sand, with sky blue waters washing gently up onto the shore. The waves can vary at this beach, so the conditions are sometimes better for surfing than swimming, and there's a nice local restaurant serving up some tasty treats and refreshing drinks to cool off on a warm summer day.
Located in Mosteiros back on the island of São Miguel, Mosteiros Beach offers the sort of views that will take your breath away. A lot of beaches tend to look the same, but this one is totally unique thanks to the many black volcanic rock formations seen all around the landscape. The views from this beach are simply striking and it's a wonderful place to take some photos to share with your friends and family back home. There's also a mysterious, magical sort of vibe to this beach that couples will undoubtedly appreciate, so if you're traveling with a special someone, this is a fine place to bring them.
Porto Pim Bay
Just a short walk or drive outside of Horta on the island of Faial, Porto Pim Bay is one of the first beaches many Azores tourists tend to visit. It's a beautiful beach with nice black sands and very calm waters. All of that means that the conditions at this particular Azores beach are just right for families, as young children can splash or paddle around without any real danger. Lifeguards are on duty here to provide even more safety and there are some decent local amenities including several eateries, restrooms, and showers.
Islet of Vila Franca do Campo
For a beach that's a little off the beaten track, check out the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo. This tiny islet can be found off the coast of São Miguel. It's only a small beach but it has a lot of heart and charm, being located on the interior rim of an old volcano. Visiting this beach is like landing on your own private island and the local area is teeming with wildlife too, so it's a great place to look out for birds or grab a snorkel and swim about beneath the waves to see what you can find.