Azores (Portuguese Territory)
The Azores Islands are an archipelago of 9 volcanic islands located in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, 1,360 kilometres west of mainland Portugal. Cruisers on Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises can look forward to exploring ‘the tips of the lost continent of the Atlantic’. Full of old world allure and a natural paradise, the islands’ rugged landscape of volcanic mountains and mineral-rich soils provides visitors with an adventure of winding roads, lush green hillsides and dazzling lakes.
Cruise liners dock at Ponta Delgada, the main municipality and administrative capital of Azores, on São Miguel Island, which is the largest island of the Azores archipelago. Terminal Maritimo is only a short walk from the bars and restaurants of Avenida do Infante Dom Henrique, which is along the coast, guaranteeing beautiful ocean views. Some cruise ships dock further out; however, the walk from these docks should take no more than 20 minutes into the centre.
The port is conveniently equipped with a range of facilities, which can be found right next to the main terminal’s exit.
Facilities nearby include:
Free Wi-Fi (with a purchase of a drink or snack).
How to Get Around
Azores’ São Miguel Island is easily explored by rental car or taxi, both of which can be found at the port. If driving, keep in mind that some roads are very narrow and full of twists and turns. Look out for turnoffs that might also lead to an incredible view.
Minibuses are also available to take you to the residential districts, and standard-sized busses connect you to the rest of the island; however, they can be quite slow, so booking a taxi, rental car or even a moped is recommended.
Travel times from the port:
It is an 11 minute journey to the centre of Ponta Delgada
It is a 20 minute journey to Avenida do Infante Dom Henrique.
It is a 32 minute journey to Plantacoes de Cha Gorreana
It is a 38 minute journey to the Sete Cidades
It is a 44 minute journey to the municipal of Furnas.
Currency – Azores accepts the Euro. There are eight coin denominations – 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, €1 and €2. Banknotes are available in €5, €10, €20, €50, as well as the very uncommon €100, €200 and €500 notes.
Time Zone – Azores time is one hour behind of the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). From March through to October, Daylight Savings pushes the time forward by one hour.
Weather – Azores enjoys a subtropical or Mediterranean climate. The months on either side of summer (April, May, September and October) average 11 to 24 degrees Celsius with fairly consistent sunny days. Temperatures rise in June, July and August to around 26 degrees Celsius, and can be quite humid. The winter months (November to March) still experience sunny days; however, be prepared as the temperature can drop to between 11 and 17 degrees Celsius with rain, wind and overcast days not uncommon.
Furnas – Venture east towards the steamy municipal of Furnas, which is still home to an active volcano with a history of explosive eruptions. Visit the Lagoa da Furnas – a crater lake flanked by fumaroles emitting billowing clouds of steam and hot mud pools. Head into the village to find 30 springs and geysers bubbling across the town. Relax your muscles in these thermal waters at Poca Da Dona Beija then make your way over to the 18th century Terra Nostra estate and wander through its garden paradise filled with lilies, hydrangeas and azaleas. Before you leave Furnas, order a cozido das furnas, a traditional Portuguese stew that has been slow-cooked for up to 7 hours under the earth using the region’s geothermal heat.
Sete Cidades – Head west of the port and visit the stunning Sete Cidades Crater Lakes. It is told that their two colours are the tears from a green-eyed princess and her forbidden lover, a blue-eyed shepherd. Look out over this natural wonder from the Vista do Rei Lookout, or venture down to the village for a closer look.
Plantacoes de Cha Gorreana: Producing high quality teas since 1883, the Gorreana Tea Factory has been recognised for its sustainability and is powered by a stream that runs through the mineral-rich estate. Learn about traditional tea making methods as you tour through the factory, and then take a stroll through the plantation, before ending with a tea tasting of rare and locally grown teas.