Top Tours in Santa Maria, Portugal

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  • The ranking of tours, activities, and experiences available on Tripadvisor is determined by several factors including the revenue generated by Tripadvisor from these bookings, the frequency of user clicks, and the volume and quality of customer reviews. Occasionally, newly listed offerings may be prioritized and appear higher in the list. The specific placement of these new listings may vary.

santa maria azores day tours

1. Excursions / Van Tours / Sightseeing

santa maria azores day tours

2. Santa Maria Island Jeep Safari Full Day Tour

santa maria azores day tours

3. Bike Rental

santa maria azores day tours

4. Urban Bikes Rental

santa maria azores day tours

5. Jipe Tours / Jeep Safári / Off Road Tours, Costa Norte

santa maria azores day tours

6. Jeep Tours / Jeep Safari / Off Road Tours, South Coast

Keep the fun going with other experiences in the area.

santa maria azores day tours

Half-Day Whale and Dolphin Watching Tour in Ponta Delgada

santa maria azores day tours

Canyoning Experience - half day

santa maria azores day tours

Off the Beaten Track Half Day Sete Cidades Jeep Tour

santa maria azores day tours

Azores: São Miguel 2-Day Tour Pack, East & West including Lunches

santa maria azores day tours

Whales and Dolphins + Vila Franca Islet (full day with lunch)

santa maria azores day tours

Canyoning Experience in Ribeira dos Caldeirões Sao Miguel -Azores

santa maria azores day tours

Jeep Tour Full Day Sete Cidades & Lagoa do Fogo with lunch and drinks included.

santa maria azores day tours

Swim with Dolphins in the Azores

santa maria azores day tours

Canyoning in the Ribeira dos Caldeirōes Natural Park

santa maria azores day tours

Azores Whale Watching & Islet Boat Tour

santa maria azores day tours

Vila Franca Islet Off-coast Nature Reserve Tour

santa maria azores day tours

Exploring a Volcano Crater - Quad and Buggy 4x4 Experience Tour

santa maria azores day tours

Full Day Private Tour West & East in São Miguel Island

santa maria azores day tours

Azores Sete Cidades Green & Blue Lakes - Private Tour

santa maria azores day tours

Lagoa do Fogo Volcano Geo Tour w/ Hotsprings

santa maria azores day tours

Furnas & Nordeste Volcano, Full Day Tour with Lunch

santa maria azores day tours

Half Day Guided Tour of Sete Cidades from Ponta Delgada

santa maria azores day tours

Furnas and Terra Nostra Botanic Gardens Guided Tour (with lunch)

santa maria azores day tours

Snorkeling in Vila Franca do Campo

santa maria azores day tours

Half day Lagoa do Fogo

santa maria azores day tours

Ponta Delgada: Shore Excursion Sete Cidades & Furnas Volcano

santa maria azores day tours

Tour to Furnas and Terra Nostra Garden - full day

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2 x Day Tour pack with lunch included (Furnas + Sete Cidades + Fogo + Nordeste)

santa maria azores day tours

Half Day Hike Waterfalls Moinho do Felix with tea plantation

What travellers are saying.

Karen J

  • Excursions / Van Tours / Sightseeing
  • Urban Bikes Rental
  • Santa Maria Island Jeep Safari Full Day Tour
  • Jipe Tours / Jeep Safári / Off Road Tours, Costa Norte
  • Jeep Tours / Jeep Safari / Off Road Tours, South Coast
  • Mantamaria Dive Center Azores
  • Azores Freediving
  • Haliotis Dive Centre Santa Maria

Santa Maria: Tours Information

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Things to do in Santa Maria, Azores: 3-day Itinerary

Of all the islands in the Azores, Santa Maria was the first one to emerge. Traces of its volcanic past are still visible in places like Pedreira do Campo and Ribeira de Maloás. It offers the warmest temperatures in the region, and that is why it is often called the sun island.

Beyond the lush forests, you’ll find white sandy beaches and the desert-like scenery of Barreiro da Faneca with its distinct red soil. Dotted between these are small whitewashed villages such as Vila do Porto.

Our three-day itinerary includes the best things to do in Santa Maria. It has the top sights on the island, plus recommendations on where to eat and where to stay during your trip.

Map of Santa Maria Island in Azores, Portugal

Day 1 - East

santa maria azores day tours

Morning: Praia Formosa

Our trip to Santa Maria begins down at the coast in Praia Formosa. It’s one of the rare white sandy beaches in the Azores. You can enjoy a swim here or grab a drink at one of the bars overlooking the sea. Every year around August, the beach welcomes a lively music festival known as Maré de Agosto.

Praia Formosa, Santa Maria Island, Azores, Portugal

Head north towards Pico Alto. At 590 metres, it’s the highest point on the island, making it the perfect place to find your bearings. The viewpoint on top of the mountains offers 360-degree views of the island and its diverse landscape.

The viewpoint on top of the Pico Alto, Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal

Poço da Pedreira

For a long time, locals would mine stone from the volcanic cone of Pico Vermelho. This area became a quarry (pedreira) until the middle of the 20th century when the island welcomed other materials such as cement and iron. Now it’s considered a tourist sight thanks to its red rock walls and a small pond that formed over the years.

Poço da Pedreira, Island of Santa Maria in Azores, Portugal

Afternoon: Baía de São Lourenço

Continue east until you reach the natural bay of São Lourenço. It looks like an amphitheatre with vineyard terraces facing the sea. Take a moment to enjoy the views from the Miradouro de São Lourenço before heading down to the beach. You can go swimming or practise diving as the area is known for its biodiversity. Boats also take visitors from here to the Ilhéu de São Lourenço, a small islet nearby home to one of the region’s endemic bats.

Baía de São Lourenço, Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal

Parque Florestal Fontinhas

Follow the road to Parque Florestal Fontinhas. You can easily spot this recreational reserve thanks to its tall cypress trees. It’s the ideal spot for a picnic, and there are facilities here for a barbecue, as well as a kid’s playground.

Parque Florestal Fontinhas, Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal

Ribeira de Maloás

Ribeira de Maloás is a striking geologic formation of basalt columns, similar to the Giant's Causeway in Ireland. These cliff formations emerged from the contact of the sea with the lava flow millions of years ago. Take a tour around the area and don’t miss the 20-metre-high waterfall.

Ribeira de Maloás, Santa Maria Island, Azores, Portugal

Day 1 - Santa Maria Tour Map

Day 2 - West

Morning: vila do porto.

Today we are heading west to explore the village of Vila do Porto, the island’s capital. Here you can visit the Centro de Interpretação Ambiental Dalberto Pombo, an interactive centre showcasing the collection of the naturalist Dalberto Pombo, who studied the diverse fauna and flora of Santa Maria. The collection includes a series of stuffed animals endemic to the Azores and migrating species, plus a section dedicated to marine fossils called Casa dos Fósseis.

The São Francisco Convent in Vila do Porto, Santa María Island, Azores, Portugal

After touring the Casa dos Fosséis, take a moment to explore the historic centre. Step inside the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, one of the oldest churches erected in the archipelago.

The Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, Vila do Porto, Santa Maria Island, Azores, Portugal

Then continue to the 15th-century chapel, Ermida de São Pedro Gonçalves. This was once the residence site of África Anes, one of the first women to inhabit Santa Maria. Finally, head over to the Forte de São Brás, a 17th-century fortress built to protect the island against raids.

The Forte de São Brás, a 17th-century fortress built to protect the Santa Maria island against raids, Azores, Portugal

If you’re up for a hike, there's a trail that connects Vila do Porto to Praia Formosa called Costa do Sul.

Pedreira do Campo

Within Vila do Porto is the natural monument of Pedreira do Campo. With 230 hectares, this protected area is full of volcanic rocks and marine fossils that date back millions of years.

Pedreira do Campo, Santa Maria Island, Azores, Portugal

Gruta do Figueiral

This artificial cave was where residents extracted clay to make roof tiles and limestone for the island’s traditional houses. You can still see stalactites and marine fossils along the cave’s walls.

Gruta do Figueiral, Santa Maria Island, Azores, Portugal

Forte da Prainha

The next stop is Forte da Prainha. This ruined fortress was once used as a defence structure against pirate attacks. These days it serves as a lookout offering privileged views of the Atlantic.

Forte da Prainha, Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal

Afternoon: Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Fátima

Take a small detour to visit the Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Fátima. Located in Alto das Feteiras, this chapel was built as a homage to the Marian apparitions in Fátima. While established in 1925, its iconic stairway was only completed four years later. The 150 steps represent the number of beads on a Rosary. It’s worth climbing to the top to enjoy the coastal views.

The Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Fátima, Alto das Feteiras, Santa Maria Island of Azores

Baía do Raposo

The north coast of the island is full of small picturesque bays, and this is one of them. Amid the cliffs, you’ll find a striking 80-metre waterfall that flows into the Ribeira do Engenho. The bay is also home to two watermills that are now in ruins. You can explore the area further on foot by following the trail of Costa Norte or join a boat trip to capture the bay and the waterfall from a distance.

Barreiro da Faneca

From Baía do Raposo, follow the road to Barreiro da Faneca. Stretching for 830 hectares, this semi-desert stands out with its red clayish soil. So much so that it got nicknamed the red desert. Surrounding it is a trail of endemic plants like the Picconia azorica and the Laurus azorica. The whole area is part of a protected landscape that is also home to the bays of Cré, Raposo and Tagarete.

Aerial view on a red sand desert called "Barreiro da Faneca" in Santa Maria Island, in Azores, Portugal

End the day in the village of Anjos. As soon as you arrive, you’ll notice an imposing statue of Christopher Columbus. After his trip to America in 1492, the navigator stopped at this village’s chapel to pray. The Ermida Nossa Senhora dos Anjos is one of the oldest religious temples in the Azores and is still standing today. After visiting the church, you can enjoy a swim at the natural pools in the bay of Anjos and watch the sun go down.

The Ermida Nossa Senhora dos Anjos, Anjos village, Santa Maria, Azores

Day 2 - Santa Maria Tour Map

Day 3 - East

Morning: miradouro das lagoinhas.

Head over to the Miradouro das Lagoinhas on the east side. From here, you can admire the panoramic views of the bay and spot the nearby islet of Lagoinhas. The area is ideal for diving or snorkelling.

Santo Espírito

Drive south towards the village of Santo Espírito. When you get there, take a moment to wander around the streets and capture the historical buildings like the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Purificação. This 16th-century church has an impressive Baroque façade that features the typical basalt stone from the Azores. Another place worth checking is the Cooperativa De Artesanato de Santa Maria, a small cooperative where you can find local handicrafts as well as traditional biscuits.

From Santo Espírito, you can follow the walking trail to Maia, where you’ll find the Cascata do Aveiro. Alternatively, you can also drive there.

Afternoon: Cascata do Aveiro

Cascata do Aveiro is one of the top attractions on the island. At 100 metres high, it’s among the tallest waterfalls in Portugal. The water flows down into a small lagoon where ducks paddle about. If you want to see the waterfall at its peak, it’s best to visit it in the winter.

Cascata do Aveiro in Santa Maria Island in the Azores Archipelago, Portugal

Piscinas da Maia

Just a few miles from the waterfall are the Piscinas da Maia. These natural pools are the perfect place to cool down in the summer. A lifeguard is usually here, making it safe for families with children too.

The Piscinas da Maia, Baia da Maia, Santa Maria Island in the Azores Archipelago, Portugal

Ponta do Castelo

The last stop on our tour is Ponta do Castelo. For a long time, the area was a centre for whale hunting, one of the island’s former economic activities. There is a lookout here and a ruined factory at the bottom where locals used to take the whales. These days, people come here for the dramatic sea views, especially near the Farol de Gonçalo Velho, a lighthouse standing on the edge of the cliff.

Ponta do Castelo, Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal

Day 3 - Santa Maria Tour Map

Day 4 - (optional)

Ilhéus das formigas.

If you have some extra time, you can explore the nearby Ilhéus das Formigas. These eight islets are about 37km north of Santa Maria. Part of a natural reserve, it’s a privileged spot for birdwatching and diving. If you’re lucky, you might spot a manta ray swimming around the area.

Formigas (Ilhéus das Formigas), Azores, Portugal

Top things to do with kids in Santa Maria

There are several things to do with kids on the island of Santa Maria. You can start by visiting the Centro de Interpretação Ambiental Dalberto Pombo, where they can learn more about the fauna and flora of the island, including the journey of the loggerhead sea turtle. They’ll also have the opportunity to see marine fossils up close and play an interactive game at the Casa dos Fósseis.

In the Azores , nature takes centre stage, and Santa Maria is no exception. Families can explore a series of natural attractions, from the red desert of Barreiro da Faneca to the lush mountainscape of Pico do Alto.

There are also plenty of small bays where you can go for a swim, including one with a white sandy beach, which is a rare find in the region.

White sandy beach of Praia Formosa in Santa Maria Island, Azores, Portugal

Where to eat in Santa Maria

Fresh fish, seafood and beef are the essential ingredients in Azorean cuisine, but each island has its unique delicacies. In Santa Maria, this includes the Sopa de Espírito Santo, a rich soup made with beef, spearmint and bread, the Caçoila (beef stew cooked in a terracotta pan) and the Polvo Guisado em Vinho de Cheiro (octopus stew cooked with local wine). Below are some of the best places to eat on the island of Santa Maria:

  • Bar dos Anjos: Located in the bay of Anjos, this unpretentious bar serves a delicious mix of regional dishes. Try the octopus and the limpets and enjoy the stunning sea views while you eat.

Bar dos Anjos, Santa Maria Island, Azores

  • Central Pub: This local pub in Vila do Porto is one of the island’s few nightlife spots. Here you can sample Azorean beef and international treats like chicken wings or pizza.

Central Pub in Vila do Porto, Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal

  • O Tibério: You’ll find O Tibério tucked away in the industrial area of Santa Maria. They offer affordable daily specials, which include a mix of meat and seafood dishes.

O Tibério restaurant in Vila do Porto, Azores

Where to stay in Santa Maria

  • Vigia da Areia: This rural tourism project features two guest houses near the vineyards of Baía de São Lourenço. Each of them includes one bedroom and a kitchen. There's also a shared outdoor area with a jacuzzi and a barbecue overlooking the sea.

Vigia da Areia - two guest houses near the vineyards of Baía de São Lourenço, Santa Maria, Azores

  • Villa Natura : Set within the nature reserve of Figueiral-Prainha, Villa Natura is a rental house with direct access to Praia Formosa. It includes two rooms, three bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. Guests can also enjoy an alfresco meal in the surrounding gardens.

Villa Natura is a rental house with direct access to Praia Formosa, Santa Maria, Azores

  • Charming Blue (3 stars): You’ll find this charming three-star hotel in Vila do Porto. It features 15 rooms, some of which offer sea views. During their stay, guests can also take advantage of the swimming pool and the on-site bar.

Hotel Charming Blue, Vila do Porto, Santa Maria Island, Azores

Best time to visit Santa Maria

As the sun island, the best time to visit Santa Maria is during summer. The weather is much warmer then, so you can make the most of the beaches and natural pools. It's also when the island welcomes many of its events and traditional festivals. Of course, you can visit during other seasons to enjoy the hikes and the lush natural scenery.

The best time to visit Santa Maria is during summer

Santa Maria festivals

  • Festas do Espírito Santo: This traditional religious celebration takes place all over the Azores. Every Sunday between April and September, the local churches in Santa Maria come alive, and a big party takes over the streets.

Parade of a giant puppet representing a woman in traditional dress during Festas do Espírito Santo in Santa Maria Island of Azores

  • Rally de Santa Maria: Every year around August, the island hosts this lively rally. The event usually lasts for two days and ends at the Praça do Município in Vila do Porto.

Rally de Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal

  • Festa de Nossa Senhora da Assunção: In mid August, Santa Maria celebrates the Festa de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, dedicated to the island’s patron saint. Most of the events take place in Vila do Porto with a series of processions, alongside street parties, concerts and food and craft markets.

Festa de Nossa Senhora da Assunção in Santa Maria, Azores

  • Maré de Agosto: This world music festival attracts visitors from all over the island. It takes place at Praia Formosa at the end of August, with live concerts throughout the evenings.

Maré de Agosto, Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal

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THE 5 BEST Santa Maria Tours & Excursions

Tours in santa maria.

  • Historical & Heritage Tours
  • Walking Tours
  • Private Tours
  • Sightseeing Tours
  • Self-Guided Tours & Rentals
  • Up to 1 hour
  • 1 to 4 hours
  • 4 hours to 1 day
  • The ranking of tours, activities, and experiences available on Tripadvisor is determined by several factors including the revenue generated by Tripadvisor from these bookings, the frequency of user clicks, and the volume and quality of customer reviews. Occasionally, newly listed offerings may be prioritized and appear higher in the list. The specific placement of these new listings may vary.

santa maria azores day tours

1. Excursions / Van Tours / Sightseeing

santa maria azores day tours

2. Santa Maria Island Jeep Safari Full Day Tour

santa maria azores day tours

3. Bike Rental

santa maria azores day tours

4. Urban Bikes Rental

santa maria azores day tours

5. Jipe Tours / Jeep Safári / Off Road Tours, Costa Norte

santa maria azores day tours

6. Jeep Tours / Jeep Safari / Off Road Tours, South Coast

Keep the fun going with other experiences in the area.

santa maria azores day tours

Half-Day Whale and Dolphin Watching Tour in Ponta Delgada

santa maria azores day tours

Canyoning Experience - half day

santa maria azores day tours

Off the Beaten Track Half Day Sete Cidades Jeep Tour

santa maria azores day tours

Azores: São Miguel 2-Day Tour Pack, East & West including Lunches

santa maria azores day tours

Whales and Dolphins + Vila Franca Islet (full day with lunch)

santa maria azores day tours

Canyoning Experience in Ribeira dos Caldeirões Sao Miguel -Azores

santa maria azores day tours

Jeep Tour Full Day Sete Cidades & Lagoa do Fogo with lunch and drinks included.

santa maria azores day tours

Swim with Dolphins in the Azores

santa maria azores day tours

Canyoning in the Ribeira dos Caldeirōes Natural Park

santa maria azores day tours

Azores Whale Watching & Islet Boat Tour

santa maria azores day tours

Vila Franca Islet Off-coast Nature Reserve Tour

santa maria azores day tours

Exploring a Volcano Crater - Quad and Buggy 4x4 Experience Tour

santa maria azores day tours

Full Day Private Tour West & East in São Miguel Island

santa maria azores day tours

Azores Sete Cidades Green & Blue Lakes - Private Tour

santa maria azores day tours

Lagoa do Fogo Volcano Geo Tour w/ Hotsprings

santa maria azores day tours

Furnas & Nordeste Volcano, Full Day Tour with Lunch

santa maria azores day tours

Half Day Guided Tour of Sete Cidades from Ponta Delgada

santa maria azores day tours

Furnas and Terra Nostra Botanic Gardens Guided Tour (with lunch)

santa maria azores day tours

Snorkeling in Vila Franca do Campo

santa maria azores day tours

Half day Lagoa do Fogo

santa maria azores day tours

Ponta Delgada: Shore Excursion Sete Cidades & Furnas Volcano

santa maria azores day tours

Tour to Furnas and Terra Nostra Garden - full day

santa maria azores day tours

2 x Day Tour pack with lunch included (Furnas + Sete Cidades + Fogo + Nordeste)

santa maria azores day tours

Half Day Hike Waterfalls Moinho do Felix with tea plantation

What travellers are saying.

Karen J

  • Excursions / Van Tours / Sightseeing
  • Urban Bikes Rental
  • Santa Maria Island Jeep Safari Full Day Tour
  • Jipe Tours / Jeep Safári / Off Road Tours, Costa Norte
  • Jeep Tours / Jeep Safari / Off Road Tours, South Coast
  • Mantamaria Dive Center Azores
  • Azores Freediving
  • Haliotis Dive Centre Santa Maria

Santa Maria: Tours Information

Portugalist

Santa Maria Guide: 10+ the Best Things to Do

View of São Lourenço from above

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Santa Maria is a picturesque island in the Azores archipelago , located in the Atlantic Ocean. With its stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, and rich cultural heritage, Santa Maria offers a unique travel experience. Santa Maria isn’t as dramatic as some of the other Azores islands, but it is very beautiful and a great place to spend a few days. You could probably see the main attractions in two full days, but you may want to allow more to take your time — or just in case the weather isn’t good. 

This travel guide will help you explore the best attractions, savour delicious local cuisine, find the perfect time to visit, and choose suitable accommodation options.

Getting Here

Getting to Santa Maria is becoming increasingly convenient with the availability of direct flights from Lisbon, as well as connecting flights from the Ponta Delgada Airport (PDL) on São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores. If you’re flying from Lisbon, you can embark on a direct flight that will transport you to Santa Maria’s Vila do Porto Airport in just 2.5 hours. Alternatively, if you’re already in the Azores, you can catch a connecting flight from Ponta Delgada to Santa Maria.

There is usually a ferry service between São Miguel and Santa Maria, but it may not always be available due to weather conditions, seasonality, or other factors. Recently, Atlantico-line, the ferry operator, seems to have stopped running this route. You can check on their website for more info. 

It’s also possible to take a day trip from São Miguel. This is probably a bit too quick for most people, as you really need at least two days to see everything the island has to offer, but could be an option for those short on time. 

Where to Stay

Vila do Porto (the main town on the island) is a good option for many people as it has the majority of the island’s restaurants and supermarkets so even if you don’t stay here, you’ll inevitably end up coming here quite a bit. There are small shops and cafes in other parts of the island, but these tend to be very small and only suitable for basics. However, if you have a car, and you do your shopping once you arrive, you could take advantage of the freedom to stay anywhere on the island. 

Useful Links

  • Car Rental: Discover Cars  and  RentalCars.com list the main companies (Ilha Verde and AutAtlantis Rent-a-Car). Some smaller companies are mentioned in this guide to car rental on Santa Maria . ParaisoRadical in Vila do Porto also rents scooters. 
  • Accommodation: Booking.com and Airbnb are the two main sites to look at for accommodation. 
  • Tours: There aren’t a huge number of tours of Santa Maria, but some can be found on Viator . 

What to See and Do

There are lots of things to see and do on Santa Maria. While there is a bus service (download the app here ), many of the attractions require a car to get there. 

Sit on one of the world’s most scenic swings

Miradouro do Tagarete

Miradouro do Tagarete is probably the most magical place on the whole island. You’ll need to venture down a long country road, but the journey is definitely worth it. Here you’ll find a picnic table and a swing that offers the most incredible views of the Santa Maria coastline. This is a fantastic place for couples looking for somewhere romantic. 

Have a picnic next to a waterfall

Cascata do Aveiro

There are lots of amazing picnic spots and miradouros all over Santa Maria island, but one of the best (along with Miradouro do Tagarete) is Cascata do Aveiro. It’s an incredibly beautiful spot that feels tucked away from the rest of the world. 

There’s only one picnic table here, so you’ll have to hope that nobody else has had the same idea. However, there are two picnic tables and a BBQ area in the carpark nearby. 

Go for a swim on Praia Formosa

praia formosa

Most of the islands on the Azores don’t have white sands, so Santa Maria is very unique in this aspect. If the weather is warm, and you want to take a dip, Praia Formosa is definitely the main place to do it. Another white, sandy beach to consider is Praia de São Lourenço. This beach offers incredibly stunning views on the way down but if you only have time for one beach, Praia Formosa is definitely easier to get to for most people. 

Pico Alto

Hike or drive to the summit of Pico Alto, the highest point on the island. The trail takes you through lush greenery and provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including the neighbouring islands. Unfortunately, as this is the highest point on the island, the viewpoint if often covered in fog and you won’t see very much. This part of the island is often covered in fog, so you will need to make hay while the sun shines: if you get a clear day (and you should be able to see Pico Alto from other parts of the island) be sure to head up there as you don’t know what weather tomorrow will bring. 

Museu de Santa Maria

museu santa maria

The Museu de Santa Maria in Santo Espirito offers an interesting insight into what life was like for the people of Santa Maria in times gone by. You’ll see examples of how both the rich and poor lived, photos from the time, and examples of interior kitchens. This is a very small museum so it won’t take long to see everything, but it’s still worth a visit. You can combine this with a trip to the Cooperativa de Artesanato de Santa Maria (a handicrafts cooperative) and a trip of Pico Alto. 

Relax by Ribeira de Maloás

Ribeira de Maloás

Ribeira de Maloás is an incredibly beautiful waterfall that cascades over black volcanic rock. You can go down to the bottom of the waterfall and look up at the rock formation, while listening to the sound of the water hitting the small pool below. This is an incredibly scenic attraction and definitely worth the short walk to get there. 

Visit the São Bras Fortress

sao bras fortress

The São Bras Fortress is quite small and you can’t go inside the buildings, but it will give you a sense of the island’s history back when they had to defend themselves from warring pirates. The walls are still in good condition, as are the cannons, and the view gives an idea of what its inhabitants looked out at (if you can ignore the marina that’s there now). If you’re staying in Vila do Porto, this is just a short walk or drive from the town centre.  

View the Scenic Gonçalo Velho lighthouse

Ponta do Castelo

The Gonçalo Velho Lighthouse is one of the most beautiful spots on the island, thanks in part to the beautiful sloped vineyards, which cover the hill it sits on. You’ll get a beautiful view of the ocean and the coastline and if you’re lucky, you might even see some whales. 

Barreiro da Faneca

Barreiro da Faneca

Known as the red desert, this area is characterised by the dry, clay landscape, reddish in colour, that many people say reminds them of the planet Mars. It isn’t completely barren — there are some plants growing in the red soil — but it is generally lacking in life. 

Typical Food from Santa Maria

Santa Maria is home to several local dishes. Unfortunately, even though you’ll find a lot of restaurants serving fresh fish (some of which is quite unique) it’s hard to find restaurants that specifically serve these local, traditional dishes. 

However, some dishes to look out for include: 

  • Biscoitos de Orelha: Biscoitos de Orelha, also known as “ear cookies,” are a popular local sweet treat. These crispy, thin cookies are typically made with flour, sugar, eggs, and lard. They are named for their shape, which resembles an ear. Biscoitos de Orelha are perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea or coffee. You can find these in Continente and at the Cooperativa de Artesanato de Santa Maria in Santo Espirito. 
  • Meloa: Meloa is a type of melon that is widely grown on the island of Santa Maria. Known for its sweet and refreshing flavour, this melon variety is often enjoyed as a fresh snack or used in salads and desserts. This is usually available between July and September. Meloa is also common on Graciosa. 
  • Sopa de Peixe: Sopa de Peixe, or fish soup, is a popular dish in the Azores, including Santa Maria. This hearty soup is made with a variety of fish, such as local catches like wrasse or mackerel. It is typically flavored with onions, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and sometimes saffron. Sopa de Peixe is a flavorful and comforting choice, especially for seafood lovers.
  • Caldeirada de Peixe: Caldeirada de Peixe is a traditional fish stew commonly enjoyed in Santa Maria. This dish combines different types of fish, such as grouper, mackerel, and wrasse, with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and a variety of herbs and spices. The stew is slowly cooked to allow the flavours to meld together, resulting in a rich and satisfying meal.
  • Alheiras de Santa Maria: Alheiras are a type of Portuguese sausage, and the version from Santa Maria is particularly renowned. Alheiras de Santa Maria are made from a mixture of meats, including chicken, bread, and various seasonings. They are traditionally smoked and can be grilled or fried before serving. Alheiras de Santa Maria are often enjoyed as part of a main course or served as an appetiser.

A longer list of dishes from Santa Maria can be found here . 

Most of the food is meat or fish-focused, but some of the cafes and restaurants have vegan options. In Vila do Porto this includes Monk Surf Shop & Coffee Bar, which is probably one of the most vegan and vegetarian-friendly. DuFogo Take Away and A Travessa have a few vegan and vegetarian options too.  

When to Visit

The best time to visit Santa Maria is during the spring and summer months, from May to September. The weather is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). This period allows you to enjoy outdoor activities, relax on the beaches, and explore the island’s natural beauty to the fullest.

Airbnb and Vacation Rentals

Santa Maria has a range of Airbnb and vacation rental options, allowing you to choose a place that suits your preferences and budget. This can be a great way to experience local hospitality and immerse yourself in the island’s culture.

There’s are a few medium-sized supermarkets in Vila do Porto: Pingo Doce, Continente Bom Dia, and Supermercado Ângelo. There’s also a small local market ( Mercado Municipal de Vila do Porto ) that’s open most days. In some of the smaller towns and villages, such as Santo Espírito, you’ll find a very small grocery store, which is suitable for small purchases. For most of your shopping, however, you should head to the Continente in Vila do Porto. 

The supermarkets are small and more expensive than mainland Portugal, but you will find enough to make self-catering work on the island. 

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The Best of Santa Maria Island, Azores - A 3-Day Itinerary Guide

Santa maria island, azores: a comprehensive 3-day itinerary guide.

Welcome to Santa Maria Island, a lesser-known paradise in the Azores, Portugal, known for its pristine natural beauty and unique charm. Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, this small but remarkable island offers a perfect blend of adventure, culture, and relaxation, making it an ideal destination for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience. This 3-day itinerary has been carefully crafted to help you make the most of your time on Santa Maria Island. Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking to unwind amidst breathtaking scenery, our guide will lead you to the island's top attractions and hidden treasures, ensuring that your visit is nothing short of extraordinary.

So, prepare to embark on an adventure of a lifetime as we explore the wonders of Santa Maria Island together.

Day 1: Historical Exploration and Coastal Wonders

Begin in Vila do Porto, the historic heart of Santa Maria. Visit the iconic Fort of São Brás , a 16th-century fortification offering insights into the island's maritime history. Don't miss the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption , a stunning example of 15th-century architecture. Spend your afternoon at Praia Formosa , a beautiful beach known for its golden sands and clear waters, ideal for swimming or sunbathing. This beach is also famous for its role in the annual Maré de Agosto Festival , a vibrant music event. Conclude your day with dinner at Piscador Restaurant in Vila do Porto, known for its exquisite seafood dishes like "Lapas" (grilled limpets) and fresh "Espada" fish.

São Fort Brás in Vila do Porto, Santa Maria Island, Azores

Day 2: Natural Splendors and Cultural Immersion

Start with a hike through Barreiro da Faneca , often referred to as the 'Red Desert of the Azores'. This unique landscape is characterized by its reddish clay soil and is a striking contrast to the island’s usual greenery. Visit São Lourenço Bay , a picturesque area with vineyard-covered hills and a stunning coastline. It's perfect for a leisurely walk or a swim in the clear waters. Explore the village of Santo Espírito , known for its rich traditions in Azorean folklore. Visit the local handicraft shops for unique souvenirs, such as hand-embroidered linens.

Explore a diverse selection of additional hiking trails – discover more options right here !

Aerial View of Santa Maria Island Coastline in Azores, Portugal

Day 3: Adventure and Leisure

Embark on a dolphin and whale watching tour, a thrilling way to observe the rich marine life around Santa Maria. The island’s waters are home to diverse species, including sperm whales and bottlenose dolphins. Visit a local vineyard to taste the island's unique wine, Vinho de Cheiro . Learn about traditional Azorean winemaking processes and enjoy the serene vineyard setting. Finish your trip with a visit to Miradouro dos Anjos , a scenic viewpoint offering breathtaking sunset views over the ocean. It’s a serene spot to reflect on your Santa Maria adventure.

Gonçalo Velho Lighthouse in Santa Maria Island, Azores

Get ready to embark on an extraordinary journey as we unveil a meticulously planned 3-day itinerary, meticulously curated to introduce you to the most exquisite experiences that Santa Maria Island has to offer. We aim to ensure that every moment of your stay on this enchanting island becomes a cherished memory that lingers long after you've left its shores.

Are you already in love with the Azores? Please take a look at our stress-free packages that allow you to book your ultimate island adventure. All our packages are carefully curated by our team of local Azorean Experts so that you don’t need to worry about any details – just enjoy your trip! 

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Santa Maria, the Sunshine Island of the Azores got its name for being one of the warmest and driest islands in the archipelago, as this island is the most southern of the Azores. This island was the first to be discovered by explorers and was the first to be formed, making it incredibly special. Along with São Miguel 81 KM away, Santa Maria is part of the Eastern Group of the Azores. Santa Maria is unique from the other islands, with yellow beaches and even a “red desert”. From exploring the town center Vila do Porto and swimming in some of the best natural pools in the Azores, Santa Maria is an island to not miss. The island of Santa Maria is the home of 6,000 Azoreans and is around 96.87 km².

What to do in Santa Maria?

1. water sports.

Santa Maria has a lot of water sports for adventure seekers. The best way to experience water sports in Santa Maria is to book a tour with a professional. For example, book this half-day diving activity with certified divers where you’ll get to see the best dive spots on the island for €80. The island has a lot more to offer, from sailing to surfing and water skiing.

See All Water Sports Tours in Santa Maria

2. natural pools & beaches.

Santa Maria has some of the best swimming spots in all of the Azores. Made of volcanic rock, the Baía dos Anjos (Angel Bay) is located in Vila do Porto and is a well-known swimming spot for locals and tourists alike. This spot also has a wide variety of bird species that you will get to observe. Santa Maria also has the largest waterfall in all of Portugal, Cascata do Aveiro . The waterfall is over 100 meters long and is located in Maia. You can access it through a hiking trail. Other great swimming spots in Santa Maria to visit are Piscinas Naturais da Maia and Praia Formosa, the latter being a white sandy beach.

3. Discover the “Red Desert” of Barreiro da Faneca

Barreiro da Faneca is a semi-desert that is red. This area is around 8.35 square KM and covered the Bays of Raposo, Tagarete, and Cré. This area is a protected landscape of the Azores since 2008. The red desert is part of the geological formation called the Feteiras Formation, the last volcanic eruptions in Santa Maria. You can discover the red desert by walking the signed paths.

4. Explore Vila do Porto

The main town of Santa Maria, Vila do Porto is where most locals live. This village has old houses in Manueline style from when the island was initially settled. Vila do Porto has some gorgeous buildings for you to explore. One of the oldest churches in the Azores, the Parish Church of Nossa Senhora da Assunção is a must-see, as well as the Church of Nossa Senhora da Purificação. Make sure to visit the São Brás Fort designed by the Italian Tomaso Benedetti that now is where the Military Museum is located.

Day trips from Santa Maria

The closest island to Santa Maria is São Miguel , a 4-hour ferry ride away of around €20. 80 KM away, São Miguel is the perfect spot for those who want to experience the classic Azorean life, as well as a larger city. You can’t find this combination on any other Azorean island. Here are the best things to do in São Miguel:

  • Visit Sete Cidades: On the West side of the island, Sete Cidades is a municipality in São Miguel and probably the most famous place to visit on the island. Here you can visit the Lagoa das Sete Cidades, a large lake divided by a bridge into two parts: one green and one blue. Head to the Vista do Rei viewpoint where you can enjoy the best view of the lagoon.
  • Explore Ponta Delgada, the capital: The capital since 1546, Ponta Delgada is a cosmopolitan town that is full of historic flavor. Around 70,000 people live in the capital, around half of the whole island population. The best part is that you can walk around the city on foot and that it has the best restaurants on the island.
  • Discover Furnas: In the eastern part of São Miguel, you have Furnas, the thermal hotspot of the Azores. There are over thirty geysers around the Furnas village. These are essentially bubbling, steaming caldeiras that smell of sulfur. Temperatures range from 70ºC to 100ºC.
  • Hike the trails: São Miguel has the most hiking trails in the Azores with over 20 to explore. The best hiking trails in São Miguel are  Lagoa do Fogo (11 KM, 4h00),  Sete Cidades (7.7 KM, 2h00) , and  Lagoa das Furnas (9.5 KM, 3h00).
  • Try some pineapples : There are many pineapple plantations but the most popular is Arruda Plantation. You can walk through where these pineapples grow and learn about the time-consuming plantation methods used to produce them. The plantation has a cafe where you can buy pineapple cakes and ice cream.

santa maria azores day tours

5 Best Restaurants in Santa Maria: Where to eat in Santa Maria?

Looking to try out some local Azorean dishes? Before we get into the 5 best restaurants in Santa Maria, here are the best foods to start in Santa Maria.

  • Santa Maria Cantaloupe
  • Alheira (Fried meat pastry)
  • Lapas (Limpets)
  • Local cheese
  • Fried mackerel
  • Meat dishes

Now that you’re ready to order, where should you go to try some of these typical Santa Maria foods? We have selected the 5 best restaurants in Santa Maria.

1. Ponta Negra

Located in the São Lourenço Bay, Ponta Negra has a gorgeous terrace where you can enjoy authentic Portuguese dishes, prepared by well-renowned Azorean chefs. This place even has a kid’s corner where children can play. Perfect for the whole family, even pets are allowed. We recommend trying the fish soup, fish stew, and fried prawns. A meal here costs €25.

2. A Travessa Cafe Snack Bar

A Travessa Cafe Snack Bar in Vila do Porto is a top-rated restaurant in Santa Maria, known for its quality customer service and its artisanal beer. This quaint little place is a great place to try some regional dishes. We recommend the steak with fries and the octopus. Their burgers are also delicious with Azorean bread. You can get a meal here for €15.

3. Mesa d’Oito

Located in the hotel Charming Blue , Mesa d’Oito offers a luxurious dining experience, one that you can also enjoy on the terrace by the pool. The interior of the restaurant is decorated in modern decor that provides a stunning contrast with the traditional stone of the walls. They even have vegan and vegetarian dishes. You can have a meal here for €25.

O Grota is located in Santo Espírito, Vila do Porto. This family-run restaurant serves local dishes at an affordable price and offers a gorgeous sea view. Presented in ceramic dishes, the food at O Grota is served in an authentic Azorean manner so that you get the full local experience. We recommend the fish stew and lapas (limpets). You can get a meal here for €10.

5. Clube Naval Bar Restaurante

Located in the local Naval Club in Vila do Porto, Clube Naval Bar Restaurante offers exceptional dishes. At this place, you can enjoy some fresh seafood with a view of the ocean. Customers call this the perfect post-diving spot for a meal after you’ve explored the sea life. We recommend the lapas (limpets) and seabass. You can get a meal here for €15 to €20.

Transportation: How can you get around the island of Santa Maria?

Public transportation in Santa Maria is not a great travel option for tourists. The bus systems in Azorean island are not designed to get to the best tourist spots and are made to fit the daily lives of the locals.

If you can, definitely  rent a car.  You can pick up a rental car from the airport and return it when you are flying back. We recommend renting a car in advance because especially in the summer months, these run out fast. You can rent a manual car starting at €60 a day.

5 Best Places to Stay in Santa Maria: Where to stay in Santa Maria?

1. charming blue.

Charming Blue is a modern hotel that has 15 rooms in Vila do Porto, Santa Maria. Each room is elegantly decorated and comes with a view of the sea or pool, a TV, and a luxurious bathroom. The hotel has a large pool for guests to enjoy as well as its own restaurant called Mesa d’Oito where you can enjoy delicious dishes. You can also enjoy a highly rated breakfast at this place. You can get large rooms here for €80 a night.

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2. Quinta do Falcão

Quinta do Falcão is an 8-hectare farm with townhouses in Almagreira that has everything you need for a luxurious stay. The farm has sea views from the garden which guests can enjoy. Every unit comes with a kitchen equipped with a dishwasher and a private bathroom, as well as a patio. This property is also pet-friendly so you can bring your dog with you! You can get a one-bedroom apartment here for €85 a night.

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3. Casa da Bisa

Why not rent out a typical Azorean home? Casa da Bisa is a holiday home with two bedrooms, one bathroom, a dining area, a kitchen, and a gorgeous patio with landscape views. This 97 m² place is located in Santa Barbara, close to many places for hiking, diving, and fishing. The owners have also taken steps to make this property more sustainable. You can rent this whole place for €75 a night.

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4. Casa Eira Alta

A holiday home, Casa Eira Alta is a 1 bedroom and has a balcony with gorgeous mountain views. Located in Santa Bárbara, this white and blue house can sleep up to 3 people with two double beds. You can rent this full house for only €50 a night.

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5. Azores Youth Hostels

A cheap option in Santa Maria,  Azores Youth Hostels is located in Vila do Porto, a few minutes away from the Port. This place features an outdoor swimming pool for guests to enjoy and an outdoor terrace. The hostel has communal bathroom facilities and a shared lounge, as well as individual lockers to keep your belongings safe. You can also enjoy a buffet breakfast in the dining room every morning. A bed in a dormitory costs €19 and a private room for two people costs €40.

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Final Thoughts

Santa Maria, the Island of Sunshine is one of the best islands to visit in the Azores . Not only does it have some of the best weather in the Azores due to its location, but it is also the oldest island in the archipelago. This Azorean island has an activity for everyone, from water sports to discovering the “red desert”, you won’t forget this gorgeous island. It is also an affordable island where you can find luxurious farmhouses and high-quality restaurants at cheap prices. Santa Maria has everything you need for your island getaway, it’s a real bargain.

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Top Tours in Santa Maria, Portugal

Santa maria tours.

  • Historical & Heritage Tours
  • Walking Tours
  • Private Tours
  • Sightseeing Tours
  • Self-Guided Tours & Rentals
  • Up to 1 hour
  • 1 to 4 hours
  • 4 hours to 1 day
  • The ranking of tours, activities, and experiences available on Tripadvisor is determined by several factors including the revenue generated by Tripadvisor from these bookings, the frequency of user clicks, and the volume and quality of customer reviews. Occasionally, newly listed offerings may be prioritized and appear higher in the list. The specific placement of these new listings may vary.

santa maria azores day tours

1. Excursions / Van Tours / Sightseeing

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2. Santa Maria Island Jeep Safari Full Day Tour

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3. Bike Rental

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4. Urban Bikes Rental

santa maria azores day tours

5. Jipe Tours / Jeep Safári / Off Road Tours, Costa Norte

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6. Jeep Tours / Jeep Safari / Off Road Tours, South Coast

Keep the fun going with other experiences in the area.

santa maria azores day tours

Half-Day Whale and Dolphin Watching Tour in Ponta Delgada

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Canyoning Experience - half day

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Off the Beaten Track Half Day Sete Cidades Jeep Tour

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Azores: São Miguel 2-Day Tour Pack, East & West including Lunches

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Whales and Dolphins + Vila Franca Islet (full day with lunch)

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Canyoning Experience in Ribeira dos Caldeirões Sao Miguel -Azores

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Jeep Tour Full Day Sete Cidades & Lagoa do Fogo with lunch and drinks included.

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Swim with Dolphins in the Azores

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Canyoning in the Ribeira dos Caldeirōes Natural Park

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Azores Whale Watching & Islet Boat Tour

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Vila Franca Islet Off-coast Nature Reserve Tour

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Exploring a Volcano Crater - Quad and Buggy 4x4 Experience Tour

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Full Day Private Tour West & East in São Miguel Island

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Azores Sete Cidades Green & Blue Lakes - Private Tour

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Lagoa do Fogo Volcano Geo Tour w/ Hotsprings

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Furnas & Nordeste Volcano, Full Day Tour with Lunch

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Half Day Guided Tour of Sete Cidades from Ponta Delgada

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Furnas and Terra Nostra Botanic Gardens Guided Tour (with lunch)

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Snorkeling in Vila Franca do Campo

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Half day Lagoa do Fogo

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Ponta Delgada: Shore Excursion Sete Cidades & Furnas Volcano

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Tour to Furnas and Terra Nostra Garden - full day

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2 x Day Tour pack with lunch included (Furnas + Sete Cidades + Fogo + Nordeste)

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Half Day Hike Waterfalls Moinho do Felix with tea plantation

What travellers are saying.

Karen J

  • Excursions / Van Tours / Sightseeing
  • Urban Bikes Rental
  • Santa Maria Island Jeep Safari Full Day Tour
  • Jipe Tours / Jeep Safári / Off Road Tours, Costa Norte
  • Jeep Tours / Jeep Safari / Off Road Tours, South Coast
  • Mantamaria Dive Center Azores
  • Azores Freediving
  • Haliotis Dive Centre Santa Maria

Santa Maria: Tours Information

santa maria azores day tours

Azores: circular hike on Santa Maria (5 days)

Santa Maria Azores Ilha a pe renovated Schäfterhütte from inside 1

On the small Azores island of Santa Maria, there has recently been an approximately 80-kilometer tour around the island. The special thing about it: On the 5-day hike, you will spend the night in lovingly renovated, former shepherd's huts, even with meals and luggage transport on request.

Since there are only a few places to stay on the island, which has around 5.500 inhabitants, it was not even possible to walk around the island before the renovation of the stone-walled huts. Thanks to the private initiative of Ioannis and Rita, who bought and renovated the huts and operate them today, this hiking adventure can now also be tackled without wild camping!

We weren't there yet, but we got the tip from another hiker and are already thinking about when we can find time to fly to the Azores.

We find the entire idea and above all the commitment of Ioannis and Rita very worthy of support! All information about the hiking trail and the various options that can be booked can be found on the Ioannis and Rita website here: ilhaape.com . Thankfully, Ioannis also provided us with the images shown here. The name of the website derives from "Ilha a pé" which means "island on foot" in Portuguese.

The circular hiking trail is officially managed by the Portuguese hiking umbrella organization Federação de Campismo e Montanhismo de Portugal (FCMP) under the name GR01SMA (GR stands for "Grande Rota", the name for hiking trails over 30 km in length, SMA for Santa Maria). A very inspiring travel report can be read here: https://www.bergwelten.com/lp/santa-maria-wandern-auf-den-azoren.

The best time to travel is from late March to late October.

Directions and booking options - including luggage transport on request - can be found here: ilhaape.com .

Available downloads

Vorschau pdf Wanderkarte Santa Maria Azoren Blattübersicht

Santa Maria (Azores): PDF hiking map for download (1: 33.000)

0,00  €

GPX Dateidownload Santa Maria GR 01 SMA

Santa Maria: GPX file download (GR 01 SMA)

Duration and route.

Santa Maria Azoren Ilha a pe Unterwegs auf dem GR01SMA

Overview map of the island tour

3d preview of the long-distance hike.

The entire long-distance hike is shown in a three-dimensional view   Ayvri.com  available. The camera perspective can even be flexibly changed there using drag & drop!

(Clicking on the picture opens the 3D simulation  Ayvri.com )

Santa Maria Azoren Inselumrundung in 3D Vorschau

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31 comments

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Génial your site. Suis à la Gomera et compte bien y revenir pour faire le GR 132. De même je consulte la proposition aux acores que je prévois au printemps ...

santa maria azores day tours

Hello dear Frank,

I actually came across one of yours while looking for photos of Santa Maria. How crazy! This hike is not displayed anywhere on your main homepage/overview map. In May I will do the tour with three friends. However, we are comfortable and stay at the hotel and have a drop off and pick up at the start/end points. I am an absolute Azores fan and enthusiastic about the islands that I have seen so far. On Pico - my favorite island so far - there is a kind of unofficial island crossing. This is organized by a B+B. You will also be driven/picked up from there. At least that was offered a few years ago. If you're interested, I'll ask if it's still available.

Incidentally, I wanted to buy something from the shop via paypal. That didn't work, I kept going back to my shopping cart.?? Best regards, Dagmar

Hello Dagmar, yes, the hike to Santa Maria can already be found on the overview map ;-) On the far left! I would be very interested in crossing the island on Pico. If you have any information on this, please throw it out! And I just repaired the shop, thanks for the tip! Regards Frank

Hallo, Wij will met 3 dames in my deze wanding boeken bij ionasas en Rita. Alleen can we nergens de boat of Ferry vinden ivm vertrektijden en dagen.

Hello! According to Ioannis' website there are flight connections ( https://ilhaape.com/plan-your-trip ). However, according to my research, the ferry service to Santa Maria seems to have been stopped since Corona (source in German: https://www.azoren-online.com/santamaria/informationen/anreise/index.shtml ). I can't find any booking options on the official website either or there are no departures displayed (Link: https://www.atlanticoline.pt/en/ports/ ). Probably only the connection with the plane remains. It's best to ask Ioannis again directly. Regards Frank

Then he must do it at flyve to Santa Maria. Det var muligt at sejle med ferry boat men pga politiske uenigheder he det ikke muligt pt :( Every time he sends and orders to Santa Maria and come to Dk in 2009. Sig til hvis du får bruge for hjælp med at komm i contact med nogen fra øen eller noget :) Regards Helio Pontes

Hello Helio! Thanks for the tip and the offer! I will come back to this when needed! Regards Frank

Op 7 april was op de Nederlandse TV een program van een uur – Floortje naar het einde van de wereld https://www.npostart.nl/BV_101407414 – I heard from Rita and Jannis. Therein will also be known as a living daughter from 5 days ago. Heel tof!

Can I book the house of Rita and Ianne? De site http://ilhaape.com/ doesn't work. Anyone tips :)?

Hello Anke! I just checked with Ioannis: The website is down because there was too much traffic. But you can book by email with Ioannis and Rita: [email protected] Regards Frank

Yes, there is a program from Floortje! Maar helaas is: https://ilhaape.com op dit moment onbereikbaar. Anyone know what? Is it another website?

The website should be available again soon, until then you can reserve by email: [email protected]

I want to walk along the route. The site doesn't work. How can Iannis and Rita get together before they travel? With best regards Agnes

Hello Agnes, the website was probably overloaded. But you can reach Ioannis and Rita by email: [email protected]

I'm fresh back from the Azores but I'm still in corona quarantine. We must all have been infected somewhere on the return journey.

To circumnavigate the island: we have successfully completed it! Beautiful, varied, very lonely, hardly any tourists, extremely well signposted, grandiose views, sometimes very steep, occasionally dangerously slippery when it rained beforehand (it took us 1 minutes for 47 km in the mud), many highlights.. in short: a great recommendable one Trip! In May, however, you have to be prepared for the fact that many restaurants are not yet open.

We took the convenient option with transfers to the start and end points, but along the way we kept meeting 3 other hikers (2 of them a Dutch couple, but not the ones who have already commented here) who did the variant you presented above with overnight stays in the huts. There is option A, full board and luggage transport - you get breakfast and dinner and luggage delivered to the respective hut and hike only with day backpacks - and option B, only overnight stays - you have to carry everything with you, possibly food, sleeping bag, etc., whereby you here can have the problem that you can't find a pub near the accommodation where you can eat. All three loved the accommodation and organization and would recommend it.

Best regards, in love with acores, Dagmar

Hello Dagmar, Thanks for your report! That makes me really want to finally fly to the Azores - unfortunately I have more plans than the available time allows :-) Hope you survived your Corona quarantine well! Greetings from Hamburg Frank

Hi dagmar, did jullie sleep in hotels? Can you walk on that route? I think that our guests also go to hotels in uitgaat. Do you have any info about Julie's trip? I'd like to thank you, thank you!

Groet corine

Hi Corine, we had this organized by a travel agency. We always stayed at the same hotel and were picked up there and driven to the starting points of the hike. After the hike we were picked up again and driven back to the hotel. It all worked out wonderfully. I think I can but shouldn't advertise a tour operator here. You can probably find something with google. Greetings, Dagmar

Hi Dagmar, thank you for your information!

Opened in September when the route was opened, it was rocky. The shelters of Ilha a pe were simply maar helemaal prima en in a geweldige omgeving. The bedden were good: toch belangrijk na een dag lopen! De verzorging van de maaltijden en het vervoer van de baggage was also carried out. The route is agreed upon, and the map that is determined is near duidelijk. Zelf vind ik hetijd fijn om de route ook op mijn gps te hebben. Santa Maria is a mooi, a rustic island with few residents. The loops through the mountains along the long stretches of land, mooie bossen en vrijwel altijd met de oceaan op de achtergrond. No one ever comes. Gorgeous maar houd he rekening mee dat he best wel steep is. I was 64, not super trained, but met stokken and what pauzes was the best. The last stage is not so "exciting" in Anjos near Vila do Porto but I have already walked it (route Google Maps) Omdat er op Santa Maria little te beleven is ben ik diezelfde dag naar Sao Miguel gevlogen zodat ik daar nog een excursion op zee kon maken, veel dolfijnen en 3 potvissen gezien, later met de bus naar Varzea gegaan en de folgende dag van Varzea naar Sete Cidades lost. Ongelooflijk hoe mooi het daar is, really aanrader! In the B&B it is stated that the taxi is coming from the park area of ​​Sete Cidades and from me to the vliegveld. Perfect!

Hi Sylvia, Do I want to ask what organization for each excursion you want?

Groetjes Adriana

Hi Adriana, The best is seacolorexpeditions.org by Paulo de Melo and two women. I've been there for 2 times 6 hours with these meegevaren, it's Walvis- and Dolfijnen spotten, Best experience ever! Groeten, Agnes

Hi Frank Inspired by your website, we traveled to the Azores in May this year. After a week of tourism on San Miguel, we flew from Ponta Delgada to Santa Maria and hiked around the island in 5 days. It was wonderful! The paths are well signposted and well maintained. The landscape is very varied and Ioannis and Rita's huts are just great. We booked the variant with accommodation and dinner/breakfast but without luggage transport. The e-mail exchange and the reservation with Ioannis worked perfectly. The cabins are in unique locations, top renovated and have a maximum of 6 beds. We were two groups of two, so four of us. For dinner there was a stew that we could heat on a gas stove. Breakfast was placed in a cool box in the hut. Thanks to solar panels, there was also electricity to charge cell phones and hot water for showers. With a fireplace we could heat and dry our clothes. What more do you want! The weather was kind to us. We only had half an hour of rain in the 5 days. In the interior of the island, however, there were clouds every day, but that wasn't too bad. May is not yet a season on Santa Maria. Therefore (unfortunately) most of the few restaurants and bars along the way were still closed. Shopping for lunch also had to be planned, but it wasn't really a problem. We just ate bread with canned sardines 4 times... We more or less had the island to ourselves on the hike. We hardly saw any other hikers. And the few locals we met even greeted us from the car. At almost 20 degrees, we also went swimming in the sea for two days. A nice change! Conclusion: The circular hike on Santa Maria is definitely worth a trip. And we can only recommend booking the huts of Ioannis and Rita! Best regards Urs

Hello Urs, Thank you for the great feedback! My visit to the Azores is still pending - although I have been in contact with Ioannis several times, I have not yet managed to include this in our holiday and hiking plans. Nice that the concept works so well. Regards Frank

Hi Frank, I want to go to Santa Maria in the 5th day. The Azores are in the same state as my daughter. I want to download the map and GPX route. Does it still cost a connection here? En hoe gaat dit in zijn werk? Are you able to download as much as one digital download? Ok, what did I think of anyone who liked wild camps in Santa Maria? I'll hear from you! Groetjes Simone

Hello Simone,

The two downloads for Santa Maria are available for free, simply add them to your shopping cart and complete the checkout process (without payment information). You can find instructions for the GPX files here: https://www.wanderndeluxe.de/kategorie/packlisten-wanderausruestung/gps-wandern-smartphone-apps/ . On the subject of wild camping: not allowed throughout Portugal and therefore also in the Azores. I find the idea of ​​Ioannis and Rita's converted shepherd's huts so appealing and practical that I would stick to it (although it is relatively well booked). Regards Frank

Hello, Me gustaría saber si la route se puede en 3 días, para las personas que estamos acostumbrados a hacer montaña es más que suficiente, y tambien saber que cantidad de personas podría conformar el grupo. Gracias

Hello Jordi,

Since I haven't been to Santa Maria myself, I unfortunately can't answer your question. It's best to contact the hut operator directly ( https://ilhaape.com/ ). As far as I saw correctly on the website, the cabins are each designed for 6 people (4 single beds, 1 double bed). Best regards and have fun hiking! Frank

Hello Frank, thank you very much for the valuable information. The linked site ilhape.com is no longer running, is now correct https://ilhaape.com/ with double aa. Kind regards, Dani

Hello Dani, thank you, I exchanged/updated the links! Frank

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Wapiti Travel

The perfect Azores itinerary for first-time visitors

By: Author Kris

Posted on Last updated: January 22, 2024

Are you visiting the Azores and looking for the best Azores itinerary? You came to the right place. In this Azores blog post, you’ll read all about our trip around the Azores Islands, Portugal.

The Azores are a group of 9 pristine islands that attracts visitors from all over the world. Our Azores trip brought us to spectacular geysers, imposing caves, and breathtakingly beautiful lakes.

Here we describe our day-by-day Azores islands itinerary.

So definitely keep reading this Azores travel blog post. 

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Here you can find an overview of the best Azores travel tips.

There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are deeply grateful) at no extra cost to you.

Sata Air Azores airplane

In a hurry? Here we share our Azores itinerary overview

If you don’t have time to read through the full Azores itinerary,  use this overview to get an idea of the things to do on each day and save it for later.

  • Day 1-3 Pico island: climbing Pico mountain, Lagoa do Capitaõ, Gruta das Torres, Criação Velha winery. whale watching
  • Day 4-6: Faial: Horta, Praia do Almoxarife, Caldeira crater, Capelinhos volcano
  • Day 7-9 São Jorge: Ilhéu do Topo, Fajã dos Cubres, hiking
  • Day 10-12 Terceira: Serra Do Cume viewpoint, Angra do Heroismo, Furnas do Enxofre, Algar do Carvão cave, Gruto do natal cave, swimming in Biscoitos, watch a bullfight on the street
  • Day 13-20 São Miguel: Crater lake of Sete Cidades. Lagoa do Fogo. whale watching, relax in thermal baths, tea fields, Furnas

Table of Contents

Azores travel planner

Is this your first trip to the Azores and do you feel a bit overwhelmed by the travel preparations?

Creating a fantastic itinerary for the Azores will be much easier and much more enjoyable with our Azores Travel Planner .

The perfect Azores itinerary

Here we share our complete Azores itinerary. This itinerary can help you to create your own perfect trip plan.

Day 1-2-3 Pico

We started our trip on picturesque Pico, the second-largest island of the Azores. Pico Island is named after Mount Pico, the highest mountain in Portugal.

Pico sights

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One of the highlights of Pico Island is climbing Mount Pico . You can do this on your own or you can join a tour with an experienced guide.

We did not climb Mount Pico ourselves. We did, however, talk with another couple who did accept that challenge.

The climb is pretty strenuous. It’s marked by 46 posts and after one and a half hours of hiking and climbing, they only made it to the 9th post.

That’s when they decided to turn back after all.

Don’t let this scare you off, though. There are quite a lot of hikers who manage to conquer the mountain, which is one of the greatest Azores hiking trips. Just don’t underestimate the hike.

We also recommend wearing proper hiking gear.

  • Although you can hike in shorts, since this isn’t an easy trail, leggings for hiking are way more comfortable when doing this strenuous hike.
  • Here is an overview of the best hiking shoes. 

Pico volcano Azores, Portugal

If you want to climb Pico , it’s best to set aside a few days on Pico Island because the mountain is often shrouded in clouds and the hike is obviously at its most beautiful under a clear sky.

Most people do the ascent and descent of Pico on the same day , but it’s also possible to do the climb at night (under a starry sky if you’re lucky).  If you’re feeling really adventurous you can even spend the night on top of the volcano.

A guide is not obligatory but as they know the best (read:easiest) way to the top it can make your expedition a lot more pleasant.

Besides climbing the Pico Volcano, you can also do many other challenging and less challenging hikes.

Here you can find more info about hiking on the Azores. 

Lagoa do Capitao Mountain lakes Pico Azores, Portugal

Pico is also home to a number of stunning mountain lakes. The most beautiful of these lakes is arguably Lagoa do Capitaõ . If the weather’s nice, you can see the reflection of Mount Pico in the water.

When you see that the clouds around the mountain have disappeared, it’s best to drive toward the lakes as soon as possible. In that case, you can assume that the lakes are also cloud-free. On the website SpotAzores , you can see a series of webcams that allow you to check the weather around the Pico Volcano.

We also visited the Grutta das Torres .

There are lots of caves in the Azores. We didn’t think that this lava cave is necessarily the most beautiful cave, but what makes visiting this cave absolutely worth it, is its somewhat adventurous character.

Armed with a flashlight and a helmet, you descend 50 meters below the ground. There’s no paved path and no artificial light, which makes it pretty adventurous.

The tour is done with a guide, who will teach you all about the lava formations you see along the way.

It’s chilly in the cave, so make sure you bring a warm piece of clothing. Put on hiking shoes, too, because the surface is uneven.

We simply booked a ticket then and there, but during the summer months, it’s advisable to book one in advance if you want to be sure you have a spot on the tour.

santa maria azores day tours

Ticket fee : €10 per person (At the counter they only accepted cash but you can now book tickets online and pay with credit card)

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Opening hours : see website

Pico Azores Portugal

Near Madalena lies the Criação Velha winery . These are vineyards like you’ve never seen anywhere else. That’s exactly why they’re UNESCO world heritage.

Here, you can go on a beautiful walk through the vineyards. Standing in the middle of the area is a windmill that offers an amazing view of the surrounding landscape.

We thought it was still a little too cold, but near the vineyards are 2 beautiful natural swimming pools. Ideal to dive into after a serious hike.

Whaling museum Pico Azores, Portugal

Pico is also a good place to go whale watching. 

Whale watching is a must-do activity while being in the Azores. Here you can find more info on the best whale watching tours in the Azores. 

Even though we wouldn’t call ourselves museum fans, we did stop by the whale museum . The Museu dos Baleerios in Lajes retells the history of whaling, which used to be the most important source of income on these islands. There’s also a second museum that covers the goings-on within the whaling factories.

Particularly the film that shows how they hunted for sperm whales in the old days was very impressive. Fortunately, whale hunting has been illegal since 1987. You can still hunt these beautiful animals, though, but only with your camera. Pico Island is, by the way, one of the best places for whale watching in the Azores.

On Sundays, you can visit the museum free of charge. It’s closed on Mondays.

Here is a full list of the best things to do in Pico.

Hotels on Pico

Alma do pico.

santa maria azores day tours

We stayed in Alma do Pico. It is the perfect place to relax after a busy day. You will stay in cozy cottages with a kitchenette.

The hotel also has a beautiful swimming pool and lovers of Italian food will appreciate the great Italian restaurant.

The hotel and the restaurant are run by super friendly and helpful Italian owners. 

A great place to stay on Pico island.

Check prices and availability: Booking.com

Day 4-6 Faial

By ferry, you can get from Pico to Faial in only 30 minutes.

The island is said to have gotten its name from the numerous beech trees, called faias in Portuguese, that grow here.

Faial is also referred to as the blue island because of its abundance of blue hydrangeas.

It’s a fact that there are plenty of hydrangeas here, but honestly, we have to say that we couldn’t tell there were more on Faial than on the other islands.

Horta Harbour Faial Azores Portugal

Faial sights

The most important tourist attractions are the town of Horta with its charming port and the Capelinhos and Caldeira volcanoes .

We began our exploration of Faial in the vibrant yacht port . This is a popular stopping point for sailboats on their way around the world or on an ocean crossing to America. They used to stop here to check the weather reports and stock up on supplies. Today, it’s just to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of this island.

It’s been a long-standing tradition among sailors to leave a mural on the docks or the breakwater when they leave. This is said to bring good fortune on one’s journey.

We discovered several Dutch murals as well as a number of murals by Belgian crew members.

Those many small works of art have made the yacht port into a very colorful place.

Located at the port, Peter Sport café is the place to be for a chat with the sailors or to sample the local gin.

When you enter the R1-1 from the port and drive in a counterclockwise direction, you’ll arrive at the viewpoint of Nossa Senhora da Conceição after about 10 minutes. This lookout offers a beautiful view of the town of Horta and the nearby islands of Pico, São Jorge, and Graciosa.

The beautiful sandy beach of Praia do Almoxarife lies only about 5 minutes by car from this viewpoint. This is a wonderful and peaceful place to hang out on a sunny day, while the view of the Pico Volcano is fantastic.

Caldeira Faial Azores, Portugal

The 2-kilometer-wide Caldeira crater is another absolute must-see when you’re visiting Faial. At the top, a lookout point offers a magnificent view of the enormous green crater. You can also go on a beautiful and easy hike of about 8 kilometers around the crater. This is Azores hiking at its very best.

The crater is often shrouded in clouds. It’s an impressive experience to stand at the summit surrounded by clouds, but if you also want to actually see something, it’s best to wait to drive up until you see that the top of the crater is cloud-free. You can also check the webcam at the top .

Here are some tips for exploring the Caldeira crater:

  • If you’re afraid of heights, the hike might not be recommended. Sometimes, the trail is quite narrow and runs along a steep drop-off.
  • Make sure to wear warm clothes, put on proper hiking shoes and bring raingear because, as we mentioned before, the weather in the Azores can change rapidly.
  • If you’d like to, you can also descend into the crater, but you would need to do that with a guide.

Capelinhos Faial Azores, Portugal

The lunar landscape of the Capelinhos Volcano is unique in the Azores. The volcano erupted approximately 50 years ago, creating a desolate, moonlike landscape. The entire region was leveled and only the lighthouse remained standing.

You can admire the surrounding landscape from the top of the lighthouse.  This can be reached from within the visitor center for a fee.  

Inside the futuristic visitor center is also a museum where you can learn everything about volcanoes and the eruption of the Capelinhos Volcano in particular.

Ticket fee : €10 per adult / €5 for children aged 7 to 14 and 65+.  There’re other tickets available for those who only want to climb the lighthouse or only want to watch the movie.

Opening hours : The region can be visited 24/7 for free.  The visitor center and museum is open during the following hours.

1 November – 31 March Monday : closed / Tuesday – Friday : 9 am – 5 pm

1 April – 31 October Everyday : 9 am – 6 pm

  • Here is a complete list of what to do in Faial.
  • The perfect 7 day azores itinerary.

Hotels on Faial

Lofts azul pastel.

santa maria azores day tours

We stayed in The Lofts Azul Pastel, a 10-minute walk from Horta.

We had a nice spacious room. 

The room looked out over the sea on one side and we had a view of the Caldeira on the other. Our room had a kitchen, but you don’t necessarily have to cook your own meals every night.

The restaurant also offers a wide selection of simple, inexpensive, and tasty dishes.

A quiet place to stay not too far from Horta.

Day 7-9 São Jorge

We continued our Azores itinerary by ferry and traveled from Faial via Pico to São Jorge.

The crossing lasted about one and a half hours.

This island was even less touristy than Pico or Faial.

Faja Dos Cubres Sao Jorge Azores, Portugal

São Jorge sights

The weather was pretty bad on the first day and we limited our activities to a drive around the island.

A loop like that is actually a worthwhile thing to do on every island since you’ll always pass by some beautiful viewpoints.

On São Jorge, our tour first took us to Ilhéu do Topo . This is a small island off the easternmost point of São Jorge where you can spot birds.

The Espirito Santo festivities were also in full swing. The people from a village where we passed by were generous and welcoming, invited us to the celebrations, and offered us some of their soup and wine. (In exchange for a voluntary donation to their parish) It was a lot of fun to get to know the locals this way.

There are numerous festivals in the Azores. It’s recommended to swing by the tourist office, where they’ll be able to tell you all the events on the calendar.  There’s usually a tourist office in the city center of the island’s main city.  If you arrive by plane you will also see a desk in the arrivals hall.

On the second day, we went bird-watching at Fajã dos Cubres and did a beautiful but pretty challenging hike at Norte Pequeno .

Hotels in São Jorge

Make it happen farm.

santa maria azores day tours

We stayed 2 nights at the Make it happen farm. On this “organic farm” you stay in beautiful detached houses.

The farm has a large shared kitchen and living space. In the kitchen, you can prepare your own food using everything that grows on the farm.

If you don’t feel like cooking, you will also find a number of restaurants nearby. You can see the Pico volcano during good weather.

Great place to stay for a couple of days.

Day 10-12 Terceira

From São Jorge, we flew with SATA Air Açores to Terceira in about 30 minutes.

Serra do Cume miradouro Terceira Azores Portugal

Terceira sights

From the airport, it’s only 10 minutes to the viewpoint of Serra Do Cume . Here, you get to enjoy a stunning vista across numerous meadows.

We also explored the historic streets of Angra do Heroismo , a charming town that’s listed as UNESCO world heritage .

Furnas Do Enxofre Terceira, Azores, Portugal

Additionally, we visited the fairytale-like landscape of Furnas do Enxofre . This area is subject to lots of volcanic activity and you can see fumes rising up from fissures in the ground, while the smell of sulfur is prominent. What makes this landscape so amazingly enchanting, though, is the wonderfully colorful mosses.

Algar Do Carvao Terceira Azores, Portugal

The highlight of Terceira, however, was the Algar do Carvão cave . Via a tunnel, you enter this 90-meter-deep cave formed by lava. We thought that the entrance and the lake created by rainwater were incredibly gorgeous. Depending on the time of year, this lake can be empty or up to 14 meters deep.

santa maria azores day tours

Inside the cave, the temperature always ranges around 14 degrees Celsius (57 Fahrenheit) and water consistently drips down. So, make sure to bring a sweater and rain clothes.

Ticket fee : €10 per person 

If you don’t have a car you can  book an organized tour.   The tour visits the Algar do Carvão cave, the Gruto do Natal lava tunnel and Furnas do Enxofre.

Opening hours : Vary by season,( check their website )

You can also buy a combination ticket with Gruto do Natal.  These tickets cost €15.

Gruto do Natal is a lava tunnel that you can explore by yourself after a brief introduction and armed with a helmet and map.  While Gruto do Natal is less spectacular than Algor do Carvão, it is worth a visit to see the massive tunnels that have been created by the lava.

There are 2 loops in the Gruto do Natal. Route 1 is the easiest route. Route 2 involves a bit more climbing and occasionally crawling through slightly narrow spaces, but should be suitable for most visitors.  Both loops aren’t too long at all and you can complete them in about 45 minutes.

Here, too, we recommend wearing warmer clothing and, especially, proper footwear. This applies mostly to the 2nd loop.

Ticket fee : €8 per person (or 15€ as a combi-ticket with Algar do Carvão)

Opening hours : vary by season ( check the website )

Trail Mistérios Negros Terceira Azores Portugal

The Gruto do Natal is also the starting point of a beautiful hike.  The Mistérios Negros (PRC01TER)  hike is approximately 6 kilometers long and takes you past some beautiful lagoons and, of course, past the namesake mountains.

On Terceira, you’ll find plenty of natural swimming spots between the rocks along the coast. When the weather’s good, you can see the local residents splashing away at these beautiful nature-made swimming pools. We thought the swimming spots of Biscoitos were stunning, and they also feature all the necessary facilities.

As a shivery person, I personally found it a little too cold to dive in myself, but there were plenty of others who thought otherwise. Even if you don’t want to swim yourself, Biscoitos is a beautiful place to drive by on a sunny day and enjoy the vibe.

When you go swimming, do watch out for the Portuguese man-of-war. These venomous jellyfish are not uncommon here and being stung by one is not fun—and that’s putting it very mildly.

Terceira Azores Bull Fight

One of the most remarkable things we did on Terceira was attending a bullfight on the street . These bullfights take place from May 1 to October 15. During these events, the bulls run through the streets for 15 to 30 minutes, while they’re held on a long rope by so-called pastores.

A number of brave people also run through the streets along with the bulls and act like voluntary bullfighters, but most people, including us, are safely sheltered and watch this folkloric spectacle from a distance. It’s one of the most fascinating cultural things to do in the Azores.

The bulls are not killed, hit, or harmed in any way.  After the act, they are safely taken back to their meadows.

Despite the fact that we’re typically against these kinds of activities, we did decide to go and take a look. I will never manage to watch the traditional bullfights where the animals are hurt and killed. Here, I also felt kind of sad for the bulls which I still prefer to see in the meadows instead of the streets, but on the other hand, it was also nice to experience this folkloric event on our Azores trip.

At the tourist office, you can ask for a list of the dates and locations of these bullfights.

Here is an article with more fun things to do in Terceira

Hotels in Terceira

Alluar lodge.

santa maria azores day tours

At the ALLUar Lodge you stay in small detached houses with a sea view. The cottages have a kitchenette and you will also find a number of restaurants nearby. Every day a tasty breakfast is delivered to your house in a breakfast basket. You can enjoy your breakfast in your cottage, on the terrace of your cottage, or at the swimming pool. After a busy day, you can swim a few laps or relax by the pool.

A great place to relax after a busy day.

Day 13-20 São Miguel

From Terceira, we flew to São Miguel, this flight takes about 40 minutes.

We have a post with all the info you need for island-hopping in the Azores .  Including info on how you save money on flights.

São Miguel is the largest and most touristy island of the Azores.

While you can get around most Azores Islands in just an hour, you’ll need more than an hour to just get from one side of São Miguel to the other.

Sete cidades Sao miguel Azores Portugal

São Miguel sights

São Miguel has a number of beautiful attractions that you absolutely have to visit during your Azores vacation. If you are looking for a complete São Miguel itinerary, click here.

The most famous attraction is the crater lake of Sete Cidades. You’ve probably already seen this crater lake. It’s the iconic image of the Azores. When you see photos of the Azores, one of these crater lakes is almost always among them, and rightly so because it’s gorgeous.

The most beautiful views of this lake are from the viewpoints  Vista do Rei  and  Boca da Inferno .

Lagoa do fogo Azores, Portugal

Another highlight is the crater lake of Lagoa do Fogo . This lake is at its most photogenic at sunset.

Take the time to check if the lake isn’t covered in the mist before you leave, though. You can do this on the website  SpotAzores . On this website, several webcams show current weather conditions, including these at the viewpoint of Lagoa de Fogo.

The viewpoint of the lake is on the rim of the crater. There’s also a beautiful hike that takes you to the lakeshore. If you’re looking for an Azores hiking suggestion, look no further.

Just like Pico and Faial, São Miguel is the perfect place for dolphin and whale watching in the Azores.  Although we didn’t get to see any whales, we did see a huge group of dolphins that were having a blast around our boat.  We were really unlucky because the tours that went out before us had all seen whales but it was still a wonderful experience.

Dolphins Azores, Porgugal

We booked our tour via GetYourGuide and were very happy with how everything was organized. 

This is how our tour looked like.

First, we got an expert explanation about the different species of whales and dolphins, after which we traveled out to sea in a zodiac.

Besides the captain, there was also a naturalist on board. Every time we saw something, she offered plenty of information about the animal.

At the end of the tour she also gave a small recap of everything we had seen and she remained available for further questions.

This tour comes highly recommended if you don’t only want to see these beautiful animals, but also would like to learn more about them.

Check prices and availability: Dolphin and whale watching tour

Read our complete post where we share the best whale and dolphin tours. 

Additionally, we also went for some relaxation in the thermal baths . On São Miguel, there are many natural hot springs in the vicinity of Furnas. We’ll tell you about the most famous ones below.

Do not forget your towel and slippers.

Parque Terra Nostra, Furnas,Sao Miguel Azores, Portugal

Parque Terra Nostra

Parque Terra Nostra has one large thermal bath and 2 smaller so-called Jacuzzis. Those are actually just smaller baths where the water is a little bit hotter. What’s so fun about this park is that a visit also includes the beautiful botanical garden in which the baths are located.

We went here ourselves and it wasn’t super-crowded.

Opening hours : see webite

Caldeira Velha, the waterfall in the hot springs on São Miguel island

Caldeira Velha

These natural pools are in the middle of nature. The most popular and also the most photogenic pool is the one with the waterfall. Caldeira Velha has the most authentic feeling thanks to its location amid wonderful nature, but all that charm is lost because of the crowdedness.

We drove past 3 times and it was super-busy every time. So, unfortunately, we didn’t check out the pools ourselves.

Since we have been there they have enlarged the parking and you can now also reserve a spot online in advance . This will make it easier to visit the baths.

Check reviews on  Tripadvisor

Ticket fee : €10 per person for 2 hours. If you want to visit this site without bathing you pay €3. Children aged 7-14 pay half the price, and children younger than 7 are free.

Poça da Dona Beija hot springs

Poça Da Dona Beija

You can also go for a dive in the thermal baths of Poça Da Dona Beija. Poça Da Dona Beija features 5 baths, of which the hottest baths have a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit). There is also a leisure area with water of 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit).

This is an amazing place to relax under the stars since it doesn’t close until 11 p.m.

Because we’d already visited Parque Terra Nostra, we didn’t visit these pools. But you can check out some reviews on TripAdvisor .

Ticket fee : €8 per person / Children 6 or younger: €6

Opening hours : daily from 8.30 am to 11 pm

santa maria azores day tours

The tea fields of Gorreana are (almost) unique to Europe. The climate on the Azores is excellent for cultivating tea and elsewhere in Europe there are very few tea plantations. This plantation is small-scale and many things are still done manually. You can freely walk around the plantation and the factory, where you can see how the harvested tea is further processed.

There’s also a small souvenir shop and while you visit the factory you can taste the tea free of charge, too.

Yet another recommendation for what to do on São Miguel is the many beautiful waterfalls . In our opinion, the most beautiful and pristine one was the waterfall near the beach of Moinhos. The waterfall of Salto do Prego was also absolutely worth it. The fantastic hike to get there alone makes it a worthwhile trip.

If you want to relax for a couple of days, have a look at our post in which we share the best beaches in São Miguel.

If you don’t have a car have a look at this post in which we share the best São Miguel tours. 

Cascata de Moinhos Azores, Portugal

Hotels on São Miguel

We stayed in Furnas for the whole week, but we don’t recommend this. As São Miguel is quite large, it takes about 90 minutes to drive from one side to the other, we suggest you split your stay between Furnas and Ponta Delgada.

In Furnas, you can relax in the hot water baths and it is a great base to explore the rough east coast of the island.

Ponta Delgada offers a wider choice of restaurants and is better positioned to visit other parts of the island.

Octant Furnas hotel

santa maria azores day tours

We stayed in the  Octant Furnas hotel .  (formerly known as the Furnas Boutique hotel) The rooms are nicely decorated and spacious. You start the day with a delicious breakfast on the pleasant terrace.  After a long day, you can relax in the hotel’s thermal pools, the sauna, and the steam bath.  The restaurant’s menu is rather limited but they have some delicious options. 

The restaurant is one of the best options in Furnas as you can see by the excellent reviews on TripAdvisor .

Casa do Contador

santa maria azores day tours

Casa do Contador  is right in the center of Ponta Delgada.

From the hotel, it’s only a 10-minute walk to the boardwalk where you can enjoy drinks or snacks in one of the many trendy bars. 

All rooms come with a small kitchenette. 

If you prefer staying in an Airbnb, have a look at the following posts:   Amazing Airbnbs in Ponta Delgada.  and the  best São Miguel Airbnbs.

Azores travel tips

Here we share some interesting Azores travel tips.

Best time to visit the Azores

The best time to travel to the Azores is during spring and summer. If you love swimming, we advise you to visit during the summer.

We visited in June and the water was still quite cold. 

Here you can find more info about  the Azores climate and the best time to visit.

Are the Azores expensive?

Although prices, in general, were slightly more expensive than mainland Portugal, we found the Azores still quite cheap.

To give you an example: For a regular meal, we paid around €12-€15 per person. The gas was even cheaper than on the mainland.

The one thing we found more expensive were taxis.

So we definitely advise you to rent a car .

But compared to other Western European countries, we didn’t find the Azores expensive. 

How to get to the Azores and how to get Azores plane tickets

First of all, let’s take a look at how to get to the Azores.

The Azores Islands are easily reachable by plane from the mainland of Portugal throughout the entire year.

As far as flights go, there’s no best time to visit the Azores—you can easily get there all year round. 

Both TAP and Azores Airlines offer multiple daily flights from Porto and Lisbon to the Azores.

Most flights are to Ponta Delgada on São Miguel, but there are also flights to the other islands. Note, however, that when flying to another island, you’ll often have a layover in Ponta Delgada.

There are also an increasing number of direct flights to the Azores from the United States and Canada. 

Azores Airlines flies to different cities in the USA and Canada and United has a direct flight between New York JFK and Ponta Delgada.

Going independent or joining an organized tour

We found it easy and straightforward to create our own travel itinerary.  It was also fairly easy to travel through the Azores independently. 

But if you want the company of a group, don’t have the time to create your own itinerary, or just don’t want to go independent, you could also join an organized tour. 

TourRadar  is a trustworthy company where you can book an organized tour to the Azores to make it easy on yourself. 

We wrote a complete post in which we share 6 of the best Azores tours ( hiking trips, island hopping trips, and tours that only visit São Miguel.

Check prices and availability: Organized Azores tours

Where to stay in the Azores? 

You will find plenty of hotels in the Azores. From high-end hotels to ecolodge and small boutique hotels. In this itinerary, we mention per island where we stayed. 

Here you can find an overview of the best places to stay in the Azores .

If you prefer staying in an Airbnbs, have a look at our Azores Airbnb post in which we share the best Airbnbs on each island.

Do I need travel insurance for the Azores?

Travel Insurance is something that can be overlooked when you prepare for your vacation.  Certainly when you’re traveling to a safe and civilized country such as Portugal.  We didn’t get travel insurance for our first trips.  A few years later we both took out new credit cards that came with travel insurance and relied on those.  We know better now…

Overall, chances are slim that you will encounter any problems while traveling. But unfortunately, things tend to happen when we least expect them. 

And when things turn awry in civilized countries, the medical costs can be high.  We learned it the hard way when we once had to visit a hospital in the United States. 

The medical care was excellent but we had high out-of-pocket expenses as it turned out the insurance that came with our credit cards didn’t cover these costs.  It turned out we were underinsured.

Drawing up a travel insurance policy may seem expensive at first but it can potentially save you a significant sum, significantly more than the small insurance fee. 

Good travel insurance, such as the one from World Nomads, covers things like medical expenses, trip cancellation, overseas medical costs, evacuation, baggage damage or loss, and theft.

If you still need travel insurance, check out HeyMondo and SafetyWing. Both companies offer good insurance for a competitive price.

Which islands to visit in the Azores

When traveling, you usually have to make choices and that was certainly the case during our Azores trip.

We visited 5 of the 9 Azores Islands.

How did we make our selection of what to do in the Azores?

We based our selection on the things to do on the specific islands and how easily the islands are accessible.

That’s why the more remote islands of Corvo and Flores didn’t make the cut.

In the future, we definitely want to visit those two as well, but they’re not as easy to get to and the flightsare also a bit more unreliable. They’re regularly canceled and are often delayed. Because that would mess up our plans, we decided to save them for another time.

How many days in Azores?

It’s not easy to say what the ideal amount of time to spend on each island is.

After all, this greatly depends on different factors like your way of traveling, how much you’d like to hike, and the things you want to see and do on each of the Azores islands.

In general, you should be able to see all  the highlights on most Azores islands  in 2-3 days. The only exception is São Miguel, the largest island, where we recommend staying at least 5-7 days.

Of course, you can choose to stay longer on some of the islands, but the Azores travel itinerary that we choose, which you can see below, offers sufficient time on each island to see the main attractions on the Azores.

Azores Island Hopping Ferry

Island hopping in the Azores

You can divide the archipelago into 3 different areas.

In the center are the islands of Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial. The latter 3 are located maximum one hour by boat from one another and are connected by ferry throughout the entire year.

The western part is where you’ll find the islands of Corvo and Flores.

Lastly, the islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria are located in the east of the archipelago.

Island hopping in the Azores is possible by plane or by taking the ferry.

All Azores Islands have an airport, even teeny-tiny Corvo.

Azores Airlines has flights to all the islands all year round. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a Lisbon to Azores flight, or a flight in between the 9 Azores islands.

Note, however, that during the high season (June-August),  flights tend to sell out. Therefore, we recommend booking your plane tickets well in advance.

The ferry runs throughout most of the year except for the winter months. However, you should know that outside the summer months, only a very small selection of routes are available.

Ferry routes connect Pico with Faial and Saõ Jorge. There’s also a direct connection between Corvo and Flores. In the peak season, there’s also a ferry to Graciosa and Terceira.

The other islands, Sao Miguel and Santa Maria, can’t be reached by ferry.

The ferry is operated by AtlânticoLine . Their fleet consists of 5 boats, 2 of which are capable of transporting a small number of vehicles (12 and 15).

You can find more information about ferry routes and times on the AtlânticoLine website . It’s also possible to book tickets on their website.

Check our island-hopping article for a more in-depth look at the various ferry routes.

We suggest booking your tickets in advance, especially in the high season (July-August). Some routes are only served intermittently and it can get pretty busy that time of year. With a ticket, you’re sure to have a spot on the ferry of your choice.

How did we do it?

To go island hopping in the Azores, we used a combination of ferries and airplanes.

Pico, Faial, and São Jorge are so close to each other that taking the ferry is the easiest option.

The other islands are more remote and traveling by plane is the more efficient way to get there.

Upon arrival at an island, we rented a car to explore the island. The car rental companies have offices in all ports and airports. We had a different car reservation for each island.

I personally didn’t look forward to changing cars that much, but in the end, everything went really smoothly.

If you want, and if your car rental contract allows it, you can also take your rental car on the ferry.

I looked into that while planning our Azores trip itinerary because sometimes it’s cheaper to rent a car for a longer period of time. However, we wouldn’t have saved money if we’d done that.

Below, you can find more information about how to get around the Azores and why we opted for a rental car.

Azores Portugal Rental Car

Renting a car on the Azores

Public transportation.

You shouldn’t count on or rely too much on public transportation in the Azores. Each island has some kind of public transportation available but it is always rather limited. On São Jorge, for example, it’s limited to 1 bus per day. It’s clear that this won’t get you very far.

You can, as an alternative, use taxis to get around the islands. This needs some preparation as well. How this works exactly, is different between islands.

For example, on São Jorge, the taxis don’t yet operate with a centralized telephone number. You must call each taxi directly. We didn’t use taxis on any of the other islands so we don’t know how this is arranged over there.

The tourist offices can give you all the information about how the taxis operate.  We advise stopping by the tourist office at the airport or port if you plan to use the taxis.

What did stand out to us, however, was that the taxis seemed pretty expensive.  One ride costs as much as what you pay on average for a rental car for 1 day.

Taxis are necessary for one-way hikes where you leave your car at the start point and would otherwise need to hike back.  

If you rely on taxis for all your transportation it will become expensive rather fast.  In that case, it’s much more affordable to do this with a rental car.

With a rental car

The car rental companies have offices in all ports and airports.  We rented one car per island. I personally didn’t look forward to changing cars that much, but in the end, everything went really smoothly.

If you want, and if your car rental contract allows it, you can also take your rental car on the ferry.  I looked into that while planning our Azores itinerary as sometimes it’s cheaper to rent a car for a longer period of time.  It wouldn’t have saved us money but it doesn’t harm to compare.

Know that you don’t need to do it to avoid the hassle of changing cars.  Dropping off your car and picking up the new one at the next destination is a very straightforward process that usually didn’t take a lot of time.

Driving on the Azores was not difficult at all.

The roads are usually well-maintained and people drive in a polite and relaxed way.

It’s almost always cheaper to rent your car in advance and it gives you time to compare the various offers and find the best deal. Major international brands such as Hertz and Avis are present, although usually in collaboration with a local player.  The Azores count numerous local rental car agencies and they often have the most competitive fares. 

Discover Cars and Rentalcars.com offers an easy way to quickly compare quotes for both the international and local brands.  In most cases, your booking can be canceled up to 48 hours before your pick-up date. It’s worth comparing both sites although we almost always find the best deals on Discover Cars .

Here you can find all info on how to rent a car in the Azores. 

Morro de Castelo Branco Faial Azores Portugal

The Azores are a gorgeous destination for both nature lovers and hikers. It’s not too far away, yet totally different from what we’re used to at home. This is one of those destinations that we really look forward to visiting again in the future.

This Azores itinerary took us to 5 of the 9 islands.

Most Azores Islands remain untouched and you barely meet any other tourists there.

On many of our hikes in the Azores, we didn’t meet anyone else or only 2 to 4 people at most. Only the island of São Miguel appears to have been discovered by tourists.

Sports enthusiasts also won’t get bored here, thanks to the wide range of available activities. In any case, we’re definitely going back at some point to explore the other heavenly islands.

If you only have a week in the Azores, check out this 7-day Azores itinerary.

In our Azores travel guide , you can find all our Azores posts.

See the web story that accompanies this post.

If you like this post, pin it: 

santa maria azores day tours

Santa Maria

Santa Maria  is one of the most interesting islands of the archipelago of the Azores: it is named “the island of the sun” and it is characterised by a series of traditional villages alternating to ochre plantations and long and golden beaches.

It is the  southernmost  island  of the Azores, which explains its  drier and warmer  weather conditions compared to the other islands. For this reason its fields are more arid, yellowish, and suitable for a drier vegetation.

Things to do in Santa Maria

There are many things to see in Santa Maria, not only the beaches but also authentic tourist attractions scattered throughout the island: not only cultural attractions but also landscapes: this makes Santa Maria an ideal destination for those who want to experience the vacation through the discovery of the culture of a place, both for those who instead seek “only” to enjoy breathtaking landscapes.

Barreiros of Santa Maria

Discovering the island you can not help but visit the Barreiros of Santa Maria , known and photographed all over the world. Entire expanses of land of bright red color, beautiful to observe especially at sunset. One of the largest has managed to gain the nickname of “red desert “, precisely because it seems almost impossible to see the end.

Church of Nossa Senhora da Purificação

You can not fail to visit the Church of Nossa Senhora da Purificação, a cathedral located in Santo Espirito where you can admire the frescoes typical of the area and the beauty of the furnishings. An authentic pillar of the place, which will help to better understand the mentality of this island of the Azores.

In the area there is also the Pico Alto , the highest point of the island with its 590 meters high. From up here, the panoramic view is unforgettable.

Vila do Porto

Vila do Porto is the largest town on the island. The Church of Nossa Senhora da Assunção is among the oldest in the Azores, although it has been modified several times during its history. The Fort of São Brás then, with its cannons, reminds when the islands were plundered by pirates.

Pedreira do Campo

Do not miss a visit to Pedreira do Campo , where inside a basaltic flow there are marine fossils, demonstrating that the island was founded thousands and thousands of years ago.

Protected area of Baía da Maia

It is located in the area of Espirito Santo, in the southwestern part of the island, and is a protected landscape of regional interest. It is characterized by a landscape marked by the presence of vineyards, and protected basalt stone. It is dominated, on top of a cliff at one end, by the Gonçalo Velho lighthouse. The protected area is delimited by the coastline, the Ponta do Castelete and the Ponta do Castelo.

Beaches not to be missed

In Santa Maria there is no lack of opportunities to relax in the sun. Formosa beach is located for example on the south coast of the island, not far from the capital Vila Do Porto, and it is a long sandy beach behind which there is a camping.

Interesting is also the beach of Sao Lourenco , of white sand and with natural pools situated in the homonymous bay, from which it is possible to admire in the distance a curious islet, the Ilheu do Romeiro.

Finally, the Baia dos Anjos is an artificial beach built using cement platforms, where it is possible to lie down in the sun, next to some beautiful natural pools.

Activities in Santa Maria

In Santa Maria there are white sand beaches with natural pools, where you can practice water sports such as surfing, windsurfing, water skiing and sailing. Paragliding is also an activity to practice on the island.

To discover the coast of Santa Maria up close, there is nothing better than a boat trip , passing by the Ilhéu do Romeiro cave, with stalactites and stalagmites.

The underwater life in Santa Maria is varied and abundant, and scuba diving enthusiasts will have their hands full. In addition, it is possible to visit the Formigas , a group of eight islets located almost 40 kilometers from the coast of the island: here numerous sea birds nest, so much so that the area has been declared a Nature Reserve .

With the right equipment, perhaps with the help of one of the expert guides of the place, it is possible to explore the natural caves present on the island of Santa Maria, such as the Furna di Santana and the Furna Velha . On the other hand, there are also man-made caves, such as the Figueiral Cave .

Festivals and celebrations

In all the Azores islands on August 15 is celebrated the feast of Nossa Senhora da Assunção , that is Our Lady of the Ascension, but in this regard the most important feast is held on the island of Santa Maria.

It is also on August 15th that the festival of the August Tides begins on the beach of Praia Formosa, a cheerful event in which many musical groups also participate.

Where to stay in Santa Maria

For sure, hotels and facilities for tourists in Santa Maria are not lacking. The level is good and there are options for all budgets: on average, however, the quality is good and prices are quite low. Vila do Porto is the main town of the island: it is located on the southwest coast and is close to the airport and the seaport, so it could be a good choice to take advantage of transport.

Recommended accommodations

It is located in the center of the island, is a good structure at reasonable prices. Among the services, a gym equipped with whirlpool and turkish bath. It is located in a strategic position, about 10 minutes from all the main tourist attractions of the area. You can reach the airport with ease, and in the same way you can reach the beaches and mountains. There is also a space dedicated to children and a room for ping pong.

It boasts a strategic proximity to the airport, and is appreciated by tourists because it offers the restaurant the opportunity to taste not only the specialties of the territory but also continental ones. There is also a games room, an outdoor pool, air-conditioned rooms and free Wi-Fi.

A very functional hotel with an on-site bar, located just a few kilometers from Santa Maria Airport. With an excellent value for money, this hotel is among the most chosen and most appreciated especially by couples because of its views and elegance. The “luxury” and the beauty of the decor should not be overlooked.

How to get to Santa Maria

The island of Santa Maria has its own airport located in the urbanized area of Vila do Porto . From the 1940s to the 1970s, the Santa Maria airport played a fundamental role in the economy of the Azores, as it was the only international airport in the archipelago and also served as a stopover for flights to America by European companies.

This was certainly a great help for tourism, but unfortunately today the airport of Santa Maria has registered a collapse and it is no longer used as in the past: it is only used by Azores Airlines from and to Lisbon and by SATA Air Acores from and to Ponta Delgada.

The alternative is to reach Santa Maria by sea from Sao Miguel: maritime connections do exist, but as it often happens, they are available especially in the summer period; in any case the ferry transport is not very used because it lasts four hours and for this reason it is not very appreciated by tourists.

How to get around

To get around the island of Santa Maria you can rent a car or a scooter , or rely on local public transport such as buses or cabs. You can also use a bicycle, which is an option if you are a sportsman and like to be in contact with nature.

Cabs are usually used for short trips or for airport-hotel transfers and vice versa, as they apply standard rates that are quite convenient. Buses , especially at weekends, run at reduced rates: in this case you risk being left on foot and not being able to discover the island in all its beauty.

The best choice is therefore to rent a scooter or a car , if you want to be more comfortable. Remember that on the island the available cars are limited, so it is strongly recommended to book the car before departure, directly from Italy via the Internet.

Where is located Santa Maria

Islands around.

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Hiking the Azores

santa maria azores day tours

Itinerary Details

FIRST-CLASS | SMALL GROUP: Explore two islands in the Azores on a 6-day small group hiking adventure! Discover the lush and diverse landscapes of the largest island, São Miguel and the southern island of Santa Maria. This program includes full and half day hiking experiences, traditional food and the beauty of natural surroundings.

Hiking the Azores: Sao Miguel to Santa Maria

This 6 Day first-class, small group tour explores the beauty of the exotic Azores. Stay in Ponta Delgada and spend your days hiking the lush, dramatic countryside of these remote, volcanic islands. 

After a day of experiencing historic Ponta Delgada,  start your hikes with an exploration of Sete Cidades and the Blue and Green Lagoons. Over the week you will continue to experience the remote and beautiful highlights of the Azores with explorations of Lagoa das Furnas and  Salto do Prego, one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the island. As you hike, you will have the opportunity to stop into small towns and try some of the local delicacies. 

Your  final day of hiking  starts with a ferry from Sao Miguel Island to Santa Maria Island. Santa Maria is the most southerly of the nine islands of the Azores, known for its sandy beaches and stunning views.

Itinerary View Trip Map

Arrive sao miguel.

Upon arrival to the Ponta Delgada Airport take a private transfer to your hotel. Discover this historic city by foot with its Baroque buildings and monuments dating from the 16th century. A highlight of the city is the Jardim Antonio Borges, a public botanical garden, built in the 19th century. Admire the hundreds of exotic species introduced to the island. Then, continue to the Mercado da Graca, a local market where local products are on display and sold.

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Azoris Royal Garden Hotel

The Royal Garden Hotel is a modern hotel and has some of the best facilities in Ponta Delgada. It is located just 10 minutes walk from the cathedral and the heart of the old city. The hotel is set around a peaceful Japanese garden with …

The Royal Garden Hotel is a modern hotel and has some of the best facilities in Ponta Delgada. It is located just 10 minutes walk from the cathedral and the heart of the old city. The hotel is set around a peaceful Japanese garden with water features and rock flowerbeds and offers a luxurious retreat from your city explorations. The oriental theme is carried through into the communal areas of the hotel and there are generous lounge areas with wide screen TV for guests use. There are 193 en-suite rooms all with telephone, cable TV, hairdryer, internet access, minibar and air conditioning. For families, there are suites and some rooms have interconnecting doors. Most rooms have a private covered balcony.

  • Laundry facilities

More Details

Sete Cidades full day hike

After breakfast, your hike begins vicinity of Muro das Nove Janelas, 15km from Ponta Delgada, a stone aqueduct formerly used to supply water to public fountains in the city. Along this path, it is possible to observe the Green and Blue Lagoons, a natural wonder of Portugal, as well as the expansive views of the north and south coasts of Sao Miguel, including several species of endemic flora. The trail ends in the center of Sete Cidades parish. Sete Cidades or 'Seven Cities' is a small town surrounded by lakes, lagoons and craters offering spectacular viewpoints. Return back to Ponta Delgada.

Category: Linear | Difficulty level: Medium | Distance: 12km / 7.5 miles | Average time: 5 hours

Furnas full day hike

After breakfast, depart Ponta Delgada for the town of Vila Franca do Campo, the island's first capital, and admire the famous Vila Franca islet and visit the Queijada do Morgado factory that makes the traditional sweet pastry, better known as Queijadas da Vila (optional). Continue to Furnas, located on the banks of the romantic Lagoa das Furnas, where the trail will start. During the hike, you can admire the Lagoon, including several endemic and exotic species introduced on the island. The visit to Parque dos Cozidos (optional) is possible, to watch the making of the famous Furnas stew using only the heat from this volcano. After observing this phenomenon, the trail continues until the Parish of Furnas. Before arriving, stop at the Poça da Dona Beija thermal pools and relax in the waters before proceeding to Furnas to enjoy its famous stew. Enjoy a traditional Cozida das Furnas lunch, before returning to Ponta Delgada. The final stop will be at the factory and tea plantations in Gorreana.

Category: Linear | Difficulty level: Easy | Distance: 9.5 km / 5.9 miles | Average time: 3 hours

Faial da Terra - Sanguinho - Salto do Prego half-day hike

Today, you will take a small circular hiking route starting from the Faial da Terra bus stop. The trail continues along a dirt track, always referring to the Faial da Terra stream, on the right. After 2.5 km, continue towards Salto do Prego, one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the island where you can also bathe in the cold waters of Ribeira do Faial da Terra. Along the trail, the vegetation is dense, with a variety of species. After a refreshing bath, follow the path towards Sanguinho, a picturesque village located in the middle of the vegetation. Then, the return to the Parish of Faial da Terra and return back to Ponta Delgada.

Category: Circular | Difficulty level: Medium | Distance: 5 km / 3 miles | Average time: 2.3 hours

Sao Miguel - Lagoa do Foa or Quinta da Jardinete

On this day, you have two optional excursions. Option 1: Half-day Lagoa do Fogo tour and hike (morning). The tour begins with the ascent to Pico da Barrosa, one of the highest peaks on the island, along the south coast, on a road with a panoramic view over the central part of the island. Enjoy one of the most extraordinary views over Lagoa do Fogo. From this point, you will descend by foot to the Lagoa, starting from the viewpoint of the lagoon. Next, you will descend to the edge of the lake, along wild and exciting trails. The trip continues towards the city of Ribeira Grande with a stop in the historic center of the city of Ribeira Grande where you will have the opportunity to enjoy the famous liqueurs produced with fruits of the island. Return to Ponta Delgada. Category: Circular | Difficulty level: Medium | Distance: 3.5 km / 5.5 miles | Average time: 2.5 hours

Option 2: Half-day tour to Quinta da Jardinete winery (afternoon) Quinta da Jardinete is a small boutique family property producing classic-style wines that express the qualities of the land, such as the its volcanic soil type, microclimate and vineyard. Learn about how the family produces and harvests the wine. After a visit to the winery, finally, you can enjoy a wine tasting!

Depart Sao Miguel

After breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport.

Other Information

Departures:, price includes:.

  • Private arrival and departure airport transfers
  • 5 nights first-class accommodations in Ponta Delgada
  • City tour of Sao Miguel (max 8 guests)
  • Small group hiking program with an experienced guide (max 8 guests) including:
  • Full day hike: Sete Cidades (12 km / 7.5 miles)
  • Full day hike: Furnas (9.5 km / 5.9 miles)
  • Half day hike: Faial da Terra - Sanguinho - Salto do Prego (5 km / 3 miles)
  • Optional: Half Day Lagoa do Fogo tour (3.5 km / 5.5 miles) or Half-day tour to Quinta da Jardinete winery
  • Daily breakfast (excluding day 1), 3 lunches, 4 dinners (drinks not included)

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

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Santa Maria Events

As in all the other Azorean islands, one of the most popular events is the Holy Ghost Festivals (Divino Espirito Santo celebration). These festivities date back to the original settlements and were introduced by the Order of Christ and the Franciscan monks in the 14th century. The festivals include a religious ceremony starting with the “crowning” of one or more children with a silver-plated crown adorned with the symbols of the Holy Ghost and culminate with a grand feast on seventh Sunday following Whitsun. On the occasion of these feasts, a traditional soup of bread soaked in a meat broth is distributed freely at the “Imperios” across the island.

Vila do Porto holds the festival of “Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres” and on August 15th the parish celebrates the “Nossa Senhora da Assuncao” (Our Lady of the Assumption) festivities.

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IMAGES

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    1. Santa Maria Island Jeep Safari Full Day Tour. 3. 4WD Tours. 9-10 hours. Santa Maria Island has much more to see than what the ordinary viewpoints have to show - there are some details you only…. Free cancellation. from. C$197.

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    1. Vila do Porto The main and only city of Santa Maria in the Azores is quiet and lovely. Take a stroll down the city's main avenue and behold the old-world architecture of its buildings and pretty churches, and when you get to the end of the charming thoroughfare, you'll be greeted with an amazing view over the crystal waters of the local bay.

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    1. Full and Half-Day Tours in Santa Maria When visiting Santa Maria Island, whether for a day trip or an extended stay, opting for Full and Half-Day Tours can be a fantastic alternative to renting a car. These tours provide an excellent opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the island's captivating beauty and rich culture.

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    Day 1: Historical Exploration and Coastal Wonders Begin in Vila do Porto, the historic heart of Santa Maria. Visit the iconic Fort of São Brás, a 16th-century fortification offering insights into the island's maritime history. Don't miss the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, a stunning example of 15th-century architecture.

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    Day Tours. Azores.com offers Private and Regular (Group) tours to those looking to forego the GPS and maps or wanting to avoid wasting precious hours looking for places and attractions, or worse, getting lost. ... Santa Maria's cultural heritage consists of many public buildings, churches and other structures such as military constructions ...

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    Feb 13, 2024 - Find & Book the top-rated and best-reviewed tours in Santa Maria for 2024. From prices and availability to reviews and photos, Tripadvisor has everything you need to create that perfect itinerary for your trip to Santa Maria. ... Azores: São Miguel 2-Day Tour Pack, East & West including Lunches. 40. Bus Tours.

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    Travel Helpful Links: Multi-island Tour packages Driving Tour Packages Active Holidays Tour Packages As in all the other Azorean islands, one of the most popular events is the Holy Ghost Festivals (Divino Espirito Santo celebration).