When planning our first holidays on the Azores, we would always read things like “The Azores are not suited to travelling with children” in the travel guides. We took our 3 kids to São Miguel anyway, and have never been able to understand those comments. This is why we would like to describe the situation from our point of view and maybe also correct some misconceptions.
Advantages for Families
In our opinion, the Azores are especially suited for active holidays with kids. It’s not just that there are a variety of exciting things to do such as Whale watching, interesting short as well as longer adventure paths with waterfalls, rivers with small pools and of course varied beaches, but also that the infrastructure is perfectly suited to a holiday with kids.
- The duration of the flight is 4.5h, which is not too exhausting even for smaller children and comprises a time frame that can easily be spent interacting with the kids.
- You will stay in Europe and be able to access its good medical care and insurance options, should you need it.
- The supermarkets are stocked similarly to the ones in other European countries, so you will be able to find suitable products even if you have specific demands.
- You won’t encounter any issues regarding the cleanliness of food or the drinking water.
So, if you are looking to take a holiday with your kids, and not from them, by giving them away to some sort of Kids-Club, then we could not recommend a better place for a diverse holiday for families. All the trips that we describe on this website, and all the pictures we upload come from holidays that we went on as a family with our 3 children. One time, even our oldest son’s girlfriend joined us, which we were especially happy about.
If you like the Azores, and would like to spend some time on São Miguel yourself, then we would be more than happy to receive you in our holiday home. Find out more here. If you have any questions, suggestions or specific requests for posts you can reach us via the contact details provided here.
Some tips for families and appropriate trip destinations
- The “Reserva Florestal de Recreio da Cancela do Cinzeiro” is a large, park-like designed area in the middle of a forest, which features BBQ spots as well as a big play and climbing area.
- The hike through the 1200m long tunnel underneath the mountain leading to the lakes of Sete Cidades is especially suited to adventurous children (don’t forget water shoes and a flashlight!).
- Our kids’ favourite beaches are the “Praia da Viola”, that have sand, waterfalls, a small river flowing into the ocean, and enough materials for playing; as well as “Ribeira Quente”, which is a pure sand beach with hot underwater springs and really nice waves.
- On the way to Salto do Prego, you will usually encounter a group of free-roaming chickens with chicks. They are very curious and will never say no to a couple of crumbs of bread.
- Depending on the age of your children, whale watching tours on a catamaran for younger children and on a speedboat for older ones are very well suited. You might want to go on a short boat trip beforehand, especially if you are not yet sure how well your children will take to being on a boat. Waves are noticeable even on the bigger catamarans on days when it is particularly windy. After all, you want it to be an unforgettable experience.
- For children from the age of 5, there are canyoning-tours on offer that are perfect for the entire family.
- Sometimes, it is the stories and tales that are told about a place that add that extra bit of excitement to a tour or a hike. One example is the legend of the lakes of Sete Cidades (A version for adults is available here, which is funny even if you do not speak Portuguese). You could also have a look at the Lagoa do Congro, doesn’t it look a bit like a dinosaur?
Some things to look out for
Even though there are no poisonous or dangerous animals on São Miguel, there are still a couple of things you should watch out for. Especially when going to the beach in the winter months when the weather has been stormy, it is possible that Portuguese man-o’-war have been washed up on the shore. These are often of a bright blue colour, sometimes a little purple, and when lying on the beach, can be easily confused with a piece of plastic. Most of the time, you will also be able to see the string-like tentacles lying next to them.
Please make sure that you, and especially your children do not touch these animals. Upon touch, the nettles are said to cause very painful wounds. Additionally, these animals are not jellyfish in the proper sense, but a colony of dependent adenoids, that have specialised in specific tasks.