Frequently Asked Questions: What to know before you go
- The Azores Archipelago is an Autonomous Region of Portugal and a part of the European Union.
- The Azores use the Euro, though major credit cards will work and ATMs are widely available. ATMs are found in most of the large villages and towns, while credit cards are accepted in the majority of establishments. If you’re flying direct to the Azores, currency can be exchanged at airports, banks and hotels.
- The official language spoken in the Azores is Portuguese, but a majority of the local population is proficient in English, especially in the more tourist-heavy spots.
Internet and WiFi
- Free WiFi is widely available in many public areas, restaurants, bars, shopping centers and hotels, but you should contact your mobile provider ahead of your trip and find out about international data rates and roaming.
- The Azores uses electricity at 220-240V, 50Hz with European standard Europlug and Schuko plug sockets. If you plan on using electrical appliances that operate on a different voltage, a transformer is required, while appliances that have different plugs will need an adapter.
- Dress in the Azores is fairly casual, particularly during the day. Comfortable athletic wear is perfectly acceptable during the day; smart casual dress is recommended for dinner.
- The islands have several microclimates, depending on whether you’re by the sea, at the top of a mountain or at the hot springs, so think layers. Since the Azores are located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the weather can change quickly, so it’s good to be prepared for an unexpected rain shower. The locals like to say that in the Azores, you can experience all four seasons in one day, so it’s best to leave the house prepared for anything. Bring a lightweight jacket, umbrella, sunglasses and SPF — you may find yourself needing it all on your trip!
What to pack:
- Bathing suits;
- Water shoes;
- Sunglasses/sun hat;
- Power plug adaptor/voltage converter;
- Camera and/or Camera Phone;
- Lightweight coat/windbreaker or raincoat;
- Walking shoes/sneakers;
- Comfortable/athletic wear/shorts;
- Lightweight sack/shoulder bag for walks/hikes.
- A warm jacket for some evenings is recommended
- Reusable water bottle to refill (tap water is safe and excellent on most of the islands).
- The Azores are 1 hour behind mainland Portugal and Madeira, and 4 hours ahead of the East Coast of the U.S.
- Due to their position on the Gulf Stream, the Azores maintain a temperate, subtropical climate with mild air and ocean temperatures all year long.
- Average temperatures sit comfortably at about 13ºC (55ºF) in the winter, and 26ºC (75ºF) in the summer. Ocean temperatures vary from 16ºC (60ºF) and 24ºC (75ºC) throughout the different seasons.
- The locals like to say that in the Azores, you can experience all four seasons in one day, so it’s best to leave the house prepared for anything.
- The standards for patient care and medical services in the Azores may differ from your home country. Although a territory of Portugal, the Azores maintains a separate healthcare system with public and private services. Healthcare generally meets international standards. Health services are distributed differently across the islands so access to care may vary by region. Hospitals are located on Faial, São Miguel, and Terceira.
- In the event of a medical emergency, contact your travel health insurance company immediately. Hospitals in the Azores require upfront payment, regardless if you have travel health insurance. Evacuation to Portugal or Western Europe may be required for complex emergencies. Ensure that you have accessible funds to cover upfront fees and adequate travel health insurance, including evacuation. Before you depart, check with your insurer about the extent of their coverage in the Azores.
- Pharmacies are available in most cities. Prescriptions for medications must be obtained from a doctor, but some medications can also be purchased without a prescription.
- If you are travelling with medication, check with the Azores’ embassy, consulate, or Ministry of Health for details on medication allowances and restrictions. Note that these sources may provide incomplete or out-of-date information.
- If you’re a European citizen, don’t forget your European Health Card! It allows you to access the local public health services without any costs.
- For more information and resources, visit: https://www.iamat.org/country/azores
- The Azores are extremely safe and welcoming to all visitors, and the crime rate here is the lowest in Portugal.
- Most of the Western European countries, along with the United States of America and Canada, have a local embassy or consulate on São Miguel Island.