How to get to the Azores

Look at a map of the world, and it might take you a while to pinpoint the Azores. Zoom into the Atlantic Ocean roughly 1,600km west of mainland Portugal, and there they are – a diagonal stroke of volcanic islands that, along with Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, make up the remote “fortunate islands” of Macaronesia. So how do you get to the Azores? And how do you get around once you’re there? We explain it all…

Travelling to the Azores

There aren’t any ferries to the Azores – only between islands – so unless you want to charter a sailing ship to cross the Atlantic à la Greta Thunberg (which is possible!), you must fly to get to the Azores. Regular direct flights depart from the UK, USA and Canada – and even more from mainland Portugal, so you can take your pick of routes. We highlight the easiest and most popular flights below.

It’s worth noting that flight times change seasonally, with direct flights more frequent in summer (May-October) than in winter, so do take these timings as guidance rather than as written in stone. If in doubt – or if you’d like to travel from a country we don’t cover – then get in contact and we’ll connect you with our Azores experts, who’ll give you the latest advice about booking flights to the Azores.

Where do you fly into to get to the Azores?

Most visitors fly into Ponta Delgada Airport (AKA João Paulo II Airport) on São Miguel island. Like most airports in the Azores, it’s a tiny single-runway affair right next to the capital city of the Azores, in the south-west of the island.

Direct flights from the following places arrive in Ponta Delgada Airport:
    Mainland Portugal (Lisbon and Porto) Madeira (Funchal) UK (London) USA (Boston) Canada (Toronto) Cape Verde (Praia) Inter-island flights from all eight other islands in the Azores – Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Terceira, Flores, Corvo, Graciosa and Santa Maria

If you’re travelling from the Portuguese mainland, you can also fly directly to:
    Lajes Field on Terceira, which doubles as a military airport, so take the no photos signs seriously! (from Porto and Lisbon) Horta Airport on Faial (Lisbon only) Santa Maria Airport on Santa Maria (Lisbon only) Pico Airport on Pico (Lisbon only)

Terceira Airport also welcomes direct flights from Manchester, UK, in the summer.

How to get from the UK to the Azores

There are weekly direct flights from London Stansted to Ponta Delgada on São Miguel throughout the year. Flights take 4 hours 5 minutes. There are also flights from Manchester to São Miguel and from London to Terceira in the summer.

For more choice, fly via Lisbon or Porto. You can fly direct from multiple UK airports to Lisbon (2 hours 50 minutes), including London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Luton, Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh. Or you can fly from London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester or Bristol to Porto instead (2 hours 20 minutes).

From Lisbon and Porto, it’s a 2.5-hour flight to the Azores. You can take your pick of islands, too – there are direct connections to smaller islands like Pico and Faial from the Portuguese mainland. See our tips on how to get to the Azores from mainland Portugal below.

How to get from the USA to the Azores

Catch a direct flight from Boston Logan International Airport, Massachusetts, to São Miguel. Direct flights from Boston to the Azores are 4 hours 55 minutes long. There are also direct flights to Terceira in summer.

If the weekly timings don’t suit, fly via Lisbon, where you can stay for a night (or more – we would) and catch a direct flight to the Azores the next day. Alternatively, power on through with a 6.5-hour flight from Boston to Lisbon, a 1.5-hour layover and then a 2.5-hour flight directly to Ponta Delgada.

How to get from Canada to the Azores

If you’re flying from Canada, Toronto is your gateway to the Azores. Direct flights travel between Toronto Pearson International Airport and Ponta Delgada on São Miguel every week. Flight times are 5 hours 45 minutes non-stop. There are also direct flights to Terceira in the summer.

Alternatively, fly via Boston. It takes 1 hour 50 minutes to fly from Toronto to Boston Logan International Airport, pause for a couple of hours’ layover, and then take a direct flight (4 hours 55 minutes) to Ponta Delgada.

You can also fly via mainland Portugal. We recommend spending time on the mainland if you can, but if not you can take a seven-hour flight to Humberto Delgado Airport in Lisbon, before connecting to a direct 2.5-hour flight to Ponta Delgada.

How to get from mainland Portugal to the Azores

Lots of direct flights zoom daily between mainland Portugal and the Azores. Lisbon has the biggest choice of islands and timings – it’s 2 hours 25 minutes to São Miguel, 2 hours 40 minutes to Terceira, and more like 3 hours to westerly islands like Flores. Direct flights to the main airports (e.g. Ponta Delgada on São Miguel) run year-round. In winter, however, you might have to change in Ponta Delgada to reach less popular islands like Flores.

Our top Azores Holiday

Whale watching in the Azores

Whale watching in the Azores

Classic whale watching trip in the Azores archipelago

From £610 7 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip can be tailor made to start on any day of the week from March to October
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Azores or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

How to get around the Azores once you’re there

Considering you’ve landed on a volcanic archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic, public transport between the islands is very good, with a comprehensive network of ferries and planes, plus a decent bus service on São Miguel.

However, schedules are reliant on the sometimes unpredictable weather of the Azores. Reset your internal clock to Azores time and travel with a local guide who’ll get you around as smoothly as possible – and match you up with an excellent vineyard tour or restaurant if you have time to kill because of ferry or flight delays. Read our Azores island hopping guide for recommended routes and tips on how to travel between islands in the Azores.
We’re really passionate about flying less and staying longer when travelling, so we’re phasing out most of our holidays with jet flights of less than an hour by 2022. That won’t affect our trips in the Azores. The planes that zip between these islands have turboprop engines, which churn out significantly less carbon into the atmosphere per passenger when travelling these short distances. They’re also a lifeblood for Azoreans, connecting them with their work and family, while also linking isolated communities to the opportunities that tourism can bring.

If you’d prefer to travel by ferry all the way, however, choose a tailor made trip – our partners will be happy to design a route that takes in your travel preferences.

Responsible Travel would like to thank Azores Tourism for their sponsorship of this guide.
Photo credits: [Page banner: Angrense] [Intro: Wo st 01] [Where do you fly into to get to the Azores?: Sergey Ashmarin] [How to get around the Azores once you’re there: Jules Verne Times Two]