The Best Honeymoon Destinations (by Month)

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The majority of couples still take their honeymoons shortly after the wedding. Which means that honeymooners have to consider seasonality and find a destination that works well for their specific travel dates. But how do you know which places are the best at different times of year? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered, with our handy guide to the best honeymoon destinations by month!


The Weather

Before we get to the months, there are a few criteria to keep in mind. First is, of course, the weather.

Sunset beach Costa Rica Honeymoons

Beachy and tropical islands often have just two seasons: Dry and Rainy. These seasons tend to be the opposite on different sides of the world. So no matter what month you travel in, you can find a beautiful beachy location somewhere.

[Photo Credit: Katey & Oliver via Shared Adventures – read about their Costa Rica Honeymoon here!]

The Crowds

a piazza in Rome full of tourists, ideal for Honeymoons

The other important factor to consider is crowds. Certain months see high crowds for a reason. Everyone is excited to experience the best weather the destination has to offer! Think about whether it’s more important to you to have the best weather possible (despite the crowds). Or would you prefer to risk some less-than-ideal days in exchange for having a sense of seclusion?

[Photo credit: Ann via Shared Adventures]

With these answers in mind, have a look at our monthly guide! We’ve split the destinations into two categories: “High-season” is the best weather with potentially the biggest crowds. “Best balance” has decent weather balanced with smaller crowds.

January

St. Lucia– high-season
Costa Rica- high-season
Aruba – high-season

Norway high-season
Swiss Alps- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: For the best weather, look to the equator. Destinations in the Central America region ( including the Caribbean) will be beautiful. They will also be in peak season. January offers clear blue skies, warm seas, and a perfectly idyllic beach vacation. It’s just a bonus that you can escape from the cold!

Snowy Honeymoons: Consider just how cold you truly want it to be. The further north you go, the darker and colder it gets, which gives you the brilliant opportunity to see the Northern Lights. January also tends to be less busy than February in top ski destinations due to the shorter days.

February

Mexico– high-season
New Zealand- high-season
Hawai’i – best balance

Swiss Alps- high-season
Norway- best balance
California- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: February is a peak month for tropical travel. The Caribbean, and Mexico are popular with everyone trying to escape the winter cold, including families on school vacation breaks. Hawaii can be a good option, because the weather is temperate year round and spreads the crowds out. And French Polynesia might work, as long as you’re okay with some passing rain showers.

Snowy Honeymoons: How important is skiing? How cold is too cold? If you want to hit the slopes every day of your honeymoon, then February is prime ski season in many winter destinations! If you’re looking for other winter activities, you’ll find the extra cold temps mean a lot of opportunities to snuggle up, fewer crowds, and more daylight hours for adventuring!

March

The Maldives– best balance
New Zealand- best balance

Iceland- best balance (for snow)
Japan- high-season (mid-March)

Beachy Honeymoons: March is a great honeymoon month to avoid crowds if you don’t mind a little unpredictability. It’s the last month of the dry season in many places. So look more closely at the weather reports and consider spots where a few small showers and cooler nights will enhance your trip.

Snowy Honeymoons: This is the last opportunity of the year to enjoy a snowy destination! Consider what winter activities you’re most excited to experience. Because you start to get longer hours of daylight in March, find a destination that has a lot of outdoor adventures. 

a view of the siene, the eiffle tower and the paris skyline in Paris for Honeymoons
[Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures – read about her April in Paris trip here!]

April

The Caribbean– best balance
Seychelles- best balance
South Africa- best for combining different regions

Australia- best balance
France- high-season
Napa, California- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: April is the bridge between the dry and wet seasons. For the best weather, look into heading a bit further towards the southern hemisphere. If you’d rather stay closer to home, the Caribbean will have some unpredictability, but overall beautiful days and lower crowds. 

City Breaks: April is the beginning of perfectly romantic city breaks. Consider locations that you dream of strolling around, admiring the architecture and the flowers in bloom. Look to Europe and Japan for the most beautiful displays of spring blooms. 

May

Portugal– best balance
Malta- best balance
Costa Rica- best balance
Hawai’i- best balance

Fiji- best balance
Scotland- best balance
Ireland- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: A perfect shoulder month. If you’re looking to stay closer to home, the Caribbean and Central America will have lower crowds without (yet) the summer rains. Otherwise, you can beat the summer crowds but enjoy the rising temperature on the other side of the globe. Southern Europe and the South Pacific are entering their dry season. Warm weather, low humidity, and the islands practically to yourselves — It makes the long plane trip worth it! 

Sightseeing and Exploring: If you’re not a sunseeker, look into northern Europe. A perfect combination of warm days, cool nights, green countryside, lower crowds, and maybe still a little snow on the utmost mountain peaks. 

lush green mountains of Hawaii an a blue bay on the road to hana. perfect for hawaii honeymoons
[Photo credit: Ann via Shared Adventures Travel]

June

Hawai’i– high-season
Antigua- best balance
St. Lucia- best balance

Fiji- high-season
Greece- best balance
Alaska- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: June is the beginning of hurricane season in the Caribbean, but it’s still too early for major risk. This is a good month for sun-seekers. Look for spots where you can sneak in before the storm risk increases in late summer.

City Breaks: June is an excellent month for city breaks. Everything is open and waiting, but the true heat of summer hasn’t settled into the cobblestones yet. Look for cities that allow you to get out into nature a bit for a cool breeze.

July

French Polynesia– high-season
Malta- high-season
Italy- high-season

Ireland- high-season
Canada- high-season
Iceland-high-season

Beachy Honeymoons: French Polynesia and southern Europe swell to their peak popularity. Honeymooners in July will almost certainly have to share the beaches with plenty of other travelers.

Outdoorsy Honeymoons: July is the peak month for many cooler-weather destinations that are just coming into their own at this time of year. Look to the north to find green fields, hiking trails, cool mountain lakes, fresh breezes, and unending hours of daylight.

August

Kenya & Tanzania– high-season
Mozambique- high-season
Bali- high-season
Vietnam- high-season

Croatia- high-season
France-high-season

The sweltering temps are reaching their peak and everyone is looking for a beach. August is difficult to avoid crowds, especially in Europe where many countries have their summer vacations. Look to the islands in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa for the peak of the dry season. Beautiful beaches and beautiful clear skies await you there.

driving nin maine
[Photo credit: Liz via Shared Adventures Travel – read about a New England Roatrip here!]

September

Hawai’i – best balance
French Polynesia- best balance
Bali- best balance
Greece- best balance

Croatia- best balance
Italy- best balance
Japan-best balance
The UKbest balance

Beachy Honeymoons: This is the perfect moment to swoop in and enjoy the last warm days without all the crowds. Look to the most popular summer beach destinations. You’ll find amazing weather, still-warm seas, and fewer people.

City Breaks: Like April, September is a perfect month for city breaks. The sweltering heat dissipates and the nights start to cool. Everything is still open and buzzing from summer, but the temperatures and crowd levels are much more pleasant. This is the time to visit Italy, Greece and Croatia!

October

Mauritius-high-season
Vietnam- best balance
Dubai- best balance
Zambia- high-season

France- best balance
Amsterdam- best balance
Canada-best balance
New England- high-season

Beachy Honeymoons: This is the best time to visit those destinations that are almost unbearably hot in summer. While October brings unpredictability, it also brings good opportunities to explore beyond the beach. 

Cool Honeymoons: Stunning fall foliage is the main focus of an October honeymoon in North America and Europe. While you may have a mixture of sun and rain, October’s quiet crispness in the cities will only add to the romantic atmosphere.

November

Thailand-best balance
The Maldives- high-season
Jamaica- best balance

Australia- high-season
Argentina- best balance
Chile- best balance

November is all about the Southern Hemisphere. While the north experiences rain and cloudy skies, the south is right at the beginning of summer. The weather isn’t too hot yet and the crowds aren’t too big, so overall you want to consider the bottom half of the world. It’s also a good time for the Caribbean, as the hurricane risk is nearly past, and crowds ten to be lower.

December

The Caribbean-high-season
Mexico– high-season
Thailand– high-season
Bali- high-season

Copenhagen- best holiday markets
Austria- best holiday markets
Prague- best holiday markets

Beachy Honeymoons: The holiday season sees everyone in the north escaping the cold for beautiful beaches. Consider places near to the equator on both sides of the world- South East Asia, The Caribbean, and Mexico are all in their stride. 

Snowy Honeymoons: The beginning of snow, cold temperatures, and beautiful holiday markets! While snow is a little unpredictable, consider those cold-weather cities with booming holiday markets as the perfect cozy romantic destinations. 

The Best of Both: City & Beach

When you’re starting to plan your next getaway the question inevitably arises: should we take a city break or beach vacation? People tend to have strong opinions one way or the other, and it can seem difficult to come up with a compromise. Especially when traveling to Europe.

best of both City & Beach graphic explaining 5 different european cities with both great city breaks and beaches to visit
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Fortunately, you don’t have to choose! There are plenty of beautiful, historic cities in Europe that also have relaxing, sun-soaked beaches. You can spend your European vacation exploring museums and wandering the cobblestone streets one day, and splashing in the stunning sea the next. We’ve created a quick guide to our top city/beach destinations with just a taste of what each has to offer. Read on below for even more detailed descriptions of what you’ll discover in these amazing places.

Vielle Ville -Nice’s old town features rustic narrow streets, colorful markets, and a vibrant atmosphere. You can enjoy beautiful architecture like the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate or the 17th-century mansion Palais Lascaris. The old town includes the most popular dining destinations, charming buildings, markets, and monuments. It’s worth spending the day soaking up the history and atmosphere.

Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC)– This modern art museum has over 1300 pieces of art on display. The collection includes avant-garde works from the late 50s to the present day. And you can always head to the rooftop terrace for beautiful panoramic views of the city.

six bouquets of beautiful flowers at the flower market in Nice France

Marche Aux Fleurs Cours Saleya – Pretty striped awnings, hundreds of multicolored, intense, vivid bouquets, and exotic plants. This vibrant market has been in existence for over 120 years and is a must-see when in Nice. While the market is mainly flowers you can also find fruits, veggies, and stalls selling local delicacies. We recommend going early, bringing small bills, and enjoying this colorful, aromatic experience.

[Photo Credit: Kylie Paz via Unsplash]

aerial view of a beach with the light blue water on top and the grey pebbles covered with people on towels and pastel colored umbrellas in Page Beau Rivage inNice France

Castel Plage -The best views of the Bay of Angels with a chic and sophisticated atmosphere. There are several luxury hotels, bars, restaurants, and historic sites nearby. This smaller beach provides private decking down to the water’s edge, pebbles, and calm waters for the perfect break from the city.

Plage Beau Rivage– A longtime hotspot, this private beach is right at the foot of the old town. It’s the largest beach in the French Riviera and is packed with 5-star amenities. Dine in gourmet restaurants on the shore, sip on a cocktail from the luxe lounge bar or rent a classic blue striped sunbed. Head to the Beau Rivage for an iconic, glamorous French Riviera experience.

Coco Beach – Locals love this small public rocky outcrop. Here you won’t find rentals or beach clubs but just the chance to soak up the sun on the warm rocks and dive into the water. Located in a residential area about 5 minutes from the other beaches, this is the perfect spot if you want a quick dip.

[Photo Credit: Alex D’Alessio via Unsplash]


Las Ramblas– This famous promenade stretches 1.2km from the oldest port in the city to the new shopping center. Las Ramblas is full of shops, outdoor cafes, markets, theatre, and art. It is a completely pedestrian zone allowing you to take your time and soak in the atmosphere.

a curves wall covered in mosaics on a terrace overlooking the city of Barcelona at Gaudi's Park Guell

Gaudi’s Park Güell -This UNESCO World Heritage Site sits on a hill above the city. It offers stunning panoramic views, intriguing ceramics, Roman temples, and a forest of enchantment, all designed by the famous Catalan artist Antoni Gaudí in his signature style. Surrounding Gaudi’s beautiful work is a maze of carefully landscaped trails, soft green hills, intricate walls, and bridges, making this one of Barcelona’s most impressive parks.

La Boqueria Market The best and most famous food market near Las Ramblas. Originally dating back to a 1217 meat market, La Boqueria now serves a huge variety of meat, fish, fruit, veggies, spices, and local dishes. This is a foodie’s paradise from seafood tapas to fruit smoothies. When visiting Barcelona it’s a must to spend time soaking up the atmosphere and the explosion of colors.

[Photo Credit: Denise Jones via Unsplash]

golden sand and waves kissing the shore with the famous sail-shaped building in the background on Barcelonetta beach in Barcelona Spain

Barceloneta Beach – The oldest and best-loved beach, Barceloneta is linked with the fishing quarter of the same name. The most famous Barcelona beach and the one closest to the city. Its soft golden sands will get crowded in the peak summer season so arrive early to enjoy the classic neighborhood-by-the-sea atmosphere and many amenities.

Bogatell Beach – Classic Barcelona golden sands, a huge variety of recreational facilities, and easy mobility access — this beach has it all. There are smaller crowds here, and they tend to be a little older averaging around 35-38 years. Beautiful water, seafood, and sun lounger rentals make this the perfect place to spend a sun-soaked day.

Nova Icaria– A wide stretch of golden sand on this peaceful beach makes it perfect for families and big groups. Nova Icaria, right next to Bogatell, has the widest range of leisure amenities, including restaurants, bars, playgrounds, ping-pong, and beach volleyball. This was a beach made with large families in mind.

[Photo Credit: Alessio Rinella via Unsplash]

Pompeii & Vesuvius -An easy day-trip from Naples this famous archeological wonder is a must-see. You can book a tour with transportation included, or get a guided tour when you arrive. After marveling at the living museum of Pompeii, head up to Mt Vesuvius itself. The hike to the top is suitable for all ages with many rest areas along the way to admire the panoramic city views.

Historic City Center– This UNESCO World Heritage Site has existed through twenty-seven centuries of history! The largest historic center in Europe, you can admire the many museums, monasteries, catacombs, and over 200 churches. It’s impossible to see it all so we highly recommend taking a local tour to help you appreciate the highlights.

Sansevero Chapel Museum– Mystery and beauty blend to create one of the most enigmatic chapels in Europe. Sansevero Chapel is located in the historic city center and holds some of the greatest marble sculptures in the world. We recommend reading up on the history of the artists and the chapel before visiting.

[Photo Credit:David Mark via Pixabay]

top photo a wide bay with mountains in the distance and the sky at sunset in the bay of Naples, bottom photo people in a bay sitting on rocks with a yacht in the background

Gaiola Beach – This almost hidden beach is in the Posilipo district. The beach is divided into two sections — the public area, which is a local favorite swimming spot, and the marine protected area in Parco Sommerso Della Gaiola, with its untouched beauty and beautiful views. The blue-green water is perfect for swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, or scuba. Or just settle in on the rocks or small sandy strips to soak in the sun.

Miseno & Miliscola – Located in the Bacoli area at the extreme point of the Capo Miseno peninsula, these two beaches feature a long seaboard with several lidos, bars, cafes, restaurants, and facilities. This is the perfect spot for a picnic with friends or family, with soft sand, clear shallow waters, and a long coast.

Scoglione di Marachiaro – Marechiaro is a seaside town famous for its beauty. This beach can only be reached by boat from the Calata Ponticello, creating a unique experience. Crystal clear water is perfect for a swim, or you can lay your towel on the long rocks or rent a sunbed. This is the perfect beach for classic Italian charm and taking a dip in the Med.

[Photo Credit Top: Jan Gottweiss, Bottom: Ferran Feixas via Unsplash ]

Alfama Neighborhood– The oldest, most traditional, and charming neighborhood in Lisbon. There’s plenty to see as you wander the steep cobblestone lanes. Visit the Castelo de Sao Jorge, hop on the iconic tram, or head to Miradouro de Santa Luzia for breath-taking views on a romantic terrace. Enjoy the cafes, music, and festivals and soak up the atmosphere in this vibrant, lively neighborhood.

a view of red tiled roofs and white buildings including a small tower with the sea in the background looking from a height in Lisbon Portugal

Jerónimos Monastery – This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in the 1500s and is a must-see site for history and culture. The church features tree-trunk size columns and exhibits a mastery of architecture. Mixing naturalistic elements and religious symbols in its magnificent cloisters and gardens it’s one of the most interesting monuments in Lisbon.

Museu Nacional do AzulejoA one-of-a-kind museum all about the famous Portuguese azulejos, or tiles. Housed in an old convent from 1509, the collection features pieces as far back as the 1400s. Exhibiting masterpieces of tile art, the azulejos tell a story, and the museum takes you through their history. This unique collection will let you see Lisbon with new appreciation.

[Photo Credit: Tom Byrom via Unsplash]

top photo: Carcavelos beach with golden sand and surfers catching waves with a historic castle walls in the background, bottom photo: Adraga golden sand beach with jagged rock formations at sunset in Lisbon Portugal

Carcavelos Beach – Located halfway between Lisbon and Cascais, this wide beach is one of the largest on the Lisbon coast. Strong waves make it perfect for surfing or bodyboarding, but there’s plenty to do here besides hitting the waves — including a scenic promenade for skaters and joggers, restaurants and bars with seating on the beach and parasols to rent. This is a lively beach, big and convenient to get to, only a 20 min train ride from the city center.

Adraga – Less than 45min from Lisbon, this beautiful beach features a rock arch, strong waves and is a favorite among locals. Perfect for walking, fishing, and families who want to play in the warm sand. Explore the beach caves or just admire the dramatic coastline from the restaurant terrace.

Arrabida Beaches – The coastline to the south of Lisbon is full of beautiful beaches. A 30 minute train ride from the city center, this area is a natural paradise and protected park. With calm crystal-clear waters, laid-back restaurants, and even some Roman ruins, stretches of golden sand, lush green hills, and vibrant colors make these beaches the perfect getaway.

[Photo Credit Top: Zachary Pearson, Bottom: Natalia Alves via Unsplash]

graphic wavy circle with Split Croatia written in the middle

Marjan Forest Park One of the most beautiful places to visit in Split. This park offers nature, peacefulness, and mystery. Formerly the residence of monks, it has been transformed into a top place for recreation. Perfect for cycling, hiking, walking, and enjoying the stunning views with a coffee from the cafe.

an aerial view of downtown Split Croatia with the harbor and red tiled roofs and mountains in the background


Historic Old Town – There’s a lot to see in Split’s historic old town, and much of it is well-marked with signs in English! Wander the pedestrian-only medieval historic streets, enjoy the cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops. Soak in the history all around you as you navigate the maze of cobblestone alleyways. Be sure to visit the Diocletian’s Palace, the 13th century Bell Tower and the statue of Nin!

Klis Fortress– This ancient stronghold is just outside of Split. You can admire ancient ruins and the 2000-year-old history that seeps from the stones. Sprawling over the hilltop, this fortress is full of lookouts and nooks and you can explore it all with complete freedom.

[Photo Credit:Spencer Davis via Unsplash]

a white stony path to the right of a bright blue sea with green tress overhanging the path in Split Croatia

Bačvice – This sandy beach is only a 10-minute walk from this historic old town. A very popular local beach in the heart of the city, the shallow waters are perfect for little ones. You can rent chairs and umbrellas, play water sports, rent jet skis and swim in the clear calm waters.

Ovčice – Just a 5-minute walk from Bacvice Beach, Ovcice is lined with cafes and restaurants with beautiful ocean views. This small pebble beach features many amenities, especially for children, such as rentals, playgrounds, and trampolines! It’s right next to the city and will give you a typical Croatian beach experience.

Ježinac To avoid the crowds of the main city beaches head to Jezinac at the base of Marjan Hill. This quieter and more peaceful beach is only 2 miles from the city center. It has an upscale atmosphere with luxury accommodations, dining, and amenities. It’s one of the most scenic pebble beaches, offering plenty of places to relax in the sun in style.

[Photo Credit: Tom Bradley via Unsplash]


These are just a small sample of what these fascinating cities and beautiful beaches have to offer, if your interest is piqued- let us know! We’re excited to help plan an adventure that combines the best of both worlds!

Pack your sense of adventure, and your patience!

I recently returned from a long-awaited trip to the Azores Islands, and I have very conflicting thoughts to share. In some ways, the destination was SO much more than I expected, but in one key aspect, it was sadly disappointing.

I’ll get the bad news over with first.  Azores Airlines, which is currently the only way to get to and around the islands, is  — unfortunately – truly terrible. And I say that as someone who flies a lot, and who understands that air travel is simply a means to get from point A to point B. But Azores Airlines couldn’t even do that. We had flight cancellations, a lost day of vacation, significant delays, re-routing, and more. Nothing went smoothly, the planes are old, and there are no creature comforts whatsoever (no entertainment system, no leg room, no hot water for coffee or tea, “mystery meat” for dinner).  Sadly, now that I’m reading some reviews, I see that my Azores Airlines experience is pretty universal. However, all of that being said, if you can “roll with the punches” and endure the experience of getting there, the islands are AMAZING.

The weather was beyond perfect, the people were warm and friendly, the food and wine were very good (and very inexpensive), and the scenery is a photographer’s absolute dream. If you want proof of that, check out my husband’s album from this trip.

If you have an adventurous spirit, and love exploring beautiful places, and if you can handle the fact that you might not arrive in the right place on the right day, but you’ll get there eventually, then read on for my full report…

on a mountain trail overlooking a large lake and mountain range in Azores Portugal

My husband and I were super excited to take advantage of the new nonstop flights from Providence to Sao Miguel (Ponta Delgada), but were disappointed to get to the airport and find out that our flight was canceled, and that we’d have to try again the next day from Boston instead. Thankfully, we were able to notify our hotel, car rental, etc about the change in plans, and they all agreed to hold our reservations until the following day.

We did make it out of Boston the next night, and arrived in Ponta Delgada very early in the morning. The airport is small and manageable, and we easily found our car rental rep. She shuttled us to the offsite lot, and we picked up our brand-new BMW electric/diesel wagon with a sunroof and a GPS. Very easy to drive, and perfect for our purposes.

We were feeling good and the weather was gorgeous, so we decided to hit the ground running.  We grabbed a delicious (and cheap!!) breakfast in Ponta Delgada, and then headed to the west end of the island to see the famous Lagoa das Cete Cidades. We were so glad that we had gotten an early start! We were ahead of all the crowds, and were able to take tons of photos from the Vista do Rei viewpoint, and then again when we hiked up to the Boca do Inferno overlook.  Afterwards, we wandered our way along the coast to Ponta da Ferraria to check out the rugged black lava coastline and the lighthouse. A that point we were getting tired and hungry so we called it a day and drove to Furnas to check in to our hotel.

Ann overlooking the stunnign mountain view and town in Azores Portugal

unique rock formations and reflective pools on the Azores Islands in Portugal

The Terra Nostra Garden Hotel is a lovely Art Deco property with fabulous service. They got us right into our room, and we cleaned up and then wandered across the street to the Atlantico cafe for lunch. It was the quintessential little local spot, with great food at great prices. Two beers, the octopus special, a toasted ham and cheese sandwich and fries for 17 Euros total!

After lunch we explored the Terra Nostra botanical gardens adjacent to our hotel (gorgeous…lush…and extensive – and free admission for hotel guests) and then sat on the hotel patio in the sunshine, enjoying some local wine and cheese. Had a light dinner in the hotel restaurant and an early bedtime.

lush green Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens on the Azores Islands in Portugal

Day 2:

After a solid ten hours of sleep, we were good to go!  Got up nice and early and had breakfast at the hotel before jumping in the car and heading out to explore. The weather was gorgeous (a common theme throughout the trip), and we enjoyed a very scenic drive to Lagoa do Fogo, which is more or less in the center of the island. After a beautiful, twisty drive up the mountains to the scenic overlook, we parked the car and hiked up the nearby hill to a path along the ridge. From there, you can see both sides of the island, and we were treated to the sight of paragliders overhead.

overlooking a reflective lake and mountain range on the Azores Islands Portugal

Afterwards, we wound our way back down the mountain, and decided to skip Caldeira Velha because of the number of tour buses in the parking lot. Instead, we headed north to the coast to the Cha Gorreana tea plantation for a quick self-guided tour and tasting. After that, we continued along the coast to Nordeste, to see the Faro do Arnel lighthouse. We should have paid more attention to the VERY steep street leading down to the lighthouse, and left our car in the parking lot at the top, but of course we didn’t.  It was touch and go winding our way down the steep grade and – even worse – struggling back up with our tires sliding and smoking. Not fun, and quite adrenaline-inducing, but the views were amazing.

the Faro do Arnel lightouse and azure sea beyond on the Azores Islands in Portugal

Afterwards, we enjoyed a scenic drive back along the east end of the island, stopping at several gorgeous overlooks, and then we had a late lunch of local cheese and beer on the hotel patio before a steamy dip in the hot springs at Terra Nostra gardens. I’m glad we did it, but I have to admit that the iron-heavy water was murky and brown…nothing to compare to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland!

a path lined with flowers overlookign the mountains and blue sea of the Azores Islands Portugal

We ate dinner at the hotel that evening, and it was fabulous. Prawn ravioli, octopus tempura, and some delicious local wines.

Day 3:

We packed up, checked out, and hopped back in the car to go see the Nossa Senora da Paz church in Villa Franca do Campo, but we were defeated by the tiny one-way streets in the village, and the fact that many were closed off in the aftermath of a festival.

We eventually had to give up and head to Ponta Delgada to explore for a bit instead. We  wandered through the central food market, and all along the seafront promenade, and then we visited the Igreja do Collegio dos Jesuitas – a Jesuit church that was turned into a museum of religious art.

a mosaic street on the Azores Islands Portugal

Our afternoon flight from Ponta Delgada to the island of Faial was – not surprisingly – delayed, but we eventually made it there about 4:30 pm, and grabbed a taxi to the hotel.  We had been unable to rent an automatic transmission car here (it can be difficult outside of Ponta Delgada), but that really wasn’t a problem. Taxis are plentiful.

Our hotel – the Pousada Forte da Horta – was an historic fort overlooking the harbor in the town of Horta. Great location, tons of historic charm, and the staff could not have been more helpful.  Our spacious suite (bedroom, living room, large bathroom and an enormous balcony) overlooked the harbor and the island of Pico in the distance.

a distant mountain with puffy white clouds at the base a hill and the sea on the Azores Island Portugal

We walked around town a little bit to explore, stopped in the market to pick up wine and snacks for the room (a nice bottle of local wine was only 4 Euros!) and had a fairly forgettable dinner in the hotel restaurant that evening (nice atmosphere, and very earnest servers, but the food was honestly not great).

Day 4:

We had booked a private half-day tour of the island, and our guide picked us up about 9 am at the hotel.  It was too foggy in the upper elevations for us to see the caldeira, so she took us around the perimeter of the “Blue Island” (named so because of all the gorgeous hydrangea bushes) to show us all the lovely coastal villages. We stopped at Ponta dos Capelinhos to see the lighthouse and learn about the volcanic eruption that created this portion of the island, and then she dropped us back in town in the early afternoon.

ponta dos caplinhos on the Azores Islands Portugal

We spent a few hours exploring the marina, and the nearby beach at Porto Pim, and then relaxed on our balcony with our wine and cheese.   Dinner that evening was at restaurant Atletico, which was a hit.  Simple grilled meats and fish, very good inexpensive (1 Euro per glass) house wine, and grilled pineapple for dessert. Yum!

Day 5:

For our final day in the Azores, we had booked a full-day private tour of Pico island. We had a quick breakfast at the hotel and then took a short (15-20 min) walk along the harbor to the ferry terminal to catch the 9 am ferry to Pico. The ferry is inexpensive (3.5 Euro pp) and quick (a 30-minute trip) and it makes Pico very easy to do as a day trip from Horta. They also have ferries to Sao Jorge, though those are longer and less frequent.

overlook of a small town, sea and mountains on Azores Islands Portugal

We were met at the ferry dock by Raisa from Tripix Azores, and we hopped in her Jeep for a fascinating tour of the island. She is a friendly, fun, and very knowledgeable guide, who made us feel like we were spending the day with an old friend! We learned about Pico’s wine culture, toured vineyards and enjoyed some samples; we saw lovely coastal villages, and scenic overlooks; and we visited the whaling museum in Lajes. Along the way, we had a lovely lunch in a local restaurant.  It’s worth noting, if you’re the adventurous type, that Tripix also offers guided climbing expeditions on the Pico volcano, and overnight camping stays in the caldera!

a windmill and blue sky on Azores Islands Portugal

a seaside pool and blue ocean on the Azores Islands Portugal

At the end of the day, we took the 6pm ferry back to Horta, and enjoyed our last dinner at Genuinos, which is the top-rated Horta restaurant on tripadvisor, and did feel more tourist-oriented (and more expensive) than the other restaurants on this trip. That being said, the meal was delicious (local cheese and bread, grilled prawns, more octopus) and the final tab for two with drinks and dessert was only 60 euros.

Day 6:

We woke on our last morning to a text from Azores Airlines saying that our return flight from Ponta Delgada to Providence would be delayed by more than six hours, but we had booked a separate flight from Horta to Ponta Delgada, so we still had to get up and out for that 9:30 am departure.  Thankfully, when we got to Ponta Delgada we were able to switch to a slightly earlier flight to Boston, rather than waiting all day for our Providence flight, and we then just rented a car at Logan to drive home.

Overall, as I mentioned, the trip was fantastic, we loved the Azores, and we were willing to deal with the obstacles thrown at us by the airline. If I were to go back, I would probably re-visit Sao Miguel, and add a stay in Terceira (one of the islands we skipped this time around). Each island has a different flavor, and it would be a shame not to sample some more 😊

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)