Most of the “Praias” beaches on the Azores are of volcanic origin with ash-coloured sand. There are almost 40 beaches with the European Blue Flag for its environmental and quality standards. A unique example of the great power of Mother Nature. Discover here the top 10 stunning beaches on the Azores!
1. Praia de Santa Bárbara, São Miguel Island
One of the best beaches on the Azores is located in the rough Northern coast of São Miguel, here the waves and the currents are wild. This beach is home to one of the stages of the World Surf League. Here Azores Surf Center give surf lessons for beginners. After taking a bath, grab something to eat at TukaTulà Bar, the beach bar with beautiful oceans view.
2. Praia Formosa, Santa Maria Island
Santa Maria is the only island on the Azores who features golden sand beaches. Praia Formosa is the most famous beach on this island. There are gorgeous mountains around. The water here is warm for Atlantic Ocean standards.
3. Praia Canto do Areia, Pico Island
This is a tiny beach. It offers incredible views over Sao Jorge. It is the only sandy beach in the beautiful Pico island. Check out this video to see the beach in 360 degrees.
4. Praia do Almoxarife, Faial Island
If you go to Faial Island we recommend you this quiet, peaceful and small spot, just 5 km away from Horta. It offers stunning views over Mount Pico. This is a great choice for families or anyone looking to unwind.
5. Praia da Riviera, Terceira Island
In Terceira island, you can find this volcanic sandy beach in the Vitoria district. The spot is surrounded by bird colonies. It is a perfect place for birdwatching. Even if there are different swimming areas in the Azores with Blue Flag quality, this is the only beach with zero pollution according to a bacteriological analysis of its water.
6. Praia dos Mosteiros, São Miguel Island
On the western coast of São Miguel, you can find this beach with super dark volcanic sand. There is a colour contrast between the blue and green of the surroundings. It is also a fantastic place to watch the sunset. After a day exploring Sete Cidades come here for a relaxing end of the day.
7. Praia Fajã Grande, Flores Island
We are going to the westernmost part of the whole of Europe. Praia Fajã Grande is set amidst the volcanic rocks of Flores island between green hills. Locals and water sports lovers normally frequent this beach. Here you can do surfing, snorkelling and diving. Its waters are clean and crystal clear. They were awarded the title of “Praia Qualidade de Ouro” by “Quercus“, Portugal’s largest environmental association.
8. Fajã da Caldeira do Santo Cristo Beach, São Jorge Island
Let’s go to São Jorge island now. What is a Fajã? Fajas are small coastal plains that have been created over millennia after the lava has slid and formed the unique morphology of small volcanic lakes surrounded by swamps and vegetation in the water on the seashore. São Jorge is full of fajas. Fajã da Caldeira do Santo Cristo is the most charming. It is possible to reach it by crossing the Nature Reserve that surrounds it. There are several surf houses for surf lovers. Here you can also take the path for the Caldeira de Santo Cristo hike.
9. Praia de São Lourenço, Santa Maria Island
This bay has a semi-circular shape, which protects you from winds and rain. This is why, behind São Lourenço Bay, some characteristic terraces have been created where vines grow. You can find here perfect harmony and an ideal place to relax under the sun.
10. Porto Pim Beach, Faial Island
The Porto Pim Bay is located in a beautiful natural setting highlighted by Monte da Guia on the edge of the magnificent Bay of Porto Pim on the Island of Faial. This is the most popular sandy beach on the island. It has direct access through the centre of the city of Horta. Ideal for families with children. The bay of Porto Pim also has great historical importance, since it was here that the first settlers of the island arrived in the 15th century.
Make the best of your time on the Azores and relax on these charming volcanic beaches!
Cover image: photo by Flora Del Debbio