City girl’s guide to the Azores: Accommodations

Sao Miguel. We rented a garden flat through AirBNB just outside of town which made it easy for us to get to town but less easy to get home, with the narrow hilly streets and such. As we learned throughout our travels there is no central heating or Air Conditioning in most houses. We had a small heater to keep our rather large room warm but since Azoreans are well aware of the temperature change they provide you with plenty of blankets! Also, the hot water does not last very long and you may have to wait for it to heat up before the next person can enjoy a warm shower.

We’ve also spent our last night before heading back to Toronto on Sao Miguel and for that night we stayed at the Hotel Talisman, a 4-star hotel in Ponta Delgada center. After a tiny hotel room we had in Terceira this place seemed like a much deserved loft (though the rooms are not by any means particularly large). As our flight from Santa Maria landed around 8 am we have arrived at the hotel well ahead of the standard check-in time. However, as our room was free and ready, the hotel stuff was kind enough to let us check in at 9 in the morning and everyone was very friendly, though the friendly part pretty much applies to most Azoreans. The hotel has a roof top pool and sunbathing areas, a rare benefit.

Terceira. This island was a challenge when it came to finding accommodations. We didn’t have a lot of suitable options with AirBNB (there were 4 of us at the time) so we ended up at a hotel. While looking at the hotel options hotels ranging from 2 to 4 stars seemed equally unexciting in photos and all had similarly poor ratings and comments on TripAdvisor so we went with the one that was in the city, had WiFi, and was affordable, Hotel Zenite. The WiFi kept dropping, the rooms were incredibly small, but it did the job and the staff were very helpful.

Pico. Here we, once again, went through AirBNB and rented a rural house near Santo António. We found ourselves in a two story house a walk away from the ocean. The place was very rustic with volcanic rock walls, vintage furniture, a stone oven kitchen, and a mini fireplace.

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Half of our party departed from Pico on day 3 so for our last night on the island Anna and I moved into hotel Baía da Barca, just on the outskirts of Madalena. Coming in we already had high expectations for this sustainable apartment suites resort: there was a beautiful pool on the grounds and a promise of a nice view. The promise of a nice view was an understatement, our suite looked out to the ocean through one window, where you could also clearly see the Faial island floating in the distance, and Mount Pico out of the kitchenette and living room window. Strong WiFi, cable, consistent supply of hot water, and hot tea were much appreciated in the stormy weather.

Santa Maria. As the island that was the first to be populated by people it had very limited accommodation options (even for the off season time of the year) both hotels and AirBNB. We ended up in guest house in Malbusca. Our host insisted on picking us up at the airport. The location seemed close to the beach on the map so we didn’t think it’ll be a challenge to get there. However, with only one main road on the island we circled and zig-zagged throughout the island until we got to our valley house, above the said beach, with only the mountains to look at, no cell reception or cable. Completely unplugged with a sea of stars above our roof we enjoyed a different kind of quiet and calm of nature.

More photos can be found on Flickr here and if you are on Instagram the trip was also documented with the #XOAzores hashtag. 

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