Azores beaches are usually characterised by black sand, deriving from the erosion of the lava basalt of the archipelago, which adds a magic contrast between the white foam of the sea and the blue color of its waters.
The island of Santa Maria is home to some beautiful white sand beaches nestled among the rocks of its small bays. The temperature of the water is mild all year long thanks to the action of the Current of the Gulf; keep in mind though that the temperatures of the ocean can’t be compared to the ones of the Mediterranean.
The beaches of the Azores offer some of the world’s best conditions to practice surf, windsurf, and kitesurf. Diving is also a great experience to discover the beautiful and colourful marine fauna living in the waters of these islands. Here come some of the best beaches of the archipelago.
Praia Formosa, located on the island of Santa Maria, is characterised by calm, crystal clear, and mild waters. The white sand creates a strong contrast with the nearby volcanic black sand beaches. These peculiarities, combined with the tranquillity of the place, turn Praia Formosa into the most popular beach of the Azores.
In order to live your experience fully, you can climb up to the Miradouro da Macela and spend some minutes observing the incredible landscape around you. The Festival Maré de Agosto, one of the oldest festivals of the islands, has been taking place here for the last 25 years.
Praia da Fajã Grande, located on Flores island and hidden among the rocks of volcanic origins, is the most popular place among the residents of the island; it is also a very popular destination among surfers and divers.
This area is also a real paradise for trekking lovers who will be surrounded by a spectacular landscape. Thanks to the clearness of its waters, this beach was recognised as Praia Qualidade de Ouro by Quercus, the biggest environmentalist association of Portugal.
The little island of Vila Franca, located just 1 kilometre from the island of São Miguel, is by far one of the most peculiar islands of the Azores. Swimming in the crater of an active volcano is one of the most charming experiences to do during your holiday.
This area was declared Natural Reserve; inside the crater there is a natural pool with very clean waters, making this volcano the perfect place for a swim.
The beach of Fajã da Caldeira do Santo Cristo, located on São Jorge island, is one of the best beaches of the Azores. The fajas are small coastal plains created by the slipping of the earth or the lave. On the island of São Jorge there are more than 40 of them, and that is why the island is often called “the island of the Fajãs”.
The most beautiful one is Caldeira de Santo Cristo, which was recognised as a Natural Reserve due to the importance of its flora and fauna. The access to this beach is not easy, it takes some time and some effort, which is not totally worth by the beauty of the landscape.
Praia dos Biscoitos, located on Terceira island, is made of one of the most beautiful natural pools ever shaped by the rocks. It is the result of old volcanic eruptions. Protected from the sea, these pools are perfect to swim or enjoy some sunbathing on the rocks.
You can also visit the nearby Museu do Vinho de Biscoitos and taste some wines from the region.
Praia da Ribeira Quente is located on São Miguel island. If you can’t stand the idea of diving into cold waters, you will love this beach characterised by underwater thermal springs. The temperature of the water of the beach of Ribeira Quente will make you feel like you never want to leave.
The beach provides several services such as: showers, toilets, parking. It is also known as Praia do Gogo or Praia dos Saltinhosb, considering that at some point the water can be so hot that it makes you jump.
Baía de São Lourenço is located in the northern-eastern area of Santa Maria; it has a semi circular shape and behind it there are some terracing for local wine production.
The shape of the bay is designed to protect it from the wind and the rain; for this reason it is a great place where to enjoy some relax. It is not a coincidence indeed if it is one of the best beaches of the Azores.
In the southern area of the bay there is the Romeiro islet, where you will find a cave that can only be reached by boat and which is home to the only endemic mammal of the Azores, the Azores Noctule.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article