The islands of the archipelago of the Azores are located in the Atlantic Ocean and are connected with Europe thanks to the flights of the air lines TAP Portugal, Ryanair and Azores Airlines (SATA).
Air connections are frequent especially in the period between April and October when the 9 volcanic islands become a popular destination for tourism, but the number of flights is much reduced in the rest of the year.
However, to reach the Azores you have two options:
The first solution allows you to save time but especially in case of long delay or cancellation of the first flight, it offers you the guarantee to be rebooked on the next available flight.
If the cost of the flight is acceptable and the Azores are your only goal, this is probably the best solution.
The second solution, on the other hand, often allows you to save money by taking advantage of the low cost airline fares, such as Ryanair, to reach both Lisbon and one of the islands. On the other hand, you have to be careful that the two flights are far enough apart (we recommend at least 3 hours) because if the first flight to Lisbon is delayed, you risk missing the second one. Obviously, you could take advantage of this opportunity to stay a few days and visit the Portuguese capital.
The nine islands of the Azores each have a small airport (in some cases very small!) and are connected by internal flights operated exclusively by Azores Airlines, also known as SATA.
The frequency of flights changes a lot from route to route and also according to the season, so it is advisable to book your itinerary well in advance in order to organize your trips. The Azores Airlines website allows you to purchase multiple flights in one booking, making the purchase of domestic routes very easy.
Also keep in mind that not all the islands have direct connections to each of the others, in some cases it is necessary to make a short stopover (sometimes without even getting off the plane). The duration of flights, however, is always short, from 20 to 50 minutes depending on the route.
The cost of internal flights to the Azores is between 60 and 90 euros one way, except for special offers. In the price, however, is always included hold luggage, as well as hand luggage.
The airports that offer more connections are those of Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel), Horta (Faial) and Lajes (Terceira). Probably at your arrival to the Azores you will land in Sao Miguel or Terceira (they are the airports with greater connections with Lisbon) while the airport of Horta will be the landing place to visit the central islands (Fail, Pico and Sao Jorge) or the point of departure from which to take a new flight to visit Flores and Corvo, the most distant islands.
A possible alternative to the internal flights are the ferries, managed by Atlanticoline, however we feel we can only recommend those between the central islands (Faial, Pico and Sao Jorge) that are short and cheap. The others take many hours and the sea is often rough. You would risk to lose a lot of time and to get sick.
Finally, keep in mind that on many ferries you can also bring your rental car, so you could rent a single car for the 3 central islands landing and departing from the same airport.