Map from Google - Azores
The Azorean climate is very mild
, being subtropical oceanic, cool or mild for many months and pleasantly warm in summer: therefore it is not a tropical paradise. The Azores archipelago, which is a Portuguese autonomous region, is located in the Atlantic Ocean at the same latitude of the Mediterranean Sea, but the influence of the ocean makes the climate even milder, especially in summer which is cooler.
In fact, the winter temperatures range from 11/12 °C at night to 15/16 °C during the day, while in summer, they range from 17/20 °C at night to 24/26 °C during the day. From month to month the Azores temperatures vary slowly, so the maxima exceed 20 °C only from June to October. The highest temperatures in the Azores are not impressive: they rarely reach 30 °C even in summer. On the other hand, the temperatures rarely drop below 7/8 °C in winter.
Here are the average temperatures of Ponta Delgada, in the island of São Miguel.
Average temperatures - Ponta Delgada
Azores gave their name to the famous anticyclone (high pressure area) that brings fine weather on Western Europe and the Mediterranean (Azores High), however in these islands the weather is not always sunny. In fact, during autumn and winter, the rains are frequent
, and in the north-western islands they are also abundant.
The abundance of rain makes the landscape green and flowery; the flowers bloom mainly in spring and paint the landscape, as evidenced by the name of the westernmost island, the very rainy Flores ("flowers").
Here is the average precipitation of Santa Cruz, in the island of Flores.
Average precipitation - Santa Cruz
The rainfall doesn't reach 800 millimetres in a year in the island of Santa Maria (the southeasternmost island), it's just above this value in Santa Barbara, while it exceeds 1,000 mm in the other islands. In the summer months, from June to August, the rains are a bit more rare and less abundant, but they still occur for 5/7 days per month on average.
Here is the average rainfall of Ponta Delgada, in the southeastern island of São Miguel.
Average precipitation - Ponta Delgada
The amount of sunshine
in the Azores is not abundant, especially in the period from October to April, when the skies are often cloudy. Besides, there's no shortage of wind storms in the period from November to March.
Some of the islands are covered by hills or mountains. The highest peak is Mount Pico, a volcano, 2,351 metres high, in the island of Pico. The slopes of the mountain are often covered by clouds, and are very rainy, while the peak can be covered by snow in winter and spring.
For swimming, the ocean is a bit cool in summer, but still acceptable, at least for those who are not sensitive to cold: the water temperature is 22 °C in July, and 23 °C in August and September.
Sea temperature - Ponta Delgada
When to go
The best time to visit the Azores is summer, from July to August
, which is the warmest and sunniest; having an oceanic climate, the Azores experience a delay in the sea warming, which affects the air temperature as well, so that September is warmer than June, and from the point of view of temperatures it is still a summer month, even though the rains become a bit more frequent. In July and August, the temperatures are pleasant, the sunshine amount acceptable, the rains not very frequent, while June is a bit cooler and more cloudy.
What to pack
In winter: spring/autumn clothes, sweater, jacket, raincoat.
In summer: light clothing, but also a sweatshirt or sweater, light scarf for the wind, light jacket, raincoat or umbrella.