Azores VS Canary Islands: Find Your Perfect Atlantic Getaway

Azores and Canary Islands are great options for a vacation but there are a few differences

  • Azores is part of Portugal whereas the Canary Islands is part of Spain
  • Canary Islands is more well-connected than Azores in terms of public transportation
  • There are more hotels in the Canary Islands
  • Azores offer a more volcanic vibe with tea plantations whereas Canary Islands offer more beaches
  • Azores is less pricier than Canary Islands

To get an even better idea of these two archipelagos, keep reading this article. 

Azores VS Canary Islands: Quick Comparison

The table below shows a quick distinction between the Azores and the Canary Islands. 

FactorsAzoresCanary Islands
LocationPortugalSpain
Accommodation400 hotels1500 hotels
Things to doHiking, Relaxation in Hot SpringWater Sports, Visiting Animal Park
Delicacies to TryCozido das Furna, Tea, Local CheesePapas Arrugadas,Ropa Vieja Canaria
Pricing$89 per night (hotel)$128 per night (hotel)

Azores VS Canary Islands: Detailed Comparison

Location

Both the Azores and the Canary Islands are part of the Macaronesian archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean. However, the Azores is about 950 miles off the coast of Portugal whereas the Canary Islands is only about 65 miles off the Moroccan coast. 

Picture shows Azores island view in the backdrop of ocean
Azores island

Azores is an autonomous region of Portugal with nine volcanic islands, the biggest of which is the São Miguel Island. If you want to get to the Azores, then there are regular flights from Porto, Lisbon, Frankfurt, and London.

If you are flying from the US, you can get on one of the frequent flights from Boston or New York by Azores Airlines and United, directly to the João Paulo II Airport on the island of São Miguel. 

The Canary Islands is also an autonomous region of Spain with seven main islands. Among which Tenerife is the largest and most populated island. 

Canary island is shown in the picture while comparing it against azores for a perfect travel

You will have plenty of options with regular flights to the archipelago with direct flights from London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Zurich, and Doha offered by British Airways, Air Europa, Iberia, Lufthansa, and Qatar Airways. 

However, keep in mind that there are five international airports in the Canary Islands, among which the busiest is the Gran Canaria Airport (LPA). So, you have plenty of options to visit the island. 

Public Transportation

The Canary Islands offers better transportation facilities in comparison to the Azores due to its wider network of roads and more options. You can hop on a bus or taxi anytime and reach your destination. However, a rental car is a popular mode to get around in both of these archipelago.

Getting around in the Azores can involve using public transportation like buses and taxis, but it’s essential to note that the availability and coverage might be limited, particularly on the smaller islands.

On the other hand, the Canary Islands boast a well-established public transportation system. This includes buses and trams, making it convenient for travelers to access various attractions and towns across the islands. 

Accommodation

The Canary Islands has about 1500 hotels in the entire archipelago in comparison to about 400 of the Azores. However, whether you are a young traveler on a budget or having a family trip, both of these places have the right choices for you. 

The following table shows some of the best options for all types of tourists in both these islands

Type of TouristAzoresCanary Islands
Young on a BudgetAzor Hotel [São Miguel Island]Seaside Palm Beach [Gran Canaria]
Couple Terra Nostra Garden Hotel [São Miguel Island]The Royal Hideaway Corales Beach [Tenerife]
FamilyAldeia da Fonte Hotel [Pico Island]Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort [Lanzarote]

Things to do

Azores is well known for its volcanic landscape, tea plantations, and hot springs whereas the Canary Islands has great choices of beaches, wildlife parks, and water sports. However, if you are looking for a great time, both Azores and Canary Islands are perfect with their options from whale watching to hiking. 

Azores

You can hike to Lagoa do Fogo, a stunning lake surrounded by beautiful views, and also explore Caldeira das Furnas, where unique thermal pools and hot springs in a volcanic crater await your exploration.

Picture show the view of Lagoa do Fogo, Azores island while comparing it against Canary islands
Lagoa do Fogo, Azores island

You can also visit the Parque Terra Nostra, a peaceful spot with a thermal pool and enchanting gardens. Explore Algar do Carvao, a captivating lava cave with a unique history that reveals the secrets of the island’s whaling past.

There is also a boat tour for whale and dolphin watching, a breathtaking experience to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. And for tea enthusiasts, make sure to visit the local plantations on Sao Miguel to savor the unique flavors of Azorean tea.

The best island in Azores to discover is Flores. Here is a great guide by Ana who is from Portugal and has explored the island in detail.

Canary Islands

When it comes to the Canary Islands, there are some beaches you should try. Start by enjoying the pristine beaches like Playa de las Canteras in Gran Canaria and Playa de Las Teresitas in Tenerife. 

Canary Island view is shown in the picture
Canary Islands

These beaches are known for their beautiful scenery and clear waters. When on the beaches of the island try out water sports, such as surfing, diving, and swimming, and discover the vibrant marine life surrounding the Canary Islands.

For a different experience, visit Siam Park in Tenerife, a water park with thrilling rides and relaxing river floats. If you are into animals, explore Loro Parque, an animal park in Tenerife, featuring exotic birds and marine life, perfect for wildlife enthusiasts.

You should also explore the Jameos del Agua cave in Lanzarote, showcasing geothermal wonders and breathtaking natural formations. There is also a boat tour for whale and dolphin watching, a magical experience to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Bonus: Going for a honeymoon? Check out this comparison between Spain and Italy

Dining and Restaurant

Due to the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, both the Azores and the Canary Islands have excellent options for seafood. However, with the Azores you can go cheese and wine tasting. Canary Islands offers its unique blend of Canarian stew and delicacies. 

Renowned for its unique flavor, try the delicious local cheese from São Jorge in the Azores. You can also treat yourself to the freshness of Azorean seafood by exploring dishes like tuna steak and lapas, which are mollusks similar to clams.

When in Azores, go for the unique tea produced in the region and savor its distinct flavors. It’s a treat for tea enthusiasts and those looking for a tranquil escape. Finally, immerse yourself in the local culture by trying Cozido das Furnas, a traditional dish cooked in a volcanic crater. 

The Canary Islands is also not short of delicacies. You must try Papas Arrugadas, which is an amazing starter with Ropa Vieja Canaria, the famous Canarian stew featuring a mix of chickpeas, meat, and vegetables. It’s a comforting and hearty dish that reflects the island’s culinary heritage.

Finally, take a sip of the Canary Islands’ unique volcanic wines, celebrated for their distinct flavors. 

Bonus: Find out what to choose between Skiathos and Crete

Pricing

Canary Islands has a slightly higher cost per night in comparison Azores. On average, you have to spend $89 per night for a hotel in the Azores but in the Canary Islands, this price goes up to $128 per night. 

Although the overall pricing depends on the experience you tend to have. However, for a 3-day stay at a 4-star hotel with fun activities and local delicacies, you will spend slightly more in the Canary Islands. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Azores and Canary Islands are amazing destinations to visit in the Atlantic. If you are planning on your next fascinating getaway then don’t delay anymore, book a ticket and head over to the airport now. 

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