The 10 Portuguese Islands You Need To Know About

Updated 9 March 2020 | by Lara McComish

While our affinity for mainland Portugal knows no bounds, we implore you to explore the mystifying Portuguese islands when you next visit. With archipelagos aplenty but time of the essence, here is our round-up of the Portuguese islands you need to know about. 


1. Madeira

Madeira, Portugal

Madeira is made up of sparkling seas and luscious green mountainous peaks. The rugged coastline rests 600 kilometres off the African coast which means Cristiano Ronaldo's homeland gets to enjoy some of the best weather going. It also boasts hiking trails keen hikers could only dream of.


2. Porto Santo

Porto Santo beach, Portugal

Get the sand back between your toes by visiting Porto Santo. Just a 30-minute plane journey from Madeira, peaceful Porto Santo boasts an endless sandy stretch, which Christopher Columbus himself used to call home. Be sure to check out his house, as it is now a museum.  


3.São Miguel

Sao Miguel, Portugal

São Miguel is often referred to as the 'green island' and no prizes for guessing why. The largest of the Azores archipelagos boasts rolling hills and lush green farmland - oh, and views like this... 


4. Ilha da Culatra

Ilha da Culatra, Portugal

Hop on a ferry from Olhão or Faro and take the short trip to Ilha da Culatra. Step on dry land and you'll find quiet beaches full of understated Algarve charm. Heads up - there's a working fishing village on the island, so you can expect plenty of mouthwatering seafood plates.


5. Terceira

Terceira, Portugal

Tropical Terceira is the third largest island in the Azores but boasts the second largest population. Hunker on down to the capital of Angra do Heroísmo to see a UNESCO World Heritage Site in action. Rumour has it that the capital is also a good place to sign up for a whale watching trip...


6. Picos

Pico, Portugal

You want a peek at Picos? You'd be hard pushed to miss this soul-stirring mountain. Named after the island, Pico Mountain reaches 2,351 metres and is the highest in all of Portugal.


7. São Jorge Island

Sao Jorge Island, Portugal

São Jorge is yours for the taking. Take in the beautiful scenery and then take advantage of the copious marine activities and captivating hiking routes on offer.  


8. Tavira Island

Tavira Island, Portugal

Tavira Island is just a day trip from Tavira in the Algarve. Board the short ferry and get ready for another helping of Algarve approved golden beaches away from the crowds. 


9. Faial Island

Faial Island

Faial is a nautical hub. It boasts great swimming spots as well as ongoing university accredited oceanography studies. Fly in or get the ferry to get a glimpse at this island's beauty and geographical significance.


10. Santa Maria Island

Santa Maria, Portugal

Santa Maria in the south is the warmest of the Azores islands. It offers white beaches, caves and seriously big views. If that isn't rocking your world, the island also boasts white-knuckle activities like paragliding and windsurfing to get your pulses raising.


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