Located in the North Atlantic, 950 miles from the Portuguese mainland and 2500 miles from North America, the Azores offers stunning beaches, historical towns and charming fishing villages. Each summer, the island of Terceira hosts a celebration of its bullfighting tradition. The Tourada a Corda (literally bulls on a rope) draws thousands of tourists to the island’s UNESCO World Heritage capital of Angra do Heroísmo, witnessing nightly parades, carnivals, and a variety of bullfights. Unlike its Mexican or Spanish counterparts, Portuguese bullfighting does not involve killing the animal, and incorporates some interesting twists. Men hold back the bull which is attached by ropes, making it much safer than the famous bull runs in Pamplona.The bullfights take place every day, using temperamental bulls bred specifically for the event. Families watch safely from balconies and stands. While Dad tests his mettle with the big bulls on the streets, kids can join in the fun with young bulls on the beach. Held back with a thick rope, the young bull is prevented from trampling anyone, but kids get the thrill of facing down a beast.
Best time to visit: Bullfighting events take place May to September, but are in full swing July/August.
Worst time to visit: Winter months
Do try the abundant seafood
Don’t get too close to the bulls. Every year, reckless locals do get hurt.
Top 10 experiences to try in the Azores
1. Explore the old town of Angra do Heroismo on the island of Terceira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
2. Swim in the Furnas hot springs on the island of Sao Miguel
3. See the volcanic formations on the Água de Pau Massif on São Miguel Island
4. Go whale watching (the Azores is one of the best places in the world to see whales)
5. Escape to the remote island of Corvo
6. Enjoy fresh seafood at the coastal cafes
7. Go snorkelling or diving
8. Go canyoning on Flores, Sao Jorge or Sao Miguel
9. Trek to the peak of Mount Pico
10. Run with bulls on Terceira during the annual Tourada a Corda festival