Is coming to the Azores in May a good idea? How is the weather in the Azores in May and what is there to do? What is the best time to come to the Azores? In this post, we will see if May is really a good time to come to our Atlantic islands. So if you are planning your holidays in our archipelago, keep reading!
May is in the middle of Springtime, which means the grey winter days have passed and flowers are beginning to bloom in the nine islands. We start to receive more travelers, and the days keep on getting longer for more outdoor adventures.
Despite the fact that the Azores are a great destination all year round, let’s talk about the islands and the weather in May. Let’s help you organize your best holidays with this complete guide to the Azores islands in May.
How is the weather in the Azores in May
The weather in the Azores in May is relatively good, across all islands. As the year goes by, the weather starts to get brighter. Indeed, in May it is expected to have about 8 hours of daily sunshine.
Did you know that May is one of the sunniest months in the Azores? Only July and August have more daily hours of sunshine so the weather in the Azores in May allows plenty of fine days to be had on the islands.
We can expect about 56mm of precipitation over 8 days in the whole month. So rain is quite moderate and only appears for temporary showers. Rain is rarer than in the previous months.
Despite the fact that there are more dry days than wet ones in May, the Azores always have rainy days due to our location in the middle of the huge Atlantic ocean. Humidity in May is about 76%, but keep in mind that the archipelago is very humid all year round.
The cloud cover is also getting lighter in May. In fact, the median cloud cover is about 47% with only a 13% chance of having a cloudy day during the month.
The wind is also decreasing with gentle breezes from time to time. The speed of the wind usually varies from 15 to 16km/h.
Warm days are coming in May in the Azores! Summer is almost here and the days are getting more comfortable, no need for a big coat.
May is a very nice time in the Azores. The mild climate makes it not too warm and not cold either.
Temperatures can range from a minimum of 13°C (55°F) – mostly at night – to a maximum of 19°C (66°F). The average daily temperature is 16°C (61°F).
The fourth week of May is usually the hottest of the month. The warmest day ever recorded in May was in 1990 at 23°C (73°F)
In May, the water temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean finally start to increase. As it was blocked to 17°C (62°F) for the last four months, now it is 18°C (64°F).
In June, the temperatures will rise to 20°C (68°F), which means that already in late May, the sea gets warmer than 18°C.
All year round, people take a dip in the countless natural pools and black sand beaches around the nine islands. But May is definitely a good time with ideal temperatures to go swimming with wild dolphins, snorkeling, diving, or really any water sport.
Sunrise and Sunset Times
Days in May are getting longer. Indeed, the length of the day is increasing throughout the month by 51 minutes. The average daylight hours in May is 14.
The shortest day of May in the Azores is the first day of the month with 13 hours and 43 minutes of daylight. On that day, the sun will rise at 6:49 AM and set at 8:32 PM.
On the other hand, the longest day – May 31st – offers 14 hours and 24 minutes of daylight. The sunrise is at 6:24 AM and the sunset is at 8:58 PM.
The number of sun hours is quite important for travelers as it means more time to experience outdoor adventures and tour around the islands. But there are still many things to do at night in the Azores!
If you want to watch the sunrise, be ready to wake up early! But the views are so worth it. In São Miguel, you need to go to Nordeste for the most epic sunrise. Many locals and travelers go there to watch the beautiful colors of the sun rising above the ocean.
Sunset lovers will love Mosteiros, also in São Miguel. Take some food and enjoy a good meal in the free barbecue areas along the coast as the sun is saying goodbye.
If you love a challenge, then both sunrise and sunset are amazing from the top of Pico Mountain, on the island of the same name. This is the highest peak in Portugal – at 2,351m above sea level – and you can camp in the crater for a wonderful night under the stars.
Nature in May
When thinking of the Azores, some people might think of the famous hortensias filling the streets with their beautiful deep blue color. In May, you can already start to see some of them, although not fully bloomed.
The winter rain brings lots of flowers and the well-known green scenery of the island. Now that spring has begun, the fields are beginning to look like live paintings.
In the ocean, there is rich wildlife passing by in May. Indeed, it is still the baleen whale season!
From March to June, the biggest whales in the world migrate and on their way lies our beautiful archipelago full of delicious food for them. So you can see the biggest animal in the world – the blue whale – and its cousins Sei whale and the fin whale.
What to do in the Azores in May
May in the Azores offers plenty of beautiful sunny days to explore the islands. You can visit by foot and discover lots of hiking trails leading to surreal landscapes. Or rent a bike and discover on your own the magical sceneries of the Azores.
There is also the possibility to visit by Van or Jeep for the ones who prefer a comfortable guided adventure. Enjoy longer days to do some island hopping and visit more than one island! All nine of them are beautiful in their own way.
On the coast, you can simply relax at the beach and work on your tan. If you can’t stay still on the sand, then take your mask and snorkel and go snorkeling in the natural pools surrounded by lava rocks. On rainy days, enjoy the different hot springs.
More adrenaline? There are plenty of extreme sports to experience in the Azores. For instance, paragliding from some of the most beautiful places on São Miguel island, like Lagoa do Fogo. Or surfing the challenging waves of Santa Barbara beach. Also, jumping from cliffs and rappelling down charming waterfalls with coasteering and canyoning. You choose your adventure!
Whale and dolphin watching in May
Whale and dolphin watching in the Azores in May is a great idea! You can observe the gentle giants with Futurismo from 2 islands: São Miguel and Pico. Indeed, our biologists start the season in April on the mountain island, with a robust speed boat. On São Miguel, you also have the catamaran option for a comfortable trip.
From March to June in the Azores, it is possible to see the biggest animals in the world passing by during their annual migration. It is a great time to go see cetaceans. Did you know that the blue whale can reach up to 33 meters?
Even if you are coming to the Azores outside of this season, you can spot whales all year round as we have our iconic sperm whale. In addition to this species, we have 3 dolphin species to be seen every month of the year:
Join us for incredible adventures in the Atlantic ocean. If you do not see any whales or dolphins, we will offer you another trip for free! It is worth a try!
It is also possible to do a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Azores in May. You can swim with wild dolphins in the open ocean. That is definitely something you will never forget. You do not want to miss this unique opportunity to meet 100% free dolphins.
Hiking in May in the Azores
In May you will have plenty of opportunities to go for a hike thanks to sunny days. It is the perfect time to go hiking as it is not too hot and not cold either.
You can go on your own or decide to go on a guided tour with our knowledgeable and friendly guides. Locals can show you secret spots and also take you to the most wonderful landscapes around.
Hiking is a way to see some of the most beautiful hidden gems of the nine islands. Many waterfalls, lakes, and mountains are only accessible by foot.
At the end of the trails, you can always relax your muscles at the hot springs on São Miguel island, or at the beach and natural pools all around the other islands.
If you want a bigger challenge, climb the highest points of the island you are visiting. For instance, there are many trails passing by Pico da Esperança in São Jorge island, or also Pico da Vara in São Miguel.
RELATED TOUR Hiking tour to the top of Pico da Vara | Book Now!
Local events in May
Azoreans are really attached to their traditions and culture. There are two main events in May that truly show this.
Dia dos Maios
On the first day of May, for International Workers’ Day, there is a very old tradition that persisted through the years in the Azores. It is called ‘Dia dos Maios’.
A Maio is a handcrafted doll representing people in everyday life. Locals use old materials like rags and they came out very different according to their creativity and imagination.
During the national holiday, kids and their families build dolls that represent local activities and professions like fishermen, farmers, pilgrims, and much more. Through the dolls, people can also decide to project criticism with humor, representing members of society. There are even contests in the different parishes to determine which doll is the best one.
It is believed that the first settlers came with this idea to bring luck to the harvests.
Once the dolls are ready, they are exposed in the streets or on balconies. The tradition is mostly present in São Miguel, Santa Maria, São Jorge, Terceira, and Graciosa islands.
May is also the time for the biggest religious festival in the Azores, and the second biggest in Portugal: Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres. Every year, Ponta Delgada turns into a very crowded city as thousands of Azoreans emigrants from all around the world including the US and Canada come back to their island to celebrate with family and friends. Also, many Azoreans from the other 8 islands will come at that time of the year, especially for this event.
Santo Cristo festival is on the fifth Sunday after Easter. It is a great time to visit the Azores and mingle with locals. There is live music, food trucks to taste the Azorean gastronomy, and even a fair. The streets are decorated and illuminated, a great scenery for memorable pictures.
This celebration is all about a wooden relic found in the 17th century. It is believed that it performs miracles. And to thank the Lord, people come for a big procession around the city and also prove their faith by walking on their knees around São Francisco square, in Ponta Delgada.
Even for non-religious people, the days of Santo Cristo are fun to be around.
What to wear in the Azores in May
In May thanks to the mild climate you can wear t-shirts and shorts. However, as the weather in the Azores is very unstable, we always recommend packing a pair of jeans and a waterproof jacket. At night, temperatures are lower so don’t forget a light sweater as well.
The best thing you can do regarding clothing in the Azores is to wear layers. So that, when you are outside, you can take off layers and put them back when needed.
We always say that the archipelago sees the 4 seasons in only one day. And we can confirm that it is 100% true. You can enjoy a nice sunny day and suddenly get wet from the rain. Then the wind will dry you up and the sun can shine again, all within a time-lapse of 1 hour. Also, from the coast to the countryside the weather can be very different.
Last but not least, don’t forget your swimsuit for the beach and natural pools, but also for the hot springs. We recommend all colors but white as the iron in the springs can turn the fabric orange.
Best time to go to the Azores
May is a great time to visit the islands of the Azores. In terms of weather in the Azores in May, you can expect less rain and wind than in many other months. There is a higher chance of sunny days. The days are getting longer which gives you more time to visit the beautiful landscapes in our nine islands.
Also in terms of tourism, May is ideal to visit even the biggest city in the archipelago. Travelers begin to come in higher numbers around June, the peaks being in July and August. So, in May, you can still have the most popular places with few people. However, there will be more tourists than in the wintertime.
May is definitely one of the best months of the year to travel to the Azores. However, the islands are a paradise all year round with acceptable temperatures ranging from 15ºC to 25ºC (59-77ºF). Every month is unique and offers a different kind of experience.
Let’s break it down to the 4 seasons and discover which one is your best time to visit the Azores.
São Miguel island is a hot springs wonderland in the wintertime. There are five hot springs to explore:
- Ferraria, the volcanic spring in the ocean
- Terra Nostra Park, the famous yellow pool in a botanical garden
- Dona Beija, the romantic hot waters open at night
- Caldeira Velha, a relaxing experience in the jungle
- Caldeiras in Ribeira Grande, the intimate pools.
Another good point about winter is the fact that popular places are often empty or with very few people. What a privilege to be alone in the most beautiful viewpoints and landscapes.
For travelers on a budget, the low season is the perfect time to come to the Azores. Accommodations are usually cheaper from October to May. There is also no need to book far in advance so the Azores in winter is great for a spontaneous trip.
Also note that even in the wintertime, the temperatures in the Azores are rather warm in comparison to the European mainland and most parts of North America. It doesn’t snow here, except for the top of Pico Mountain, the highest peak in Portugal.
Springtime is ideal to visit the Azores as the weather is slowly turning warmer and sunnier. Flowers are blooming making the landscapes look like paintings. You can see more people on the beaches enjoying the water temperatures getting hotter.
Inside the water, the biggest whales in the world are passing by from March to June. If you go whale watching, you have greater chances to see the huge animals that pass by during their migration. However, remember that we see whales every month of the year.
You can also experience many events in May with live music and mingle with locals. Among them is Santo Cristo in São Miguel island in May, Sanjoaninas in June on Terceira island, and much more!
Spring is a great time for outdoor adventures and there are so many of them to enjoy in the Azores. Choose between hiking, canyoning, swimming with dolphins, kayaking, and basically all you can think of.
Spending summertime in the Azores is an absolute blast. The islands are the best place to go to have your greatest summer of all time. There are so many things to do and events to go to.
There are many things that can only be done in the summertime.
First of all, July and August are the time when you can see all the famous hortensias along the roads. It is such an instagrammable landscape!
For the ones who love a farniente vacation to get tanned on the beach and simply relax, then summer is the best time to visit the Azores. Namely, on Pico island, you can find the most extensive variety of natural pools where sunbathing and snorkeling are very popular.
If you love going out at night, then the summertime is the best season to enjoy a variety of concerts and events in bars and clubs. Terceira is famous for being the party island where you can easily find a great place to have drinks and dance.
Some people might opt to travel in another season as, during the summertime, many tourists come to the Azores. Some places can get easily crowded in the summer, mostly in July and August.
The landscapes of the Azores and the light of the fall season is a particular vibe, creating dramatic and picturesque scenes. As the vegetation turns brown and the clouds get lower, the misty islands are mysterious and still attract many travelers from all over the world.
Temperatures are still very good to walk around and explore the islands on foot. Also, the ocean temperature is at its highest so you can enjoy a swim at the beaches.
During fall, there could be some more wind as most storms happen between September to November. However, what a great time to enjoy the hot springs on cloudy days.
Useful Tools & Apps
As previously mentioned, the Azores have 4 seasons in a day. That is where this revolutionary website comes really handy. It is called SpotAzores and it allows you to watch the live weather in many places around the islands thanks to cameras. Avoid a road trip for nothing and check the cameras before you go to the main attractions.
For a longer-term weather forecast, Windguru can be used as it is one of the most accurate. However, bear in mind that the weather can change very quickly.
If you really want to follow the Santo Cristo festival but can’t make it to the Azores, it is possible to watch the event with the live transmission on RTP. The government of the Azores website also provides it streamed online to see the procession from home.
So as you could have understood through this article, May is a great time to go to the Azores and offers many advantages. In terms of weather and visitors, May is globally a good month to come.
The weather in May in the Azores is great as the temperatures are rising and the sun is shining brighter. The winter months seem far away with their greyness and rainy days.
Now that you know that you are good to go in May to the Azores, you just need to pick which island you want to visit!