March 20, 2023
So you’re looking for the best places to elope in Sao Miguel Azores, eh? Look no further than here. In my lifetime, I’ve been blessed to travel to over 20 countries and I’m being 100% honest when I say that the Azores are one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever laid eyes on. Located 850 miles off the coast of Portugal, nine tiny islands sit on the North Atlantic ocean. The Azores are like a mixture of Hawai’i and Iceland with lush tropical landscapes and heavy volcanic activity. It’s rich in culture, wine, and delicious food. Make sure to look up Cozido das Furnas, it’s a volcanic dish that’s cooked by underground thermal energy. The best part of the Azores? It’s a not-so-well-known travel destination among American tourists. There are many reasons why you should elope in the Azores, but I think the landscape speaks for itself. Whether you’re looking to hike, surf, go canyoneering, hang on the beach, see a waterfall, smell the hydrangeas, or whale watching, the ways to experience Sao Miguel are endless.
Out of the nine islands, I’ve only been to Sao Miguel. This island is one of the largest and most visited. Despite feeling like a remote island chain, a direct flight from Boston is only 4 hours and 40 minutes. You can find great deals for flights on Azores Airlines and TAP. Basically what I’m saying is book 👏 that👏 flight👏 it’s time to get hitched in Sao Miguel!
This gorgeous location overlooks Lagoa do Fogo—Which means Lake of Fire in Portuguese. The overlook itself is quite contained and small but there are a few trails to walk around on that are perfect for exchanging your vows. In my humble opinion, this is one of the best places to elope in Sao Miguel.
A beautiful overlook where you can see Sete Cidades below (a gorgeous volcanic crater with twin lakes). It’s a quick walk from the pull off and you will be blessed with beautiful hydrangeas on your drive up!
This is one of my favorite overlooks on the island for a few reasons. It’s easily accessible, it overlooks the ocean, and blooming flowers decorate the landscape.
Lagoa de Fogo is a captivating volcanic lake with a bright blue pigment (Psst I already mentioned it above, but this is a different lookout point). You can easily pull off at the parking spots and walk on a trail that overlooks the lake below. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike 30 minutes down to the lake and exchange your vows there.
This is one of the most breathtaking viewpoints on the island—And that’s saying something! Located in a beautiful garden on the eastern part of Sao Miguel, the viewpoint shows off calm blue ocean water and steep green cliffs. Plus there are plenty of paths to explore and take in the flowers.
Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada is another lookout close to Ponta do Sossego. Both lookouts are on the east side of the island which means you could have a gorgeous sunrise elopement at either one of these locations.
If you’ve always wanted to get married on a black sand beach, then Mosteiros Beach is an ideal place. It’s a 45-minute drive up the coast from Ponta Delgada. It’s sort of a small beach so there’s not much room for privacy but there are opportunities to explore and climb on the black lava rocks.
Santa Barbara Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island and one of the best places to elope in Sao Miguel Azores. For surfers, this is a highly sought-after beach. It’s a bit bigger than the aforementioned Mosteiros Beach.. Just imagine surfing before you exchange your vows, there would be nothing like it! Plus there is an absolutely gorgeous resort you can stay at nearby called Santa Barbara Resort.
If you’re looking to exchange your vows next to a waterfall on your wedding day, then this is the place to be. To the bottom of Salto do Cabrito, it’s an easy walk from the parking spot. Many people book canyoneering tours here and can be seen repelling next to the waterfall.
Salto do Prego is another truly magical waterfall in Sao Miguel. It’s a moderate hike to get to this waterfall and if you want to see 2 on your elopement day you can continue the hike up to Salto do Cagarrao.
Ribeira dos Caldeirões is a Parque Natural (Nature Park) filled with waterfalls. It tends to get busy with tourists but since there are many waterfalls, you’ll be able to find your own if you’re willing to search. This is worthy of a stop on your elopement day if you’re looking to get pictures at a waterfall but don’t want to hike to get to one.
Poco Azul is a small blue pool you can hike to and swim in. It takes about an hour to hike there from the town of Achadinha. Along the way you can see Ribeira do Cachaco, a small but beautiful waterfall.
If you’re looking to hike for your elopement, then hiking Pico da Vara is a great option. It’s considered a moderately challenging route that usually takes 3 hours to complete (around 4.1 miles roundtrip). Cloud cover and rain are important things to consider with hikes in the Azores. Clear days are the best days for this hike so you can really appreciate the full 360 views from the tallest point in Sao Miguel.
First things first, the biggest difference between these two choices is that you get to either sign your marriage license at home or sign it in the Azores (Portugal). The first question I have to ask is, is that something that matters to you on your wedding day? Your answer will help dictate how you navigate these two options.
OPTION ONE: SYMBOLIC WEDDING CEREMONY IN THE AZORES
You can either get legally married in your country of origin and do a symbolic ceremony in Portugal (meaning you’ve legally signed your marriage license in the place where you live). Then it’s all legally taken care of and your elopement will still be treated like your big day. You’ll still wake up on the day of your elopement, get ready, do a first look with your spouse (if that’s your thing), go on an adventure to an epic location in the Azores, exchange personally written vows, do a traditional handfasting, seal the deal with a kiss, pop some champagne and get the best photos ever!
Pros: It’s much easier to go this route. It’ll be less of a legal/logistic nightmare to take care of it in the U.S.
Cons: You can’t say that you were “legally” married in Portugal. But who cares? If it’s a technical hang-up for you, then that’s your provocative but you can still say you eloped in The Azores because you’re choosing to acknowledge that as your special day.
OPTION TWO: OBTAIN YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE IN PORTUGAL
This option requires more legwork in regard to paperwork, but at the end of the day, you officially say you were married in the Azores. Again, you’ll wake up on the day of your elopement, get ready, do a first look with your spouse (if that’s your thing), go on an adventure to an epic location in Sao Miguel, exchange personally written vows, do a traditional handfasting, seal the deal with a kiss, sign your marriage license, pop some champagne and get the best photos ever! Okay, let’s get into the details. There are a few things that need to happen in order for your marriage to be signed, sealed, and delivered.
In order to get your marriage license in Portugal, you must apply within 6 months of your wedding day and it can take up to 6 weeks to process. You’ll need to go to the Civil Registry Office. Bring your birth certificate and passport (you’ll need to get all your documents translated into Portuguese). The fee for marriage registration is $130 USD.
You can either have a civil or religious ceremony. Both of which will be conducted in Portuguese (meaning you might want to hire a translator if you aren’t fluent in it).
In order to fully understand how to legally elope in the Azores, I recommend doing your own research. After all, I’m not a lawyer and this is in no way legal advice. 🙂
Renting a car is essential for getting around Sao Miguel. The island is very small so you won’t have to drive very far to get anywhere. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore and see the sights on your timeline. If you don’t know how to drive manually, it’s important to book your automatic car rental WAY in advance as there are a limited amount of automatic vehicles on the island.
The best time to elope in Sao Miguel is in the summertime and early fall. The most ideal weather and temperatures are between the months of June to September. The Azores are a lush and tropical chain of islands so you can expect rain at any time you’re there.
There you have it, the best places to elope in Sao Miguel Azores. Ready to adventure? If you want more Azores inspiration, check out this Lagoa do Fogo Elopement Blog.
My Azores packages start at $4,500 and include:
Our first experience working with Alisha was on an elopement styled shoot. I knew from that day on she was going to be the photographer to capture our wedding day. Alisha said "yes" to absolutely every crazy idea and vision I had for our wedding day. She literally hiked miles and woke up before the sun to make it happen. Alisha is completely in her element when photographing, she knows how direct a shoot without being bossy, she captures every angle without being in the way and doesn't make you feel like you're even behind the camera. Alisha pours her entire self into every shoot she does, she doesn't stop until everything is perfect. It put me at ease knowing Alisha was paying such close attention to detail when it came to the location scouting and capturing every single photo imaginable. Working with Alisha was a breeze, she's communicative, fast and detail oriented. Not to mention, an incredible photographer. We were blown away when we got our wedding gallery within a month of our wedding, with over 700 beautiful photos. Our families cried happy tears all over again reliving those memories. If you're wondering, "is it worth it?" The answer is 100% ABSOLUTELY yes, hire Alisha, you won't regret it.
— Katie & Kevin
We absolutely love Alisha! She gave us the best photos EVER! She planned everything to the smallest detail. It was so easy and she made sure we had everything we were looking for. My husband and I even flew back to get wedding photos done! Alisha braved the cold winter for us. We are so thankful to have memories in the best photos ever. I can’t say enough about her. Not only is she an AMAZING photographer but such a good person! We will definitely be having plenty more sessions in our lifetime :)
— danielle & Xavier
My fiancé and I could not feel more fortunate to have crossed paths with Alisha while searching for a photographer for our engagement shoot. Let me tell you, this girl is a GEM. I talked to at least 50 photographers during my search and Alisha is the only one that I felt truly cared about what we wanted. We met up at sunrise on the day of our shoot and I can truly say that it was a flawless experience! My fiancé and I were exhausted and nervous, but immediately upon meeting Alisha, we felt comfortable and excited. Her positive energy is contagious. I tend to be awkward and never know what to do with my hands, but she was so patient and guided us every step of the way, giving us prompts and making us laugh the entire time. It felt like we were leaving the shoot with a new friend. WE ARE OBSESSED WITH OUR PHOTOS. In short, Alisha 10000000% exceeded my very high expectations. She’s incredibly talented, creative, caring and personable. You can tell she has a huge heart and is passionate about what she does.
— LAUREN & NIK
Alisha is the consummate photographer that you want capturing your special day. We used her (twice!) for engagement photos and she was the first we asked to be our wedding photographer. From the moment we engaged her for the big day, she was all about us. From a welcome care package that frankly knew us almost better than we knew us, to her wedding guides, assistance in finding other vendors, and of course her amazing skill behind the camera Alisha was the perfect choice for our wedding photography. On the day of the big event she took great photos and had creative ideas for shoots in and around the venue. She’s given us keepsakes that we are thrilled to treasure forever and proud to frame and hang on the wall. Book her now.
— COLTON & YVETTE
Where do I even start!? Alisha was an absolute dream to work with!!! She was so flexible with us and our last-minute cancellation due to covid. We had originally planned to meet her in Vegas for our anniversary shoot in March and we ended up canceling our trip a week out due to the virus. She was so understanding and even offered to refund our deposit. We knew we still absolutely wanted to shoot with her so we scheduled another trip to Colorado this time and she met us there for an amazing sunrise shoot at Great Sand Dunes Natl Park. The whole experience was incredible and Alisha was so amazing and personable, we felt like we had left and made a new friend! She sent us sooo many sneak peeks just a few days after the shoot and Then probably 100 more photos a few weeks later. They were absolutely stunning. She is easily one of the best humans I’ve ever met and not to mention an extremely talented photographer with a clear passion for her clients and her work! We can’t wait to shoot with her again!
— MIA & FERMIN
I have never done a couples shoot but I fell in love with Alisha's work on social media. I was beyond ecstatic when I found out she was traveling to Minnesota. Where do I begin? From the moment I spoke with Alisha, she easily made me feel comfortable and confident. She responded back to my questions and concerns within a timely manner and was easily accessible. Her talent and passion for photography is truly admirable! It’s so evident that she genuinely cares about each and every couple that she works with. Alisha has a gift for detail and seeing things differently than everyone else. She took some breathtaking pictures that will always have a special place in my heart! Alisha doesn't just take photographs, she creates beautiful works of art that don’t just capture smiles but our souls, and to be a part of her art is an absolute honor. Not only is her work stunning, but she is a great person to be around. She is professional, patient and outgoing and I cannot wait to book with her again! Thanks for the memories, laughs and for creating such an enjoyable experience.
— Miriam & Jaime
Alisha was super professional and friendly throughout the entire process of our engagement shoot. I was super indecisive on where to have our shoot and she gave me multiple choices. She even went to the spot before hand to scope it out for us. My fiancé hates getting pictures taken but he loved natural and fun our experience was. Alisha made us our own playlist to listen to throughout the shoot which made both of us feel super comfortable. We ended having our shoot in Breckenridge and made a weekend out of it. Honestly, one of the most rememberable and amazing weekends we could ask for. Alisha communicated with us throughout everything and was SO fast getting our sneak peak photos and album to us. She even sent us a little gift that we appreciated SO SO much. I would highly recommend Alisha for any photography session whether its an adventure shoot or a wedding. She made everything perfect! 10/10 recommend :)
— GRACE & JAKE
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