A round-up of the best upcoming festivals and events in the Azores

Beautiful, dramatic, with design-conscious places to stay and eat, thermal pools in lush forests, and great, sweeping beaches, the Azores are nine volcanic islands some 900 miles from the coast of Portugal

From religious festivities and international gastronomy festivals, world-class cliff diving events and trail runs, there is so much to see and do in the Azores.

Here is a round-up of key events.

Festas do Espírito Santo, May to October

These folkloric, religious-themed festivities take place across all nine islands from 1st May to 1st October. Inspired by the long-standing Azorean devotion to the Holy Trinity, the events include colourful parades and traditional music concerts being held throughout the main cities of the Azores.

For more information: www.visitazores.com/en/calendar/8030

Azores Trail Run, 25th-26th May

The Azores Trail Run is a world-famous sporting event comprised of several trail running races on the island of Faial and a Skyrunning event in the Vertical Kilometer discipline, a vertical trail running discipline, taking place on the island of Pico. Conceived for trail running enthusiasts of all ages, families are invited to take part in the competitions. The Azores Trail Run offers five races: Whalers Great Route Ultra-Trail, Ultra Blue Island, Marathon Faial’s Coast to Coast, 10 Volcanoes Trail and Mini Family Trail. Providing a stunning natural backdrop to the races, the Trail Run circuits spread across the beautiful Faial Nature Park, selected to be part of The European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) network by the European Commission thanks to its sustainability efforts.

For more information: www.azorestrailrun.com

The 10 Fest, 21st-30th June

The international gastronomy festival 10 Fest takes place in Ponta Delgada, capital of São Miguel, the last week of June. Over 10 days, 10 renowned international chefs from England, Spain, Portugal, France, Denmark, America and Canada serve up their interpretations of modern Azorean cuisine making 10 Fest the biggest gastronomy festival in the Azores, and one of the most important in Portugal. Using only fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and partnering with the students from São Miguel’s School of Tourism and Hospitality to organise the event, this festival is a true celebration of all things foodie in the Azores.

For more information: www.visitazores.com/en/calendar/3972

Sanjoaninas, 22nd June to 1st July

Taking place in the unique, UNESCO World Heritage site of Angra do Heroísmo, the capital of Terceira, the popular culture and music festival of Sanjoaninas dates back to the XVI century and is the region’s biggest popular festival. Visitors can expect 10 days of street performances, theatre and dancing while the city fills with live music, epic parades, fireworks and bullfighting competitions.

For more information: www.visitazores.com/en/calendar/7982

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, 14th July

Visitors wanting to combine adrenaline and wild natural landscapes can witness international athletes jumping off vertiginously high cliffs straight in the deep blue Atlantic Ocean at the breathtaking Vila Franca do Campo, an islet offshore São Miguel Island. For the sixth consecutive year, a selected crop of world class cliff divers will gather to participate in the second stop of the 2018 International Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. With competitors leaping directly from perilous rocks high above the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is one that guarantees spectacular action. Classified as a Nature Reserve, the islet located in front of Vila Franca do Campo (about 1km from the coast) is home to many species of birds, crustaceans and flora and is formed from the remains of a collapsed underwater volcano.

For more information: www.visitazores.com/en/calendar/8213

New flight routes

Following Ryanair’s recent additional investment into Manchester Airport, a new summer 2018 weekly route to Ponta Delgada, the capital of São Miguel, has been announced. Ryanair has stepped up its presence at Manchester airport, confirming 10 new routes for this summer, including a link to The Azores. Ryanair will fly from Manchester to Ponta Delgada every Thursday from June to October 2018, an addition to its year-round London Stansted – Ponta Delgada route.

The seasonal Azores Airlines’ London Gatwick – Ponta Delgada weekly direct route returned on May 4 to October 20, helping to satisfy the rising UK tourism demand.

For more information on The Azores visit: www.visitazores.com/en