If I had to summarize Azorean style in one word, it would be “practical”. The locals seemed to follow the practical-trend, probably because there is so much fun stuff to do, there just isn’t time to fuss over styles or trends. Locals on Sao Miguel seemed very western in their styles – the clothing choices reminded me of what you might find in any small U.S. city. When packing for the Azores, your priority should really be packing right, and packing light.
Pack Right: Bringing practical clothing for all kinds of weather and activities is key to a comfortable trip, so think about what you’ll be doing each day and bring the right gear for your adventures, and for the weather while you’ll be there.
Pack Light: Keeping your luggage light is a good idea when traveling to the Azores. Flights between islands charge more if your luggage is heavy (though we didn’t travel between islands), and when you’re driving around in your smart car, your suitcase need to fit in your tiny Smart Car trunk. Otherwise, you’ll be riding with it in your lap!
Before I get into building a smart-car-sized capsule wardrobe, here are my top 6 Azorean Fashion Tips:
- I’d describe the Ponta Delgata’s style as “Coastal Casual” – and away from the city, it’s a even more causal. Some nautical-inspired stripes, nature-inspired colors, and farm-inspired sensibility.
2. Have your bathing suit & towel with you at all times. You never know when you’ll stumble upon a hot spring, or a perfect black-sand beach, or a crater lake. Bring an old bathing suit and towel – The iron oxide in the springs will stain your suit and your towel (and for this reason, some places wont let you use their towels in the hot springs).
3. Always have comfortable sneakers or hiking boots when you’re out sightseeing. Winding trails crisscross the whole island, and lead to beautiful places off the main road. Many miraduoros also require light hiking, lots of steps, or crossing a muddy puddle. Sensible hiking sandals would also do the trick. You’ll be doing a lot of walking, and you’ll want shoes that wont give you blisters, and that have a good tread.
4. Always carry a light wind-proof jacket and a warm sweater. The weather changes dramatically on different parts of the island and as you move up and down in elevation. It can be chilly, rainy and/or windy at times, so keeping layers handy is a good idea.
5. The islands are relatively modest in style. You won’t see a lot of extra skin showing around here. Likely due to the sensible nature of life here. But when it’s hot, shorts or a dress would be fine.
6. Cobble stone roads and sidewalks in Ponta Delgata will completely wreck nice heels. Opt for chunky heels if you need the height.
For more details on what the locals wear in the Azores, check out this blog from What to Wear on Holiday.
The wardrobe set pictured above is very close to what I actually ended up bringing and wearing for 9 days on Sao Miguel Island in mid-October. The best part? It all easily fit into a carry-on bag, with lots of room to spare. Here is my packing list:
- Two tank tops
- Basic white T-shirt
- Striped sweater
- Nice Cardigan
- Gray zip-down sweatshirt
- Wind Jacket
- Hiking Capris
- Black Skinny Pants
- Dark Blue Skinny Jeans
- Crocs Sandals*
- Hiking Boots
- Black Chelsea Boots
- Bathing Suit
After carefully editing my suitcase many, many times before we left for the Azores, I was shocked that I still did not use a lot of what I had packed. It served as a nice reminder that you’ll tend to just wear your favorite clothes, and the rest is just dead-weight that you chose to escort around the world. For more on packing right and light, check out this awesome blog by Travel Fashion Girl, with packing lists for cities all over the world.
A few things I packed and did not wear:
- Sperry Topsiders
- Linen Dress
- Two other t-shirts
- Black long sleeve blouse
- Gray Sweater
- Green button-down shirt
- Nice Blazer-Jacket
For our next trip, my goal is to pack even lighter and actually end up wearing everything I bring …. which means its time for Donald and I to plan our next adventure! Iceland? Ireland? Croatia? Peru? Stay tuned.
*You might laugh at my love of Crocs sandals**, but I promise they are the best $14 you will ever pay for sandals. They mold to your feet and have never given me blisters. They have a nice tread so I can hike in them, get them muddy and gross, and then wash them off in the sink with dish soap. They dry in minutes. They FLOAT when they fly overboard. They are virtually indestructible. And they pass as cute going-out sandals if you don’t look too closely.
**Crocs did NOT pay me to say these nice things about them.