Crater lakes in the Azores

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Gluten Free Azores Travel Guide

How to Travel Gluten Free in the Azores: Gluten Free Travel Tips Although there aren’t any dedicated gluten free restaurants in the Azores, it’s actually a great gluten free destination. ...

Last Updated

Gluten Free Azores Travel Guide

Crater lakes in the Azores

How to Travel Gluten Free in the Azores: Gluten Free Travel Tips

Although there aren’t any dedicated gluten free restaurants in the Azores, it’s actually a great gluten free destination.

Most people don’t come to the Azores for the food—so your trip will be focused on outdoor activities (like hiking, swimming, or adventure sports) where you’d likely be packing a lunch rather than dining at a restaurant anyway.

Dining choices are fairly limited on the islands, with most travelers choosing to eat breakfast at their accommodation rather than seeking out the perfect coffee shop breakfast, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out. 

Additionally, the Azores cuisine places a big emphasis on local, fresh foods (like cheese, seafood, or vegetables) that’s naturally gluten-free.

Celiac Disease and food allergies don’t seem to be a common thing in the Azores.

You won’t be likely to find a gluten-free menu or gluten-free items marked on the menu, and most servers don’t know what gluten is. (For example, I told one server I had a gluten allergy and couldn’t have bread and he responded “I have bread with seeds if that would be okay”?)

However, since most food is prepared fresh and most menus utilize simple, local ingredients, it’s pretty easy to stay safe if you choose naturally gluten items.

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Here are my top gluten-free dining tips for the Azores:

  • Avoid anything fried, as the shared fryer question will be met with confusion and possibly misinformation. 
  • Stick to naturally gluten-free items like fish, meat, salads, fruit, cheese, and rice.
  • Always ask what comes with a dish—I had been asking for omelettes without bread and had good luck, but then one restaurant served me an omelette with a side of french fries on the same plate, rendering it no longer Celiac-safe. Clarify what a dish comes with and most servers will be happy to leave a gluten item off.
  • If you order rice, check to make sure that it’s unseasoned. Some restaurants use a prepackaged spice mix that contains gluten. 
  • Stock up on gluten-free grocery items at the supermarket. I found the best selection at the Continente Modelo grocery store in Riberia Grande (surprisingly, this was better than the supermarkets in Ponta Delgada). In Flores, I had the best luck at the Helios Grocery store in Lajas das Flores. Most grocery stores carried a variety of Schar products (including bread), but I also found some Schar items I haven’t seen in the U.S., like gluten-free chocolate digestive biscuits and gluten-free muesli. Every grocery store I went to carried peanut butter and rice cakes, which were great for emergency meals.
  • Most grocery stores had all of the gluten-free items together in one section (usually at the end of an aisle), but be careful as they tended to stock the section with everything that’s considered a “natural food”, so this meant non gluten-free (but vegan or sugar-free) items were mixed in. I also found some gluten-free bread mixed in with the regular bread options. 
  • Be sure to read the label on everything. Gluten-free labeling laws are pretty strict in the European Union, with allergens being listed on ingredient lists in bold font. Learn the words for wheat, barley, oats, and rye in Portugues (trigo, cevada, aveia, centeio) so you know what to avoid. Many labels also called out if a product contained gluten or contained traces of gluten: “contem gluten” or “vestigios de gluten”, so be sure to check for that. Other products called out if a product was gluten free “isento gluten” or “sem gluten”—this was often listed in the ingredients list in a smaller font at the bottom, or prominently displayed on the front of the packaging with a gluten-free label. I found that a LOT of naturally gluten-free items (like nuts) had the “may contain gluten” disclaimer on it, so be sure to check if you have Celiac or are otherwise sensitive to cross-contact. 
  • Download Google’s translate app for Portuguese (available offline) so you can look up words even if you don’t have WiFi. I didn’t think the app worked very well at reading labels, but it was great to type in words I had questions on. 
  • Don’t bother with a gluten-free dining card. I bought one before my trip, but at every place I went the server spoke English and so would only glance at the card (and not read it), preferring to ask me what I could and couldn’t eat. 
  • Pack snacks! I was glad to have some emergency snacks on hand.

The Best Gluten Free Restaurants in the Azores

Restaurants in the Azores tend to be pretty small, and you’ll need a reservation for dinner for most places. Call or email the restaurant a few days in advance to make sure you’ll have a table.

Gluten Free Restaurants Sao Miguel

  • Terracotta Restaurant. This was the restaurant at the Hotel Verde Mar and Spa in Riberia Grande. Normally I’m not a big fan of hotel restaurants, but this one had a really nice outdoor dining area that was in the perfect spot for sunset, and on our first day when we were travel exhausted and didn’t want to go out for dinner, they made me a surprisingly delicious vegetable omelette served with a salad and I didn’t get sick. I also have to add this restaurant on the list as the breakfast was included with my hotel stay and it turned out to be awesome. I didn’t expect to be able to eat from a breakfast buffet, but they had a basket of individually packaged gluten-free baguettes that were really good! Normally I hate gluten-free bread (I think it tastes like sad, stale bread), but these were a brand I had never heard of (Garcia) and were delicious. I unashamedly loaded up on a few to make lunch sandwiches as well! I combined the gluten-free bread with hardboiled eggs (naturally packaged in a shell to prevent cross-contact) for a really good and filling breakfast each day here.
  • 4 Platanos. We stopped at this roadside restaurant around 9:30 at night after a long day of adventuring, and I didn’t expect much. Inside, there was a kids’ birthday party (so at least I knew it was a local’s place). We were served by the nicest waiter who really listened when I told him I had a “gluten allergy” and I was able to get the best rice ever (weird to say, but it was buttered and really good), and a salad made with local cheese. If you eat meat or fish, there were plenty of gluten-free options here as well. I felt great after!
  • Louvre Michaelense. The best gluten-free restaurant in Ponta Delgada, and also the only restaurant I went to in the Azores that had gluten-free items marked on the menu! This place was super cute and had tables indoors and out. Very popular, so definitely make a reservation. I liked this place so much that we went for dinner and then again for brunch. I had a gluten-free vegetarian risotto, a grilled vegetables and dip appetizer, and a gluten-free brownie for dessert. For brunch, I had an acai bowl (without the granola), and an omelette. 
  • Rotas da Ilha Verde. I didn’t end up going here because we didn’t get a reservation, but this highly-rated vegetarian spot says on their menu that they can do gluten-free meals.

Gluten Free Restaurants Flores

Sunset on Flores
Sunset at Mareisa restaurant on Flores.
  • Mareisa Restaurante. One of the best places to watch the sunset on Sao Miguel. Make a reservation in advance here. They have a collection of funky tables outside next to the ocean, a friendly dog, and a great soundtrack. They use fresh, local food and thus only have one main course option and one or two appetizer and dessert options each night. On the night we went, they had a traditional fish dish with fish, chickpeas, onions, potatoes, and other vegetables. The waitress confirmed with the kitchen that it was gluten-free and they could leave out the fish to make it vegetarian. I’d recommend calling ahead to find out what the main dish option will be for the night you want to visit – if it’s a naturally gluten-free dish, it’s a great option because your odds of cross-contact will be minimal.
  • Restaurante Casa do Rei. Reservations seemed to be required here – when we dined there, we saw a bunch of people get turned away for not having one even though the restaurant never filled up. This had the biggest menu of anywhere I went in the Azores, with plenty of naturally gluten-free options, and the best cheese plate on the island. 
  • Barraca Q’abana. Not somewhere for gluten-free eats, but deserves a mention as being the westernmost bar in Europe! Grab a drink and sit at one of the outdoor picnic tables and watch the sunset. 
  • Queijaria Val da Fazenda. A cheese shop run out of a house on Flores. They don’t list opening hours on their website, and when we showed up on a Saturday afternoon they were closed. Worth a shot if you like cheese!

Azores Airlines Gluten Free Meal

Azores Airline Gluten Free Meal

Honestly… I would just pack your own meal rather than relying on Azores Airlines’ gluten-free meal. They did have a gluten-free meal for me both to and from Boston, but it looked pretty terrible, and I’m not confident that it would be safe from cross-contact.

Where to Stay in Sao Miguel, Azores

Hotel CategoriesWhere to Stay
📍 My FavoriteThe Hotel Verde Mar and Spa
👪 Best Hotel for Apartment livingHotel Epicenter URBAN
🏨 Best Luxury HotelPedras do Mar Resort & Spa
🛏️ Best Mid-Range HotelAzoris Royal Garden
💰 Best Budget HotelQuinta das Palmeiras
🎒 Best HostelHostel AzorAzul – Pool & Suite

We split our time on Sao Miguel into two hotels, so that we could better see the whole island without spending lots of time driving. 

The Hotel Verde Mar and Spa was my favorite hotel in the Azores. The restaurant had great gluten-free breakfast and dinner options, and it was directly across the street from a massive supermarket with a big gluten-free section. Spring for a room with an oceanview – the balconies are great and you won’t regret it. The beds are comfortable, air conditioning is strong, and the hotel pool is gorgeous. Parking is also free and easy for your rental car. This hotel is conveniently located in Riberia Grande, which is a great base for sightseeing.

We also stayed at Hotel Epicenter URBAN, which is not a hotel, but a rental apartment that you can book through This would be a good choice if you really want to have a kitchen, as it had a full kitchen with a dishwasher (and also laundry). However, the air conditioning was broken when we were there in the middle of summer and it got super hot – and they weren’t able to fix it or move us to another apartment. It was also a bit of a headache trying to arrange check-in and picking up the keys, unlike with a hotel. 

On our last night, coming back from Flores, we stayed at the Azoris Royal Garden, which is centrally located in downtown Ponta Delgada. This was a really nice hotel as well, with comfortable beds and great blackout curtains. The breakfast buffet didn’t have many gluten-free items, but it did label every dish with allergens (including gluten) which was very helpful. And they stocked a very delicious yogurt from the Azores that was labeled gluten-free.

Where to Stay in Flores, Azores

Hotel CategoriesWhere to Stay
📍 My FavoriteCasa dos Morros
♨️ House with Hot tubCasa do Miradouro
🏰 Best Historic StayAldeia da Cuada
🎒 Best HostelThe Pink House

There aren’t a lot of hotels on Flores, and most of them have pretty bad ratings. We found this hidden gem of a vacation rental, Casa dos Morros, on It’s a super spacious apartment with a full kitchen, bathroom, dining area, living room, and bedroom. Outside, there’s a nice little patio with a table and chairs and a dedicated parking spot. This vacation rental was incredibly clean and had a comfortable bed, plus great blackout curtains for sleeping. 

Casa dos Morros is run by the sweetest owner who will give you advice on things to do and happily chat with you about the area. He also left us local cheese in the fridge and local wine and snacks (mostly gluten, unfortunately) out on the table for us. 

Casa dos Morros is in Laja das Flores, which is near most of the major attractions (it’s literally down the street from two of the most famous crater lakes on the island). 

What to do in the Azores?

What To DoMy Recommendations
⛰️ Nature & AdventureLava Caves
🛥️ Boat ToursWhale & Dolphin Watching
🚶 Walking ToursSao Miguel Hiking trip
🍕 Food ToursThermal Baths & Dinner

Embarking on an Azorean adventure is a dream, and trust me, it’s more than just the scenic beauty. Dive deep into the island’s volcanic history by exploring the mesmerizing lava caves on islands like Pico and São Miguel. If you’re a nature enthusiast like me, the hiking trails, especially around the Sete Cidades crater lake, will leave you spellbound. Now, if you’re lucky, you might just spot a whale or two, or maybe even a playful pod of dolphins, making the boat excursions an absolute must-do. And after all the exploration, what better way to relax than by soaking in the thermal waters of São Miguel? Remember, it’s all about the experience, and the Azores surely don’t disappoint.

More Gluten-Free Reading:

Women standing infront of cliff with house in positano, italy
About Ashleigh

I'm Ashleigh, the owner of How To Travel Gluten Free & a proud coeliac. With my firsthand experience and a deep love for both travel and delicious gluten-free cuisine, I’ve made it my mission to share my knowledge, tips, and incredible discoveries with you.

Read more about me

Women standing infront of cliff with house in positano, italy
About Ashleigh

I'm Ashleigh, the owner of How To Travel Gluten Free & a proud coeliac. With my firsthand experience and a deep love for both travel and delicious gluten-free cuisine, I’ve made it my mission to share my knowledge, tips, and incredible discoveries with you.

Read more about me

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