Abandoned Hotel Azores: Exploring Monte Palace Hotel

abandoned hotel

The Azores are famed for their breathtaking nature and isolated location. It's the perfect spot for whale watching, kayaking, relaxing in natural hot pools and eating dishes novelly heated in the earth. I enjoyed all of that and more, but one of the top things I did in the Azores was exploring an abandoned hotel - the Hotel Monte Palace. It really tickled my fancy as feeling somehow so out of place (a fancy hotel in the middle of nowhere, built way before cheap airlines put these islands on the tourist map), and yet at the same time so right in the right place (as the nature, so predominant in the Azores has taken over). It's almost like it was destined to flop and be absorbed and transformed into part of the landscape. If you visit, you will understand the reasoning behind placing a fancy hotel here (the views alone are worth millions imo). I also think, that if you're anything like me, this place will stick in your mind for years to come. It's unique. So are you up for exploring an spooky and beautiful abandoned hotel in the Azores?

hotel monte palace

Hotel Monte Palace was once one of the grandest hotels in Europe with an insanely impressive view of an ancient, dormant volcano, topped not with lava, but with a lake from the rain. Nowadays, Monte Palace Hotel is abandoned and nature has taken over. It's the perfect spot for adrenaline junkies and amateur photographers. Hotel Monte Palace is in Sete Cidades, a civil parish on Sao Miguel - the main Azores island. It's one of the creepiest, coolest places I've ever visited, so allow me to take you on a tour of the abandoned Hotel Monte Palace:

Why Was the Monte Palace Hotel Abandoned?

abandoned hotel

First, things first, why was she abandoned? The Hotel Monte Palace Azores was a very, very bad French investment in the 80s. Ostensibly it seems like a good idea: the rooms were gigantic and had jaw-dropping views like this:

photos abandoned hotel

That's a view of Sete Cidades and Sete Cidades lake - which isn't just any old lake but actually an ancient, dormant volcano now filled by time and rain with a lake.

azores abandoned hotel

But Monte Palace Hotel was 30 years ahead of its time, they highly overestimated the number of people that would visit Sete Cidades or even the Azores themselves.

abandoned hotel

So despite the incredible location and views, this Azores abandoned hotel was only open for little more than a year before it had to be closed.

Is the Abandoned Hotel Monte Palace Guarded?

abandoned hotel how to get in

For ten years or so guards were employed to keep an eye on this abandoned hotel (hence why it's still in such 'good' keep). Local Azoreans told us great stories about trying to break in as teenagers and then being chased by guard-dogs.

monte palace hotel

But nowadays the money has run out and the guards and guard-dogs are gone (along with the windows and most of the carpets). But this is part of the reason it feels so weird (I think). It's from the 80s but was kind of kept in a preserved state for over ten years, and so the 'damage' from the nature is still pretty new.

Can You Go Into the Monte Palace Hotel?

monte palace entry

With no guards and guard-dogs, you are free to come and go as you please. In fact, there's no fence or barbed wire or even a sign that says keep out - nothing to suggest you can't go in.

Is It Safe to Explore This Abandoned Hotel?

abandoned hotel safety

Just like when you're exploring any abandoned hotel, this one in the Azores is safe, with a little bit of common sense - like not falling into the elevator shafts or walking under bits of ceiling that look like they are going to fall off. The floors are extremely solid and there's the odd sharp edge or two, but nothing for experienced urban explorers - or even inexperienced urban explorers - to worry about.

hotel monte palace

I'd even go so far as to say that it would be safe enough to go at night - just make sure you bring a good flashlight. I even heard about a guy who slept there at night, but I haven't tried that myself yet ;)

Is Abandoned Hotel Exploration Scary?

abandoned building safety

Thanks to the architect who utilised a lot of natural light and wanted the best views possible, it's really light and not scary inside, if anything it's beautiful. Nature has been allowed to take over and there are flowers and grass everywhere.

azores hotel monte palace

Saying that though, on our second visit we gathered enough courage to go down to the lower floors (no lights) and that was creepy as hell. There's a kind of underground nightclub down there that looks like it's straight out of the shining and we scared ourselves silly pretending our torches had gone out etc. It was also the setting for a French horror film!

How to Get the Best Photo of Sete Cidades Lake

sete cidades lake instagood

Pretty much all the rooms on the north side have fantastic views of Sete Cidades (I bet they were the most expensive). But to get the best views of the Sete Cidades lake head up to the roof.

best view sete cidades

Now turn around and feast your eyes on this:

sete cidades insta good

Best views in the hotel!

How to Get to the Hotel Monte Palace

monte palace hotel directions

The Hotel Monte Palace isn't marked on Google Maps, but Miradouro da Vista do Rei (or Viewpoint of the King's) is, and that's exactly where abandoned Monte Palace Hotel is:

You can easily rent a car in the Azores or do what we did and hitch-hike in the Azores (click that link for a full guide). Hitch-hiking is easy in the Azores. Taking a bus is not. They basically don't even have buses there, trust me, I tried.

How to Get to & Where to Stay in the Azores

People used to joke that it was cheaper to get to the USA than to the Azores (which really wasn't a joke for the Azoreans, most of which could never afford to leave their islands. Sure, when you see how beautiful those islands are you might wonder why they'd want to but imagine needing medical care that you could only get on the mainland...) Just recently Azoreans and tourists have easily been able to come and go from the Azores thanks to the cheap, cheap flights that have just opened up in the last couple of years.

I don't really recommend you actually stay at the Monte Palace Hotel, but you know yourself better than I do. If you're looking for something with zero risks and 100% luxury try the Best Hotels in the Azores. Also, here's a quick summary of everything you need to visit the Azores:

  • Medium to Cheap Hotels in the Azores: hotels in the Azores for all types of budgets, from budget travellers to middle.
  • Free accommodation in the Azores: with house sitting. I travelled the world for five years straight by house sitting. If you're lucky, you might find the perfect Azorean house sit for you. However, house sitting isn't like booking a hotel or an airbnb (there are only house sits available when the home owners go on holiday). What I can guarantee is that you will at least find a house sit in Portugal - and thus you can do what I did (live rent free in Portugal for two months, save up your pennies and then rent a place in the Azores after a quick cheap flight over).
  • Best Tours of The Azores: comprehensive list of the best tours to do in the Azores.

Visiting the Azores is an absolute must for everyone's dream European bucket-list, and not just for urban exploration, they also do: whale watching, natural hot springs, adventurous activities, delicious local foods, kind locals - the Azores truly has it all and more! In fact, check out our list of the top 10 reasons to visit the Azores!

Some Other Photos of the Monte Palace Hotel

This is the view from the entrance of the Monte Palace Hotel, complete with Sete Cidades Lake:

exploring monte palace hotel

Here is an incredible view of Lake Sete Cidades from the roof of the hotel, actually I'd argue that this is the best view on Sao Miguel, if not on the whole island:

abandoned azores

View from one of the lower bedrooms, yes the road is right underneath the rooms, but you wouldn't have to worry about noise pollution, even nowadays with tourism becoming more and more popular in the Azores, cars are few and far between (ask the hitch-hikers).

hotel azores abandoned

Inside one of the formerly grand hotel rooms. Nowadays they are overrun with algae, mould, disrepair etc but I think it gives it a magical look:

sete cidades abandoned hotel

Maybe I'm just obsessed with the fall of capitalism and consumerism and can't wait for us to go back to nature, or at least live more harmoniously with it, which is something I think abandoned structures hints at.

azores hotel abandoned

The shot was taken just outside the front of the hotel, and yet again the scenery is so beautiful. I just can't get enough of this. Maybe it's because I saw a picture of this very view in a free airline magazine and wished that I'd go there, and six months later I was there and it all feels very magical for me. Or maybe you will be obsessed to and I'm not unique or special.

visit monte palace

Some graffiti inside the hotel, most of the graffiti was fun / told you where other explorers had come from:

monte palace graffiti

Thanks to the rainy  and sunny weather, the Azores are one of the lushest, greenest places in Europe:

hotel monte palace

As you can see, the Hotel Monte Palace is an absolute wreck, with plaster and rubble everywhere - which makes the experience much more exciting:

azores ruined hotel

I think part of my obsession with this place is that it reeks of time - it has a moment of suspended time (having been basically preserved for ten years) and a moment of accelerated change (aka nature) and there's just this feel of, wow this place isn't going to stay like this forever, and neither are we.

inside ruined hotel

Another incredible view from the roof. Just so you know, it does rain a lot in the Azores, and I think it's best to visit Monte Palace Hotel and Sete Cidades in general on a non-cloudy day so you get the full effect. I stayed for a whole month, and non-cloudy days do happen - or perhaps it's better to say non-cloudy moments, because you can have all four seasons in one day.

hotel monte palace roof

One of the annoying tourists/novice urban explorers - look how excited I am:

azores girls monte palace

Another tourist, albeit a slightly less annoying (and less excited) one:

azores men

Bits of the roof dangles down precariously, there is mould on the walls, but it's easy to imagine how grand it once was:

interior monte palace hotel


tourists azores

A view from the main entrance out to the lake, the couple standing there are the lovely German people we hitchhiked with:

hitchhike to monte palace hotel

Last but not least, another money shot from the roof:

abandoned hotel azores

Wrap Up: Abandoned Hotel Azores, Exploring Monte Palace Hotel

So there you have it, my experience exploring the haunted and abandoned hotel in the Azores - the Hotel Monte Palace. I really recommend you take a trip when you visit the Azores.

Tell us in the comments below - would you like to visit this abandoned hotel in the Azores? Why or why not? And if you're into visiting abandoned places in Europe, tell us your favourites - we'd love to visit! P.S.: If you're interested in a way of travelling and getting accommodation cheaply, you might wanna check out house sitting. Trustedhousesitters.com was kind enough to provide us and our readers with a 10% discount, feel free to click on the link to use it :)

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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