The Nine Azores Islands
Each of The Azores Islands is distinct from the other. All of them are worth a visit if time permits. Each Island shares magical ocean views, lush vegetation, and volcanic peaks. And most of the Islands were first settled in the 1400's and maintain an old world charm.
A brief description of each of the Portuguese Islands follows:
Terceira Azores - this is probably the most cosmopolitan island. This can be attributed to the US Airbase on the island. It's capital, Angra do Heroísmo, is designated as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Terceira features underground caves and an underground lake.
Sao Jorge Island - this Island is long (about 56 km) and narrow (about 8km at its widest point) which features sheer craggy cliffs, deep ravines, lush vegetation and seaside flats. Many of the seaside flats, known as fajas, are nearly inaccessible from the land.
Graciosa - has the lowest elevation of all the Azores Islands and is known as the Island of Calm. It is also the second smallest island in the Archipalego. Graciosa's most distinct feature is its Caldeira that can only be reached through a tunnel. The tunnel opens up to a rugged forested interior. It is at this spot where you will find find the huge underground lake called Furna do Enxofre
Pico Azores - Pico Island has the tallest mountain in all of Portugal. This mountain is actually a volcano which stands 2,350 meters tall. The Island features many vineyards and red wine is produced here. Pico is also a popular point of departure for whale watching tours.
Faial - Faial Island had the most recent volcanic eruption in the Azores Islands. This occurred just off the coast of the Island in 1957. Faial has a popular marina frequented by sailors from all over the world. It is interesting to visit because tradition dictates that each sailor who visits should do a painting. These paintings cover the ground and walls all over the marina. Horta, the capital of Faial, is very cosmopolitan and the entire town has free wireless internet
Flores - a western island named for its abundance of flowers and known for many beautiful waterfalls. Flores also claims the westernmost town in all of Europe called Faja Grande. Faja Grande claims to have the best sunsets in all of the acores
Corvo - a western island in the chain of Islands. It is also the most northern and smallest island (6.5 x 4km). It has a very small population of just 468. About 75% of the islands population lives in Europe's smallest town of Vila Nova do Corvo
Sao Miguel Azores - the largest, most populous island and the capital of the acores. This is known as the Green Island. It features numerous coastal villages with beaches, boardwalks, gardens and town squares. There is much to do on this Island including whale watching, sailing, hiking, golf, tennis and horseback riding to name a few
Santa Maria Acores - the southernmost of the Islands with the warmest weather and regarded by some as having the best beaches in all the islands. Praia Formosa is regarded as the best beach on all nine islands. It is a long beach on a beautiful bay and is the home of "Mare de Agosto", a festival with musicians from all over.
As you can see, each Island has its own appeal. You can truly get away from it all by visiting any of these islands, even the more populous of them.
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