Places to See in the Azores
There are several places to see in the Azores. The most fascinating things to see are products of Mother Nature or of a long history of different settlers. The sea has numerous marvels for visitors to explore, whether by boat, or adventuring out under the water. The land offers different cities, architectural wonders, natural lakes and dormant volcanoes.
Start with Ponta Delgada on São Miguel. There are several churches, monasteries, convents and ultimately the famous forts that were erected in the 16th century to protect the city against the pirates. Walk around the marina and sit at the cafes along the main boulevard; the views over the sea and the friendly environment of São Miguel are apparent here. Visit the several lagoons, each with its charm and peaceful feeling: the Lagoa das Sete Cidades, the Furnas and the warm “ferraria” sea water in natural pools are examples of the marvels created by the volcanic action. Drive along to Ribeira Grande and see the “Serra de Água de Pau”, a mountain range with a magnificent peak. The gorgeous gardens, lakes and views of this area are certainly memorable.
On the island of Terceira, walk through the centre of Angra do Heroismo, where there are several monuments that recall the prosperous times of this important trading post. See the contrast between these historical buildings and the modern constructions. The Praia da Vitória where there are several beaches protected by cliffs for you to spend a sunny day also has numerous buildings of immense architectural importance. Visit the biggest crater of the archipelago, the Caldeira de Guilherme Moniz, with a 15 km perimeter. The Biscoitos area, where wine is produced, has an interesting Wine Museum which shows photographs, traditional tools and other documentation linked to the production of wine.
On Faial there are plenty of places to see. The main city of the island is Horta, a strategic resting stop for the various sailors that cross the Atlantic. The marina is filled with different boats and yachts because of this, making Horta a lively port. There is the “caldeira do Faial” to visit too, an extinct crater filled with water creating a magnificent blue lagoon. It was classified as a Natural reserve due to its invaluable vegetation. Climb up the Monte da Guia from where you will have incredible views over Horta, Porto Pim up to the Castelo Branco Point. The Ponta dos Capelinhos is also famous for having been created by a volcanic eruption in 1957.
The other islands have several attractions too. See the stunning flora of the Flores Island; combined with a jagged terrain and unusual landscape, this island is truly magical. Visit its seven different extinct craters filled with lush green irregular steep slopes with serene blue waters. The Pico Island is fantastic for a drive up to the highest “peak” (pico) in Portugal, which offers views over the archipelago’s indescribable splendour. Other spectacular views may be seen from the “Pão de Açucar” viewpoint on the island of Corvo.
On São Jorge, there are several coastal towns to see with various monuments that hold great historical importance, although you will see many in ruins due to the seismic actions that have happened on this island. In São Lourenço on the island of Santa Maria, there is a beautiful beach and a natural swimming pool, ideal for a summer’s day. These are found on the foot of a hillside covered in the vines that grow the grapes for the well-known wine of São Lourenço. Santa Maria boasts the driest and warmest weather. Also, its sand is slightly whiter than on the rest of the archipelago, making this island a perfect choice for a day on the beach.
Travelling between the islands is done mostly by airplane, although you may travel by boat. Some can be visited on a day trip, so that you get a sense of the tranquillity and peace of each island.