Landscape of strange beauty, but visiting is recommendable to anyone on Faial Island. Capelinhos volcanic eruption began in September 1957, in the west of the island about 1 km from the coast, where it was the lighthouse Capelinhos. During a year and a month it has not ceased its activity - occurred more than two hundred earthquakes before the volcano erupts - pushing many of the inhabitants to abandoned the island of Faial. During the year that it was active, the Capelinhos volcano Capelinhos connected to Faial through an arm of magma, and it added about 2.4 km2 in area. The volcano climbing is one of the most astonishing and unique tours in the Faial Island, presenting nevertheless some dangers and difficulties. There are some predefined itineraries and also official guide service, which is recommendable to use.
This monument of unusual beauty was shaped by nature over thousands of years, acquiring its vertical format, which stands in the landscape. Sliding by basaltic rock, several rivers end in a waterfall. Near its base are the so-called Aguas Quentes, cauldrons boiling sulphurous water.
Diving day and night, in sandy, rocky or mixed seabeds, in caves or shipwrecks. The potential of the Azores is almost endless in terms of diving spots and types of diving. It offers adequate spots for various experience levels, from beginners to professionals, and the adventure can start with simple snorkeling in order to leisurely enjoy the abundant marine life of the archipelago’s crystal clear waters. On the other hand, diving in an ocean bank is a guarantee for an adrenaline rush and for memories that will persist in our mind. When we return, both a certainty and a doubt come up: the desire to return to the sea and the difficulty in choosing a new spot to discover.
Located in the beautiful and green island of Sao Miguel, Lagoa do Fogo is the second largest lagoon on the Azores, and also the highest, classified since 1974 as a Natural Reserve, for its natural value and landscape. It’s worth exploring the natural and scenic beauty of this natural wonder and its caldeira, where the walls reach up to 300 meters of slopes. The Trail "Lombadas Lagoa do Fogo" creates a stunning effect for hiking where you can better observe the interesting flora and fauna characteristic of this geological phenomenon.
Sete Cidades Lagoon is the largest freshwater lake in the Azores, with a length of 4.2 km and a depth that reaches 33 meters. Declared one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, in the category of Non Marine Aquatic Zones, it consists of two lakes - Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul (green lagoon and blue lagoon) - linked together and surrounded by a breathtaking scenery. Classified as Protected Landscape by Natura 2000, this natural wonder is surrounded by an extensive green area and beautiful rocky cliffs covered with trees and flowers.
Furnas has much to offer. This locality charms with the beautiful Furnas Lake, the Furnas Volcano and its cauldrons from with their the famous boiling water geysers, or the famous therapeutic mud, a Thermal resort or even the interesting Terra Nostra Park, one of the most beautiful gardens of the 18th century. The Furnas Valley has more than twenty natural spring and is crossed by two streamlets, one of them with hot water. It is on Furnas that one of the most famous delicacy in the entire Archipelago is cooked: the “Furnas cozido” (a meat or cod fish stew). The pans with the steam, after being carefully closed, are introduced in the volcanic soil that presents high temperatures, staying underneath for some hours in these “natural kitchens”. The famous “fumarolas” (fumaroles) are areas of concentration of the thermal springs and other geothermic manifestations, which produce therapeutic elements and form a lovely panorama of rare beauty that can be observed from the gorgeous Pico do Ferro and Salto do Cavalo belveders.
On the island of Terceira an extraordinary volcanic phenomenon happened, one of the most spectacular of the Azores. The Algar do Carvão is located within the Caldeira Guilherme Moniz and is accessible to visitors. It developed in the form of a volcanic cone. Inside access is through an artificial tunnel and a staircase, where we can see the route taken by the river of lava ejected by the volcano but hampered by a thick wall of stone. The highlights are the underground lake and the set of stalactites and stalagmites of volcanic glass.
Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo is located on the northern coast of the fabulous São Jorge Island. This is probably the most famous and beautiful Fajã in the Island. The access to the Fajã is not easy, yet it allows the contemplation of overwhelming landscapes through a working trail, known as the Fajãs Itinerary (“Percurso das Fajãs“). This Fajã is also famous among surfers and body boarders due to the good conditions for these kinds of sports.
Situated at 2351 meters above sea level, the Pico is the highest point of the Portuguese territory. At the top is a 700-meter crater, 30 meters deep, features making this the third largest volcano in the Atlantic. The entire landscape around the volcano is rich in geological issues. Noteworthy is the base of the mountain, entirely surrounded by vineyards classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. These landscapes of the vineyards occupy an area of about 154.4 hectares, which is defined by massive, structured mesh walls. The services of the official Guides are advised, for a safe and more interesting experience.
A famous crater with two lakes in its interior, the Cadeirão is the symbol of the island of Corvo. This crater of 3400 meters long and 300 meters deep is the cradle of the island, which was formed by a volcanic eruption. On this site there are two quiet lakes with small islands which tradition associates with representation in the Azores (excluding Flores and Corvo). This point also serves as a lookout, with great views over the island.
The Azores are nowadays one of the world’s biggest whale sanctuaries. Among resident and migrant species, common or rare, over 27 different types of cetaceans can be spotted in the Azores. It is an impressive figure and corresponds to a third of the total number of existing species. The Azores are in an ecosystem with unique characteristics. With the presence of majestic whales and friendly dolphins, the blue from the Atlantic Ocean becomes even more magic and blessed around the nine islands.
In Quinta do Martelo you can taste the best of the island’s traditional cuisine. This restaurant received the first prize in the ”Gastronomy – National Heritage” contest, among other awards. Here you can observe and taste the evolution of the Azorean gastronomy and culture throughout the centuries. All products produced in Quinta do Martelo are used in the dishes featured in the restaurant.
Integrated into a charming hotel in the heart of Ponta Delgada, this restaurant seeks to engage in innovation and updating of the Azorean cuisine, based on the quality of local products and ways of making canonical dishes and introducing new perspectives in their final presentation, with a modern and minimalist décor.
With an interior that evokes the interior of a ship, the special feature of this restaurant is that all dishes are cooked in a stone. That is, the customer is an integral and active part in the manufacturing of the dish, either meat or fish, which is accompanied by special sauces and crisp salad.
The Illy coffee served at Confeitaria A Colmeia is largely praised as some of the best on the islands, but the food is probably this cafe's biggest draw. Local style burgers with Azorean beef or lentil and mushroom based veggie burgers are particular highlights, along with the salads and the signature pastries, including island cheesecake and pineapple cake.
Located in a historic building in downtown Ponta Delgada (where once there was a stall and a salt factory) is today one of the most cosmopolitan bars of Ponta Delgada. The decor combines local tradition with modern design concepts and the cuisine has influences from Scandinavian, French and modern fusion cuisine. Besides being a restaurant is also a bar where you can sip a cocktail to the sound of jazz. Sometimes they have live music.
With a prime location next to the Horta marina of and overlooking the bay, XF is one of the most fashionable bars on Faial Island. It’s cosy, with a colourful urban environment. The main room has a beautiful courtyard and there is a good drinks menu.The music selection favours jazz, both contemporary or fusion nu-jazz.
The best shopping place in the Azores, if you want to find almost all of the souvenirs for which the islands are famous, is the modern Parque Atlantico mall in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island. There are 104 stores, and a giant supermarket which sells traditional jams and Azorean honey.
There are the three international airports located in the Azores: Sao Miguel (the largest island in the Azores) - the international airport is located 2 km from Ponta Delgada. Faial - the international airport is located 10 km from Horta. Terceira - the international airport is located in Lajes and is 22 km from Angra do Heroísmo and 5 km from Praia da Vitória. To travel between islands, you can take a domestic flight with by SATA airlines (www.sata.pt ), or you can travel by ferry (Atlanticoline, www.atlanticoline.pt) around all islands (from June to September). Transmaçor (www.transmacor.pt) also operates by boat between Terceira, Faial, Pico and São Jorge islands. In all airports the most convenient form of transportation is by taxi or rental car.
All islands except Corvo have bus and taxi transportation. Rental car services are available on the eight main islands. Taxi and sightseeing services are available on the island of Corvo. The two rent-a-cars that operate in all Azores islands are: Autatlantis: www.autatlantis.com/ing/index.php Ilha Verde: www.ilhaverde.com/English/default.html