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"Is this God's home?"

Lagoa das Sete Cidades, São Miguel.

Situated 1460 km from the European coast and 3750 km from North America, the archipelago of the Açores was discovered during the first half of the 15th-century by Portuguese navigators. Consisting of nine islands, it is divided into three groups: the eastern (São Miguel and Santa Maria), the central (Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial), and the western (Corvo and Flores). Apart from international airports of Santa Maria, Ponta Delgada and Angra, there are flights to all the islands (operated by the regional airline SATA) and boat trips between the islands.

Even the blasé visitor will be touched by the sapphire blue and emerald green lakes, fertile prairies, volcanic cones and craters, colourful hydrangeas and azaleas, 15th century churches and majestic manor houses. This legendary land, consisting of nine poetically-named islands, enjoys year-round mild temperatures (between 14°C and 22°C–57°F and 71°F) and is a peaceful shelter with a population of 250 000 inhabitants, for whom the words “stress” and “pollution” are not part of their vocabulary.

Horta Marina, Faial.

There are many stories to tell of the archipelago’s beauty, of fishermen or shepherds, but amongst them there is one which was told by a holidaymaker. As a foreign couple was silently looking at the Caldeira das Sete Cidades, they were interrupted by their six-year-old son, who asked them: “Is this God’s home?”.


Santa Maria Island:

Offers excellent water sports facilities. Special mention to: Praia, Santo Espírito, São Lourenço, São Pedro and Vila do Porto, a village with superb manor houses, mother-church and Nossa Senhora dos Anjos Chapel (where Columbus’ crew prayed).

“The Empire of the Holy Ghost”, Terceira.


São Miguel Island:

The largest of all. In Ponta Delgada, the capital, the famous 18th century portals open up to a number of monuments that are worth visiting, most of them built between the 16th and the 18th century: Carlos Machado Museum and churches of São Sebastião, São Pedro, São José, Colégio and Nossa Senhora da Conceição; convent and chapel of Nossa Senhora da Esperança and Santa Ana Chapel. Palaces: Fonte Bela and Santa Ana; Conceição and Santa Catarina; Casa de Carlos Bicudo and the Paços do Concelho. Other places to visit: Caldeira das Sete Cidades (green and blue lakes); Lagoa do Fogo; Ribeira Grande; Vale das Furnas (spas and hot mineral pools) and Vila Franca do Campo.

Terceira Island:

The historic centre of its capital, Angra do Heroísmo, has been classified in UNESCO’s International Heritage list. Special reference to the forts of São Sebastião and SãoJoão Baptista (16th-17th-centuries); the palaces of the Bettencourts (Baroque) and of the Capitães-Generais; the Cathedral, with its silver altar front and treasure; the churches of Colégio dos Jesuítas, São Gonçalo and Nossa Senhora da Conceição (17th-century); the churches of Misericórdia and Nossa Senhora da Guia (18th-century, the latter encloses the Angra Museum). Other points of interest: Praia da Vitória, Santa Bárbara, São Sebastião and Vila Nova.

Graciosa Island:

In Santa Cruz da Graciosa you will find ancient streets and manor-houses, a beautiful mother-church (16th-18th centuries), Santo Cristo Church (16th century), Cruz da Barra (Manueline) and Ethnographic House. In the Furna do Enxofre, dazzling sights and a vaulted cave over an underground lake (between 11am and 2pm the sunlight filters in). You must also visit Guadalupe and its Baroque church, Luz and Praia (typical windmills).

Faial lsland:

In Horta, a famous yacht harbour, look at the beautiful tiles and gilded carvings in the 17th and 18th century churches of São Salvador, Nossa Senhora do Carmo and São Francisco. To visit: Sacred Art Museum, Nossa Senhora das Angústias Church, Nossa Senhora do Pilar Chapel, Império dos Nobres and Porto Pim fortifications, Caldeira Natural Reserve, Capelinhos, grottoes and caves in Costa da Feteira and Monte da Guia belvedere.

Pico Island:

Owes its name to the 2351 m high volcanic cone. Special reference to São Roque do Pico, with its 18th century churches of São Roque and São Pedro de Alcântara; Lajes do Pico, with its Whale Museum; Madalena, with its Wine Museum and 17th-century church, and Areia Larga, with beautiful winegrowers’ manor houses. Other places: Calheta de Nesquim, Candelária, Criação Velha, Piedade (forest preserve), Prainha do Norte, Santa Luzia, Santo Amaro, São Caetano, São João and São Mateus.

São Jorge Island:

Velas, with its fishing port, is the main town. One can admire its manor houses, the churches of São Jorge (17th century), and Nossa Senhora da Conceição, Town Hall (Azorian Baroque) and 18th century walls. Do not miss Calheta, Manadas, Ribeira Seca, Topo and Urzelina.

Flores Island:

In Santa Cruz, you will find manors, the churches of São Boaventura (Baroque) and Nossa Senhora da Conceição (19th century) and the Ethnographic Museum. Trips to Ribeira Grande Waterfall, to the Gruta dos Enxaréus (by boat) and to Lagoas (seven lakes surrounded by flowers).

Corvo Island:

The smallest of all and a peaceful sanctuary. In Vila Nova do Corvo, narrow cobblestoned streets and the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Milagres. In Caldeirão (enormous volcanic crater),there are two lakes with nine small islands, just like the archipelago.




  • Cozido das furnas (stew made in the hot springs)
  • Rumpsteaks
  • Octopus stewed in wine
  • Barnacles and limpets
  • Cheeses
  • Vinho de cheiro, verdelho (wine) and liqueurs




  • Holy Ghost Festivities – Every sunday between April and June
  • Senhor Santo Cristo Festivities – Ponta Delgada, May
  • Sanjoaninas Festivities – Angra do Heroísmo, June
  • Bullfighting with ropes – Terceira, from May to October
  • Sea Week – Horta, August




  • Wicker baskets and furniture
  • Miniatures in fig tree pith
  • Embroideries and lace
  • Blankets and bedspreads
  • Artificial flowers made with fish scales
  • Blue and white ceramics