Terceira: the third discovery among the nine Azorean islands
Azores, Lisbon, Porto - oh my!

The Azores: geolocations that you can't miss

 

Flores9 copy
Flores Island
The Azores is a destination that has remained unspoiled throughout centuries. With a unique bio-diversity based on its volcanic origins – the Azores have magnificent landscapes and really cool natural wonders. 

 

The fact that there are nine islands, and their wide ranges of size, make the Azores a great region to explore at any time of the year. Although, each island has its own scenery, feel and climate, which makes them even more special. 

Between collapsed calderas and their beautiful lakes, you can walk through the fajãs, see the volcanic ridges and the formations created by recent eruptions, discover an underground world by going into caves (lava tubes) and take a dip in hot springs.

While a limited number of caves and ravines are open to the public, approximately 270 natural caves are known throughout the archipelago. These can be visited, for scientific or sporting purposes, with professional guides and proper equipment and gear. There are local companies working on speleology visits. Others are open to explore, for a fee, and with an explanation of how they formed.

When to go?

Geoturism in the Azores is a year round event. Most of the caves that can be visited by the general public have fixed opening hours during a part of the year (they normally coincide with the seasons of spring and summer). In the other months, it is possible to visit the caves by pre-booking a visit. 

What to bring?
Make sure you feel comfortable. You just need to bring adequate wear to walk and to climb.

If you are in love with nature and the Azores, find out some of the geolocations that you can’t miss:

Santa Maria

Ribeira do Maloás, Santa Maria, the Azores
Ribeira do Maloás | Credits: Visit Azores
  • Pedreira do Campo –a former rock quarrying integrated into a protected area, that includes exposed sediments, extrusive magmatic and fossil deposits. The rock formations looks like pillows and are estimated to have five million years age.
  • Make sure you also visit:  Poço da Pedreira, Ponta do Castelo and Ribeira do Maloás.

São Miguel

Fogo Lake, S. Miguel, the Azores
Fogo Lake| Credits: Visit Azores
  • Furnas Volcano - the dormant volcano contains two calderas and more than 3,000 people live there. It has secondary volcanic activity.
  • Make sure you also visit: Fogo Volcano, Lagoa do Congro and Sete Cidades Volcano.

 Terceira

Algar do Carvão, Terceira, the Azores
Algar do Carvão | Credits: Visit Azores
  • Algar do Carvão – a volcanic cave with magnificent stalactites and stalagmites of amorphous silica with more than 3,000 years old.
  • Make sure you also visit: Caldeira de Guilherme Moniz and Ponta da Serreta.

 Graciosa

Furna do Enxofre, Graciosa, the Azores
Furna do Enxofre | Credits: Visit Azores
  • Furna do Enxofre – a volcanic cave classified as a regional natural monument with a lake at the bottom.
  • Ilhéu da Baleia – a whale shaped volcanic chimney featuring columnar basalt.

 São Jorge

  • Fajã dos Cubres and Fajã de Santo Cristo – these are the only fajãs with coastal lagoons. Deposits from the slopes and landslides form them.
  • Make sure you also visit: Fajã do Ouvidor, Morro de Velas and Morro de Lemos

Pico

Gruta das Torres, Pico, the Azores
Gruta das Torres | Credits: Visit Azores
  • Gruta das Torres – this cave is one of the biggest lave tubes in Europe. In the interior you may find stalactites and stalagmites and other geo-volcanic formations.
  • Make sure you also visit: Lajido de Santa Luzia and Ponta da Ilha

Faial

Capelinhos Volcano, Faial, the Azores
Capelinhos Volcano | Credits: Visit Azores
  • Vulcão dos Capelinhos – site of a 1957-8 eruption - a monogenetic volcano that makes part of the larger Volcanic Complex of Capelo, which it includes 20 scoria cones and lava fields.
  • Make sure you also visit: Pedro Miguel Graben and Morro do Castelo Branco.

Flores

Rocha dos Bordões, Flores, the Azores
Rocha dos Bordões | Credits: Visit Azores
  • Rocha dos Bordões – a spectacular columnar basalt formation that resulted from a thermal shock during the solidification of the lava.
  • Make sure you also visit: Caldeiras Funda, Lagoa Rasa and Fajã de Lopo Vaz. 

Corvo

Calderião, Corvo, the Azores
Caldeirão | Credits: Visit Azores
  • Fajã de Vila do Corvo – a lava fajã that resulted from the last eruption on the island.
  • Caldeirão – a collapsed caldera with a lake and many cone small cones inside.

All of these geolocations blend together to create a distinctive experience. And if you want to understand better the geo-heritage of the Azores, visit the various science centers located on the islands:

Faial

  • Centro de Interpretação do Vulcão dos Capelinhos (Interpretation Centre of the Capelinhos Volcano) offers a very attractive tour that includes films, holograms and multimedia contents.
  • Observatório do Mar (Sea Observatory)

Terceira

  • Observatório do Ambiente (Environment Observatory)
  • Museu Vulcanoespeleológico Os Montanheiros (Os Montanheiros Volcanic and Speleological Museum)

Pico

  • Casa da Montanha (Mountain Cabin)
  • Solar do Lajido (Lajido Manor House)

São Miguel Island

  • Observatório Astronómico (Astronomical Observatory)
  • ExpoLAB
  • Observatório Vulcanológico e Geotérmico dos Açores (Azores Volcanic and Geothermic Observatory)

The Azores are dedicated to keeping the islands naturally pristine. The National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations has named the Azores islands as the world’s second most appealing islands destination in it fourth annual Destination Scorecard survey. A panel of 522 experts aided by George Washington University reviewed conditions on 111 islands and archipelagos. The Azores were outscored only by Faroe islands, and received the title of “Authentic, unspoiled, and likely to remain so.”

Comments

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Maria Costa

the island where my brother Augusto and I were born.

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