THE AZORES SERIES REFLECTION
TERCEIRA, FLORES, CORVO, FAIAL, PICO, SAN MIGUEL
The Azores Series Reflection; Fields, Cows & Mist. Flying into Faro from Lisbon it really felt good to know I was back on the road again and although it wasn’t country number 145, it was a place I had wanted to visit for a long time.
IT WAS A LOT CLOSER TO HOME THAN I WOULD HAVE EVER THOUGHT.
I spent almost 2 weeks checking out some of the best islands and although the weather might not have been as tropical as I had hoped, it came up with the goods when it really mattered – Flores aside of course!
WHERE ARE THE AZORES?
WHY THE AZORES?
One of the reasons I had decided on the Azores was the ease of getting there – I didn’t need a visa and or any COVID material to get in. I was already going to Portugal so every box was ticked and all I needed to do was the usual long hours of research.
More often now (usually because of a lack of time) I choose the odd private day tour if I feel a certain place offers so much that it would just save me a mountain of time, research and getting from A to B. The Azores however was easy to get around, as each island can be explored (with little stops) in a day, so 2 or 3 days in each was ample.
- DAYS – 12
- COUNTRIES – 1
- NEW COUNTRIES – 0
- ISLANDS – 6
- FLIGHTS – 7
- BOATS – 2
- STEPS – 124,029
- MILES TRAVELLED – 4,414 mi
With Terceira however, the island offered so much to see that arranging a photography tour was the only way to go and it proved to be the best thing I did. I was taken to places that all the googling in the world wouldn’t have uncovered!
FLORES & CORVO
Flores and Corvo were the islands of contrast and I don’t mean against each other but in what I expected to what I got. Flores is the jewel of the crown when it comes to landscapes in the Azores and that says a lot but with the weather all I could enjoy was the subtle noise of the waterfall behind a blanket of mist. You can’t have it all your own way!
HAIAL & PICO
After a trip to the moon at Capelinhos, it was time for the big event, hiking a volcano and Portugal’s highest mountain, Mt Pico. At no other time would it be acceptable to classify; hiking 4 hours, getting zero sleep and not washing as a great experience. But Pico was exactly that and something everyone must do if they visit the Azores.
ABOUT THE COUNTRY:
- LANGUAGE – Portuguese
- HELLO – Olá
- HOW TO CHEERS – ‘Saude! ‘ ‘Yamas! ‘ ‘Gezondheid!’
- POPULAR BEVERAGE – Licor Beirão, a herbal liqueur flavoured with multiple botanicals, herbs and spices.
- POPULAR SPORT – Football
- STAPLE DIET – Fish and other seafood
The last island and for a lot of tourists the only one. San Miguel was the only place in Azores I would call touristy, as the hordes flocked to the main attraction of Sete Cidades at 9 on the dot. There was plenty to do here but there’s no doubt the goods are elsewhere!
- PEOPLE – 7/10. Friendly& helpful – typically Portuguese
- BACKPACKING – 5/10. Few accommodation options
- WEATHER – 6/10. If it’s dry you’re lucky
- THINGS TO DO – 7.5/10. Phenomenal
- FOOD – 7/10. Beef stew, just like home
- VALUE – 7/10. Can be pricey but it’s an island in the Atlantic!
- PHOTOGRAPHY – 8.5/10. Hugh potential if the weather behaves
- GETTING ABOUT – 7/10.Not many options, car rental most effective
- SAFETY – 9/10. Never a problem
- TRIP RATING – 7/10. Well worth it
- MVP (most valuable player) – Whoever cancelled their hotel in Flores
- LVP (Least valuable player) – The parking fella
- HIGHLIGHT – Climbing Pico
- LOWLIGHT – Weather
- BIGGEST CHALLENGE – Climbing Pico
- BEST SURPRISE – How much it all looked like home
- VISIT AGAIN – Yes, Flores to see the waterfalls that I ‘mist.’
- Mount Pico, on the island of Pico, at 7,713 feet above sea level, is the highest point in the Azores and all of Portugal.
- While they are not native to the Azores, colorful hydrangeas flowers were introduced to the islands and are today are very common. Faial Island is known as the “blue island” due to the vast number of hydrangeas present.
- Although the Azores were settled by immigrants from mainland Portugal, the islands were also populated by Flemish, French and Spaniards, as well as Moorish prisoners and African slaves from Guinea, Cape Verde and São Tomé. As a result, the Azorean population today differs genetically from the mainland Portuguese.
I can look back at this trip like it was a filler; there to make up the numbers or there to get me on the road again. Which it was. But a few days of poor weather aside it was still a great trip and will no doubt help get me back on the road travelling again, as at times it felt unusual! One thing I will say about the Azores, is be prepared for 4 seasons in one hour! So if you go, let me know what the waterfall in Flores actually looks like!!
Off to the Caribbean for a few weeks in October where I pay “through the nose” for a PCR test and manage to talk my way onto a flight I should not have got on! Click here to check it out.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
To watch the video of my trip, head to my highlights on my Instagram.
- Have you been to the Azores?
- Which Islands have you been or would like to visit?
Azores or Madeira?
Let me know in the comments below . . .