The Azores - or Açores as the Portuguese say - are nine beautiful islands, perfect for walking. The lush vegetation, exotic fruits and flowers, abundant birdlife, and fascinating volcanic phenomena create the ideal destination for nature lovers.
The islands are situated exactly on the spot where three tectonic plates meet: the American, Eurasian and African plate. Volcanism comes in thousand forms: towering stratovolcanoes, wide calderas (a caldera is a crater of an exploded volcano), lakes, pumice cones ... you name it.
Winds from the North Atlantic bring rain and mist year round, but less so in the months May - August. For your ease: it may rain part of the day, but the sun will be back soon. Four seasons a day, as they say. It’s a good idea to carry warm clothes and rainwear and walk on sturdy shoes.
All nine islands are great for walking. Some are large and varied. Others are small and carry a unique atmosphere. Some are rugged and wild. Others are friendly and rural. Follow your taste. Facilities are good: accommodation in the small villages, transportation by boat and on road, marked trails, topographic maps.
The nine islands in order of size:
- São Miguel, 759 km2 - fascinating caldera and lake Sete Cidades
- Pico, 446 km2 - 2.350 m high volcano and its spine of small volcanoes and lakes
- Terceira, 403 km2 - rural atmosphere and old towns
- São Jorge, 246 km2 - a razor blade in the sea with isolated coastal communities
- Faial, 173 km2 - rural island, wide and deep caldera, new land formed during 1957 eruption
- Flores, 143 km2 - wild and rugged, high falls in dense forest: Ribeira Grande
- Santa Maria, 97 km2 - beaches and resorts
- Graciosa, 62 km2 - huge caldera and lava grotto Furna do Enxofre
- Corvo, 17 km2 - isolated volcano in the ocean, large caldera