Azores Islands Pro - 25th to 30th August - Sao Miguel | PORTUGAL

The Azores



  THE AZORES AT A GLANCE
Welcome Location Getting there Climate Currency Surfing Gastronomy

Things to do Interesting Spots Local Events


 
Welcome to the Azores

Magnificent scenery, a unique culture and hospitality…

The Azores, an outline of garden-like islands in the center of the Atlantic Ocean. Peace and quiet, flowers in the fields, in the villages, in the houses. Blue and green dreamy lagoons.
A pace of life in which there is time to stop and appreciate living. Art treasures that recall pages of a centuries-long history. Nature in its original splendor. A meeting with the past involved in everyday life. An invitation to discover and experience a different world, repeated on each of the nine islands of the Azores.


Location

The Azores archipelago it’s Europe’s most western territory, located in the Atlantic Ocean, about two hours flying time and 930 miles (1500 Km) from Lisbon, and about five hours flying time and 2422 miles (3900 Km) from the eastern coast of North America.

The nine island archipelago extends over the parallel that runs through Lisbon (39º43'/39º55' north latitude), giving it a moderate climate with mild annual temperature oscillation.

The Azores have a total area of 910 square miles (2355 Km2). Their individual areas vary between S. Miguel's 290 square miles (747 Km2) and Corvo's 7 square miles (17 Km2).



Getting there

The Azores International Airline is SATA, a state of the art Airline that operates several daily flights from Lisbon and Oporto in mainland Portugal to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel Island), and runs interconnecting flights between the islands.

The approximate flight time from Portugal mainland to São Miguel - Ponta Delgada is about 2 hours.


Climate

Situated in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean, at the centre of the anticyclone zone of the Azores, bathed by a warm branch of the Gulf Stream, the archipelago enjoys a temperate maritime climate, without great variations in annual temperature with an average winter temperature of 14°C (57°F) and 24°C (75°F) in the summer.


Light clothes, with one or two woolen pieces for the cooler days or nights, are enough all year round, although in the winter slightly warmer wraps may be necessary. Specially in the months from October to April it is better to bring along a raincoat, because there are frequent showers followed at once by sunshine, the so called “days of the four seasons” as the Azoreans Picturesquely say.

Sea temperatures are also mild and vary from 17°C (63°F) in winter to a pleasant 23°C (73°F) during summer months.

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Currency

Being an autonomous region of the Portuguese Republic, the currency used is the Euro (€).

Most of the restaurants, hotels and car-rental companies accept common credit cards, but don’t expect credit cards to be accepted in smaller restaurants and hostels.


Surfing

The best known spots in the Azores are found on the island of São Miguel, the largest of nine islands that compose the Azores archipelago.

The surf generally ranges in size from 3-5 feet during summer, reaching up to 15 feet in the winter months.

Anjos, Areias, Baixa da Viola, Ponta dos Mosteiros, Populo, Praia Formosa, Rabo de Peixe, Ribeira Grande, and Santa Iria, are among the most surfed spots in S. Miguel Island.

Locals are welcome and friendly, but as everywhere respect to the local community is a must.


Gastronomy

Fresh and Tasty. In the Azores, the abundant supply of fresh fish and shellfish provide the flavors for a rich and tasty regional cuisine. Fish chowder, stewed octopus or grilled limpets are among the specialties of each of island.

Special note to the very appreciated “Cozido das Furnas” or Furnas Stew in São Miguel. Here the recipients are hermetically sealed and placed underneath the earth where the food is cooked with its natural heat.

There are also delicious meat dishes, such as torresmos (fried pork-belly pieces), alcatra (a type of beef casserole) or regional style steak. There is a wide variety of cheeses, which include the famous São Jorge cheese.

For a dessert choose among local super fresh fruit: pineapple, passion fruit, blackberry, cape gooseberry… or a traditional convent sweet with a refined flavor.


Things to do

Whale and Dolphin Watching
The Azores offer one of the best habitats in the world for marine mammals with more than 20 identified species.The islands provide a natural aquarium in the middle of the Atlantic between Europe and North America. The sperm whales enjoy incomparable conditions. They are free of the threat of whalers, and are surrounded by clear waters and abundant food all year round, a true sanctuary. All these conditions have created a unique relationship between the sperm whale and the Azoreans.

Today the whales are present in the lives of the people in another, more pleasant, form. The legacy of the old whalers has been reformed and protected.

The boats continue to react to the words and sounds “baleia à vista, baleia à vista” (whale in sight). They travel in the direction of the cetacean guided by the “vigias”, or lookouts. These men, with years of experience, search the waters with binoculars, looking for signs of the leviathan, for movements and spouts.


Diving
A pleasant sea temperature, the enormous quantity and variety of fish and aquatic plants, the sub-geological setting and the sea, with large caves and arches, are some of the reasons why the Azores offer a magnificent scenario to dive.

The islands of volcanic origin, with the so-called "thermal fields", are one of the most spectacular of all the deep underwater landscapes. These are areas where hot water flow from inside the rock, providing optimal conditions for carrying out scientific expeditions and even leisure diving.


Fishing
Around the Azores the waters are extremely deep, over 1000m, and good fishing can be found in the channels between the islands.

The water surrounding the islands of the Azores archipelago abounds in a variety of sea life, including huge pelagic fish such as the Atlantic Blue Marlin, White Marlin, and occasionally Yellow fin and Big Eye Tuna, Swordfish, and various types of shark (including Hammerheads, Six Gill and Mako). Smaller tuna species, Blue Fish, Wahoo, Dorado, Barracuda, and many more, can be found in abundance.

In the Azores you can choose between different types of fishing like bottom fishing, jigging, trawling and live bait fishing.


Speleology
The Azorean archipelago provides a diverse patrimony of caverns, due to its volcanic origin and the presence of congealed lava streams basaltic in nature.

Over 200 grottoes are known. They have a total length of a few decimal kilometers of subterranean channels, where grottoes and caves from volcanic origin as well as those formed through erosion, sometimes a combination of both, can be found.

Amongst the well knowned are the Natal and Algar do Carvão grottoes in the Terceira Island, Furna do enxofre grotto in Graciosa Island and the grotto of Torres in Pico island.

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Interesting Spots

There are at least 8 things you must see & do in the Azorean islands:

1) Caldeira das Sete Cidades -The most beautiful and imposing lakes of the Island of São Miguel, nestling in crater with a sweeping 12 km perimeter. The unforgettable picture of the Verde (green) lake and the Azul (blue) lake set off by their surrounding trees and flowers.

2) Furnas -Along with the view of Sete Cidades the village of Furnas in its huge “caldeira” is among the best-know images of the Azores. Two places appear in all the brochures: the hot springs with their bubbling water and burping mud, and the Terra Nostra Garden. Of great natural beauty, the Vale das Furnas is a high-light of the Azores with its unique landscape endowed with relaxation and romanticism.

3) Peak of Pico Island -The volcanic cone of Pico Island presents an attractive challenge for all those who enjoy climbing mountains and experiencing the marvelous spectacle of the sunrise. Considered one of the world’s most beautiful volcanoes, Pico, when seen from afar, looks easy to climb and therefore presents an obvious challenge to many visitors to the island. Do you dare climbing it?

4) Peter’s Café - Peter’s Café Sport is quite simply the most famous bar in the North Atlantic, having first opened its doors on the island of Faial over eighty years ago to seafarers from all over the world. Taste the Gin.

5) Angra do Heroísmo Town - World Heritage. The Azores is home to a rich historical heritage, the most notable of which are temples and whaling arts. On the island of Terceira, the town of Angra do Heroísmo received World Heritage status thanks to its historical renascent town centre.

6) Nordeste – São, Miguel Island - The most floweriest and extraordinary district in Portugal, with mountains and gorges, streams and viewpoints, all covered by a blanket of flowers.
It is also advised to visit the highest point of the island with 1,105 meters of altitude, called Pico da Vara.

7) Gorreana Tea Factory - The first records of tea growing in the archipelago date from towards the end of the 18th century, although it is thought to have been known before them because of the Portuguese ships passing through on their return from Asia. Gorreana estate was founded in 1883 and is now one of the last of several estates that once thrived on S. Miguel.

8) Nature - Walk in the gardens of heaven. The purity of nature across the Azores is proven in its greenery and flowers. The abundant local vegetation is a constant with nature reserves and protected landscapes on many of the islands.


Local Events

Whatever the time of year, there will be a festivity of some sort going on in Azores.
From traditional festivities to cultural events you can find a bit of everything.

The biggest religious festivity is without a doubt the feast of “Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres” (Lord Crist of the Miracles) , that takes place on the fifth Sunday after Easter, in the city of Ponta Delgada – São Miguel Island. To this feast come thousands of pilgrims that follow by close the image of Christ, through the streets dressed for the occasion with artistic and colorful blankets of different flowers.


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