|Azores Islands - volcano hiking, daytrips, sightseeing, excursions|
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The Azores consist of 9 islands São Miguel, Faial, Pico, Terceira, São Jorge, Flores, Corvo, Graciosa and Santa Maria and belong to the last paradises of our world. Smooth, not extensive Tourismo, but nevertheless with perfect Infrastucture, good roads and airports.
Stress, polution or crime are totaly unknown on the Azores island !
The Acores islands are the Weathercitchen of Europe. Everybody knows the "anti-cyclone over the Azores" and the antagonist "trough of Icelandic low pressure".
Island São Miguel(All interesting locations of the island São Miguel marked on a zoomable map)
Sightseeing in Ponta DelgadaA magnificent view over the city Ponta Delgada you have from the on a hill located Ingreja Mãe de Deus.
The citycenter with pedestrian precinct and many small shops is located around the place Largo da República.
Ponta Delgada has some very beautifull arranged parcs:
AnanasIn Faja de Baixa near Ponta Delgada the famous Ananas of São Miguel are cultured in special greenhouses. The tropical fruits taste excellent andare very juicy.
Tip: The Azores Ananas are sold exclusively on the island São Miguel, therefore its clever to buy a larger stock :o))
Hicking to Cete CidadesStarting from the viewpoint Vista do Rei a path leads first along the edge of the crater and then down into the Caldeira to the small village Sete Cidades (translated "seven cities").
Beautiful lookout upon the lakes Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul.
GPS track hiking around the volcano crater Cête Cidades (14,5 km)
From Cête Cidades, you can walk through a 1385 m long tunnel in direction Mosteiros (approx 1 hour walk). Flashlight and rain protection are necessary because in the tunnel it is pitch dark and water drips from the tunnel ceiling.
Hiking to the pilgrimage chapel Nossa Senhora da PazThe hiking up to pilgrimage chapel Nossa Senhora da Paz begins beside the church in Vila Franca do Campo (1,5 hours).
Those in a hurry can of course drive up by car. From the top you have a magnificent view of the Ilhéu de Vila Franca and the sea.
Bathing and swimming
MosteirosIn the northwest of São Miguel, a wild, rocky coastline piles up. Protected by a group of rocks that form a monastery with monks (Portuguese Mosteiros) is located a beautiful beach with fine sand of deep black lava.
Church São RoqueA beautiful church is enthroned above the black lava beach of São Roque near Ponta Delgada.
Bay of PraiaIn the Bay of Praia beside the Hotel Bahia Palace is located one of the most beautiful and longest bathing beaches of São Miguel (the beach does not belong to the hotel and is, of course, freely accessible).
Potter town LagoaLagoa is the center of the ceramic industry. In the factory Ceramica Vieira you can watch the workers making and painting pottery and you also can buy hand-painted azulejos (tiles), jugs and statues.
Vila Franca do CampoVila Franca do Campo was originally the capital of the island São Miguel. In the year 1522 the city was destroyed by an earthquake and the inhabitants moved to Ponta Delgada, which then gets capital city since 1546.
The in beginning of the 17th Century rebuilt church of São Miguel is one of the few churches built of black basalt stone on the Azores Islands.
Ilhéu de Vila FrancaWith a boat you can ship to the offshore volcanic island of the town of Vila Franca do Campo. The through the crater rim protected Caldera is an ideal natural swimmingpool.
(Departure at Kai Taragete, from June to September)
Fishing village Ribeira QuenteBeautiful sandy beach Praia do Fogo.
Whaling village CapelasIn Capelas a memorial fountain remembers at the last whaling.
Ribeira GrandeThe second largest city of São Miguel has more charm than the sober Ponta Delgada. The beautiful bridges and parks invite you for a city stroll.
Nostalgic Tea factoryNear Gorreana surrounded by green tea bushes is located the tea factory founded in 1883 by the from Germany emigrated Christian priest j. Hintze Platações de Chá Gorreana. With ancient English machines and a lot of manual work every year 30-40 tons of tea are produced on the Azores.
You can visit the tea factory, try a variety of teas and also buy the excellent tea (Orange Peakoe, Broken Leave).
-> Photos of the Tea factory Platações de Chá Gorreana
© Foto Platações de Chá Gorreana
Caldeira VelhaIn the middle of the forest on the drive from Ribeira Grande to Lagoa do Fogo in front of a parking lot branches off righthanded a footpath (10 min) to a highly original swimming from. 35 °C hot thermal water plunges with a small waterfall into a swimming pool.
Along the way grow giant ferns. The by high cliffs wind protected valley forms a microcosm of their own with unique flora.
Lagoa do FogoAt a volcanic eruption in the year 1563 the Lake of Fire was created, whose Caldeira is now filled with water. From Pico Barrosa (telecommunications station, 973 m elevation), one has a magnificent view down to Ponta Delgada - if the mountain is not wrapped in clouds :o(
Mineral spring in the spa town FurnasWith 38 °C warm yellow-brown sulfur stinking thermal waters the lake attracts visitors in Terra Nostra Park (entry 4 Euros) for swimming.
Before, but you should take a walk through the beautifully landscaped Terra Nostra Park. The park located in the middle of Furnas charmes by the centuries-old trees, goldfish ponds and a great variety of exotic plants.
|Boiling hot water and huge clouds of steam shoot out from the earth into the sky around Furnas.|
A more clever kiosk owner cooks in the hot water sacks full of corn cobs and sells them to the tourists.
Lagoa FurnasRelaxing affects a pedal boat ride on the Lagoa Furnas. Located on beautiful lakeside there are many picnic areas. The locals cook in the hot earth holes their stew (Cozido).
A very nice view to the Lagoa Furnas you have from the viewpoint Pico do Ferro.
NordesteJust past the entrance to the village is located the miradouro Vista dos Barcos. From the plane terrace you look down to the lighthouse at Ponta do Arnel.
CapelinhosThe volcanic eruption at the lighthouse of Capelinhos in the years 1957/58 increased the Faial Island with a 2.5 km 2 large moonscape, the plants so far take only sparse possession of the new world.
The lighthouse built in 1903 by involuntarily was displaced a bit inland and is since then a ruin.
© Photo Jovial in Horta
|Do not forget your bathing suit, when exploring the wild and rugged lava we found some wind protected pools.|
CaldeiraThe parking lot at the tunnel entrance is the starting point for the circumnavigation of the Caldeira on the crater rim (about 3 hours) and the descent into the crater caldera (2 hours return).
Praia do AlmoxarifeBeautiful black fine sandy lava beach with stunning views of the volcano Pico. At the beach promenade you find some cafes and restaurants.
Porto PimBright fine sandy beach in a protected bay behind the Monte da Guia, very gently sloping into the sea and therefore well suited for small children.
Ponta do SalãoA beautiful sea water swimming pool with adjoining campground is situated in the wild cliffs in the north east of Faial near Salão.
City stroll in Horta
Peter Café SportThe Peter Café Sport in the center of Horta is a popular meeting place for the world sailors. In the first floor we visit a small museum with whale tooth engravings.
The Port of HortaThe quay wall in the port of Horta is covered with original, colorful painted images by the world sailors. Who leaves no picture, must count on another trip with bad luck, as a superstition.
Matriz São SalvadorMighty parish church with baroque forms. Left and right next door are the Museum of Horta and the town hall.
Praça da RepúblicaThe Praça da República is a beautiful place with a small park and red lacquered pavilion. In the background you can see the Torre de Relógio. The old clock tower is a last remnant of a church from the 18th Century.
MadalenaIn the channel between Pico and Faial, we pass close to Madalena the Ilhéu Deitado with bizarre rock formations.
Climbing the Pico volcano (2351 m)Starting point for the ascent of Pico is a parking lot at 1200 m altitude. Here parks a car of the fire brigade (Bombeiros). At two friendly girls I subscribe myself to the summit book. Therefore, in an emergency the mountain rescue knows exactly how many hikers must be on the mountain.
Early morning clouds draw up and on the parking lot there is already dense fog. Now my only hope is that the summit region of Pico will be free of clouds.
|Thus equipped, as the Portuguese school class I would never hike to Pico summit. The path is above extremely steep and slippery, absolutely dangerous with such lightweight sneakers.|
As navigation guidance in clouds and fog every 100 m black & white road delineator posts were placed. If the fog is so dense that you can no longer see the next marker pillar, I strongly advise to return. When continuing ascending to the summit of Pico, the danger is too big losing the right way without leader and there are plenty of extremely steep passages and deep crevices.
GPS-Track hiking the volcano Pico (4,1 km)
|Even up to the crater rim the hiking is a lot of hard work due to boulders and fog. The path leads along huge extinct volcanic vents with unique vegetation. They look ghostly in the dense fog. In the background of the right photo you can see on the eastern edge of the crater the new volcanic cone (Pico Pequeno).|
Tip: Ascend in the late afternoon and spend the night at a wind sheltered location within the crater. Sunrise and sunset on Pico summit are a magnificent experience !
Whale Watching23 different species of whales cavorting between the islands of Faial, Pico and São Jorge. Of course, not all at once, but depending on the season.
|Unfortunately, a 4-hour Whale watching with quick rubber dinghies was rather frustrating, but you can see the large marine mammals (eg, sperm whales) only from a safe distance. After a brief greeting with the Fluke the whales dived for at least 45 min. To shoot good whale photos is very difficult and absolute luck. For close up whale watching certainly there exist much better places in the world.|
|In Lajes on Pico is all about whales - See also the emblem of a driving school or the T-shirts of a sailing club with ancient whaling boats.|
Museo dos BaleeirosWhaling Museum in Lajes.
Regatta with ancient whaling boats in Calheta de NesquimOn 10.07.2005 took place in Calheta de Nesquim a great festival in honor of the whales with great regatta and nightly rock concert.
The wives of the fishermen cooked excellent.
Round trip on Pico's high planeThe island back of Pico is dotted with extinct, green overgrown volcanoes and crater lakes. Here at 1000 m above sea level, there is a peculiar atmosphere characterized by extreme loneliness. Dead straight, the streets draw many miles across the highlands. The cows walk freely here without fences. The view over the islands of São Jorge and Faial is breathtaking.
|The trademark of Terceira Azores island are the colorful Imperios, small chapels for the annual Holy Ghost festivals. No Imperio resembles another.
Tourada á CordaThe mainly on Terceira celebrated bloodless bullfight on a rope is big fun and not really dangerous.
The bloodless Bullfighting takes place always in the evening, beginning usually 18:30 o'clock.
In the streets all doors, shop windows and front gardens are boarded up with wooden planks.
Once shooting indicates caution the bull is running in the streets. Twice shooting, the danger is over, the bull is on the field.
Then comes the time of the ice cream vendor. they throw the ice cream up to the audience on the balconies and they drop down the money. From small children to to grandma everyone is on the legs.
Praia da VitóriaPraia da Vitória is the second largest city on the island of Terceira with a beautiful fine sandy swimming beach - but unfortunately also with a huge American military base.
The thunder of deep-flying fighter jets directly over the city belongs to the normal daily routine.
Therefore the sun is shining more often in Praia da Vitória when elsewhere hang thick clouds over Terceira.
Protected marine swimming poolsIn the bizarre lava coast near Biscoitos there are several very beautiful rock swimming facilities. The water in the Sea water pools of Biscoitos is heated quickly and so swimming makes it especially fun.
The largest oceans swimming facility directly below Biscoitos includes a kiosk.
Aluminum bridges enable easy access into the water. The concrete sunbathing areas are of course quite hard :o))
Wine Museum in BiscoitosOld barrels and wine presses and tools.
After an extensive wine tasting you can buy the excellent dessert wine of Casa Agricola Brum.
Volcanic vent Algar do CarvãoA mystical apocalyptic atmosphere prevails in the 100 m deep volcanic vent Algar do Carvão, reinforced by a gloomy lighting, soft music and the constant droping of water. On the walls hang beautiful stalagmites and stalactites (entrance fee 4 Euro).
The magma chamber acts as big as a cathedral or the church nave of Cologne Cathedral.
Serra do Cume545 m high lookout mountain with panoramic views of the seemingly endless, like a chessboard arranged fields and to the city Praia de Vitória.
Serra de Santa BarbaraThe 1021 m high observation point is mostly covered by the clouds.
UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year 1986.
In the year 1980 the city Angra do Heróismo was laid in ruins by an heavy earthquake.
In Jardim Duque da Terceira a stairway leads up to the Alto da Memória, a majestic obelisk.
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