Located right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America, the Azores is on a parallel with Lisbon at latitudes of 39 43'/36 55' N.
The nine islands have a total surface area of 2,333 km2 and an Exclusive Economic Zone extending over 984,300 km2 Island areas range between 747 km2 (Sao Miguel island) and 17 km2 (Corvo island).
DESCUBRA OS AÇORES , Ilhas dos Açores, Faial,Terceira Island, Pico Island,ilha Graciosa,Ponta Delgada
The peak of the volcano of Pico Island attainsa height of 2,351 m constituting the highest point to be found on either the Azores or mainland Portugal. The population stands at 237,795 inhabitants.
Historically, the Portuguese came onto the scene in 1427 with the discovery of the islands of Santa Maria and São Miguel Due to its strategic geographic position, the archipelago was to become one of the axes of navigation between Europe, the Orient and America during the course of the 16th and 17th centuries. This period saw the occurrence of major naval battles off the Azores when the islands were set upon by pirates. Subsequent centuries saw the development of the islands, the introduction of new agriculture, and the development of cattle breeding and fishing. Having constituted an integral part of Portugal from the very outset, today the Azores is an autonomous region endowed with its own parliament and regional government.
Nature and environment
The Azores' commitment to the preservation of nature and environmental protection led the European Union to award the Azores an honorable mention in 1995 as part of the European Awards for Tourism and the Environment The region's concern for this area is borne out by the presence of dozens of natural reserves, areas of protected landscape, parks and forests on the nine islands, a fitting testament to the commitment the regional government shows towards their ecological preservation.
Over 55 native vascular plants transform the Azores into a fascinating botanical Garden for plant lovers. Cedar trees. heather, ling, mountain grapes, white wood, ginger, dogwood and the "tamujo" bush, to
The islands' churches provide the only remaining traces of the settlement period. The 15th to the 18th centuries saw intense building work on the islands resulting in interesting examples of civil and religious art, especially baroque. Baroque takes on a character all of its very own on the islands in view of the limited material available locally and the distance separating the islands from mainland European cultural centers. As the first Atlantic city built according to 16th century town planning standards and endowed with worthy reminders of its cultural heritage in the form of its churches, palaces and fortress, Angra do Heroísmo (Terceira island) was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO. The art and ethnographic museums and the popular architecture of each islands give credence to the cultural heritage of the region and allow us to delve deeper into the history and life of Azoreans over the centuries.
The nine islands of the Azores archipelago are each endowed with their own special seascapes, landscapes and charm. Each is enveloped in shades of fertile green, flowers, phenomenal volcanoes, marvelous lakes
located at the bottom of craters and other mysterious caves and caverns. Pico Island has its very own majestic mountain which is a sight to behold. Visiting the Azores means entering a world where nature's luxuriant beauty is on show and the presence of man becomes a distant memory as you are swept away to a primordial universe.
Congresses and incentives
The Islands of São Miguel, Terceira, Faial, Graciosa, São Jorge, Flores and Pico boast first class hotels endowed with facilities capable of holding congresses and other events in a most memorable and unique setting.
Golf, tennis, hikes, all terrain bicycling, mountain climbing, parasailing and horse riding combine to make the Azores the ideal location for those looking to enjoy a more sporting holiday. The Azores and the sea are inseparable, and this is particularly true when it comes to sports. Yachts from all around the world dock in the ports of Horta, Ponta Delgada, and Angra do Heroísmo (Terceira Island) to visit the other islands or to cross the Atlantic. Deep sea fishing where a number of world records have been set ? diving, surfing, wind surfing, and sailing are also to be found on these islands.
The Azoreans are a deeply religious people and this finds no better expression than at their festivals, which carry on the traditions of pious devotion such as The Festivals of Espirito Santo, rooted in medieval traditions, are common to all the islands (May through September) and offer up an opportunity to fraternize with the locals. The Festivals of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres in Ponta Delgada (São Miguel Island); the Festivals of Sanjoaninas in Angra do Heroísmo (Terceira island); the Semana do Mar in Horta (Faial island); the festival Ilha Branca (Graciosa Island) and the festival of the whalers on the islands of Pico and Mare in August on Santa Maria island; and the merry carnival at Graciosa Island constitute the high points of the festival calendar which lasts all year round.
The many traditional recipes of Azorean cuisine are a culinary delight for the gastronome, particularly those with a penchant for sumptuous, fresh fish who will find their own personal heaven in the Azores.For dessert, there are a wide variety of puddings as well as excellent cheeses (the prime example coming from São Jorge Island), sweet and juicy pineapples, the tropical passion fruit and herb tea grown on São Miguel Island, White and red wines, brandy from Graciosa Island, verdelho from Pico Island and Biscoitos (Terceira island) are all a "must for those making a gastronomic tour of the Azores.
Using local materials, the Azorean artisans keen alive century old traditions From coloured ceramics to delicate embroidery and lace, from works made of whalebone and teeth to the exquisite floral
arrangements crafted out of fish scales, to pieces made from the pith of fig trees and hydrangea. And let us not forget the miniatures of elegant whale boats and every day traditional objects, the guitars which lend life to a land that loves its festivals and works crafted from black basalt.
Comfortable hotel installations accommodate tourists on all the islands, with the exception of Corvo which has only one bed and breakfast. At Faial Island, São Miguel and Terceira tourist facilities are to be found in a rural setting, affording high quality accommodation in homely surroundings.
There are frequent two hour flights from Lisbon to the three Azorean airports: Ponta Delgada (São Miguel island), Lajes (Terceira island), and Horta (Faial island) Ponta Delgada is also served by regular flights to Funchal (Madeira) and during the peak season to Oporto and Frankfurt (Germany) Charter flights link America and Canada to the airports of Ponta Delgada and Lajes. Inter island flights are assured by SATA Air Azores.
There are regular Ferry Boat connections between all the islands of Azores, and also between Terceira and Graciosa. Ground transportation available on all the islands except Corvo have bus and taxi transportation Car Rental Services are available in every one of the 9 islands. Car transportation is provided for tourist trips around Corvo Island.
Whatever the time of year, lightweight clothing with one or two woolens for those cool evenings are all you'll need. Raincoats are recommended from October to April when rainfall is more frequent though a sunny spell is always just around the corner.
Azores, Graciosa Island, Terceira Island, S.Miguel Island, Santa Maria, Faial island,Corvo,Pico Island, S.Jorge Island, tourism,whale whatching,Flores Island,