São Jorge

A walker’s paradise! São Jorge is a long, snaking spine of peaks, whose backbone is peppered with lush green craters, the sides dramatically tumbling to the ocean blue below.

São Jorge is one of the most scenically dramatic and friendly islands in the Azores. Velas, the picturesque capital, is a sleepy harbour town dating from the mid 1400s and has a delightful traditional Azorean bandstand in the main square.

The majority of the locals live on the coastal plains (fajãs) which lie at the foot of the steep volcanic cliffs and are home to an abundance of bird life including the Cory Shearwater. The Topo islet, at the east end of the island, with its nesting and resting areas for many resident migratory birds, has been classified a Natural Reserve.

One of the most beautiful walks heads off from the top of the island down to Fajã do Santa Cristo with its pretty church and lagoon where one of the island’s delicacies, clams, are farmed.

And while you are there don’t forget to sample the famous São Jorge cheese or to visit the church of Santa Barbara at Manadas, one of the finest examples of religious architecture on the Azores, containing glazed tile work, carved ceilings and rich gilded altars.

Island figures
Length 56km
Breadth 8km
Surface area 245km²
Population 10,300

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