Tours normally begin with a visit to the miradouro overlooking the sea cliffs at Baia da Alagoa and the village of Ponta Ruíva – home to the Casa do Machado museum. The Casa is a preserved example of a typical rural home on Flores, giving a feel for life on the island in the 1800s (and in some cases, through to the end of the 1900s). You’ll see there was little separation between home and farm, with agricultural tools and kitchen utensils sitting side by side.
It’s a short drive to Ponta Delgada and the Ponta de Albarbaz lighthouse – the most westerly lighthouse Europe. You’ll also see Flores’ smaller neighbour Corvo in the distance: the islands were an important navigation beacon for ships sailing the trade winds between mainland Portugal and her Brazilian colonies. Post the industrial revolution, these westerly islands quickly lost their significance as steam-driven ships transformed Atlantic navigation.
Look out for the Ilheu de Maria Vaz (also known as the Islet of Gadelha), the small island just offshore which is an excellent example of prismatic disjunction – where cooling lava has fractured vertically, creating pillar-like structures (similar to the Giant’s Causeway). The north coast of Flores is dotted with sea stacks, caves and grottos which are only accessible by sea.
Leaving the coast behind, you’ll head inland and upwards towards Morro Alto, (the highest point on Flores at 914m), before arriving at the island’s beautiful central ‘Sete Lagoas’ or seven lagoons: Lagoas Branca, Seca, Negra, Comprida, and further south Lagoas da Lomba, Rasa and Funda das Lajes.
Unlike many of the other islands of the Azores, there are no records of geological disturbances or volcanic eruptions on Flores and Corvo since their settlement in 1452 – geologically, the calderas which the lakes occupy are considered extinct. Together with Corvo, the island sits on the western-side of the tectonic plate boundary between the North Atlantic plate and the Eurasian plate, with the other seven islands of the Azores on the eastern-side. The plates are slowly moving apart – increasing the distance between Flores and the main island of Sao Miguel by around 25mm each year.
Your next stop is Vila das Lajes – Flores’ most-southerly town. Dating back to the 16th Century, Lajes was once the religious centre and original ‘capital’ before the expansion of Santa Cruz. The town’s secluded harbour was key to the island’s whale-hunting community, and remnants of the Fabrica da Belaia (whaling factory) are still visible today. The end of hunting in the 1980s had huge social and economic impacts in the Azores, with an estimated 30% of the population emigrating to the USA and Canada. Those that remained relied on farming and fishing for their incomes – in the 21st Century, responsible tourism plays a major role in the islands’ economy.
Heading up the west coast, you’ll come to miradouro at Rocha dos Bordoes, where you’ll see more prismatic disjunction and the first of Flores’ famous waterfalls – the Casacata da Ribeiro do Fundao.
Your next stop is the Miradouro do Portal – Flores’ most-famous viewpoint, with it’s magnificent view across Fajazinha and the stunning west coast.
Passing by the equally-lovely Miradouro Craveiro Lopes, you’ll end your tour at Poco da Ribeira do Ferreiro – a magical spot where the Lagoa dos Patos falls in multiple waterfalls, forming a secluded lagoon alive with endemic and native plant life.
Our island hopping holiday to the Azores was absolutely amazing,
This is a long email, so you might want to go grab yourself a cuppa before you start reading.
We just wanted to send you an email to say thank you so much for everything.
Our island hopping holiday to the Azores was absolutely amazing, it was far beyond our dreams and expectations, and that is certainly because of you and all your plans in putting this together for us. We just loved every second (apart from me and canyoning, we do not get along, but the boys absolutely loved it!) we just can’t believe all the things that we have seen, and done, and learned about! What an incredible place!
We have certainly been bitten by the Azorean bug and we can’t wait to get back there to explore the other islands. They’re very special places, each of them for their own right.
We felt as though we were treated like royalty from the minute we arrived in Sao Miguel, even the weather was kind to us (largely) we seemed to miss the adverse weather, either arriving somewhere that had had storms the day before, or leaving just before they arrived. We did have one morning of heavy rain when we went to the tropical gardens at Furnas, but we did manage to see some of the gardens before we gave up and went back to Caloura, where there was glorious sunshine, so we spent the afternoon at the pool and made the most of the Especial and fresh lemonade from the snack bar.
Every single person that we met, we were struck by how hard they work, and how happy they all are. Many of them never leaving the island they were born on, because, why would they want to?!
We love the Azorean people and their love and pride for their islands. Their sustainable way of living also struck deep with us. It’s the way we try very hard to live ourselves. Dave’s business is retrofit insulation, preparing old housing stock to a better more eco friendly way of conserving energy, so the way they live and respect their land, was of great interest to us.
For us all, Flores is a very special place. We went to the restaurant maresia while we were there and met the owner and his son. Although the restaurant itself is eclectic to say the least, after chatting to Vincent, we understood his dads way of living and the food was outstanding! We can’t wait to visit again.
All of our guides were amazing! Their knowledge and passion is admirable.
We just loved every second and can’t thank you enough for making our trip so smooth and completely stress free.
I will spend today writing reviews online for all the companies and guides that helped us on our trip.
A million thanks to you all Jake.
The Cole family
Personal service and efficient!
You really listened to what type of holiday we wanted and tailored our week accordingly. You understood what we were looking for and were so helpful and knowledgeable. Very personal service and efficient!
Linda from Norfolk
Professional and personal service!
Everything you do, you seem to do it professionally. I know I’m not your only client, but you make me feel like I am.
Bryan from Stoke
Azores Choice provided a prompt, helpful service. they found us the perfect accommodation for our needs and provided superb, expert advice on how to spend our week walking on San Miguel. I would certainly use them again.
Joan from Durham
Recommended small travel company!
Great little company with friendly staff. Organisation of flights & accommodation very efficient. When problems arise they are helpful and very reasonable in their efforts to resolve them. We would definitely use them again for a return trip.
Really great! Would use again!
Very efficient, friendly, helpful. Excellent local knowledge. Everything ran very smoothly, from supplying the tickets to airport pick ups and hotel bookings. Lovely accommodation selected. No complaints!
A wonderful break in a beautiful environment!
Everything was excellent. The information and organisation, the hotel and the island itself all exceeded our expectations. Whale watching and other trips out, fantastic. We will book again!
Great honeymoon package and experience!
They provided a great package at a good price. We found them to be helpful and a quality service was provided.
Nicola and Christopher – Winchester
Top notch service. Highly recommended!
Excellent service throughout. Very informative, with lots of literature, maps and the like. Attended their offices in Ponta Delgada – very impressed with Olivia, friendly and helpful. Paul was first class.
Lynne in Welton-by-Lincoln
Great company for first time Azores visit!
Really great company, will be recommending them. We had never visited the Azores before but this company helped us decided which islands to visit.