Embrace the traditional Azorean lifestyle on our Santa Maria self-catering holiday.
Diminutive Santa Maria is unique among the nine islands of the Azores. It was the first island in the volcanic archipelago to have formed and the first island to be settled by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century – the stepping stone from which the other eight islands were populated.
Santa Maria’s pretty, rural cottages are famous across the Azores for their unique chromatic colour schemes and oversized, wedge-shaped chimneys – more akin to the architecture of the Alentejo and Algarve regions of mainland Portugal (where many of the original settlers hailed from). And the landscapes these cottages inhabit are exceptional – the stunning natural amphitheatre that is Sao Lourenco bay, the wonderful white sands of Praia Formosa beach, the striking Barreiro da Faneca red desert, and steeply-terraced, gravity-defying vineyards of Maia.
Viticulture is alive and well on Santa Maria, albeit on a smaller scale than the famous UNESCO-protected vineyards on Pico. The islanders treasure and protect their handicrafts, knowing these traditional skills were once part of the daily Azorean life and are in danger of fading into memory on many of the larger islands.
Your home for the week is the one-bedroom cottage Casita Cantinho do Paraiso, overlooking the Baia da Praia Formosa on the island’s sunny south coast. If you’re travelling with family or friends, you might prefer a stay next door in the larger, two-bedroom Villa Cantinho do Paraiso. We’ll include a hire car to allow you to explore the whole island, with maps, restaurant guides, and hints and tips on making the most of your stay.
From £1900 per person
We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.
INCLUDED: international flights from the UK to the Azores, accommodation in a one bedroom cottage at Casita Cantinho do Paraiso on a self-catering basis, and a hire car.