The Azores are a volcanic island group in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a large archipelago of more than 600 kilometers long. The entire sea between these island is a special economic zone and consists of more than 1.5 million square kilometers. The islands each have their own character, but are all rocky with beautiful bays and lovely lagoons.
On the nine inhabited islands of the Azores there live almost 250,000 people. More than half live on the main island São Miguel.
The Azores are situated in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,500 kilometers west of the Portuguese mainland and approximately 3,300 kilometers of the coast of North America. The volcano Pico on the eponymous island is not only the highest point of the Azores, but of Portugal as well.
Livestock breeding (for milk and meat production) is of great importance for the local economy. However, there also is some agriculture on the rather unfruitful Azores: grapes, pineapples and bananas are cultivated. The cultivation of tea and sugar beets are less important.
The commercial fishing industry is namely focused on tuna, which is mainly canned for export. The Pico island inhabitants used to be active whale hunters. Nowadays, searching for whales (and dolphins) is a tourist attraction. Tourism is the indisputable source of income of the Azores.
Each of the nine inhabited islands has an airport, but the most important airport is João Paulo II near the capital Ponta Delgada on the main island São Miguel. There are connections with Europe and North America.
All islands, except for Corvo, have bus transportation. On São Miguel, Terceira and Pico buses drive frequently and on time, but on the smaller islands the bus drives only two or three times a day and not on the weekend. For transport between the islands, you can choose between flying and a ferry. The ferry only sails between the central islands.
Traffic and parking
To explore the larger islands São Miguel and Terceira, a rental car is the ideal transportation. Do take into account that the roads are narrow, steep and curvy.
There is a large offer of accommodations on the Azores in all price ranges. From basic camping sites up to luxurious hotels on the larger islands. Try to spend the night in a so called 'quinta' (usually the house of a rich gentleman farmer).
For more information about the Azores, we recommend Google and the following sources: