Flores, Island of natural wonders...
After a 50 minute flight, the airport of “Santa Cruz” in Flores serves as the starting point for an extraordinary trip through the island.
An island of incomparable beauty, due to its’ geographical form, and jagged terrain.
Incorporating a surface area of 142 km2 and divided into two municipalities, “Santa Cruz” and “Lajes”, Flores appears to have been artistically painted by a painter using perfect colours and forms.
Delineated with a steep, rugged coastline reaching heights of 600 meters at the extreme north-west of the island, Flores offers all the natural beauty found throughout the islands in a single island.
The typography of the island is extremely rugged, marked by high elevations with its’ cliffs descending gently at some points and sharply at others and terminating in valleys and gracious lakes amidst extensive areas of natural vegetation.
One of the main tourist attractions in Flores is the seven extinct craters which were once volcanoes and are now seven beautiful lakes.
Of the two existing municipalities on the island, the municipality of Lajes occupies more than half of the islands’ surface. It is the most western point of Europe, of Portugal and of the Autonomous region of the Azores.
With a population of 1500 inhabitants, it is the second smallest municipality in Portugal, and occupies an area of 72 km2.
Lajes was the first to be populated on the island of Flores making it the island town, but no real document exists to substantiate this. It was the first parish of the island and its’ patron saint is “Nossa Senhora do Rosario”.
Architecturally the “Nossa Senhora do Rosário” Church and the “Nossa Senhora das Angústias” Chapel in Lajes, the “Nossa Senhora da Conceição” and “São Boaventura” Churches in Santa Cruz and the “Nossa Senhora dos Remédios” Church in Fajãzinha are the most notable structures.
It is difficult to select the most attractive areas to visit in Flores since every section is an enchantment, but the following are suggested;
The view from the “Rocha dos Bordões” (crag) to the view over the “Fajã Grande”, and through the Ribeira Grande waterfall which drops from an altitude of about 300 meters are all spectacular... The “Rocha dos Bordões”, ex-libris of the entire island, is a natural monument of unusual beauty, touched by forces of nature throughout the centuries forming vertical indented lines of basalt which bestow upon it a majestic appearance.
- The eminent beauty of the lakes of Flores in addition to the steep slopes covered with vegetation that reach up to the “Morro Alto”, the highest point on the island at an altitude of 915 meters and the “Sete Pés Pico” or the “Pedrinha” are all natural wonders well worth the time spent to see them.
- Taking an extraordinary trip along the roads which cross the island, you will witness views including the prominent “Pico da Sé”(summit), and all the spectacular panoramas seen from Fajã Grande and Ponta Delgada through Lajes and Santa Cruz.
The people of Lajes are mainly farmers and cattle raisers but a sufficient amount of fishing takes place due to its’ oceanside location.
Whale hunting used to be essential to the economy in the past in addition to the algae industry during the 60s and 70s.
The vast botanical, geological, hydrological and scenic richness of the island was the motive for the classifying of two large areas as Natural Forest Reserve, namely one which encloses “Pico da Sé, Sete Pés” and “Burrinha”, “Morro Alto, Testa da Igreja” and “Caldeiras Funda”, “Cumprida Seca, Branca” and the other which includes the “Caldeira Rasa” and the “Pico da Marcela”.
The “Gruta dos Incharéus” (grotto), an enormous cave by the seashore which is 50 meters long and 25 meters wide, the “Gruta do Galo”, the picturesque “Maria Vaz, Cartário, Abrões, Muda, Pão de Açucar” and “Furado” islets in addition to the interesting “Baixas” (shallow regions) of “Ponta Delgada, Moínho” and “Vermelha” among others, are wonders which beautify the florentine coast.
Also of particular interest is the “Monchique” Islet which is the westernmost point of Europe. During the period of navigation by astronomy the islet was especially important as it functioned as one of the main points of reference used to reroute and check navigational equipment.
Situated between Europe and the North American continent, their is a great tradition of Emigration, and the myth states that from Faja Grande “you are able to hear the roosters sing in America”.
The gracious and inviting Forest Reserve and Recreational area in Fazenda, Santa Cruz offers everything you need to complete your travels through Flores.