Many of you may have heard of the Azores but how much do you know about these unique islands. Located 1,5000 km off Portugal’s coast, these nine wonderful unspoiled and diverse landscapes form Europe’s most-westerly outpost.
The Azores is very much a part of Portugal in terms of language, their amazing seasonal cuisine, their historic architecture, and their friendly and warm welcome.
Here are the nine picturesque islands that make up the Azores.
The Black Island – Corvo
Corvo is the northernmost and smallest island which means “of the crow” and is associated with the native cormorant bird species. Its moniker the Black Island is said to come from the rocks and soil darkened by lava used as borders for fields. However, some also claim that the nickname pertains to the black dot appearance of the island on maps because of its tiny size.
The Blue Island – Faial
There are two reasons for its nickname – the maritime history of the island and the huge number of hydrangeas adorning the towns and streets. Even most locals decorate their businesses and homes to honour the blue island.
The Pink Island – Flores
Flores is probably the island of flowers, thus the name, which literally means flowers. Local azaleas also stand out among the many natural gems of the area. Flores is the fourth-smallest out of the nine islands and is also believed by some locals and visitors as the most beautiful of them all.
The White Island – Graciosa
Graciosa is the slightly flatter and the second smallest island in the Azores. Despite the volcanic nature of the archipelago, the island has lighter rocks, hence its nickname the White Island. Graciosa comes from gracioso, a Portuguese term that means graceful because of the landscape’s softness with no hills and cliffs common on the rest of the islands.
The Gray Island – Pico
Pico is known not only as the Gray Island but also as The Mountain Island because of the massive stratovolcano found on the west side of the island.
The Yellow Island – Santa Maria
With its name after the abundance of bright flowers on the island, Santa Maria is said to be the first discovered island in the Azores. The shrubs with bright yellow flowers called giestas inspire the nickname of the island growing along the green slopes of Santa Maria between rural towns.
The Brown Island – São Jorge
The oblong São Jorge at the heart of the central group of the Azores is characterized by the long stretch of rocky seaside cliffs. The fajãs and cliffs are the reason behind the nickname of São Jorge where they are the most prominent features.
The Green Island – São Miguel
Botanical gardens, tea fields, rolling pastures, and lush mountainsides and hills add their unique shades of green to this exotic and dreamy island, which is also the biggest in the entire archipelago.
The Lilac Island – Terceira
Purple and soft blue hydrangeas are abundant throughout the Azores. However, the third biggest of the nine islands, Terceira, is especially recognized for the flowers’ soft pastel colours such as lilacs, which explains the name The Lilac Island.
Are you ready to explore the nine islands of the Azores?
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