Islands of Portugal: Madeira and the Azores
Madeira is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, about 700 kilometers west of Africa and 850 kilometers southwest of the Portuguese coast. Together with Porto Santo and the more southerly Ilhas Desertas and the Ilhas Selvagens it forms the archipelago and autonomous region of Madeira of Portugal. The Azores have the same status within Portugal. The largest city in Madeira and also the capital of the autonomous region is Funchal. Madeira has a very mild climate, the temperature is almost always between 16 and 22 ° C. The island is popular with hikers and nature lovers because of nature, the many forests and the mountains. Because the coast consists mainly of steep cliffs and sandy beaches are virtually non-existent, Madeira does not have mass tourism. The islands have a volcanic origin. The highest mountain is the Pico Ruivo (1862 m).
The many exotic flowers that grow in the wild characterize the island in such a way that Madeira is also called the flower island. The island has some endemic bird species of which the Madeira finch is the best known. In addition, the Laurisilva (laurel) frequently occurs on Madeira, which is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Because of the volcanic origin, there is no native mammal on the islands.
Madeira is characterized by its unique network of levadas; narrow irrigation channels that have been laid out over the entire island through the mountains. Because of the steep north coast, the colonization of the island started on the less steep south coast, where the capital Funchal is located. The water from the mountains in the north was brought to the relatively dry south via the levadas. A footpath has always been constructed along these levadas to facilitate maintenance work. In some places these paths are only 20 centimeters wide and they run right along a steep abyss. In other places they are almost two meters wide. If you pay close attention to the signs and follow any advice from the local population, they are suitable for walking along.
The Azores form an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean at a distance of 1370 km from the Iberian Peninsula and approximately 2341 km from the American mainland (1934 km to the island of Newfoundland, belonging to the American continent). The archipelago consists of nine inhabited islands and eight uninhabited islands that together form an autonomous region of the Republic of Portugal and thus form part of the European Union. The Azores have a total area of 2247 km² and count approximately 250 000 inhabitants. The national parliament is in Horta on Faial. The largest city, Ponta Delgada, is located on the eastern island of São Miguel.
The nine islands of the Azores are all of volcanic origin. The highest volcano is the Pico on the island of the same name, which is 2351 meters high, and thus the highest peak in all of Portugal. The most western islands, Flores and Corvo, are about 500 km from the most south-east, Santa Maria, removed.
The inhabitants of the relatively infertile Azores mainly live in livestock farming, but wine grapes, pineapple, bananas and tea are also grown. In the past, the Azores were known for whaling. Many crew members of whalers came here. Nowadays, watching the whales is a tourist attraction.
Horta on Faial is a popular mooring for sailing yachts that cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The Azores have a constant climate throughout the year, with few temperature differences. The temperature varies between 14.0 and 24.8 ° C, with August being the hottest month. The seawater varies in temperature between 16.0 and 22.0 ° C throughout the year to travel
There is no commercial ferry connection between the mainland and the islands. There are cargo ships, but they do not take passengers with them. One is therefore always dependent on flights. These flights depart daily from Lisbon and Porto. However, they do not go to every island.
Boats sail daily between the islands of Pico, Faial and São Jorge. There is a connection between São Jorge and Terceira for a few days a week, but it does not sail the whole year. Nor is there a risk in bad weather. However, the local airline SATA Air Açores operates almost daily between the islands.
Corvo and Flores form the western islands, São Miguel and Santa Maria the eastern, and the other islands the rather compact central group. The nine Azores with the congregations located there are from north-west to south-east:
- Vila Nova do Corvo
- Lajes das Flores
- Santa Cruz das Flores
- Lajes do Pico
- São Roque do Pico
- São Jorge
- Santa Cruz da Graciosa
- Angra do Heroísmo
- Praia da Vitória
- São Miguel
- Ponta Delgada
- Ribeira Grande
- Vila Franca do Campo
- Santa Maria
- Vila do Porto
Take care: We have no accommodations at this moment on the islands!