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Welcome to the Web Portal of the Azores

This Web Portal is dedicated to the Azores, a group of nine green islands situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. On this site you can read among other things details about the islands, useful information for your travel and stay and see what activities these islands have to offer. Please visit our webshop, the Azores yellow pages and share your Azores pictures in the photo gallery.

You can check the latest prices for Hotels in the Azores at:


The Autonomous Region of Azores under Portuguese influence is a group of 9 major islands and 8 islets called formigas located about 930 miles (1500 km) from Lisbon and 2422 miles (3900 km) from the east coast of the United States.  An autonomous region of Portugal is defined as having its own government and political and administrative statutes. Tourism is important to the island and it’s easy to see why.  Lovely wineries, tall mountains and wonderful flora and fauna all contribute to the beauty and serenity.

sunset azores azores lakes

The climate of the Azores is delightful, lying in the same general climatic zone as Lisbon. Moderate rainfall with little season variation makes it particularly attractive as an agricultural center, but even more important, as a tourist and retirement location.

Geographically, the Azores Islands are formed of the tops of some of the tallest mountains on earth.  They are all of volcanic origin, although there is some coral contribution on the island of Santa Maria.

The Azores naturally are grouped into three geographic areas.  The Eastern Group consists of São Miguel, Santa Maria and Formigas Islets. The Central Group is Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial.  The Western Group includes Flores and Corvo. 

São Miguel is the largest and most populous of the islands with over half the population of the Azores living here. Its nickname is the Green Island.  The nickname comes from the verdant lowlands and the laurel forests in the hills. Numerous geysers and hot springs add geological and botanical interest to the island.

Santa Maria is the southernmost and first discovered island of the Azores.  It contains the oldest habitations which are spread across the entire island, rather than being congregated in one spot.  Santa Maria is well known for its pottery, arts, and crafts.

The Formigas Islets are a series of small land formations lying between São Miguel and Santa Maria.  Some are hardly more than large rocks.  There is no plant or animal life naturally occurring on the Formigas.  The name formigas means ‘ants’ in Portuguese. The group is guarded by a lighthouse to assist in navigation around the dangerous rocks and shoals.

Terceira contains the historical capital of the Azores—the oldest city in the Islands—where the historic core is classified as a World Heritage Site.  50,000 inhabitants call Terceira home, mostly in the western part.  The north end of the island is a volcano.

landscape azores ribeira grande

Graciosa is a very small island mostly important for its cereal, wine, fruit and cattle crops.  The nickname is White Island, and the name means ‘enchanting’. The unique Sulphur Cavern is unlike anything else in the world.

São Jorge is long and narrow and is also volcanic in origin.  Its population is about 10,000 people in two major districts.  The typical crops are fruits, cereals and cattle.

Pico Island contains the tallest mountain in the Azores, and in all of Portugal.  Ponta do Pico is volcanic.  The last major eruption was in 1963.  Pico has a significant tourism presence and a remarkable wine (Vinho do Pico).  The island was known for its whaling industry until 1980.

Faial Island is The Blue Island, named for the abundant growth of hydrangeas which bloom in early summer.  This area of the Azores is mainly agricultural, although tourism is a growing economic boon. 

Blue Sea or Buzzards?
It is commonly said that the archipelago is named after the goshawk (Açor in Portuguese), because it was supposed to be a common bird at the time of the discovery of the island. However the goshawk never actually existed on the islands. Some historians say the islands were named after the their color seen from afar (azures means plural of blue). Most however, insist that the name is derived from the local subspecies of the buzzard that live on the islands(Buteo buteo). They think the first explorers erroneously identified these birds as goshawks.

© Azoresweb 2006