For years I had in mind visiting other islands in the Azores, namely the Island of Flores. I always imagined a piece of land in the middle of the Atlantic full of flowers of all kinds and colors. A sort of Eden, with birds of paradise and everything.
What I found was not like my dream, but that is not why it was a disappointment. Quite the contrary!
The first image that still comes to my mind today is that of the blockbuster movie, Avatar. When I arrived on the Island and headed to where I was going to stay, I had an incredible image of super green mountains with countless waterfalls pouring down. What a delirium!
Without wanting to be too spoiler, because you will only get this same “Wow!” feeling when you are there, I will give you some tips on must-see places on the Island in this post.
Get ready to fall in love with Flores Island.
First, a little bit of history about Flores Island
Located in the western group of the Azores archipelago, on the North American plate, the Island of Flores occupies about 140 km², and its highest point is Morro Alto, with 914 m of altitude. Through the Ilhéu de Monchique, the Island is the westernmost point of Portugal.
Together with the Island of Corvo, Flores was discovered in 1452 by Diogo de Teive and his son, João de Teive, when they returned from their exploration trip to Terra Nova.
It passed from hand to hand for a long time, was invaded by corsairs and visited by whalers coming from the United States, who ended up leaving their art there.
The moment of most significant expansion for the Island came in 1966, with the installation of the French Militar Base. This brought a community from France and their customs and a hospital, a power plant, and an airport.
Now, take note of these places to visit…
Poço da Ribeira do Ferreiro
I start with the Poço da Ribeira do Ferreiro because it’s one of the unique places on the Island of Flores. The path that takes us to this paradise starts from the road next to the Ribeira do Ferreiro Bridge.
The trail is bumpy, well-marked, and passes through the middle of a lush forest, with streams running right alongside.
This trail leads to the Poço da Ribeira do Ferreiro, and we walk it with the anticipation of finding out what awaits us at the end.
And suddenly, a large lagoon appears, encompassing the water flowing from numerous waterfalls that sprout from a large hillside also covered by vegetation.
The calm here (at least that was the case when I visited this place) invites introspection. It feels good to spend some time here absorbing this beauty.
Not to be confused with the Sete Cidades Lagoon on São Miguel Island. These are seven incredible lagoons scattered around the Flores Natural Park, positioned on the central plateau of the Island.
You will see and be enchanted by the caldeiras Branca, Negra, Comprida, and Seca, in the area of Morro Alto, the highest point of Flores, the caldeiras Funda and Rasa, in the southern sector of the plateau, and also the Lagoa da Lomba, near Pico do Touro.
All of them are special and of considerable size, full of vegetation in the surroundings and several bird species that wander around there.
Poço do Bacalhau Waterfall
Poço do Bacalhau is perhaps one of the most accessible waterfalls on Flores because it’s located in Fajã Grande in plain sight. It’s more active in the winter, with the water flowing from the centre of the Island, but in the summer, you can bathe in the lagoon that forms there.
Craveiro Lopes Viewpoint
Do you know when you have to distance yourself from things to sense their grandiosity? Here you have a clear view of the scenic and geological beauty of Flores Island since from here, you can see several of the waterfalls that flow down the fossil cliff, look over Fajãzinha and even see the Ribeira do Ferreiro well in a unique way.
Located in the municipality of Lajes das Flores, Fajã Grande is the place to visit – and even to stay, as was my case – especially during the summer season. The town offers an exciting number of lodgings, restaurants, and bars, which gain even more life at that time.
Besides being close to the Monchique Islet (remember, the westernmost point of Europe), Fajã Grande offers a dream scenery, with a green cliff dotted with waterfalls (among them the Poço do Bacalhau) and several areas to go bathing, including a small port with blue waters.
Next to Fajã Grande you will find Fajãzinha. This small village is nestled in a valley, and you can find it after crossing a winding road.
Take a walk here and be charmed by the parish church that dates from 1778 and is even quite large, considering the size of this village.
Is there surfing on Flores?
Most probably, yes, like in all places of the world bathed by the ocean. But you have to look for it and be lucky with the day you go. Fajã Grande and Fajãzinha were the two places where I found the most potential waves to be surfed.
But, should you decide to try it, be careful. The sea tends to be quite strong, and the rock bottom or not knowing the wave can make the adventure quite tricky.
Even if you’re not a museum buff, I can’t help but recommend a visit to the Flores Museum at the Boaventura Convent in Santa Cruz das Flores. Here you can learn about the history of the Island, from its discovery to the arrival of the French and the various economic activities practiced since the beginning of its settlement.
The museum is not big, but it is very interesting and worth the visit.
Fábrica da Baleia do Boqueirão Museum
Fábrica da Baleia do Boqueirão is the second part of the Flores Museum and tells the story of whaling on Flores. Whether you think this fishing tradition is barbaric or not, it’s still part of the history of the Island and much of the Azores.
Whaling began in Flores in 1860, with techniques brought by North American whalers, and had the last capture noted in 1981, when this factory, dating from World War II, ceased to operate.
The museum, which opened in 2015, tells the story of this fishing and the men who went to the ocean in small boats to face the giants of the seas.
Next to the Fábrica da Baleia do Boqueirão Museum you will find some incredible natural pools, and be prepared to spend a few hours here. The place offers several points to enter the water, with areas even quite deep. Take some diving goggles or your GoPro so you can observe the bottom. There are small fish around here that have gotten in with the waves that occasionally invade these natural reservoirs.
Rocha dos Bordões
If you like geological phenomena, you have to see Rocha dos Bordões.
Located in the parish of Mosteiros, in the municipality of Lajes das Flores, look for a place called Cabo Baixo das Casas.
This grandiose rock stands out for its basalt columns and natural surroundings of great beauty.
Look for the Rocha dos Bordões viewpoint to take good pictures of this natural monument.
And how to get to Flores Island?
I visited Flores Island when I was touring several islands in the Azores, so I got there by plane after my adventure in Corvo Island.
You can also take a plane from Ponta Delgada, Horta or Terceira. Once on the Island, my advice is to rent a car so you can move around the Island at your leisure.
No matter how much I write here about Flores, nothing will do justice to the natural beauty of this incredible island in the Azores. So take the tips I leave you here, reserve your flight and book your stay, and get ready to spend unforgettable days.
By the way: what did you think of this post? Do you already know the Azores Island and have other tips to share? Leave your testimonial in the comments box below.
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