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Corvo – Journey to the most isolated island of the Azores

Antigo moinho na Ilha do Corvo

Corvo – Journey to the most isolated island of the Azores

“Are you staying in Corvo?”… I don’t even know how many times I’ve heard this question accompanied by an incredulous look.

When I decided to make another trip to the Azores and get to know other islands, I had initially in mind the central triangle – Faial, São Jorge, and Pico -, but as I had two and a half weeks to spare, Flores and Corvo quickly joined the party. And why not stay overnight in Corvo?

On impulse, I booked the SATA flight from Ponta Delgada to Corvo (see box), only to find out later that most visitors take tours from Flores to get to Corvo and that it only takes a few hours to go around the island.

But, I repeat, why not stay there overnight… That’s what I did.

How to get to Corvo

You can buy a direct ticket and make a stopover in Faial or Flores. In my case, I thought it was cheaper to buy a regular flight from Portugal to Ponta Delgada in São Miguel and ask for SATA’s routing. Just call them, give the flight details of your arrival in the Azores and ask for free routing to any island.

Note: this works for Portuguese residents. Please check with the airliner if it applies to travelers with other nationalities.

Atlânticoline is the ferry company that makes the connection between islands. Always check the schedules according to your travel days. There aren’t boats all the time, not every day. The schedules change depending on the months, so always check them.

Some companies do tours to Corvo from Flores. In my case, I did the trip myself, but everyone speaks well of OC Experience.

Arriving in Corvo Island

My option was to go to São Miguel Island and ask for a free connection to Corvo. Since it was only one night, I decided to stay further away from the city center for cost reasons and found a super lovely local accommodation: the LC-House. 

I confess that my choice was initially due to the price and the decoration I saw in the photos, but soon the friendliness of João and the cleanliness of the place won me over. It had been a while since I had stayed in an accommodation with a shared bathroom, and that was what put me most worried, but everything worked out very well ☺️.

Back at the airport the next day, I took the flight to Corvo, with a stop in Faial.

The little propeller plane seemed like a toy if you think of the big planes I usually take for my international trips. I only remember riding in a similar one last time I went to Morocco in 2019.

Avião Sata Ilha do Corvo

There are no direct flights to Corvo. The flight goes to the island of Flores and, on the way, stops in Faial and Corvo. I was pretty sure that I should be the only person to get off in Corvo. That is, Nuno and I since he was going to join me in Faial.

Corvo is the most insular and isolated of all the Azores islands, the one you can see in four hours because it’s so tiny. But about 350 people live there, in a small village, the only one that receives those who decide to stay overnight with room and board.

350 people have decided not to leave and to continue calling Corvo home. An example of this is Joe and Vera, owners of Joe & Vera’s Vintage Place, one of the only two places on the island where you can book your stay. But we’ll get there in a moment.

Stays in Corvo

Joe & Vera’s Vintage Place

Local accommodation where I stayed and therefore recommend.

Comodoro

More like a hotel

Corvo’s small air terminal is located right next to the village. It’s a runway with a small support house. It doesn’t need more since not many people land here, at least when I went.

Arriving with surfboards on the island was in itself a factor of strangeness and commentary. 

“You can’t surf here!” we heard from one side.

“There was a guy who came once, and I think he went to the other side of the island,” comments another.

The truth is that we always walk around with our surfboards, hoping to catch some waves, and if no one has ever done it, so much the better. However, Corvo is, in fact, very inhospitable for this sport. Maybe with a lot more time, a boat, the right tide, and swell, there could be some sound waves to explore. But this was not the case. In fact, some small waves implied a certain slalom through the rocks, but the dozens of Portuguese Man-o-war’s we found at the water’s edge were a discouraging sign.

Nevertheless, the fact that we arrived with surfboards was the best icebreaker in the world, giving a reason for a long conversation with the inhabitants of Corvo.

Caravelas Portuguesas na Ilha do Corvo
Portuguese man-o-war found on the beach
Vista sobre a vila do Corvo
View over Corvo village

“Here’s my board man!” said Mr. Fernando with a broad smile.

The person in charge of Corvo Tours was a contact passed on by a photographer who had been there weeks before. She told us to contact him because Mr. Fernando was the natural host of Corvo.

Tours are his life. He takes the tourists who arrive by boat from Flores to the top of the Caldeirão on Corvo Island, the large crater that fascinates those who come here and is the place’s main attraction. He takes them, chats with them, plays with them, and returns them to the boat after a few hours.

“Because of this, I meet a lot of people. My day is full of goodbyes. Today it doesn’t hurt me anymore, I say goodbye, and that’s it. But before, it was tough for me,” he says.

This is an excellent example of the people of Corvo. They give themselves to those who visit them; they want to provide them with the best experience of the island that makes them so proud. This is a big family, where many are brothers, cousins, or nephews, and when they aren’t, they become part of the family by affinity.

“This girl is my niece. I mean, she’s not really, but it’s like she is. I talk to her every day,” says Fernando as he introduces us to a pretty girl from the village.

He drops us off at the door of the accommodation where we’re staying, which, coincidentally, “belongs to my daughter!”

Vera welcomes us with the friendliness that, after an hour on the island, we already expected. Her house, next to the beautiful Church of Corvo, is charming. Very clean and decorated with simplicity and good taste.

“I took the bicycle out of that hut so you can keep your boards there and be more comfortable in the room. Don’t worry that nobody will take them”, she tells us. It’s curious because I never mentioned to her that we would arrive with surfboards… but news travels fast on the small island of Corvo.

Vila do Corvo
Corvo village seen from the fishing harbor
Moinhos na Ilha do Corvo
Old mills on Corvo Island

Discovering the Caldeirão do Corvo

Corvo has two big attractions: seeing the Caldeirão do Corvo and hiking the Indian Face trail. I did both, and they are amazing!

There are two ways to get to the Caldeirão. On foot, from the village, or by van. We opted for the second, and there we went with Mr. Fernando, up the road, telling us stories of his time, anecdotes, and pranks he had played.

“Now, I’m going to ask you to close your eyes and not open them until I tell you,” he told us, and we complied…

“You may open them!”

Caldeirão do Corvo
View over the Caldeirão do Corvo

In front of us, we had the immense crater of the volcano that gave origin to the formation of Corvo Island. With every green slope and a large lake with islets, the Caldeirão is impressive.

The Caldeirão trail takes visitors to the crater’s center, right next to the water that accumulates there with the rain that usually falls. Corvo’s weather is just like that. The various seasons in a single day.

Some just go down the slope and those who walk all around the lake. Then it’s back up and starts the descent to the village. Here too we can take a van ride or walk to the town on foot. I recommend the latter, as it provides incredible views and allows you to get a closer look at Corvo’s green landscape.

Caldeirão da Ilha do Corvo
Detail of the Caldeirão in Corvo Island
Ilha do Corvo
Found on the paths near the Caldeirão
Ilha do Corvo

Halfway down the descent to the village, on one of the re-entrant paths, there’s the road that takes us to the gateway to the Indian Face Trail. A small wooden gate that, once crossed, opens a new immense world of green, cut with stone fences and leading to the seashore.

Being attentive to the trail markings is essential since there are turns that have to be made at the risk of getting lost in fields populated by dozens of cows.

Entrada para trilho da Cara do Índio na Ilha do Corvo
Entrance to the Cara do Índio trail on Corvo Island
Trilho da Cara do Índio
Cara do Índio Trail
Trilho da Cara do Índio Trail
Cara do Índio Trail

When we arrive at the edge, an arrow points to the Indian Face, a rock formation that nature has carved into the perfect profile of a Native American, with its nose, the concavity of its eyes, and even its hat.

When he left us, Mr. Fernando told us to look two levels up and search for the cow lying down. And there it was, a cluster of rocks creating the shape of the animal.

trilho da cara do índio
Cara do Índio na Ilha do Corvo
Can you see the Indian Face? What about the stone cow? If you do, comment if it was easy to spot.

A farewell to Corvo

Having found what took us on that trail, it was time to return home, and the path led us downhill, through several steep areas, where the hiking poles helped a lot.

By far, this is an easy trail, requiring agility and balance. Not recommended for those who aren’t very flexible. But on the way, the village of Corvo follows us below. As well as the sea and the next destination, the island of Flores, always in sight.

Two days in Corvo may seem too much for such a small island. Still, the memories created, without the restraint of time, are unique. So extraordinary as the resilience of those Portuguese who welcome so well those who arrive at their island.

GUIDE TO CORVO
  • Go for a dive on the beach near the camping
  • Caldeirão of Corvo (+ circular trail)
  • Indian Face Trail
  • Old Windmills
  • Caldeirão
  • A Traineira
  • Firemen’s Association
  • Joe and Vera’s Place
  • Commodore

By plane or boat

Although it was weak in some areas, the cell phone network works perfectly well in the village. Accommodations also have internet.

Take clothes to the Caldeirão. Although the temperature is milder in the village, you will feel cold if it’s windy in the crater.

  • Visit the Caldeirão
  • Chatting with the locals in Corvo
  • Walking down from Caldeirão to the village
Thinking about visiting corvo?

Did you like this post about Corvo? Is it an island in the Azores that you would like to visit one day? Have you ever been there? What was your experience? Share it in the comments box below. I’ll love to talk to you!

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Marlene is the creator of Marlene On The Move. A journalist by profession, she created the blog to share her adventures, in Portugal, destination on which she writes for Portuguese digital publications, as in the World. It's not uncommon for her to travel to new countries and discover new cultures with a surfboard under her arm.

Comments

  • July 1, 2021

    I visited many islands on the Globe! My next one is Azores archipelago! I can’t wait! I would like to explore every one of them! I love the mountains, and I love the Ocean!
    Thank you for sharing your stories!!

    reply
  • John Misturado
    July 12, 2021

    I was born on the island of St Michael’s Azores in 1952.. I came to the USA in ’57 and am very American. I’ve since been back to St Michael’s three times and Santa Maria once. I loved each trip. My current bucket list is the central islands. However, your story about Corvo has intrigued me enough to add it and Flores to the list. I enjoyed your”report” on Corvo and am adding it to my list. Thanks for the story.

    John

    reply
  • Nadine Avilla Merck
    July 15, 2021

    I enjoyed the article about Corvo but I will not be traveling there for I am beyond the age of traveling to far-away places.
    My ancestors came to USA from the Azores many years ago and the islands have always pulled on my heart!

    reply

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