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Azores Islands Destinations Portugal

Paradise Unveiled: A Journey to São Jorge, Azores

What to see and do in São Jorge

Welcome to the enchanting island of São Jorge, an emerald jewel nestled amidst the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean in the Azores archipelago, Portugal.

I was always curious to visit this island, and as the ferry boat approached the island’s coastline, coming from Madalena, on Pico Island, my heart started pounding with excitement. I was eager to explore the hidden wonders of this paradise.

For years, I was told this was one of the most amazing islands to visit in the Azores, right after Flores, and I couldn’t believe I was finally there.

São Jorge is where time seems to slow down, and Mother Nature herself has sculpted a landscape that leaves visitors in awe of her creativity.

Discovering the Island of São Jorge

São Jorge is one of the nine volcanic islands that form the Azores archipelago. Its history dates back to the early 15th century when Portuguese navigators first set foot on its shores.

As I also stepped onto the island, I couldn’t help but marvel at the breathtaking beauty that unfolded before me. Azure skies kissed the jagged cliffs, and lush green pastures extended as far as the eye could see, dotted with traditional whitewashed houses.

The island is located about 1450 km west of Portugal and is characterized by deep valleys and soaring peaks, remnants of its volcanic origins.

São Jorge is a haven for nature lovers and a place where the islanders have preserved their cultural heritage with utmost pride.

The Enchanting Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo

Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo in São Jorge, Azores

Among the myriad wonders of São Jorge, Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo stands out as a place of unparalleled natural beauty. It was my primary destination on the island.

As I ventured toward this isolated coastal area, my anticipation grew. Fajãs are unique to the Azores and are formed by ancient lava flows cascading into the ocean, creating fertile plains of fertile land along the coast.

How to get to Fajã de Santo Cristo

There are two ways to reach the Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo. You can drive to Fajã dos Cubres and, from there, go by 4-wheel motorbike to Santo Cristo. Another way is walking the trail from Serra do Topo until the Fajã. Along the route, besides an incredible landscape, you’ll also find a small waterfall.
In my case, I stayed in the Caldeira Surf Camp & Guesthouse, and they arranged my pick up and transportation from Fajã dos Cubres.

Upon arrival, I was mesmerized by the tranquility that engulfed the entire area. There were no roads, no cars, only the sounds of crashing waves and the whispers of the wind. This peaceful isolation was a balm for my soul.

The Fajã de Santo Cristo boasts a coastal lagoon, where the waters seem to merge seamlessly with the sky, inviting travelers to explore it. An old little church and a few houses shape this small town that rests at the hill’s bottom.

Surfing the waves of Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo

The mighty Atlantic swells that hug the shoreline make Fajã de Santo Cristo a surfer’s paradise and are what brought me to this place.

As I paddled out to meet the azure waves, a rush of exhilaration coursed through my veins as I surfed this place for the first time.

The coastline framed the experience, providing a stunning backdrop of majestic cliffs and lush greenery. A sight that I’ll cherish forever.

Surf in São Jorge, Azores

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The Simão Dias Natural Pool – A Refreshing Haven

After spending a few days in this Caldeira de Santo Cristo, appreciating the calm and the amazing waves, I set to explore the rest of the island and found the Poça Simão Dias.

This secluded natural pool, nestled between towering cliffs, offers the perfect oasis for unwinding. The crystal-clear waters invited me to take a refreshing dip, and I eagerly obliged.

As I swam, I marveled at the surrounding cliffs, which protected this little piece of heaven from the outside world. The sweet scent of saltwater filled the air, complemented by the earthy aroma of the greenery nearby.

Closing my eyes, I listened to the symphony of waves crashing against the rocks, blending harmoniously with the whispers of the wind. Time seemed to stand still for a moment, and I was fully connected with the essence of São Jorge.

Simão Dias Natural Pool in São Jorge island

Climb Pico da Esperança

Once on the island, also venture to climb Pico da Esperança, a mountain that reaches 1053 meters in altitude and offers extraordinary views.

Pico da Esperança mountain

The Importance of Natural Preservation

Throughout my journey to São Jorge, I was struck by all its natural beauty. From the protected fajãs to the meticulous maintenance of the Simão Dias natural pool, there seems to be a collective commitment to safeguarding the island’s unique ecosystems.

São Jorge is a paradise for travelers and a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna. The island’s endemic plant species and birdlife are a testament to its ecological richness. The Azores, including São Jorge, are part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, recognizing the islands’ geological, cultural, and environmental value.

São Jorge is parte of the Azores archipelago, recognized as a UNESCO Global Geoparks Network

Tips for Exploring São Jorge

  • Embrace Simplicity: São Jorge offers a chance to disconnect from the hectic world. Embrace the slower pace of life and savor every moment.
  • Explore the Fajãs: The island’s fajãs are a unique feature of the Azores. Venture off the beaten path to discover their hidden beauty.
  • Surfing and More: Fajã de Santo Cristo offers an unparalleled surfing experience for adventure seekers. But remember, there’s much more to explore, from hiking trails to scuba diving.
  • Connect with Locals: The warmth and hospitality of the islanders make São Jorge even more special. Engage with them, and you’ll discover the island’s heart and soul.
  • Preserve the Environment: São Jorge’s natural beauty is its most valuable asset. Be mindful of your impact and help preserve this pristine paradise for future generations.

My journey to São Jorge was nothing short of a soul-stirring odyssey. This mesmerizing island gifted me with an experience I’ll always take with me.

São Jorge is a testament to the beauty and resilience of nature, a place where travelers can genuinely find solace and inspiration. My advice is that you embrace the allure of this island and include it in your travel plans next time you visit the Azores. It will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on your heart.

Explore São Jorge island in Azores
Discover São Jorge's enchanting beauty in the Azores, Portugal. Surf Atlantic swells, bathe in natural pools, and embrace simplicity on this pristine island.
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Marlene On The Move

Marlene Marques

Marlene is the creator of Marlene On The Move. A journalist by profession, she created the blog to share her adventures around the world. It is not unusual for her to set off to discover new countries and cultures with a surfboard as luggage.



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