The Azores Travel Guide

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"cedro do mato" Tree in Pico Island

"cedro do mato" Tree in Pico Island

Luís M.

The Azores (Açores) is an autonomous region of Portugal far out in the Atlantic, nearly one third of the distance to America. They are volcanic and, like Iceland, Ascension Island and St. Helena, part of the Midatlantic ridge. There are nine inhabited islands: an eastern group with Santa Maria and São Miguel, a central group with Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, and a western group consisting of Flores and Corvo. Travel between the islands is mainly by air. There is a parliament in Horta on Faial. In Ponta Delgada on S.Miguel there is the President of the Regional Government and in Angra do Heroismo on Terceira is the Minister of the Republic representing the Portuguese Government.

The Azores were uninhabited until the 15th century. The first colonisers settled at Porto on Santa Maria. Christopher Columbus visited this island in 1493.

The population is about a quarter million. Fishing is an important source of income as well as agriculture. The climate is very maritime and frost is unknown. Therefore, tropical crops like bananas and pinapples can be grown. Tourism is increasing and there are now charter and regular flights from both Europe and North America.

 The flora is related to the other Macaronesian islands and contains many endemic plants (i.e. plants not found elsewhere), but the indigenous vegetation is highly threatened by planted conifers and also by intruding garden plants. One of these is the Hortensia that is planted everywhere along the roads. This is a plant with beautiful flowers but it becomes a nasty weed in the natural vegetation where it outcompetes indigenous species.

The Azores is not the first choice for sunloving people who want to spend their leisure time on sandy beaches. Most travelers to the Azores more appreciate the very beautiful landscape. Daylong walks can be made in many places along mountain ridges or crater lakes with numerous breath-taking views.

Contributors

January 30, 2005 change by ingvar

January 30, 2005 change by giorgio

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