Azo­res

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Report - Tra­vel gui­de on the AZORES

Note: This is tem­pora­ri­ly only an auto­ma­tic trans­la­ti­on.

Tra­vel gui­de on the AZORES

A few years ago, we spent some time in the Azo­res. Here are my impres­si­ons.

reise_azoren_1Maca­ro­ne­sia in the Atlan­tic

The Atlan­tic Oce­an spreads in the nort­hern hemi­s­phe­re in its typi­cal, some­ti­mes raw and fasci­na­ting embos­sing. The con­ti­nents, which touch him to the east and west, con­tain the appa­rent advan­ta­ges of human civi­li­za­ti­on. Islands in the Atlan­tic pro­vi­de rare peace and soli­tu­de.

Many want to escape the civi­li­za­ti­on tress. You do not pass the islands of Maka­ro­ne­sia or Maca­ro­ne­si­an islands - Greek bles­sed / hap­py Islands.

The name Maka­ro­ne­sia refers to the Flo­ri­an area in geo­bo­ta­nics, which com­pri­ses the sub­tro­pi­cal island groups of vol­ca­nic ori­gin lying in the eas­tern cen­tral Atlan­tic. In spi­te of the gre­at distan­ces, the­re are com­mo­na­li­ties in the ani­mal and plant world bet­ween the indi­vi­du­al islands. The flo­ra and fau­na is cha­rac­te­ri­zed by a high ende­mic con­tent. The­re are plants or ani­mals that occur only in the spa­ti­al­ly clear­ly defi­ned sur­roun­dings of the­se archipel­agos. In hig­her moun­tain regi­ons, the lau­rel forest is cha­rac­te­ris­tic.

Maca­ro­ne­sia com­pri­ses five island groups, the Azo­res (Por­tu­gal), Madei­ra (Por­tu­gal), Ilhas Sel­va­gens (Por­tu­gal), Cana­ry Islands (Spain), Cape Ver­de Islands (inde­pen­dent from Por­tu­gal sin­ce 1975).

reise_azoren_2The Azo­res Islands

And tho­se who real­ly want to escape the civi­li­za­ti­on tur­moil will ine­vi­ta­b­ly come across the Azo­res archipel­ago - the Azo­res, the Ger­man Habichts­in­seln. “Ready for the island?” The nine islands of the Azo­res are thousands of miles off the con­ti­nen­tal achie­ve­ments. They ran­ge from 36 to 40 degrees north lati­tu­de and 24 to 31 degrees west lon­gi­tu­de in the Atlan­tic bet­ween Euro­pe and North Ame­ri­ca.

The islands have been an important stop over the Atlan­tic for many cen­tu­ries. The Gulf Stream runs along the wes­tern part of the archipel­ago from the Gulf of Mexi­co to the North Sea. One is here in the midd­le of the Atlan­tic on a vol­ca­no land­s­cape. One is on the sum­mits of a vast, many-kilometer-high Atlan­tic sub-mountain ran­ge.

The Azo­res - an insi­der tip for tra­velers? But rather a tip for tho­se see­king peace, who do not want to fol­low mass tou­rism or are loo­king for an extra­or­di­na­ry envi­ron­ment, natu­re and land­s­capes with extra­or­di­na­ry peop­le. The time does not take the locals so serious­ly - it is only a scour­ge. “Wai­ting” is seen here as a hap­py inspi­ra­ti­on - you have time to think about your life.

The­re are also sports faci­li­ties for gol­fing, diving, ten­nis, deep sea fishing, hor­se­back riding, moun­tain hiking, sai­ling and para­gli­ding. Beau­ti­ful beaches and seclu­ded bays invi­te you to bathe.

Not ever­yo­ne can begin with the Azo­res imme­dia­te­ly. At the very least, the Azo­res are known to many Euro­peans from the dai­ly wea­ther reports - when it is so beau­ti­ful: “The Azo­res high ‘XYZ’ is moving towards Euro­pe and brings a sta­ble wea­ther fore­cast.” An Azo­res­hoch is usual­ly south of the Azo­rean archipel­ago.

In the Azo­res, the wea­ther is not always sta­ble. A day has here some­ti­mes several wea­ther con­di­ti­ons with fast chan­ges of sunshi­ne, wind­still, storms and short rain show­ers. The peaks of the moun­tain are often cove­r­ed in fog banks.

Howe­ver, one’s own fee­ling does not give the sen­sa­ti­on of unplea­sant cold or bad wea­ther in the sum­mer - on the con­tra­ry. Tem­pe­ra­tures during the day are gene­ral­ly con­stant and relia­ble at 14 to 16 degrees in the win­ter and 26 to 28 degrees in August. At night it cools only a litt­le. The Atlan­tic Oce­an has a water tem­pe­ra­tu­re of around 22 ° C in the midd­le of July to Sep­tem­ber and bare­ly 16 degrees in win­ter.

Due to cli­ma­tic con­di­ti­ons the­re is a sta­ble flo­ra and fau­na, which can be admi­red all year round. In this sub­tro­pi­cal atmo­s­phe­re one expe­ri­en­ces a spe­cial Azo­rean form of flo­ra and fau­na. The­re are 56 spe­ci­es of plants that can not be found any­whe­re else in the world.

One is par­ti­cu­lar­ly striking. Ever­y­whe­re it grows - all year round. So the tran­si­tio­nal or win­ter mon­ths are also exci­ting when the­re are almost no tou­rists here. And ever­y­whe­re flowers are found in all colors. The best tro­pi­cal fruits thri­ve. Europe’s last two tea plan­ta­ti­ons are loca­ted in the north of the island of Sao Miguel around Gor­re­na. The Azo­res Islands are a green para­di­se.

In terms of their ori­gin, the islands are a para­di­se that never stands still. The Azo­res form a zone of frac­tu­re on the Midd­le Atlan­te­an back. Mag­ma rises, rising fur­t­her from the North Ame­ri­can and Eura­si­an pla­tes.

The waters of the Atlan­tic appe­ar on the beaches of the black vol­ca­nic sand tur­quoi­se blue. It is so sal­ty, that you are almost worn when you swim, and you get a huge thirst when you snor­kel.

While the­re are dif­fe­rent fish among the stones mean­de­ring on the sea floor, I won­der: “What was here first:” The island, this uni­que flo­ra and fau­na or the oce­an. “No mat­ter, let’s put down the dialec­tic. Phi­lo­so­phi­cal­ly and at the same time, one could say: “It is not the time or order that is decisi­ve, but the pre­sent or the being.” Or, as one says in Chi­na, “The way is the goal.” And the Atlan­tic is today and In this place on a good way ... if not man with his oil plat­forms were - or in this world wha­les and dol­phins are still hun­ted - or ... - no, we first lea­ve this con­s­i­de­ra­ti­on.

If you want to visit this Azo­rean idyll, you will ine­vi­ta­b­ly make your first acquain­tan­ce with the main island of Sao Miguel. Here is the inter­na­tio­nal air­port of the Azo­res in Pon­ta Del­ga­da.

Every island offers its own spe­cial charm. The size of the islands is small. About 242,000 inh­a­bi­tants are spread over the nine islands. One finds here the nati­ve Por­tu­gue­se, which are near­ly a thousand and one hund­red kilo­me­ters from Lis­bon so not at all Por­tu­gue­se. For more than six cen­tu­ries, they have deve­lo­ped their own dialect as well as their own cul­tu­re. But they have also suf­fe­red many pri­va­tions.

Appro­xi­mate­ly one mil­li­on Azo­reans sett­led in the past, most­ly on the North Ame­ri­can con­ti­nent. They are cal­led emi­grants. Some­ti­mes they visit their old home again. They pro­bab­ly make up the main part of the Azo­res visi­tors. When a nati­ve rare­ly lea­ves the islands, he draws more to the North Ame­ri­can con­ti­nent than to the mother­land to visit his emi­gra­ted rela­ti­ves.

From the Arme­ni­an Hou­se of Euro­pe the islands have been rela­tively fare­well sin­ce the 1990s, sin­ce the rich EU fun­ding came to this area. The Azo­reans are most­ly awa­re of the fact that the EU sub­s­idy, main­ly from Ger­ma­ny, hel­ped to signi­fi­cant­ly impro­ve the living con­di­ti­ons on the island.

But, whe­re are the real values alre­ady to be sought, if one speaks not only of mate­ri­al values? Here one reminds one at every step very plea­sant also ori­gi­nal from ear­lier times. In agri­cul­tu­re and fishe­ries, only 12% of the work­force is employ­ed. As a visi­tor, you should take advan­ta­ge of local pro­ducts in the small mar­kets to ulti­mate­ly pro­mo­te the regio­nal eco­no­my.

Fes­ti­vals and events of the locals are abundant on the islands. Island lea­ders pro­vi­de infor­ma­ti­on. Learning some basic wor­ds of nati­ve lan­guage befo­re a visit can not hurt. It may also be a ques­ti­on of respect for the local. Locals feel hono­red and are delight­ed to be addres­sed to some Por­tu­gue­se or Por­tu­gue­se wor­ds - and if it is only the good morning - to Por­tu­gue­se bom dia. A list of important wor­ds with trans­la­ti­ons is pro­vi­ded by the Inter­net site www.azoren-online.com.

About 15,000 Ger­mans visit the islands annu­al­ly. Signi­fi­cant for the soci­al con­di­ti­ons here: The­re is only a small pri­son on the main island of Sao Miguel in Pon­ta Del­ga­da. It is said that the cells are part­ly ren­ted to tou­rists, becau­se they are under-owned.

All the islands also con­sist of impo­sing moun­tain ran­ges. The­se often rise above one thousand feet above the Atlan­tic Oce­an. Portugal’s hig­hest moun­tain, Pon­ta Do Pico, is loca­ted west of the Azo­res archipel­ago on the small island of Pico. The moun­tain with its clas­sic vol­ca­nic shape sur­pas­ses the Atlan­tic by 2351 m. The ascent of the Pico is pos­si­ble, but should be well pre­pa­red and is per­mit­ted only on regis­tra­ti­on or with a moun­tain gui­de due to vol­ca­nic activi­ties.

From Pico you can get an over­view of all the islands of the Azo­res cen­tral group in good wea­ther, which inclu­de the islands of Fai­al, Sao Jor­ge, Gra­cio­sa and Ter­ce­i­ra. The islands of Cor­vo and Flo­res form the Azo­rean Ikzi­den­tal Group to the west. The Azo­rean Ori­en­tal group con­sists in the east from the islands of Sao Miguel and San­ta Maria.

The main island of Sao Miguel is clo­sest to the south-east the island of San­ta Maria. San­ta Maria is the only island in the Azo­res that rests on a pure sedi­men­ta­ry rock, which is not of vol­ca­nic ori­gin. Here you will find white sand beaches. All other islands offer most­ly san­dy beaches of black, fine lava sand. The short san­dy beaches of San­ta Maria are loca­ted bet­ween steep, high cliffs.

Is San­ta Maria also the island, “born of dreams”? This can only be deter­mi­ned by yours­elf. In any case, the hos­pi­ta­li­ty will sur­pass ever­y­thing else in this world. On San­ta Maria is par­ti­cu­lar­ly recom­mend­a­ble the old town of the port town Vila Do Por­to. Every year, a multi-day inter­na­tio­nal music fes­ti­val takes place here in mid-August.

The ani­mal king­dom of the Azo­res is cha­rac­te­ri­zed by the life forms in the Atlan­tic Oce­an. In the sum­mer, around the Azo­res archipel­ago are not only the dol­phin schools with hund­reds of pupils. If you are lucky enough to meet the wha­les on their hikes. 24 Wha­le and dol­phin spe­ci­es are found in the waters of the Azo­res.

reise_azoren_3How to get to the Azo­res

The­re are no fer­ry con­nec­tions from the main­land to the Azo­res archipel­ago. How to get here? Few times a day, one of the SATA engi­nes spe­cia­li­zed in Azo­res flights departs from Pon­ta Del­ga­da Inter­na­tio­nal Air­port and con­nects so few air­ports in the world with this char­ming seclu­si­on.

Best to book a direct SATA flight from Frank­furt am Main to Pon­ta Del­ga­da on Sao Miguel. The three-kilometer-long flight from Frank­furt am Main can be boo­ked com­for­ta­b­ly online. The return flights take place in the sum­mer semes­ter on Sundays and Wed­nes­days - in the win­ter semes­ter only on Sundays. If it works (best as ear­ly boo­kers), the flight with a modern A320 for two back and forth (inclu­ding train trans­fer) does not cost more than 650, - €.

The rou­te starts in Frank­furt am Main, cros­ses Paris after an hour and a half, and the nort­hern tip of Spain after an hour and a half. Then go out on the end­less Atlan­tic. After four hours of total flight time in just ele­ven kilo­me­ters of air­port, you reach the desti­na­ti­on air­port Pon­ta Del­ga­da on Sao Miguel. From here you can fly to the other smal­ler Azo­res islands or you can get to the advan­ta­ges of the Azo­rean main island, among other things in Mostei­ros.

On the lar­ger Azo­res islands the­re are regu­lar bus con­nec­tions or you rent a car in the air­port buil­ding or bet­ter in advan­ce in the Inter­net. How to get to the other Azo­res islands? From Sao Miguel, for examp­le, the 80 km distan­ce to the island of San­ta Maria can eit­her be cove­r­ed by a modern SATA pas­sen­ger or by fer­ry. The fer­ry takes 2 hours. It offers all the charm of the Atlan­tic at clo­se ran­ge. At the port in Pon­ta Del­ga­da on the island of Sao Miguel, a SATA pla­ne or an Atlan­ti­co­li­ne fer­ry can be boo­ked com­for­ta­b­ly in advan­ce.

reise_azoren_4The island of Sao Miguel

The main island of Sao Miguel is about sixty-five kilo­me­ters long and ele­ven to fif­te­en kilo­me­ters wide. It is the lar­gest of the nine Azo­res islands.

Gree­ned smal­ler and lar­ger vol­ca­nic hills can not be over­loo­ked and spread over the ent­i­re island. The vol­ca­noes ran­ge from a few meters of cra­ter height to a cra­ter dia­me­ter of several kilo­me­ters. Depen­ding on the per­spec­tive, the vol­ca­noes some­ti­mes appe­ar as if on a pearl chain. The­re are pic­tures­que lakes in the cra­ter cra­ters. High moun­tain ran­ges on the islands fall stee­ply to their coasts. From them flowed streams, part­ly over water­falls, fed by the sub­tro­pi­cal natu­re and hot springs.

At Sao Miguel the­re are accom­mo­da­ti­ons for every tas­te and requi­re­ment. The ‘Beach Hou­se’ on the outs­kirts of Mostei­ros offers just as much charm as the sin­gle holi­day hou­se and the Atlan­tic over the cliffs direct­ly at the feet. 6 or bet­ter 12 mon­ths befo­re you should howe­ver take care of such a domic­i­le, if you do not want to resort to expen­si­ve stan­dard hotel offers from various tra­vel orga­ni­zers. Food busi­ness offers

We also meet fri­end­ly drop-outs, eg from Ger­ma­ny, which also offer plea­sant holi­day hou­ses. One does not only hear the Azo­rean dialect. Many locals also com­mu­ni­ca­te with visi­tors in English. The­re are also few tou­rists from the Por­tu­gue­se main­land, from Wes­tern Euro­pe and North Ame­ri­ca on their hikes. The­re is no mass tou­rism here. Azo­res visi­tors expect this.

reise_azoren_5The vil­la­ge of Mostei­ros at the sou­thern tip of the island

Mostei­ros - pro­noun­ced Moste­rosch - is a pic­tures­que place on the west coast of the island of Sao Miguel as well as west of the port and admi­nis­tra­ti­ve cen­ter Pon­ta Del­ga­da.

The place is pro­tec­ted by the sea. A small fishing port offers dai­ly catch-fishing and sea­food. Not far from the coast, a beau­ti­ful church forms the regio­nal sym­bol and cen­ter. A small gro­ce­ry store offers ever­y­thing for ever­y­day needs. In cozy and simp­le restau­rants, espe­ci­al­ly the bife and fish dis­hes are a culi­na­ry expe­ri­ence.

Taxi and regu­lar bus ser­vice to Pon­ta Del­ga­da ensu­re a ren­tal without a ren­tal car. On a black lava sand beach you can bathe and snor­kel in the sum­mer under bat­h­ing mas­ter super­vi­si­on. On the north-west coast are swim­ming pools.

Mostei­ros is an excel­lent star­ting point for hikes on the wes­tern part of the island of Sao Miguel. The two vol­ca­nic lakes Lagoa Azur and Lagoa Ver­de can be seen on various paths and hiking trails with pic­tures­que views in many direc­tions of the Atlan­tic. Ano­t­her one-hour hike leads from Mostei­ros on a high and idyl­lic coas­tal road to Gine­tes. A hot spring flows direct­ly into the sea. The source is sur­roun­ded by a lar­ge rock basin. It is very good in warm water.

If you have cho­sen Mostei­ros on the Azo­res island of Sao Miguel, from Pon­ta Del­ga­da air­port you can take the coas­tal road south of the island towards the west with a ren­tal car or a taxi. On the jour­ney one gets the impres­si­on that the street was deco­ra­ted for a fes­ti­vi­ty. Howe­ver, it is only the kind of Azo­rean flowers - cal­led Hor­ten­zi­en - which are unmistaka­ble and ever­y­whe­re in lar­ge peren­ni­als adorn stre­ets, coun­try roads, and grounds.

After about forty-five-minute dri­ving on the edge of the Atlan­tic, crossing moun­ta­ins, ser­pen­ti­nes and small vil­la­ges, you can see on the wes­tern part of the island a hillsi­de above the cliffs of Mostei­ros, direct­ly on a bay of the oce­an. From here it is only a few hund­red meters uphill again stee­ply down­hill and is at the finish.

Unspoil is the vil­la­ge squa­re with its typi­cal cha­pel and its locals “old” sit­ting on ben­ches, exch­an­ging their dai­ly expe­ri­en­ces. Here you will find the small shop­ping mar­ket, small restau­rants, cash machi­nes and tele­pho­ne booths. From the vil­la­ge squa­re, 3 roads lead through the vil­la­ge direct­ly down to the Atlan­tic.

The land­mark of the place are 4 huge rocks a few hund­red meters off the bay of Mostei­ros. They form a natu­ral pro­tec­tion zone of the bay with its black attrac­tive sand beach against storms and sea cur­r­ents. The small fishing vil­la­ge is often expo­sed to a strong surf from autumn to spring.

What is the name of the pro­tec­tive rocks? The­re are dif­fe­rent opi­ni­ons. An inter­pre­ta­ti­on is the fol­lo­wing: The main rock on the far left looks like a huge buil­ding. It is the monaste­ry. The rocks fur­t­her to the right are dis­gus­ted monks. Two monks go side by side and fur­t­her to the right two indi­vi­du­al monks. They aban­do­ned the monaste­ry, depres­sed and lonely. Accord­ing to ano­t­her inter­pre­ta­ti­on or legend, the rocky islands are the toes of the giant Almou­ros, who dusts under Sao Miguel.

What is par­ti­cu­lar­ly noti­ce­ab­le here on clear nights on the Atlan­tic coast far from the main­land: the air and the star­ry sky are unam­bi­guous. They want to reach for the stars and the moon. Venus illu­mi­na­tes the sky, that the moon is not nee­ded to ori­ent its­elf at night.

In and around Mostei­ros, as in other pla­ces on the island, many Ger­man “dro­pouts” have sett­led. Some of you and also locals offer here for pri­va­te ren­tal beau­ti­ful hou­ses. They are loca­ted near the beach on the edge of the vil­la­ge or high above the cliffs. With the pro­vi­ders you can usual­ly com­mu­ni­ca­te in Ger­man or English, or by email important preli­mi­na­ry or boo­king infor­ma­ti­on exchan­ge.

Con­clu­si­on

Tho­se who have expe­ri­en­ced the Azo­res are addic­ted to you and will pro­bab­ly visit them again.

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