As promised, I’m back today with Part 2 or our 3-part series on the Islands of Azores, Portugal. Yesterday we talked about Santa Maria, Pico and São Jorge. Today let’s take a closer look at Faial, Terceira and São Miguel.
Island of Faial
Many believe that Faial was named for its dense fire trees (faias-da-terra) that cover the island. One of the world’s most famous harbours, Faial’s Horta Marina, which opened in 1986, is known for its marlin fishing and yachting. During Maritime Week in August, regattas and whaling canoe races liven the city. Horta Marina is the launching point to take a whale and dolphin watching tour!
The Island’s pentagonal shape stretches 21km, and is the westernmost corner of the so-called “triangulo” or “Triangle Islands,” which also include São Jorge and Pico. It is believed that the Island was discovered after the maps of Terceira had been created.
Terceira was the 3rd island to be settled by the Portuguese. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. The Terceira Island is known for its many festivals, including The Holy Ghost Festival during Easter, the Sanjoaninas Festival in June, and the Praia Festival in August.
Also common on Terceira is the ancient art of bullfighting, which takes place in arenas, in the streets and on the beach from May to October. And if you’re in the mood for some adventure, visitors can climb inside the Algar do Carvão, a volcanic chimney, or explore a cave called Gruta do Natal, which was formed from lava!
This is the largest island in the archipelago, stretching 62km in length. It is home to more than half the population of all the Azores. Two volcanic eruptions created the green plains, hills and valleys we now see winding between crater lakes.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the export of oranges, mainly to Great Britain, became the main source of wealth. New cultures were introduced in the 19th century, including pineapple, tea, hemp and tobacco, which led to the island’s economic growth. Following the Liberal Wars, the 20th century economy continued to grow due to the expansion of agriculture and cattle breeding.
Have you been to any of these 3 Islands of the Azores? Please share your experiences by leaving a comment below! And stay tuned tomorrow for final of our 3-part series as we explore the Islands of Azores, Portugal.