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Flores auf den Azoren, Bild: Jeroen Mikkers / shutterstock

Flores – The Flower Island of the Azores

The dream islands of the Azores are a true destination of longing and are probably among the most popular islands among European vacationers. While many of the Azores islands have adapted to tourism in recent decades, the quite small island of Flores has so far been little developed for tourism. This makes the western Azores island a real insider tip. Here you can discover the nature of the Azores without the influence of tourists, the accommodations are usually simple but comfortable and at the same time you have countless opportunities for relaxation, hiking or a trip to the lush greenery in the heart of the island.

The flower island in the Atlantic

Azores, Flores
Waterfall on Flores / Azores, Image: Lukasz Janyst / shutterstock

Flores is the fourth smallest of the Azores islands and has lived quite isolated for many centuries. The Portuguese settlers, who settled here as early as the 17th century, began to farm on the island and become self-sufficient, as most merchant ships did not take the course to this part of the Azores anyway. So it happened that the island has only been making real attempts to make a leap into modernity since the 1990s. Since then, they have also slowly begun to woo tourists, trying to preserve the core of the island and not sacrificing a piece of greenery for hotels or other tourist infrastructure. All this makes Flores a real insider tip to this day.

If you set foot on the island, you will quickly notice that the name – “flowers” – is the program here. Hardly any other island in the Atlantic has such a comprehensive paradise of different plants to offer and it is almost like paradise how endless the meadows and forests are here. All of this makes Flores the perfect destination for those who want to experience the nature of the Azores in its natural state. In addition, entry is easy, because the Azores are officially part of the EU – so there is no need for paperwork such as a visa to decide to stay on the island.

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The sights of the island at a glance

Fajazinha village centre, Flores
Fajazinha village centre, Image: EmilEn4ev / shutterstock

Of course, the greenery and untouched nature go hand in hand with the fact that there are few classic sights in the form of historic buildings. These are at most on arrival in Santa Cruz das Flores. It is also the island’s only airport and also the port that connects Flores with all the other islands of the Azores. The boat connections can fluctuate depending on the season – so if you are planning a bit of island hopping, you should find out in advance what the possibilities are for the desired travel time.

The city has had city rights since 1518 and shortly afterwards the Franciscans began a monastery in the city. However, this was converted into the Museu das Flores in modern times. Here you can take a look at the history of the island and find out how most of the settlers lived before other nations and especially Portugal itself became aware of this beautiful piece of land again in modern times and made contact.

In addition, it is above all the Igreja Matriz da Nossa Senhora da Conceição, the main church of the island, that you should have seen in the city. It has existed for several hundred years and has changed its appearance over time. Besides that, most of the accommodation and restaurants are in this part of the island – so it’s more or less the hub of the actual exploration of the island.

Discover the beautiful nature of Flores on your own

Although there are now some tours across the island, they have only played a subordinate role so far. It is usually mainly hikers on their own who make their way inland. Here, for example, you can see the seven lakes. Some of them were formed in extinct craters of volcanoes and line the country, give nature the source of its life and are also particularly easy to explore on your own and without disturbances due to the lack of tourists.

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The Rocha dos Bordoes, massive columns made of basalt, rise in the center of the island, visible from afar, and are somewhat reminiscent of organs. The rock face is one of the most beautiful sights that can be found on the island of Flores. If you are lucky enough to make one of the boat trips on the island, you should definitely have seen the Gruta dos Enxaréus. The grotto is a beautiful piece of nature and can only be discovered by circumnavigating it by boat.

All in all, there is not enough space to mention every natural spectacle that you can see on a trip across the island. One should only keep in mind that the center of Flores is not populated. You won’t find any restaurants or shops where you can stock up. So a little planning is required.

When it comes to accommodation, they stick to the capital. There are not only nice little apartments and guesthouses here, but the city itself also lives from the traditional events and the good food, which is authentic and lives above all from the nearby coast.