São Jorge - Island of Fajãs

São Jorge is one of the smaller and lesser known islands, less visited by tourists, but still stunning. If you would rather see charming villages and gorgeous nature than spend your time in museums, then you should definitely visit São Jorge. It is known as the Island of the Fajãs, small plains formed by lava flow or landslides from the central mountain range that runs along the length of the island. These Fajãs provide some beautiful places to admire nature, lakes, waterfalls, and tiny villages. There are over 40 Fajãs on São Jorge, so plenty to explore. Have a look at our collection of charming places to stay or contact us for even more secretplaces. 


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São Jorge - What to See & Do

The nature of São Jorge is definitely the main reason to visit. The landscape is simply stunning and the villages are picturesque and tiny (the smallest with an occupancy of only 7 people!). A visit to this island will involve a lot of walking, due to the lack of roads and mountainous nature, so make sure to take comfy shoes. The most famous hiking trail is Caldeira de Santo Cristo, beginning at the top of a mountain and descending for about 3 hours through several fajãs, where you can swim under waterfalls. On the way, you will see cow pastures, small forests, blue hydrangeas, juniper bushes, yellow ginger lilies, lush green valleys, and waterfalls, before ending in one of the most famous fajãs, Fajã dos Cubres. Here you can watch the birds, stroll, and have a picnic by the lakes. 

There are also many little villages that you can visit, the largest being Vela. Here, you will find some restaurants, shops, and the cute little square Jardim da Praça da República, with a bright red bandstand and cage full of birds. 

The island is also littered with lighthouses. You can visit an abandoned lighthouse at the westernmost point of the island, Ponta dos Rosais, where you can see views of Pico, Faial, and sometimes Graciosa and Flores. Another landmark, which you should definitely see, is the Sineria Tower. The church tower famously survived a volcanic eruption, which destroyed most of the area but left the tower intact. 


São Jorge - Gastronomy

The island is famous for the cheese with the same name (São Jorge cheese), which can be found all over Portugal. It’s a soft cheese that is usually served with bread and a spicy pepper sauce as a starter or couvert. 

The island is also famous for providing the rest of the world with the famous Azores tinned tuna. If you want to buy any then you should go to the factory and purchase them from a little kiosk by the entrance. They are cheaper here and you can often try more varieties and new recipes. It is also possible to enter the factory itself but you must book in advance and visit during the morning shift. 

For a lovely meal with an incredible view, you can visit Fornos de Lava, where you can enjoy some of the island’s best food with a panoramic view of Mount Pico in the distance.


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