One of the best-kept secrets still to exist in the Azores is the magnificent crater lakes on Flores island, at the Northern-tip of the archipelago. Here on this little island paradise exists some of the most beautiful flora and pastoral scenes in all of the Azores. It is here that mother nature has taken over and spread her beauty to all corners of this enchanted and friendly island. This is always a favorite island of mine, as it is so quiet and peaceful with just enough stimulating city life to keep you entertained. At the same time, the incredible countryside fills your eyes and imagination with all the amazing flowers that seem to grow here.
The island is named Flores, which is translated into ‘Flowers,’ and the name perfectly suits the island. I have never seen so many hydrangeas adorn the countrysides and roadways, as I have seen here. This is always the first thing everyone begins talking about on the plane or planning their trip to the island of Flores. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience one of the most unspoiled spots in all of Europe. The small island hosts a population of just a few thousand residents. Known as the rose-colored island in the color scheme of Azorean islands. This beautiful spot, like all of the Azorean islands, is truly remarkable.
The island’s views from almost any location are breathtaking as you have the majestic blue of the Atlantic as a backdrop from practically anywhere you are on the island. This is an extraordinary place with so many natural artifacts and unique biospheres to explore. This is a perfect location for those looking to get a more nature-based experience instead of the busy hustle and bustle of many of the other European islands in the summer.
The island thrives on continuing its advances in becoming a 100% sustainable island like the other eight islands in the Azores, all working to achieve this goal of sustainable, renewable energy production. Another unique trait of this island is that the government has limited the use of pesticides and fungicides to treat the plants and crops. Small measures like these have allowed the region’s products to be recognized as some of the European Union finest since they are produced in such a healthy area. The island is accessible by cruise ship by ferry, which has daily crossings from the neighboring island of Pico and Faial, or by plane, which is a quick flight from either Sao Miguel or Terceira island. The flight from Sao Miguel is around 30 minutes, and you get to pass over some of the other Azorean islands on your journey North to Flores.
The history of the island is much more surprising than one would begin to imagine. Europe’s powers saw this island as an excellent strategic location in the North-Atlantic, and often its coastlines would be stalked, waiting for precious cargo ships to pass or stopover at the island from the new world.
The mystery and allure of the pirate ships from North Africa coming up to raid and loot the island’s wealth and resources caused the King of Portugal and the Donatary-Captain of the island to reinforce it. By installing proper battle stations and lighthouses along the island’s coast to protect the residents from the constant parade of English, French, and North-African pirate ships pacing the island’s shores. This is a must-see island if you love the peace of a Tuscan countryside setting with great food and culture, except here it is much more affordable and just as beautiful of a location.
There are some charming bed and breakfasts and small hotels on the island that offer excellent amenities and can help you with anything you need to make your island experience more enjoyable. The restaurants and coffee shops are not in short supply, and the fresh quality of the food is something to be savored. This is an affordable trip with airfare from a surrounding Azorean island, hotel accommodation, and food being far less than anywhere else you may travel in Europe. The rewards of the beauty and uniqueness of the island will be a cherished memory for sure.