The Azores is truly an escape from the rest of the world.
With it's rolling hills, vast mountains, and open valleys it's easy to get lost and forget you're on an island. You can either find some new path yet to be discovered or follow along a path that thousands have taken.
The Azores is a chain of nine islands located off the coast of Portugal. The two most western islands in this chain are Flores and Corvo (Flores being the farthest piece of land owned by Europe). With a population of a little under four-thousand for Flores and under five-hundred for Corvo, it's easy to see how the old traditions and the natural beauty of the islands have been able to stay the way they are.
When driving in the mountains or along the coast, you're guaranteed to see something breathtaking. From the pieces of land that broke off and now sit close to the island to the deep dense forests that coat the mountains, there’s so much life and each view is completely different from the last.
Modern life can be felt closer to the airport where a much simple style of living can be found in the farm lands. You can always find out more about new places to relax or which trails to hike by simply asking any of the locals who will answer you with a welcoming smile on their face. The old whaling docks and shipping ports can be found all over the island whether they have been repurposed as a dock or have been broken up by the sea. You’ll also come across many old towns and houses that have been taken over by the forests.
On one of the ports you can find a group of guides that will carry you across the open ocean on a dingy for about an hourlong ride to the island of Corvo. Corvo is a very small island with about five-hundred people living in the single town that is settled at the base of an old collapsed volcano. Their primary commercialized product is cheese made in a small factory on the island. Another sight in Corvo can be found up a long winding road that leads you to the top of the volcanic crater. The mouth of this once active volcano is now overgrown by vegetation and domestic farm animals.
While I've only been to two of the nine islands in the Azores, there’s still so much beauty and so many secrets that remain - not only on the other seven islands, but also on Flores and Corvo.
words and pictures provided by Nathan SantoCristo