Flores was the island on top of my Azores bucket list. The moment I saw a photo of the wall of waterfalls at Poço da Alagoinha, I knew Flores needed to be added to my itinerary. That picture bedazzled me so much that I got more and more curious about what this tiny island had to offer. And boy, was I amazed by what I found!
Flores Azores Travel Guide: everything you need to know!
Where is Flores?
Flores is one of the most remote islands of the Azores, which are situated in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1450 kilometers from Portugal. Flores is the most western island of the Azores and part of the North American tectonic plate as well as Corvo. All the other Azorean islands are located on the European plate. Flores is only 143 km² big with about 4000 inhabitants.
How to get there?
All nine Azorean islands are connected by flights and ferries so you can reach Flores from every island. Most foreign airlines fly to Sao Miguel, the Azores’ main island. Flights from Lisbon will take you directly to Sao Miguel, Faial or Terceira. From Porto you can only fly to Sao Miguel and Terceira. I suggest to do at least 3 islands when going to the Azores. (I did Sao Miguel, Flores and Faial)
How to explore the island?
The best way to explore this little paradise is by car. It gives you total freedom and you’ll be able to reach all sides of the island. Near all hike starting points are small parking lots where you can easily park your rental car. Hiking is the main activity here to discover the waterfalls and lakes.
When is the best time to go?
Flores has a humid subtropical climate, which means it has a wet climate with temperatures that don’t change that much throughout the year. Winters are mild with temperatures around 13°C but wetter than Summers with temperatures around 25°C. You can visit all year round. You just need to take into account that you can have all seasons in one day. During my stay in September I had a lot of rain in the morning and around noon the clouds disappeared and temperature rose to 25°C. I even got stuck on the island, the day of my flight to Faial because of a storm. So we had to stay there a day longer due to the weather and the lack of planes. (you can watch all my Azores adventures on YouTube)
Where to stay and how long?
The length of your stay depends on what you want to do. Do you want to do a few hikes? Then I recommend at least 3 days. Do you want to drive around the island and just stop at the view points? Then just 2 will do.
I stayed at a bungalow at the Sitio da Assumada – Eco Turismo. It’s a small residence with 5 bungalows near Faja Grande, the beach and Poço do Bacalhau. The bungalows are clean and spacious and have their own private garden with terrace. The owner Ricardo is a very kind and helpful man, who makes you feel very welcome.
What to see and do?
Flores is all about nature so hiking is the key! The roads will take you along a lot of crater lakes, view points and waterfalls. But the best part of the island can only be reached by foot!
Flores has some pretty special lakes! All lakes are crater lakes and the most impressive sight must be the height difference between Lagoa Rasa and Lagoa Funda.
Two other lakes lying next to each other are Lagoa Negra (Black Lake) and Lagoa Comprida (Long Lake). The weird thing about those two is that Lagoa Negra is green and Lagoa Comprida is the black one.
There’s a waterfall splashing into Lagoa Comprida, depending on the amount of rain fall. You can see it from the hiking path along the lake. (Park your car at Caldeira Seca)
If you follow my blog, Facebook and Instagram you know I’m a sucker for waterfalls. Flores is the ideal place to explore them! The first ones you’ll probably spot is from the road to Faja Grande. There you’ll encounter the biggest one; Ribeira Grande and the wall of waterfalls from afar. You can take a (cold) swim at the Poço do Bacalhau, which is also an impressive waterfall and if you drive further North you’ll encounter a few more waterfalls, which are rather impossible to reach, even by foot.
I definitely recommend the hike to Poço da Alagoinha (Lagoa dos Patos). The end point of this hike is a lake surrounded by the most green vegetation, Kahili Ginger flowers (depending on the season) and a giant rock wall decorated with waterfalls and greens! Another waterfall can be found on your way from the Reserva Florestal Natural do Morro Alto e Pico da Sé to the Northeast of the island. On this road is a view point where you can see a waterfall flowing through the wild vegetation. Also at the Northern coastline many waterfalls can be spotted. Some of them even overflowing the roads.
The cliffs, the rocks, the greenery
The complete coastline is impressive with its many cliffs. Driving through Flores will take you along the most fantastic flora and different shades of green can be spotted everywhere. From the road you’ll also discover the Rocha dos Bordoes, an impressive rock formation with high vertical streaks shaped by nature.
Read more about what to do on Flores here (The most beautiful places you must see at Flores, Azores).
Where to eat & drink?
Flores is a small island, but it does have a few restaurants. My favorite was Casa da Vigia, owned by a friendly Italian lady who left Italy to live on Flores. She makes all kinds of dishes, even Phad Thai, with vegetables from her own garden. The fun part is that you have to ring the doorbell, so it seems as if you’re coming over for dinner. It’s a very small restaurant and an ideal place to start chatting with other travelers.
Another restaurant I visited was Restaurant Por-do-Sol. The staff isn’t the most organized, but the fish over there is very good! Eat here while enjoying the sunset!
For breakfast and lunch I got food from the supermarket near the airport in Santa Cruz. It’s probably the only place in Flores where they have a wider range of food. My advice? After arriving on Flores, go to this supermarket, take all the food you need and then drive to your bungalow!