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Discover the Azores: Santa Maria Island

Manuela Azevedo

The island of Santa Maria is in the Eastern Group of the Azores archipelago, along with São Miguel. The green fields, traditional culture, the chimneys of the whitewashed houses, the dark ochre of the earth, the golden beaches and the turquoise waters make Santa Maria different from the archipelago’s other islands.

1. Vila do Porto has the largest population on the island and keeps traces of the beginning of community in some houses with ogival doors and windows with Manueline features.

2. Pico Alto, the highest point on the island at 590 meters above sea level, has a magnificent view of the island.

3. Barreiro da Faneca, known as the “red desert”. It is considered an area of ​​Unique Protected Landscape in the Azores, which includes the Bays of Raposo, Tagarete and Cré.

4. Praia Formosa is one of the most popular places on the island, both for its extensive sandy beach with fine and clear sand, and for being one of the best spots for surfing.

5. The Poço da Pedreira, an old inactive extraction area, drew attention due to its peculiar red color and the vertical formation of its walls.

6. In São Lourenço, the natural beauty of the bay in the shape of an amphitheater, is complemented by the vineyards cultivated in terraces up the hillside, by the white houses next to the sea and by the cove that hosts a wonderful white sand beach and natural pools.

7. The Aveiro Waterfall, 100 meters high, is one of the most impressive natural beauties on the island.

8. Maia Bathing Area, located on the southeast coast of Santa Maria Island, Maia Beach has a landscape made up of vineyards that climb the slope and are protected by barracks erected in dry stone.

9. The South Coast Trail is a pedestrian trail that will allow you to get to know other interesting points on the island such as the São Brás Fort and the Dalberto Pombo Interpretation Center.

10. Walk around the island to appreciate the traditional houses of Santa Maria, mostly inspired by the traditional architecture of Alentejo and Algarve, where the first inhabitants of this island came from.

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