“Corvo Azores: Tips on planning your trip” is the ninth (and final) installment of a series of nine blog posts about the Azores islands. The posts are meant to give you a detailed overview of each one of them to help you plan your trip, whether you decide to visit one, two, or all nine. If you have any questions or a specific request, feel free to drop me an email and I’ll do my best to answer it or to put you in touch with the right contact.
Table of Contents (Click to skip to a section)
- About Corvo
- Top things to do in Corvo Island
- Top cultural events in Corvo Island
- Azores food: what to eat in Corvo
- Local souvenirs
- Where to stay in Corvo Island
- Know before you go
About Corvo Island
Perfect island destination for bird watching, relaxing and experiencing true island community life.
Corvo is the smallest island of the archipelago, a lump of volcanic land discovered in 1452, at the same time as the neighboring Flores island, and that settlers didn’t bother with until the mid-16th century. At that time, a group of slaves was sent to the island to farm the land and raise cattle.
You see, historically, the island seemed bound to be no man’s land, isolated, a resource that people think of last. Not even an island, an islet that people wouldn’t bother reaching. But the local population has done a great job telling people a different story. Resilience is not even a good enough word to describe this people’s capacity to endure and survive against all odds. The bonds that hold the community together are tight; well, to be honest, it couldn’t be any other way in such a small village.
The island might not be full of vibrant blue lagoons, and crystal clear brooks, and endless luscious green pastures, but that’s not why people visit. It’s the peculiarity of the small village, an improvised fortress with narrow streets, and the everyday life of an isolated community that makes people wonder “is it really possible to live like this?”
The food tastes better in Corvo, mostly because people live off the land and they’ve mastered the art of growing things organically. The “made from scratch” way of life is not a hipster trend over here, it’s a necessity and a skill.
Summer days are humid and lazy. Winters are harsh and always seem longer than they should. But the weather is just a detail; it doesn’t really matter once you’re in that islander mood.
To better understand the peculiarities of this island, take the time to visit the
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Top things to do in Corvo Island
Bird watching, hiking, swimming, and diving are top of mind activities. I’m not sure if we can call it an activity, but engaging with the local community will allow for more memories than buying postcards and souvenirs. Head over to “Largo do Outeiro” and you’ll find a handful of local men sitting around and chatting; even if you don’t speak the same language, I’m almost 100% sure you’ll find a way to communicate.
Unlike the other islands, there aren’t many established tour companies available on the island. You can either plan something in Flores (the local companies there usually include activities in both islands, and I’m including them here again) or arrive in Corvo and explore on your own (if you’re willing to walk, a hike up to the only lagoon in the island, Caldeirao, will take about 2 hours. Hitching a ride with one of the locals shouldn’t be a problem, either).
- Passeios Turísticos (boat ride from Flores to Corvo) – www.facebook.com/passeiosturisticosflores
- Flores by Sea (boat ride from Flores to Corvo) – www.instagram.com/floresbysea
- Extremo Ocidente (boat ride from Flores to Corvo) – www.facebook.com/extremocidentecarlosmendes
- Experience OC (guided tours) – www.experienceoc.pt
Top cultural events in Corvo Island
It’s not my place to say that these islanders are extremely religious, but I think it’s fair to say that they are devoted to organizing successful events. It’s not just about the religious side of it; it’s also about having fun, sharing food, and community life. The most famous event is on August 15th in honor of Our Lady of Miracles. It could be just another celebration of a religious icon, but this one comes with the bonus of a real pirate story. In case you were thinking this was a dull and boring little island, nothing is ordinary in Corvo.
Azores food: what to eat in Corvo Island
Pork, fresh seafood, and locally produced cheese are the bases of Corvo’s cuisine. I feel the pork sausages are special, but I can’t quite put my finger on it – I can’t tell if it’s the spices or the technique. As in other islands in the archipelago, the perfect side dish for fried pork sausages is taro root, baked or fried. I enjoy them deep fried and crispy; when they’re boiled, they taste kind of bland to me.
Seafood tastes best when it’s cooked in a simple way. No need to add lots of spices because the fish is already rich in flavor. The local cheese is slightly spicy and salty and is produced following artisanal techniques and recipes. I like to tone it down with something sweet like a slice of “massa sovada” (sweet bread). As in Flores, “algae patties” (“erva patinha”) and limpets are also a common dish here.
Handmade wooden door locks and navy blue and white wool caps are the souvenirs that best represent the island.
The locks are a simple but effective system, and unique to Corvo – you won’t see it elsewhere in the Azores.
Where to stay in Corvo Island
Note: This is the smallest island of the archipelago, with fewer accommodation options compared to the others, therefore I am listing all places to stay on the island.
- Guesthouse Comodoro – www.comodoroazores.com
- Joe & Vera’s Place – booking.com*
- Joe & Vera’s Vintage Place – booking.com*
- The Pirate’s Nest – www.thepiratesnest.com
- Alojamento Local – Paula Dias – [email protected]
Know before you go
These are the most frequently asked questions about the Azores islands in general (and the island of Corvo in particular). If you have a question that’s not on this list, feel free to email me.
Where is Corvo island?
Corvo is one of the two islands in the Western Group (Grupo Ocidental) of the Azores Archipelago, an autonomous region of Portugal.
What’s the official language in the Azores?
Portuguese. The Azoreans are also fluent in some foreign languages (mostly English), especially those who work in the tourism industry.
What’s the time zone in the Azores?
GMT -1 hour
What’s the currency in the Azores?
Are there banks and ATM machines in Corvo island?
Is there a post office in Corvo island?
What Visa do I need to visit Corvo island?
You need a visa to enter all Schengen area territories, including the Azores islands. Click here for detailed information.
* Please note that this information may change over time. Refer to the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in the country of your departure for updated information.
Do I need any special vaccination?
Special vaccination is not mandatory to enter the Azores region. If you have special health conditions, please seek medical advice.
How do I get medical care in Corvo island if I need it?
There is a pharmacy and a public health clinic (known as centro de saúde) with emergency services on the island.
What is the voltage?
220 volts (round two-pin plugs).
Is there public transportation in Corvo island?
No. There is only one (very small) town on the island and everything is within walking distance. For sightseeing, you can hitchhike or book a guided tour with your accommodation.
How big is Corvo island?
The area of Corvo island is 17.10 square kilometers (approximately 6.60 square miles).
How far is Corvo island from Lisbon?
1,893 km (approximately 1,176 miles)
How many people live in Corvo island?
430 people, according to the last census of 2011.
How many main towns does Corvo Island have?
Corvo has one main town (concelhos in Portuguese) called Vila do Corvo (where the airport and the harbor are).
How do I travel to Corvo island?
By boat – scheduled passenger transport between the islands of Corvo and Flores, throughout the year, in Ariel: Atlanticoline SA.
How is the weather in Corvo island?
Climate is mild temperate. Temperatures: average high 19.9°C/67.8°F. Average low 14.9°C/58.8°F.
When is the best time to visit Corvo island?
In August for the weather and the Our Lady of Miracles festivities.
Are there earthquakes in Corvo island?*
There isn’t any seismic activity in Corvo. (Source)
*Note: seismic activity is constantly monitored in the Azores.
Is there WiFi and cell phone coverage in Corvo island?
Yes, 3G and 4G.
When will you start planning your trip to the Azores?