“Flores Azores: Tips on planning your trip” is the eighth 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 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 Flores
- Top things to do in Flores Island
- Top cultural events in Flores Island
- Azores food: what to eat in Flores
- Local souvenirs
- Where to stay in Flores Island
- Know before you go
Perfect island destination for visiting the most Western tip of Europe and admiring untouched lagoons.
Unlike most of the other islands of the Azores, the natural landscape of Flores is relatively wild — eight lagoons practically untouched, wild rabbits that run around free in the unpopulated areas, small rivers, and waterfalls that continue to shape the island’s coast. For better or for worse, the island is not easy to reach or to tame, and perhaps that’s what makes it so appealing.
Sharing stories of pirate invasions with the neighboring island of Corvo and tales of shipwrecks, one could wonder if both the islands are doomed and not the warmest destination for strangers. But visitors do reach the island, and usually, leave speechless. Not because there is nothing to say, but because the memories of their trip will always speak much louder than mundane adjectives.
“Little Ireland”, “Little Switzerland”, “pink island”; whatever the expression people use to attempt a description, the island’s isolation, and beauty are said to change people’s perception of the world forever. Listed by the UNESCO as Biosphere Reserve since 2009, the diversity of the local fauna and flora is quite remarkable.
Top things to do in Flores island
With plenty of small rivers and waterfalls to explore, canyoning is obviously popular right now. Hiking and guided boat trips around the island should also be part of your list of things to do when you visit.
Note: This is one of the smallest islands of the archipelago, with fewer options compared to the others, therefore I am listing all companies available with a website in English and/or social media accounts.
- Passeios Turísticos (yachting) – www.facebook.com/passeiosturisticosflores
- Westcanyon (bike tours/MTB, birdwatching, canyoning, hiking) – www.westcanyon.pt
- Flores by Sea (yachting) – www.instagram.com/floresbysea
- Tours of Flores (car tours) – www.toursofflores.com
- Extremo Ocidente (yachting, scuba diving) – www.facebook.com/extremocidentecarlosmendes
- Noya Tours (car tours) – www.noya-tours.com
- Experience OC (guided tours) – www.experienceoc.pt
Top cultural events in Flores island
Like everywhere else in the archipelago, the festivities of the Holy Ghost are strong here during the month of July. Also every year in Lajes, a 500-year-old town in the Southern part of the island, the locals celebrate those who left in search for a better life, typically in the United States and Canada. The “Festa do Emigrante” (“emigrant festival”, roughly translated) honors local culture, heritage, and gastronomy for those who return to their homeland in the Summer.
But the cultural life in the island is not limited to seasonal events and festivals. The local theater group, “A Jangada”, writes, produces, directs, and acts in light satirical plays, regularly — a particular Portuguese genre known as “Revista a Portuguesa” (“Portuguese review”).
Azores food: what to eat in Flores
Living on a very isolated island, where the weather’s mood swings often make you wonder if there will be any tree left standing the next day, boosts up your creative spirit. That’s exactly what you see in some of the local dishes — “algae patties” might sound like the newest trend in vegan cuisine, but when your resources are scarce you make do with whatever edibles you have around. And, believe me, those patties may not look like the most appealing dish you’ve seen in your life but they are 100% edible and strong in flavor.
Watercress soup, the famous taro root and sausage (similar to the other islands but different in seasoning), and fish-based recipes are common local dishes.
Note: there is a highly recommended family-owned restaurant in the village of Fajazinha that serves traditional cuisine, prepared with a lot of love and care. The view is also breathtaking and the restaurant is called, appropriately, “Por do Sol” (“Sunset” in English).
If you can manage to travel back home with some fresh fish, local cheese and a container of handpicked wild blueberries or guava tree fruits (“araçás”, in Portuguese), then I wouldn’t recommend any other souvenirs. But, of course, this is not always possible, and I have a feeling they wouldn’t taste as great outside their local environment (except the cheese; the cheese tastes great anywhere in the world).
For something a little less perishable, try to find traditional flowers made from fish scales or from the pith of hydrangeas.
Where to stay in Flores island
Please note that I’m not listing ALL accommodations available on the island, just the ones you can book via Booking.com* for convenience.
Know before you go
These are the most frequently asked questions about the Azores islands in general (and the island of Flores in particular). If you have a question that’s not on this list, feel free to email me.
Where is Flores island?
Flores 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 Flores island?
Is there a post office in Flores island?
What Visa do I need to visit Flores 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 Flores island if I need it?
There are pharmacies and public health clinics (known as centros de saúde with emergency services on the island.
What is the voltage?
220 volts (round two-pin plugs).
Is there public transportation in Flores island?
Yes, there are buses and taxis. You can also rent a car (check the local car rental companies for information).
How big is Flores island?
The area of Flores island is 143.11 square kilometers (approximately 55.25 square miles).
How far is Flores island from Lisbon?
1,897 km (approximately 1,178 miles)
How many people live in Flores island?
3,793 people, according to the last census of 2011.
How many main towns does Flores Island have?
Flores has two main towns (concelhos in Portuguese), Santa Cruz das Flores (where the airport is) and Lajes das Flores (where the harbor is).
How do I travel to Flores 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 Flores island?
The climate is mild temperate. Temperature: average high 19.9°C/67.8°F. Average low 14.9°C/58.8°F.
When is the best time to visit Flores island?
July and August for the weather and the local cultural events.
Are there earthquakes in Flores island?*
There is no seismic activity registered. (Source)
*Note: seismic activity is constantly monitored in the Azores.
Is there WiFi and cell phone coverage in Flores island?
Yes, 3G and 4G.
When will you start planning your trip to the Azores?
Tips on planning your trip to the other Azores islands: