Often overlooked in favour of its larger, more well-known siblings, the island of Corvo, the smallest in the Azores archipelago, is an unspoiled paradise waiting to be discovered. This is one of the most (if not the most) remote islands in Europe.
Most people visit as part of a day-trip, but it’s possible to stay overnight (if you can get accommodation) as well. You’ll need to decide which you’d rather do, although the lack of accommodation or transportation options may make that decision for you.
There aren’t a huge number of attractions, particularly when compared to Flores, but visiting the island is an experience in itself. Whatever you do, you should make sure to visit the Caldeirão.
Useful Resources for Your Trip to Corvo Island
Here’s our top tips and tricks for getting the best deals for your trip to Corvo Island in the Azores.
- Accommodation: Booking.com and Airbnb are the two most comprehensive websites for finding hotels, hostels, apartments, and other types of accommodation on Corvo Island.
- Car Rental: Discover Cars and Rental Cars are the two most useful sites for booking local car rental. However, car rental options are limited on Corvo.
- Tours & Things to Do: Both Get Your Guide and Viator list lots of local tours and activities in the Azores, but are limited for Corvo. See the rest of this article for more suggestions on things to do.
- Luggage Storage: Luggage Hero and Bounce are two great sites for finding places to store your luggage in Portugal.
- Flights: Skyscanner and Google Flights are the two most useful websites for finding flights to Portugal. Inter-island flights are usually all with Azores Airlines.
- Ferries: Ferries are operated by Atlânticoline and this is the best site to use.
There are three main ways to get to Corvo:
- By flight from another island: Corvo doesn’t have an international airport, so you’ll first need to fly into one of the larger Azorean islands like Faial, Flores, or São Miguel. You can fly from any of the other islands too, but there’ll normally be a stopover on one of the islands. Sometimes this is just for an hour or less but depending on the flight times, it could be overnight. Flight timetables and tickets can be found on AzoresAirlines.pt.
- By ferry from Flores: There are regular ferries between Flores and Corvo. It isn’t always possible to go and come back on the same day, so you’ll need to plan accordingly. Note that this is quite a small ferry and not large enough to take a car onboard.
- On a day-trip from Flores: A few companies on Flores offer day trips to Corvo where they take you over to the island on a speedboat and then back again in the evening. This is slightly more expensive than the ferry, however, it’s good for days when the ferry isn’t running twice daily and when you want the benefit of a guide. If you’re not planning on hiking up to Caldeirão and want to go up in a car or van instead, ask to see if this is included in the trip. (See here and here and here).
Be aware that weather can affect the ability to get to Corvo. Flights, ferries, and day trips may be cancelled if the weather is poor.
What to See and Do
There are only a handful of things to do on Corvo, most notably the Caldeirão.
This large volcanic crater is Corvo’s most famous natural attraction. You can hike around its rim for amazing views into the crater and beyond. On clear days, you might even spot Flores Island in the distance.
Most days aren’t clear, however, and if you want any possibility of seeing anything, you’ll need to hike down into the crater (even then, this isn’t guaranteed). The hike takes around 30 minutes each way and the path is rocky and steep. You’ll probably want to allow around 30 minutes at the bottom for sandwiches, photos, and relaxation as well. There are usually cattle grazing on the slopes on the way down, but they are used to tourists.
There are actually two lakes inside this crater, Caldeirão and Cachimbo, which is situated to the left. It’s worth seeing both.
You can either hike up here or take a taxi from the ferry or airport (there are usually drivers waiting when the ferries arrive). The hike will take around 1 hour and 45 minutes, excluding the time to descend into the crater and get back, which is roughly 30 minutes each way. It is quite a steep hike, particularly if you don’t use the main road, so be aware of that before setting off.
One other option would be to get the taxi up and then to hike down, going via one of the attractions like Miradouro Cabeça do Indio. The hike down from Miradouro Cabeça do Indio gives you fantastic views over Corvo and the runway at Corvo Airport, but note that this can be quite steep in places.
Vila do Corvo
Corvo has just one settlement, Vila do Corvo. There are some historical attractions, like the 17th Century Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Milagres, but, ultimately, there isn’t a lot to see and do here.
There are a 2-3 windmills situated close to the airport entrance that are worth visiting if you have the time. They are all very picturesque, and only a few minutes’ walk from the port.
Corvo is a hotspot for birdwatching, especially during migration season. Many North American bird species end up here, making it a very popular destination for birdwatchers.
As the island is quite small, there isn’t an option of renting a car on Corvo Island. Most people get around on foot or by taxi.
You can also arrange bike rental through Joe & Vera’s place (best to contact them in advance to confirm). However, aside from the town of Vila do Corvo, Corvo isn’t the easiest place to get around on a bike as most of the island is incredibly steep.
Typical Food from Corvo
Corvo has some culinary delights to offer, such as the unique “Erva do Calhau” (rock weed), the flavorful “Molho de Fígado” (liver), and the ever-popular “Couves Fritas” (fried kale) and “Couves de Barca” (kale).
Unfortunately, getting to try these isn’t easy. There’s really only one restaurant on the island, called O Caldeirão, so unless these dishes are on the menu, you’ll have to learn to make them at home. There’s also a bar on the island, BBC – Caffe & Lounge, which does serve some food, but it’s typically simpler food like burgers and toasted sandwiches.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Corvo is between June and September, when the weather is warmer and drier. If you’re a birdwatching enthusiast, October can also be an exciting time to visit as it’s peak bird migration season.
Keep in mind that Corvo’s weather can be unpredictable. It’s wise to pack for all conditions and check the weather forecast frequently.
Where to Stay
Accommodation options on Corvo are extremely limited due to its small size, and you may not be able to find anything, especially if you don’t book ahead. Because of this many people only visit for a day.
Booking.com and Airbnb.com are worth a check, but options are always limited.
- Hotel Comodoro: The only hotel on the island, the Comodoro is modest but homely and within walking distance of everything, including the airport, the restaurant, and the bar.
- Joe & Vera’s Place Vintage: A simple, friendly guest house that has extremely positive reviews from almost everyone that has stayed.
- Joe & Vera’s Place: This seems to be another place that Joe & Vera own, but there’s rarely availability.
- Parque de Campismo: There is also a free campsite at the end of the runway with toilets and facilities for cooking. If you’re travelling from São Miguel, there is a Decathlon there where you could purchase a tent. Alternatively, a safer option would be to purchase one in advance of your trip to the Azores.
If you can’t find accommodation, and you might not, you may need to stay on Flores and take a day trip and come back to Flores before going back to Corvo the next day. You may be able to do this using the ferry service, however the ferry doesn’t run twice daily every day. If that’s not an option, you should consider booking one of the daily tours.