Every island in the Azores has something to offer, but Flores really has a lot to offer. This incredibly green, floral, and peaceful island is one of the most scenic and most beautiful places in the whole of the Azores archipelago – an absolute must visit.
From waterfalls to lakes in volcanic craters, there are so many things to see and do here. As well as the natural attractions, you can also visit water mills, dairies, and learn about the island’s history during the age of discoveries (and pirates).
How much time do you need for Flores? You can actually cover quite a lot of the island in a day and definitely in two days. However, the weather can make a big difference for certain attractions. Allowing a few extra days is worth it if you can. And be sure to allow at least one day for a visit to Corvo.
Useful Resources for Your Trip to Flores
Here’s our top tips and tricks for getting the best deals for your trip to Flores 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 in Flores.
- Car Rental: Discover Cars and Rental Cars are the two most useful sites for booking local car rental.
- Tours & Things to Do: Both Get Your Guide and Viator list lots of local tours and activities in the Azores, including Flores, however you may need to contact tour operators directly.
- 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.
- Fly: To get to Flores, you’ll normally need to fly to another Azorean Airport such as Ponta Delgada on São Miguel or Terceira-Lajes on Terceira. It’s unlikely that you will find a direct flight from an international airport, and you may need to take a connecting flight if you’re flying from somewhere else in the Azores. Flights between the islands can be booked with Azores Airlines.
- Ferry: It is sometimes possible to get a ferry between Faial and Flores. When available, this can be booked with Atlânticoline.
Where to Stay
If you have a car, and it’s recommended you rent one, you can stay anywhere on the island. Two of the main places to consider would be: Santa Cruz das Flores, the capital of the island, and Fajã Grande, a small village that’s next to many of the island’s most popular attractions.
Of the two, Fajã Grande is more relaxing and it’s only a 25 minute drive to Santa Cruz das Flores. However, if you want easy access to the airport, as well as more restaurants and supermarkets (very small ones, but more) then Santa Cruz das Flores is the better option for you. Whichever you choose, it’s really only a short drive to any of the main attractions.
One interesting place to stay would be Aldeia da Cuada. This was once a typical Azorean village, but its residence left it abandoned, most of them seeking a new life in the USA. The owners have been careful to restore it as close to how it was, giving anyone who stays here the opportunity to step back in time. It’s located close to Fajã Grande, which means it’s close to several attractions like Poço Ribeira do Ferreiro.
If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll probably need to either share accommodation as a group or camp. Going as a group can also help reduce the overall cost of car rental. There are several campsites on the island, including on in Santa Cruz, another just north of Santa Cruz, one in Lajes das Flores, and one in Ponta Delgada.
- Accommodation: Booking.com and Airbnb.com are both worth looking at. Accommodation on Flores can be quite expensive, so it’s worth booking in advance.
- Car Rental: The two main car rental companies are Ilha Verde and AutAtlantis Rent-a-Car. You can easily compare the availability of both by using a comparison site like Discovercars.com or Rentalcars.com. Two other options are: Experience OC and Ocidental Rent a Car, the latter which can be contacted by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone + 351 292 592 012 / 917 947 118.
- Tours: Several tour companies operate on the island, some offering group tours and some offering bespoke tours. Companies to look at include Pick Me Up in Flores, Experience OC, and Extremocidente. There’s also Flores by Sea, which specialises in tours by boat.
Getting around without a car:
The easiest way to experience Flores without a car would be to book a day or two with a tour company, either as part of a group tour or as a private booking. There are some taxi companies and guides like Silvio Mendina from Pick Me Up in Flores can create bespoke tours.
What to Do
There is a lot to see and do on Flores, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. This list highlights many of the main attractions, most of which are located close to Fajã Grande.
Poço Ribeira do Ferreiro
If you see photos of Flores, it’ll often be of this particular lake and the waterfalls behind it, and that’s because this is arguably one of the most beautiful attractions on the island. You’ll have to hike a little to get here: it’s roughly a 20 minute hike on a slightly uneven and fairly uphill path, but it’s nothing that most people of moderate fitness and ability can’t handle. And it’s worth it. [Map link]
It isn’t just São Miguel that has beautiful lakes – Flores has them too. There are a handful dotted throughout the island, but the most spectacular are Lagoa Negra and Lagoa Comprida, both of which can be seen from the Miradouro Lagoa Negra e Lagoa Comprida [Map link].
Miradouro Craveiro Lopes
There are a lot of great miradouros throughout Flores (which means golden viewpoints) but this is definitely one of the most beautiful. [Map Link]
Visit a working water mill
As you drive around Flores, you’ll notice a few signs that say “Moinho de Água,” which is Portuguese for water mill. At this particular water mill, the Moinho da Fajãzinha, the lady is happy to show you the dam system she has, how the corn is ground, and what the grinding system looks like beneath the mill. Although built in 1869, this mill is still in operation today. It’s a unique experience that gives you an insight into times gone by — or in this case of this mill, a way of life that’s still a part of the present.
Miradouro Caldeira Rasa e Funda
The Miradouro Caldeira Rasa e Funda offers a fantastic view of two more lakes and caldeiras, Lagoa Rasa and Caldeira Funda. This is one of the prettiest stops on the island, particularly Caldeira Funda, and worth the slight detour.
Eat local cheese
Cheese is made throughout the Azores and the cheese from São Jorge, which tastes a bit like a sharp British cheddar, is the most famous. But all of the islands have cheesemaking of some kind, with some local operations bigger than others.
Flores is no exception, and it’s home to Queijaria “Pico Redondo” a small dairy where Donna Ilda Henriques makes a soft fresh cheese and a semi-cured cheese. Both of these cheeses are delicious, so they’re worth trying for taste rather than just for novelty’s sake. If you can’t make it to the dairy, you’ll find them in most supermarkets on the island.
It’s worth noting that the last bit of the drive to this Queijaria involves going down a very narrow road which barely has room for one large car. If you meet another car, you’ll have to practice your reversing skills. For this reason, it’s a good reason to park a little further away if you don’t want to have to practice those skills.
Go Miradouro Hopping
There are lots of miradouros all over Flores, but there’s a particular part of the island where there are several great ones in a row — all within a couple of minutes’ drive from each other. Take the ER1-2 from Morsteiro and continue onwards until the Miradouro da Costa do Lajedo and there are about 7 different miradouros in a row, including the Miradouro Rocha dos Bordões, which is one of the most impressive.
This part of the island isn’t too far from other attractions like those in Fajã Grande.
Rocha dos Bordões
If you don’t have time to stop at all of the miradouros, be sure to make the journey to Rocha dos Bordões, which is arguably one of the most beautiful sights on all of Flores. The rock formation looks like organ pipes, making it an incredibly unique (and spectacular) rock formation.
Take a Day Trip to Corvo
Take a short boat ride from Flores to Corvo, the smallest and most remote island in the Azores. Explore the island’s tranquil beauty, admire the volcanic crater of Caldeirão, and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of this secluded paradise.
There are regular ferries between Flores and Corvo, but they don’t always run twice a day. Accommodation is also limited on Corvo, so it isn’t always possible to stay overnight. Check Atlanticoline for ferry timetables. Alternatively, several tour companies offer one-day tours to the island, including Flores by Sea, Experience OC, and Extremocidente. Most people visit as part of a day-trip, but if you are able to find accommodation, it would be nice to be less rushed. It would also give you two options to see the Caldeirão, if the first one isn’t successful.
You can also fly from Flores to Corvo with Air Azores, which is slightly more expensive than a ferry or day trip. However, it could be a good option if you’re likely to get sea sick or if you want to experience a unique flying experience.
Visit the Flores Museum
There are a number of museums on the island, but one of the easiest to visit in the Museu das Flores in Santa Cruz das Flores. The museum covers early life on the island, the dairy industry and how trade began between different parts of the island, and then there’s a huge section on pirates and the island’s connection with passing ships. This is by far the most interesting part, and worth it to see what life was like on this island during the age of exploration. It also discusses the many shipwrecks dotted around Flores and nearby Corvo.
Entry costs €1 and you should expect to spend somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour there.
Take a dip in a natural swimming pool
There are lots of natural swimming pools (piscinas naturais) located throughout the Azores — as most of the islands don’t have beaches, this is how locals cool off — but one of the nicest in the whole archipelago is the swimming pool on the edge of Santa Cruz das Flores. Despite being situated on the edge of a small town, the water here is very clear and very, very inviting. And while you’re here, you can also visit the nearby whale museum and learn about an industry that is now, thankfully, extinct.
Take a dip in the sea
Of course, you could also just jump in the sea. One of the most popular spots for this is the Zona Balnear da Fajã Grande in Fajã Grande. It’s a great spot to cool off and relax before you carry on with more sightseeing.
Other things to do
If you’ve seen all of the main attractions, there are a few other things to see and do on the island.
Another stop worth adding to your trip is Lagoa Seca (or Caldeira Seca). This is slightly different from the other caldeiras as it isn’t filled with water, but with vegetation (the name implies it’s dry, but it’s filled with vegetation). If you’ve seen other caldeiras, such as the one in Faial or the one on Santa Maria, this might not seem so exciting in comparison. However, if this is your first time seeing the lush inside of a former volcano, it’s worth heading up here.
While here, take the time to also visit Lagoa Branca and then drive on to Miradouro do Vale da Fazenda.
Miradouro do Vale da Fazenda
Another great miradouro to add to your sightseeing list is Miradouro do Vale da Fazenda, which is situated close to Lagoa Seca and Lagoa Branca. You’ll get fantastic views over the surrounding valleys and as this attraction isn’t as popular, you may even have the spot to yourself.
Visit the Most Westerly Concelho in Europe
If you’ve been to Cabo da Roca in mainland Portugal, just north of Lisbon, you’ve been to the most westerly point on mainland Europe. But you’ve not been to the most westerly point on the whole of Europe, including the islands. This little factoid is Lajes das Flores’ claim to fame and while there isn’t a lot else to see in this particular town, it could be worth a visit if you want to add that little accomplishment to your belt.
And if you want to another geographical attraction, be sure to get a glimpse of Monchique Islet, an uninhabited rock (or islet) that is considered the most westerly point in Europe. You can view this while walking from Fajã Grande in the direction of Ponta Delgada (there is a hike that goes the entire way).
Museu do Machado
The Museu do Machado is a quirky little one-room museum that’s a combination of what a typical Azorean house looked like and a collection of artefacts the owner has collected. It’s situated in the opposite direction of most of the main attractions, which is why it hasn’t been included in the main section of things to do. However, if you do visit, you also get to view the wonderful Miradouro do Ilhéu Furado at the same time.
There is no information, in English or Portuguese, and a visit will only take a few minutes. The owner is happy to chat in Portuguese, but otherwise will just stand at the door. There’s no entry fee, but donations are accepted.
Miradouro do Ilhéu Furado
The Miradouro do Ilhéu Furado is one of many fantastic miradouros on the island, but it’s definitely one of the most beautiful. If you’re in this part of the island, it’s definitely worth stopping off to take a look at and, while you’re here, you should also take a look at the Museu do Machado as well.
Fábrica da Baleia do Boqueirão
Not too long ago (before 1980), whale hunting was a way life life in the Azores, including on Flores and Pico. Thankfully, that way of life has gone and instead of hunting whales, the islands take tourists on boat trips to see them.
There are several museums dedicated to this gruesome practice, and it can be worth visiting at least one while you’re in this part of Portugal, and Flores’ Fábrica da Baleia do Boqueirão is a good place to get to grips with the island’s past. Be warned, though: seeing the photos can be quite a harrowing experience.
Other Museums to Visit
Besides the museums mentioned, there are a few others dotted around the island:
- Museu do Laticínios da Lomba – Learn what the butter production process was like in the past.
- Museu do Laticínios das Lajes – Another opportunity to learn what butter production was like in the past.
- Museu da Fajã Grande – See a typical house from the island of Flores. Learn about agricultural implements, weaving, and ceramics from the past.
- Museu Casa do Lavrador – See a typical Azorean house from the early 20th century, and learn about the agricultural implements, weaving, musical instruments, ceramics, and traditional occupations.
Caldeira da Lomba
Caldeira da Lomba is a beautiful lagoon and worth taking a look at if you have the time, however despite being beautiful, it doesn’t quite compare to the view of Lagoa Negra e Lagoa Comprida, which is much more breathtaking. If you’re short on time, head to the Miradouro Lagoa Negra e Lagoa Comprida instead.
Go Plane Spotting
If you’re into planes, watching them Azores Airlines planes land and take off is a rewarding experience. You’ll see the runway as you drive around the town of Santa Cruz das Flores, but if you want somewhere to sit and watch, one of the best spots is the Parque Boavista, which also has picnic tables and a workout area.
What to Eat
As with many of the other Azores islands, finding local dishes can be quite challenging. While you’ll find plenty of grilled fresh fish and seafood or beef-based dishes, finding specific local dishes is often a little harder. Snack bars serving fast food such as pizza and burgers also tend to be popular. If you are lucky enough to stumble on somewhere serving local dishes, look out for dishes like watercress soup, boiled pork and vegetables, tripe, yams with sausages, beans with pig’s head, and pastéis de ervas marinhas.
Cheese from the island is easier to find, both cured and fresh cheese, and you’ll find this in many of the supermarkets, usually from Queijaria “Pico Redondo.” It’s also possible to visit this cheesemaker, who is situated in Fajãzinha. There’s also Queijaria Val da Fazenda, which supplies cheese to local supermarkets. It used to be possible to visit this cheesemaker, but recent reviews on Google Maps suggests it’s currently not.
Self-catering is slightly harder on Flores compared to other islands like São Miguel and Terceira, but it’s still very doable. The grocery stores are quite small, and the quality of fruit and vegetables varies quite a bit. There are, however, plenty of dried foods such as pasta and tinned foods such as tinned chickpeas, beans, and tuna. Prices are higher than the mainland, but no too crazy for longer life foods.
Vegans and vegetarians will have a harder time on the island as most menus do not have a veggie option. Many places will be accommodation if you ask, however, and some will be happy to make you up something off menu.
When to Visit
The majority of people visit between April and September, but the closer to the middle of summer that you visit, the more likely you are to have good weather. Many of the attractions, like the lakes and miradouros, require reasonably good visibility, so it’s good to plan with this in mind. Also bad weather on Flores means that the Caldeirão on Corvo (if you choose to visit Corvo) will almost certainly have poor visibility.