A walking holiday in the Azores on the island of Sao Jorge
- Measuring 54km in length and 6.9 kilometres in width, Sao Jorge is a long stretch of volcanic rock. The total surface area of the island is 244km and it is home to around 9 000 people.
- Sao Jorge is part of the central group of the archipelago, forming a tringle in the ocean with the islands of Pico and Faial.
- The highest point on the island is the Pico de Esperança, standing tall at 1053m above sea level.
- Sao Jorge is known as the brown island due to the colour of its agricultural land.
Discovering the Fajas on your self-guided walking tour of the Azores
- A typical landscape to your Azores walking trip, the Fajas are particularly numerous on the island of Sao Jorge, with a total of around 70! The Fajas are flat expanses of land located at the foot of the cliffs and opening onto the ocean. They are created either by the crumbling of the cliffs (Faja dos Vimes) or because of lava flows entering the sea (Faja do Ouvidor). The same term, Fajas, is also used on the archipelagos of Cape Verde and Madeira.
- Fajas create very fertile soil and a microclimate ideal for agriculture. As a result, for many years the locals settled there to grow corn, yams, vines, coffee, and bananas. Today, most of them are abandoned partly because of their vulnerability to bad weather.
- Some Fajas are renowned for their crystal-clear natural swimming pools such as Faja de Ouvidor. Some are only accessible on foot such as the Faja Santo Cristo with its pretty houses and beautiful clam-fishing lagoon. The latter is also a popular surfing haunt.
Exploring the pretty village of Velas on your Azores walking holiday
- A small and charming seaside town at the foot of the cliff, you will enjoy strolling through the pedestrian streets, past beautiful small squares and the ‘Da Republica’ gardens. Natural swimming pools along the seafront invite you to jump in for a refreshing dip! In the evenings, you can enjoy a drink on a café terrace and listen to the plaintive, baby-like cries of ash puffins. These seabirds come to nest in the rocky walls overlooking the town and perform an amazing concert not to be missed!
The Sao Jorge Cheese: Sampling a local delicacy on your Azores walking tour
- The excellent pastures of Sao Jorge have given rise to the production of a cheese that is renowned throughout the archipelago, the queijo Sao Jorge. Made with unpasteurised cow’s milk, it has a firm consistency and is slightly tangy. When whole, the cheese has a circular shape and weighs between 7 to 12 kilos. It is usually cut into wedges to be sold.
- Since 1996, the "Queijo de Sao Jorge" designation is protected by a European label, PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). It is recognizable by its gold label. It is believed that the production of this cow's milk cheese dates back to the influence of the Flemish who populated the island in the 15th century.