Ilha de Santa Maria Travel Guide

  • northern coast
    northern coast
    by mircaskirca
  • typical house
    typical house
    by mircaskirca
  • Santa Barbara
    Santa Barbara
    by mircaskirca

Ilha de Santa Maria Things to Do

  • Santa Bárbara

    East of Pico Alto lies the most picturesuqe village of the island, Santa Bárbara. Its lovely white houses with indigo blue lines (vertical, horizontal, around windows and doors) dispersed on the surrounding green slopes. For me, Santa Bárbara is the prettiest village of the island and I simply fell in love with its simplicity and charm. With its...

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  • Praia Formosa

    Continuing east along the coast you will reach beautiful white sand beach Praia Formosa, one of the best swimming beaches in the Azores. It is located in a wide bay at the foot of steep cliffs. Vineyards tumble down the hillside to meet the beach. The road, with parking, runs along behind the beach. Given its outstanding geographical location, it...

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  • Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Fátima

    I was on the road from the north (Lagoinhas) to the south (Vila do Porto). Somewhere in the middle of the journey, just a short drive to São Pedro, a lovely chapel draw my attention. The sign next to it said it was in the village called Fátima. I did not count, but there must have been some 150 stairs that led to the top where the chapel was...

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  • Anjos

    Across the western plain, which makes an obvious contrast to the hilly and green eastern plateau, lies a tiny village of Anjos, situated on the deserted north coast. Once it was a centre for tuna but now the factory is closed. The little bay has recently been very nicely developed for swimming. There are two natural swimming pools with...

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  • São Pedro

    Northeast of Vila do Porto is the village of São Pedro. Surrounded by numerous trees and a huge palm tree in its centre, this tiny village boasts a 17th-century church, Igreja de São Pedro with a portal and a large window sculptured in stone. Worth visiting is also the interior. It features an interesting arch covered with carvings displaying the...

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  • Almagreira

    After taking a car in Vila do Porto my first stop was Almagreira, a little village just a short drive from the island's capital. I parked the car in front of the grocery shop where I bought water and locally grown bananas for the journey and had a coffee in the adjoining bar. Then I took a stroll around the village. Stairs lead up to the church...

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  • Pico Alto

    The side road up to Pico Alto, at 590m the highest point of the island, leaves the main road between Almagreira and Santo Espírito where it turns to Santa Bárbara. The clouds that hang in the mountains provide the area with moisture for rich vegetation and it permits a small amount of agriculture. The landscape here is totally different from...

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  • Baía de São Lourenço

    The peaceful village of São Lourenço is superbly situated above a bay with small white sand beaches and turquoise water. This village with its pretty white houses only gets more animated in summer with people enjoying all kinds of leisure activities on its beaches. Located on the northeast coast, Baía de São Lourenço is one of the most beautiful...

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  • Santo Espirito

    Santo Espirito is a pretty village surrounded by pastures and green hills. Well worth visiting is for Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Purificação, boasting a beautiful Baroque façade with surprising black basalt ornamentation on the front. Originally constructed in the 16th century and beautifully restored in 1966, this church is one of the most...

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  • Ponta do Castelo

    Descending to the coast towards Maia you'll find a beautiful Ponta do Castelo, classified as a Zona Especial de Conservação, with a large variety of important fauna and flora species. It is one of the places with most Mediterranean characteristics in the whole Azores, with an interesting vegetation and geography, marine grottos submerse and...

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  • Maia

    Maia is a picturesque village on the wonderful southeast coast. Filled with quietness, it is located in the area of great natural beauty, on the slope of a cliff that forms a pleasant bay, classified as Reserva Natural. Many of the houses are now holiday homes, but there are still fishing boats on the quay of the tiny harbour. There are natural...

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  • Vila do Porto

    Santa Maria's capital Vila do Porto is one of the most ancient towns of the Azores. It is located in a cliff-surrounded large bay and has two distinct districts, separated by the mother church, Igreja Matriz de nossa Senhora da Assunção. The older district below the Igreja Matriz, still reflecting some of the past splendour of the town, has...

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Ilha de Santa Maria Restaurants

  • Perfectly Located Right on the Beach

    O Paquete is a bar and restaurant in the shape of a ship, located on a beautiful white sand beach Praia Formosa. It is quite a popular spot among visitors of Santa Maria, as for the visitors of the beach as well for those wishing to have a late night drink. You can get starters, soup, salads, meat, fish and seafood dishes, a great variety of crepes...

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  • Breads and Pastries

    It is not common to serve breakfast in the restaurants of Vila do Porto. So I went to a supermarket in front of Valentina's house to buy some bread, cheese, fruit and water. I happily found there was also a bakery with a few tables where local people were buying fresh bread and pastries for their breakfast. Others enjoyed their morning cup of...

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  • Fresh Fish and Seafood

    Restaurants are quite limited on Santa Maria so you have to be prepared that you won't find it in every village. It was already an early afternoon when I reached Maia. Soon after I descended to the coast I sighted a little restaurant O Grota. Some drops of rain started to fall, so it seemed just a perfect time for a lunch break.The Azores offer an...

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Ilha de Santa Maria Transportation

  • Renting a Car

    There are two ways to see the island. You can take a a tour around the island by taxi. It costed 60€ for four hours. I thought that was far too little time and quite expensive so I decided to rent a car. Antonío already arranged everything for me. After arrival to Santa Maria I phoned to the guy, Jorge Botelho. He brought the car to Valentina's...

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  • Flight from Ponta Delgada to Santa Maria

    There are several possibilities to get from Ponta Delgada to Santa Maria. I bought a ticket for a ferry boat (it leaves Ponta Delgada on Friday at 18:30 with the arrival at 22:00 and Wednesday at 9:00 with the arrival at 11:15; it leaves Santa Maria Wednesday at 18:00 with the arrival at 20:15 and Sunday at 12:00 with the arrival at 15:30; a return...

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  • Taxi

    To visit this Island using a taxi, about 4 hours is enough.Normal fare per hour is 15 EUR.I advise you Célia Moreira, telm. 962374403. She speaks very well English and is a great guide.Praça de táxis de Vila do Porto, Tel. 296882199

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Ilha de Santa Maria Local Customs

  • Local Festivals and Celebrations

    Traditional festas populares (saint's day festivals) from May through September are very important to the Azorean people and are a testimony to a deep religious faith of the people. The number of emigrants from around the world arrive to participate in these festivities. A few of the festivities are unique to one of the Azorean islands, but most...

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  • Traditional White Houses

    The island is characterized by its charming rural white houses that remind of the continental regions of Algarve and Alantejo. This is where the first settlers of the island originally came from in the 15th century, applying here the same tradition. Glimmering white houses are scattered in little clusters or in small villages. Almost all of them...

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  • Festival Maré de Agosto

    The August Tide Festival takes place in an open-air space near the Formosa Beach, one of the main bathing zones of the island, between the 22nd and 24th of August.Already a sort of tradition, the August Tide Festival is undoubtedly one of the most important of the Azores and has taken there many famous singers and musicians, both Portuguese and...

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