Bathing in the Azores
The nine islands of the Azores have many bathing areas, some in absolutely unexpected places. There are lots of options, always in beautiful places, so choosing can be difficult!
It is possible to bathe in the craters of ancient volcanoes and on beaches with sand in colours ranging from gold to black. Or in ponds and pools, some with hot springs. However, there are also natural pools among rocks, sheltered bays and open sea areas equipped with support infrastructures, for safe bathing.
Photo: Praia Formosa | Ilha de Santa Maria © ABAE
Santa Maria, in the eastern group, has the only white sandy beaches of the archipelago - Praia Formosa and Praia São de Lourenço. On the largest island - São Miguel - there are many black sand beaches such as Praia do Fogo, Vinha da Areia, Milícias or Areal de Santa Bárbara, which offer excellent surfing conditions. In addition to these options, there are several natural pools such as the Lagoa Bathing Area or the Port of Caloura, and unique and stunning locations, such as the Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo islet, which can be reached by regular boat connections. Those who prefer hot water can enjoy the benefits of hot springs in nature in the various pools and calderas supplied directly from the interior of the earth.
Photo: Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara - Ilha de São Miguel © ABAE
In the central group, on Terceira Island, the districts of Angra do Heroísmo and Praia da Vitória compete in number and quality of bathing areas - especially at Salga, Baía do Refugo or Cinco Ribeiras in Angra and Praia Grande, Praia da Riviera or the natural pools of Porto Martins in Praia da Vitória. On Graciosa Island, the natural pools of Carapacho are an alternative to the beaches of Barro Vermelho and São Mateus.
Photo: Piscinas do Carapacho | Ilha Graciosa © Publiçor
The other three islands of this group are very close to each other and offer a wide range of bathing areas. On Faial there are dark sand beaches, some well-known, such as Praia de Porto Pim near to Horta, and Almoxarife Beach about 5 kms from the town, but there are also several natural pools among the black basalt rocks. These facilities are equipped with good support infrastructures, as are the facilities on São Jorge, such as the Preguiça Bathing Area near Velas, and on Ilha do Pico with the Furna de Santo António or the Piscina do Cais Pool.
Photo: Praia de Porto Pim - Horta | Ilha do Faial © Nuno Rodrigues
The western group lies further from the European mainland. Here, Flores is known for its many waterfalls and ponds for bathing in unspoilt nature. However, there are also bathing areas such as the natural pools of Santa Cruz and the Island of Corvo, which has a unique black sand beach rightly known as the Praia de Areia (Sand Beach), which is the main bathing beach on the island.
The Azores are a destination of choice for various water sports, especially for diving with its spectacular underwater landscapes including marine reserves and hot springs where hot water flows out from inside the rocks. Images of great beauty to discover both on land and on the sea floor.