In the Atlantic Ocean, 760 nautical miles (1408 Km) from Lisbon and 2110 nautical miles (3910 Km) from New York, nine volcanic islands compose the Azores Archipelago (named after the goshawk, a bird of prey that was supposed to be common at the time of the discovery). Some researchers claim the archipelago to be the remains of the legendary Atlantis.
The S. Miguel and Sta. Maria islands compose the Eastern Group. The Central Group is formed by Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial. The Western Group is composed by the Flores and Corvo Islands. The total area for all nine islands is 2335 Km2. The Azores Autonomous Region has an approximate population of 244.000 inhabitants.
The Azorean Moderate Maritime climate is mild due to the Gulf Stream’s influence. The air temperature does not suffer many variations, with an average 23º C (73º F) in the summer and 13º C (55º F) in the winter. The ocean water temperature varies between 24º C (75º F) and 17 º C (24º F).ATTIRE
In the summer, light clothing is recommended. During Spring and Fall, clothes suitable for humid and chilly weather are recommended. During winter, in spite of the temperatures not being too low, precipitation is frequent - warm and rainproof clothing is advised.FORMALITIES / CUSTOMS
Air transportation is the most common way to reach the Azores. Daily flights to and from Lisbon insure the connection between the Azores and Europe or other continents. There are also regular direct flights to Madeira, the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, charter flights connect the Azores to Northern Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Due to an excellent geographic position, yachts and cruise ships that sail the Atlantic Ocean make port on the Azorean harbours. There are no regular ship connections from the mainland to the Azores.
As a Portuguese territory, the Azores require for the visitor to carry a valid passport and, for some countries, a visa. Visitors arriving from the European Union and Switzerland only need to present the ID card.
All the islands are connected by air transportation, operated by a regional airline – SATA Air Açores. A navigation company insures ship connections between the islands from May to October. The Faial, Pico and São Jorge islands have all year long ship connections operated by Transmaçor and Expresso do Triângulo, which operate between those three islands. All the islands have bus networks which provide for an economic and comfortable means of transportation. Furthermore, all the islands have taxi and car rental services.
To move around by car, motorcycle or any other vehicle, the visitor must have a valid international driving license or a valid driving license from his country of origin. Harbour authorities control all boat traffic.LANGUAGE
The language spoken by the local population is Portuguese, despite the different accents from each island. Most Azoreans speak english.CURRENCY
The local currency is the EURO (€).
The visitor may use credit cards. The shops which accept credit cards are usually identified with the proper signs.SPORTS
There are good golf courses in S. Miguel and Terceira. There are tennis courts in most islands. Many sea activities are available, such as sailing, windsurfing and other nautical sports, as well as wildlife observation (whale, dolphin or bird watching).