Sao Jorge is a long, slender island in the Portuguese Azores archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean.
A volcanic ridge stretching from northwest to southeast acts as the spine of the island, making it an ideal hiking or mountain biking holiday destination. Also, any thrill-seekers should be certain to traverse some of Sao Jorge’s canyons and large, vertical descents.
One of the most attractive walking trails takes you down to Faja do Santa Cristo, where you’ll come across a lovely church and an enormous lagoon in which clams, a local delicacy, are farmed. Also, be sure to sample some of the world-renowned Sao Jorge Island cheese where you can.
Another great way to drink in the scenery is on horseback, as the Azores are home to a range of well-trained breeds such as Lusitano and Cruzado Portuguese horses.
Sao Jorge boasts some stunning buildings too. One of which can be found in the town of Manadas; the beautiful Church of Santa Barbara. It is one the archipelago’s finest examples of religious architecture and features a magnificently decorated ceiling.
Much like all the islands in the Azores group, Sao Jorge’s seas offer fantastic diving, fishing and sailing opportunities. They’re also one of the best locations in the world for whale spotting and shark diving.
In July, the island really comes alive during the Semana Cultural das Velas, a week-long celebration of all things cultural in the town of Velas. It consists of musical performances, nautical shows and a superb food market, so it’s definitely worth seeing.
You can sail to Velas towards the northwest on Sao Jorge from the Azores Islands of Faial, Flores, Sao Miguel, Terceira, Pico and Graciosa.
These routes are operated by Atlanticoline, providing a few sailings each week.