Warming up with a cup of coffee on a rainy day, sitting in one of the remotest places we have ever been to, I asked our Airbnb host, who moved from a city like Paris to this small island in the middle of Atlantic Ocean, that how it feels or the motivation to leave the facilities of a big city and live in a remote place like this. His answer was something which made us fall in love with this place on our very first evening as he said, “Tell me a place where my six-years-old daughter goes on a highway, takes a lift from a stranger to go to a beach and come back home the same way in the evening safely”. It made us realize the cost we pay for the comfort of high paying jobs, movie halls, shopping malls and other materialistic things in a big city.
Another incident was when I was little skeptical in leaving my car at the dock with all my stuff inside for two days, to go to another island and our ferry operator responded with a single statement, “Dude Chill, you are in Flores”.
|| Welcome to Flores ||
The Azores is a group of nine islands in the North Atlantic Ocean towards Portugal and Flores is one of the farthest islands of the group. We covered three out of the nine islands of Azores on our first trip. Read about the smallest member of the group and a close neighbor to Flores, Corvo.
|| Day 1 in Flores ||
Flores is one of those places which takes you back in time when we used to take printed tourist maps to explore a place instead of maps on our smartphone. We had no GPS or internet connection here, we used to pick up a road and continue either till the dead end or if it aligned with our printed map. Our exploration of this island was a mixture of some of our random plans, suggestions by our Airbnb host, car rental guy and some fellow travelers whom we met during our trip. It took us a while to recollect all the places we visited on our trip, thanks to all those pictures we clicked.
Below is an interactive map with all the places we covered in one day, depending on your speed and some additional hikes, you can choose to split this into two days. There is an information zone at the end of the article to answer your all planning related questions. Also read about Day2 of our exploration of Flores here.
|| Explore Lakes ||
“Lagoa” means lake in Portuguese language and Flores island has some really scenic lakes which you can’t afford to miss. It depends on where you stay on the island but try to ditch the main highways ER1-2 and ER2-2 and take internal roads at least once to see the actual beauty of the island. In the map above, you can select the directions to show the path we chose to cover these places.
Lake Funda das Lejas and Lake Rasa (3 & 4)
You can drive right through these two lakes and can also stop by at a viewpoint with a wooden platform. Take out your zoom lens to get closer to the beauty of the lake. There were few hiking trails which we didn’t get a chance to explore.
Lake Comprida and Lake Funda (5 & 6)
These two lakes are simply amazing as it gives you a landscape with two lakes side by side where one is lush green and other is completely black. I called them Goggle lakes (two eyes and green nose) and you will see why with a panoramic shot below.
|| 360-degree viewpoint (7) ||
This was one of our random rides in Flores where we saw a telephone tower at the top of the mountain and we decided to reach there. It was a rough ride because of bad road conditions but fun at the same time.
Nobody was there when we reached the top but it was super windy and a view with a wide green landscape spread as far as sight goes.
|| Time for waterfalls (9) ||
It is true that no mountain landscape is complete without a waterfall but Flores is above all those, here you will get not just one but 10 waterfalls at one place. This was our next stop, Poco da Ribeira do Ferreiro (Alagoinha). This place is the calmest and most secluded spot in Flores where the only sound you will hear is from water or birds. You can just find out a corner and can easily spend hours here with a proximity to nature.
Trek to find peace
It is a nice 20 min hike from the parking lot through the forest to reach the lagoon. It’s a very small place but you can find your corner to sit and enjoy the calmness of the place.
On the way (8)
“Miradouro” means viewpoint in Portuguese language, so slow down whenever you see a signboard with this. One such great miradouro on the way to Alagoinha is Miradouro Craveiro Lopes where you must stop for some great views. The town in the picture below is Fajazinha if you have time take a drive to the town.
|| Faja de Grande (10) ||
It is the largest town on the island and our last destination for the day. There are multiple restaurants to have a bite or a drink. You can spend your evening here watching sunset near the black beach (not sure about the exact name).
Here we saw an interesting species for the first time. It is kind of a jellyfish popularly known as Portuguese Man o’ war and it is highly poisonous, so avoid jumping into the water if you will see one. Read more about this here if you are interested.
That’s how we conclude our one day on this amazing island and then took ER1-2 back home via Lajes Das Flores (another big town on the island). Depending on your speed and other activities you do, you can split this itinerary into two parts.
|| We are not done yet ||
This is just one-half of what this amazing island has to offer, there is a lot more to see when we will drive to the northern part of the island and also get a glimpse of the neighbor island, Corvo. Also, read the second day of exploration of Flores by Travel Anubhav.
Read about this amazing neighbor island of Flores and the smallest member of Azores with a scenic crater lake, Corvo.
If you are actually thinking about planning a trip to Flores after reading this article, I believe my efforts didn’t go in vain and here are additional details to help you in planning your trip.
How to reach
This small island has an airport too with only one operating airline SATA and “by air” is the only way to reach this island. This was the first time we boarded a flight which has no pre-assigned seats, you will make a queue at the gate and get a seat on first come first basis. Yes, you will have to fight to get a window seat which is really worth it.
The flights are expensive due to the remote location but cheaper than earlier days, there are locals in Sao-Miguel (the largest island of Azores and closest to Lisbon) who have never been to Flores due to expensive flights.
Where to Stay
We stayed at an Airbnb (use our link to signup for Airbnb and get a discount on your first booking), which is usually our first choice, owned by an amazing host named Marco who was a journalist in Paris and now a farmer in Flores. He built this whole house by himself including every single furniture in the house. We had a great time talking to Marco, who traveled to more places in India than us and that tool on a Royal Enfield.
There are restaurants in every big town with plenty of food options. There was this wooden fire pizza place near our stay and a small grocery store as well just a few miles away.
How to roam around
Car rental is the only option to explore the island. There are few major car rental companies at the airport but you should book in advance. We didn’t book earlier and there was no car available for the last minute booking. It took us a while to find a local car rental outside the airport which turned out to be half of the normal price.
How long should I plan
It mostly depends on your style of travel but you can cover all major spots of the island in 2-3 days. If you are planning a trip to Flores, please keep one day for its neighbor island Corvo as well. You can read more about it here.