Overview

Introduction

The Brown Island - Sao Jorge is a long (55km) and narrow (8km wide) island with a total area of 246 sq.km, which was formed by a series of successive volcanic eruptions.

The craggy coastline plunges almost vertically (400m in parts) into the ocean with unique, frequent, small fertile flat areas (fajas) at the base of the cliffs. The central platform runs at an average height of 700m, rising to 1053m at the highest point.

80% of the island is high pasture which supports 20,000 dairy cattle producing high quality milk from which comes the famous Sao Jorge cheese, still manufactured using traditional techniques and the original recipe.

This is an island for walking, for exploring the little settlements on the fajas along the coast by car, for admiring the stunning scenery and visiting the two small port towns of Velas and Calheta.

16km across the water is Pico (accessible in one hour by boat) where a 2,351m volcano dominates the skyline and seems but a stone’s throw away.

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About Sao Jorge

Area: 245 sq. km
Length: 55 km (34 miles)
Width: 8 km (5 miles)
Population: 11,000 inhabitants
Capital: Velas

Highlights

Cheese
Try the delicious Sao Jorge cheese – you won’t be disappointed.

Pico da Esperanca
From here, the highest peak (1,053m) on the island, you can admire the central islands of Terceira, Graciosa, Faial and Pico. Other fine views can be enjoyed from the Miradouro points overlooking the Faja do Ouvidor and the Faja dos Cubres, and from the summit of Pico da Velha.

Birdlife
The Fajas of Santo Cristo and of Cubres are the best birding spots on the island, mainly for seabirds, waders, herons and egrets.  

Handicrafts
In Ribeira do Nabo you will find a small co-operative making and selling lace work and weaved products.

Fact
The lagoon of Faja do Santo Cristo is the only place in the Azores where clams can be fished.

Festivals

  • Espírito Santo (7 weeks after Easter)
  • Cultural week in Velas (1st week of July)
  • Music festival in Calheta (last week of July)

Note: Dates are subject to change.

Activities

Canyoning

Baptism

 This activity is aimed at beginners with no previous experience of canyoning. Basic training in rappelling techniques are provided and used to scale small vertical (not exceeding 15m) walls with a maximum number of six abseilings. The objective is to enjoy a new experience in a natural setting.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Duration: 4-6 hours

Picnic lunch (sandwich, juice, water, chocolate and fruit) included

Price is £88 per person

Rappel Challenger

This activity is aimed at intermediate level with reduced technical requirements. Scale vertical walls by rappelling over several obstacles.

Difficulty Level: Medium

Duration: 4-6 hours

Price is £70 per person

Advanced

This activity is aimed at people who have some previous experience in canyoning. Enjoy vertical water courses (over 20m) and several rappels and jumps. The waterways have access to the ocean and some of them you can only reach by boat.

Difficulty Level: Difficult

Duration: 6 hours

Picnic lunch (sandwich, juice, water, chocolate and fruit) included

Price is £93 per person

Notes

  • Excursion provider: Discover Experience
  • Daily pick-up from properties in Velas or Queimada at 09:00
  • Duration: 3-6 hours – all year
  • Location: Eastern part of the island
  • A short briefing is included before each activity and instruction in rappelling techniques
  • Maximum 6 people / Minimum 2 people
  • Minimum age: 8 years (Baptism and Rappel Challenger) and 15 years (Advanced)
  • Equipment required: Towel, swim suit, shoes that can get wet (preferably mountain boots or running shoes), warm clothing, spare pair of shoes and clothing for the trip home and a bottle of water
  • Safety equipment provided: Neoprene wetsuit, socks and gloves, helmet and harness

 

Kayak Tours

The kayaks used are ‘sit on top’ kayaks - they do not flood and are virtually unsinkable in normal use, and are
able to navigate up to 300 meters from the shore. Clients will always be accompanied by one or two monitors
depending on the route chosen. A short briefing is included before the activity.


Route to Fajã dos Vimes


This activity begins at the harbour of Calheta (south coast). Heading east you will paddle to the Fajã dos Vimes
enjoying the scenery and the tranquil waters of the Pico- São Jorge channel and the only place where it is possible to
visit the coffee plantations, try the coffee and visit the local handicraft facilities.
■ Difficulty Level: Medium
■ Duration: 3 hours


Price is £69 per adult and £35 per child (10yrs)

Route Fajã das Almas


The Route to the Fajã das Almas features majestic views of the island of Pico. Stop off at the small Fajã for a drink or
light lunch at ‘Maré Viva’ with its panoramic terrace.
■ Difficulty Level: Medium
■ Duration: 2½ hours

Price is £63 per adult and £32 per child (10yrs)

Route Fajã Grande

The Faja Grande Route is the shortest route but with a different view of Calheta ending in the small port. There is a
bathing area with natural rock pool and a bar with a beautiful terrace overlooking Pico island.


■ Difficulty Level: Easy
■ Duration: 1 hour

Price is £35 per adult and £18 per child (10yrs)

Notes
■ Excursion provider: Discover Experience
■ Daily pick-up from properties in Velas or Queimada at 09:00 or 14:00
■ Difficulty: low technical requirement
■ Distances: Varying distances covered from 2 to 7km
■ Duration: 2-3 hours – all year
■ Maximum 6 people - 2 people per kayak
■ Minimum age: 10 years - Children must be accompanied by parent/guardian
■ Equipment required: Towel, swim suit, rain jacket, shoes that can get wet, warm clothing, spare pair of shoes and
 clothing for the trip home and sun lotion and hat
■ Safety equipment provided: Life jackets

Private Taxi Tours

Sunvil is able to pre-book the following private taxi tour on São Jorge. Tours can also be tailor-made to suit the
individual requirements of our clients, please telephone us for a quotation.


São Jorge (Half Day)
Depart from Velas towards Beira where you will visit a traditional cheese factory. Continue to Calheta and Manadas,
stopping at several breathtaking viewpoints en route. In Manadas you will visit the beautiful baroque parish church
dedicated to Santa Bárbara. Continue to Urzelina before returning to Velas.


Price is £122 per taxi


São Jorge (Full Day)

Depart from Velas along the south coast with several stops at viewpoints en route. You will see the typical Fajãs at
Ouvidor, Cubres and Caldeira Santo Cristo and visit the handicraft cooperative where you will see women weaving on
looms to produce traditional rugs. Continue to Calheta and Manadas, stopping at several breathtaking viewpoints en
route. In Manadas you will visit the beautiful baroque parish church dedicated to Santa Bárbara (entrance fee c.1 Euro
per person payable locally). Continue to Urzelina and the park of Sete Fontes before returning to Velas.


Price is £215 per taxi


Notes
■ Excursion provider: Melo
■ Departure from Velas at 09:00
■ Transfers from hotels outside of Velas are at a supplement on request
■ Prices are based on a maximum of 3 people per taxi
■ Full Day: 7 hours
■ Half Day: 3½ hours
■ Not included: Lunch and entrance fees to museums, parks and the cheese factory (c.1.50 Euros per person)
■ A qualified English speaking guide can be provided at a supplement on request

Self-Guided Walks

The islands of the Azores, with their mild climate (day time temperature ranging from 14-22 degrees), are the most wonderful islands for walking. All walks are to be booked and paid for locally.

Serra do Topo

This walk is 4hr 30mins (10km) and is from the mountain range of Serra do Topo to Faja dos Cubres, on the north coast of Sao Jorge. The walk will take you along a magnificent path descending to Faja do Santo Cristo, one of the most isolated spots in the Azores, with a handful of resident families and a few summer houses for those visiting in the summer months. Spend time exploring the protected nature reserve of Faja do Santo Cristo, with its underground cave and lake, before continuing towards Faja dos Cubres. The island of Graciosa can be seen from here. Grade 2 (Medium)

Loural

This is a 2hr 30mins (5km) walk. Starting at Loural you will walk along the steep slopes of Sao Jorge’s southern coastline through farming pastures before descending to Faja de Sao Joao and its village. Along this walk you will be able to enjoy a magnificent view across the ocean to Pico Island, with its towering volcano. Grade 2 (Medium)

Pico das Caldeiras

This is a 5hr 30mins (16km) walk. Passing along the central part of the island from Pico das Caldeiras to Faja do Ouvidor via Pico da Esperanca which, at 1,053 metres, is the highest point on the island. As you descend towards the Faja do Ouvidor, stop at the viewpoint and admire the magnificent view along the coastline and over the agricultural pasture. Grade 2 (Medium)

Note: All walks can be booked and paid for locally


Sao Jorge Fact

The lagoon of Faja do Santo Cristo is the only place in the Azores where clams can be fished

Useful information

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Get in touch
Rosanna Melaragni
Rosanna Melaragni
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT - 1 hour

Currency

Euro

Language

Portuguese

Average flight times

4 hours 5 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Note: Map is for guidance purposes only.

Talk to our The Azores expert

Rosanna Melaragni
Rosanna Melaragni

Rosanna is the head of our Discovery Department which covers tailor made holidays to Portugal and the Azores, Italy and Sicily, Scandinavia and the new programme to Spain. She is our longest serving member of staff having joined in 1994 after completing an honours degree in French and Italian and subsequently working for a tour operator in Yorkshire. She is responsible for brochure writing, contracting accommodation, programme costing, computer inputting and generally troubleshoots where necessary. She has global knowledge of our tailor made programme.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

020 8758 4722

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

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