Hiking on Sao Jorge Island.
“So we have two tourists on the island today”, says the guy who transports the luggage off the little ferry, to me and the italian girl who is also going to Sao Jorge like me. Sao Jorge Island on the Azores is not exactly a big tourist spot and that just ads to the charm of this stunning island in the mid Atlantic.
Sao Jorge Island.
Sao Jorge Island on the Azores is a long narrow island that covers 237 square kilometers and has just over 9000 inhabitants. It’s a very steep island that is over 1000 meters high and since it’s so narro. It’s pretty much up and down all the time there. In the past, the island has seen mass migration to North America, so almost everyone on the island has relatives in USA or Canada, but that has not americanized this tiny island community in the Atlantic ocean.
Photo from the town Velas on Sao Jorge.
Cheese makes Sap Jorge go around.
At the cheese factory on Sao Jorge Island.
The main export from the island is the cheese. Sao Jorge Cheese, or Queijo da Ilha, as it’s sometimes called, is a very tasty yellow cheese that is produced on the island and the cheese is the most important thing on the island from an economic perspective. They also have some fishing and orange production on the island, but the cheese is the biggest money maker and it’s well deserved, as it’s a brilliant cheese.
Sao Jorge is hikers paradise.
Hiking trail on Sao Jorge.
I came to Sao Jorge Island to hike and so do most tourists. Most people who stay at the one tourist hotel or the couple of residenciais (cheap guest houses) are either on the island to visit relatives, or there to go hiking. The island has several very nice hiking trails and they are quite accessible, as long as you are prepared for the steep elevation. It’s a very rugged island that only has two real towns, so you need to be able to find your way around on your own. My advice would be that you bring a phone along if you go hiking and get a phone number of the local that you can call, should you get in to trouble, as there are so few people on the island, that a broken ankle could be dangerous, if you are not able to call help. But this just ads to the charm if you ask me and you are hiking in a unique part of the world, that has seen few hikers so far.
Getting to Sao Jorge Island.
Atlantico Line, takes you to Sao Jorge.
Sao Jorge has a small airstrip and a few flights to the bigger islands on the Azores. It’s not many flights though and most people going there, come by ferry from the island Pico, where you have regular ferries from the town of Sao Roque do Pico with Atlantico Line. If you want to fly there, then take a look at the website of SATA that is the national airline of the Azores.
If you like a quiet and unique destination, then go to Sao Jorge.
Sao Jorge on the Azores is unique.
Sao Jorge Island is not a place to go for the 5 star traveler who likes resorts and shopping, cause there is none of that on Sao Jorge. But if you are happy with an island with stunning natural beauty and is ok with eating at the same 2-3 restaurants during your stay, then this is really a unique part of the globe, where you are not likely to see much tourism development for a time to come, cause it’s simply so far away from the beaten path.
Chapel on Sao Jorge, Azores.
Happy hiking and happy cheese eating 🙂