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Top things to do in St Maria Island

Top things to do in St Maria Island
Clara Campos

My top things to do in St Maria Island are mostly linked to the natural beauty of the Island and to its unique geographical and geological characteristics.

Top things to do in St Maria Island are linked to the incredible natural beauty of the island.
St Maria Island is much different from the other Azorean islands, like Faial, for instance.
Due to its geographical position further south and east, St Maria has a dryer and warmer climate. This leads to lower levels of rain which influence the aridity of the landscape in certain areas of the Island.
Its volcanic origins also shaped the islands character. The west half of the island is flatter while the eastern side is hilly. There you may find Pico Alto. Climbing it is one of my top things to do in St Maria Island.

Astonishing top things to do in St Maria Island.

To go for a swim in one of the tidal swimming pools at Maia or Anjos is definitely one of the top things to do in St Maria Island. The feeling of diving in the warm waters of the Atlantic in swimming pools formed by the volcanic rocks is indescribable.

Amazing is also the landscape of the clay terrains (Barreiros) of Santa Maria. The different “Barreiros” are characterized by their colours ranging from reddish to bright orange. The most famed “Barreiro” is Barreiro da Faneca, nicknamed as the “Red Desert”. It charms all who visit due to the different colours its surface acquires depending on the time of the day. Visiting it had to be on my top things to do in St Maria Island.
Barreiro da FanecaPhoto by Galeria de stevie.phillips

Don’t miss the chance to discover Cabrestantes Bay, the oldest geological formation of Santa Maria and of the whole archipelago.

The impressive 110 meters high waterfall Cascata do Aveiro is another highlight commendatory on this list of top things to do in St Maria Island.

One of the most interesting top things to do in St Maria Island is to explore its caves. You just need the right equipment and an experienced guide. Furna de Santana, Furna Velha and the manmade Gruta do Figueiral are the most sought caves on the Island.

Breath taking bays like Cré, Raposo or Tagarete are other stars of this Azorean Island. The bays are nestled among high rocky headlands. The contrast of the harsh ground with the quiet crystalline waters of the Atlantic is incredible.

This list of top things to do in St Maria Island wasn’t completed without a day on one of the local beaches. Formosa Beach is known as “the clearest beach of the Azores” thanks to its white sand and the intensity of the sun. However, beaches like Figueiral, Baia dos Lobos, Praínha and Sul also deserve your attention.

Main image credits

Photo by Galeria de stevie.phillips

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