This slender and pretty island of São Jorge is located only 10 miles from its neighbours of Pico and Faial. Its length measures an impressive 35 miles and at its widest reaches 5 miles. It was formed by a series of successive volcanic eruptions and its craggy coastline plunges almost vertically into the ocean with frequent, small fertile flat areas at the base of the cliffs. Known as fajãs, these unique features are formed often by the collapse of cliffs and are home to many of the island's settlements.
The bulk of the island's landscape is high pasture which supports 20,000 dairy cattle, producing high-quality milk and forming the main ingredient for the famous São Jorge cheese, still manufactured using traditional techniques and the original recipe. This island is a fantastic choice for visitors interested in walking, with hiking routes taking in the dramatic coastlines. Hire a car and explore the little settlements on the fajãs along the coast and stop at the two small port towns of Velas and Calheta. The central platform runs at an average height of 700 metres, rising to 1053 metres at the highest point, called Pico da Esperança, which offers views of the other islands of central group, especially Pico where its volcano dominates the skyline and seems but a stone’s throw away.