The transcontinental Açores Archipelago is situated in the wide Atlantic Ocean, on the north-east orientation, and is composed by nine islands, at about 1300 km west from the Portuguese continent, occupying an area of about 2247 km2.
This Archipelago is divided into three groups: the Eastern Group with, Santa Maria and São Miguel and the Formigas Islets; the Central Group with, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial; the Western group with, Flores and Corvo. With the exception of the Santa Maria Island, all the others have volcanic origin, as it is perfectly visible in the famous Furnas valley, in the greenish São Miguel Island.
The discovery dates of the Azores Archipelago are unknown, with several historical researches affirming that some of the island were already referred in Genovese maps since 1351, yet it was only from 1431 onwards that the colonization started in these Islands. Officially, it was Gonçalo Velho that in 1431 first arrived to the Santa Maria island, while the Flores and Corvo Islands were only found in 1450.
Since those times, the strategic location of the Archipelago and its humid climate that allows the soil fertility helped the fixation of populations from several points of the globe.
Nowadays the Azores are presented as a perfect Jewel for all nature lovers that find here natural landscapes of great beauty, as it is visible in the highest peak of the archipelago: the Pico Mountain, on Pico Island, with 2.352 meters high-
The rugged topography and the luxuriant vegetation allow astonishing landscapes, famous internationally for its incredible beauty and peace of mind, in an ambiance of tradition and culture, where time seems to have stopped, in the middle of overwhelming panoramas of great intensity and splendour.