The nine islands of the Azores are all of volcanic origin. The highest volcano is the Pico on the island of the same name, which is 2351 meters high, making it the highest peak in all of Portugal. The most western islands, Flores and Corvo, are located about 500 km from the southeast, Santa Maria.
The inhabitants of the rather barren Azores live mainly from cattle farming, but wine grapes, pineapple, bananas and tea are also grown there. In the past, the Azores were known for whaling. Many crew members of whalers came from here. Nowadays whale watching is a tourist attraction.
Horta on Faial is a popular mooring for sailing yachts that cross the Atlantic Ocean.
There is no commercial ferry connection between the mainland and the islands. Cargo ships do sail, but they do not take passengers with them. One is therefore always dependent on flights. These flights depart daily from Lisbon and Oporto. However, they do not go to every island.
There are daily boats sailing between the islands of Pico, Faial and São Jorge. Between São Jorge and Terceira there is a connection a few days a week, but not all year round. There is also no sailing in bad weather. However, there is almost daily flying between the islands by the local airline SATA Air Açores.