Corvo: A Guide to Azores Most Isolated Island
📅 27 March 2023 | Azores Islands, Portugal | ⌛ 10 mins
Corvo Island, also known as the Crow island is an enchanting oasis located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Pretty much summed up, this is what Corvo island is. The Azores Islands’ most remote island has a lot to offer despite its small size. Its mesmerizing nature, incredible history, rich culture and vibrant wines are a small part of all the good things you can find there. Not to mention the great locals that are absolutely incredible people!
Although, Corvo Island is not as big and as fascinating as the rest of the islands from the Azores archipelago, it is definitely a must see. It has its own vibe, its own culture, its own vibrancy that is guaranteeing you a memorable experience.
That’s why you should keep on reading about the serene Corvo island in the Azores islands!
Corvo Island Map
Corvo Island History
The story of Corvo is quite mysterious and for many, it is quite unclear how the island was discovered. However, there is a legend that speaks about a group of sailors roaming through the Atlantic Ocean. One day they came close to a land in which they saw a horseman statue in the distance. Quite shocked, they rushed to it, and that is how the island of Corvo was discovered by the Portuguese. It is said that the Corvo island statue was there before the first settlers and was point to the New World. It was believed that there were settlers before the Portuguese discovered Corvo island. Unfortunately, the statue is nowhere to be found these days and we are left only with the stories of the Horseman of Corvo.
Corvo was discovered by Diogo de Teive, a Portuguese explorer in 1452. Many years have passed before Corvo was settled in the 16th century by farmers and fishermen coming straight from Mainland Portugal. Due to the strong communities they have created, Corvo island became an important hub for the whaling business. Even though, it might sound a bit harsh, whaling was the main source of business for Corvo island for many years. However, in the twentieth century, the whaling business slowly but surely declined, which led to many changes for the people of the island.
The people of Corvo started looking for new possibilities in Canada, United States and Brazil, due to their main source of wealth’s declining. This heavily affected the Corvo island population of the island and its economics. Nowadays, the island is home to some 384 inhabitants, which makes it one of the smallest and most remote communities in Europe. It is even smaller than the Santa Maria island, which is closer to Sao Miguel island and is known for its sandy beaches.
How to Get to Corvo Island?
Corvo island is part of the western group of the Azores islands, which might make it a bit tricky to get to. However, there are a couple of way to get there – you can reach Corvo by plane or by boat.
If you are planning to get there by plane, you can check for flights taking off from Ponta Delgada in São Miguel island and take you straight to Corvo island airport. Other options might be from Terceira island or Flores island. All of these flights are operated by SATA Azores Airlines and last not more than 30 minutes, which means you will be there in no time. You can also get to Corvo island from central Portugal or any other part of the country, or Europe, but you will need to find a connecting flight for sure.
Getting by boat to Corvo island is pretty easy if we consider the frequency of the ferries. Again, the trip by boat is around 30 minutes and offers some incredible views of Corvo island and the Altantic Ocean. That is why I would always suggest hopping on a boat to get to Corvo island.
Whether you choose to go to Corvo island by boat or by plane, you should know that due to the unpredictable weather there might be some delays and even cancellations of travels.
How to Get Around Corvo Island?
Getting around Corvo island can be quite tricky, especially if it is not summertime. You should know that the island does not offer public transport and there are no taxis there. Thus, your only means of transportation are quite limited. One of the best options is to rent a car so that you can easily get around. If that is not an option, you might consider asking a local or simply hiking to Caldeirão.
What to do in Corvo Island?
Corvo island is the smallest island of the Azores archipelago and at first might seem as if there is nothing to do there. However, as we have already discussed, Ilha do Corvo is a tiny gem that awaits its next visitors!
Hike Corvo Island
As you might be already guessing, there are not many hike routes on Corvo island. Because the island is so tiny, there are 2 hiking trails in total. However, this should not make you sad. These 2 hiking trails are enough to fall in love with this island!
The first and most famous hiking trail is O Caldeirão. It is a must when you are roaming around Corvo island. It is one of the main highlights of the island and should not be missed for sure.
The Caldeirão hiking trail starts at the Caldeirão viewpoint and goes through the protected area of Corvo. From there you can simply follow the hiking trail signs to gradually descend in the caldeira and reach the lakes.
This caldera was formed after a volcano eruption some 430,000 years ago and is one of the biggest calderas in the Azores. It is around 3.4km wide and 300 meters deep, so going down in the caldera itself might be a bit hard. Inside of it, there are small lakes and cones that look like islands. According to the locals, these smalls lakes and cones represent the islands of the Azores. If you look closely it really seems like it, but you also need a bit of imagination here.
Once you are done, you can simply ascend by going the way up where you can get a glimpse of the beauty of Flores Island in the distance.
The other hiking trail is Cara do Indio, which starts from the very same point – O Caldeirão viewpoint. It is a pretty easy hiking trail that follows a well-maintained pathway and ends at the Vila do Corvo viewpoint. From there you can simply descend to the village after your 2 hours hike.
Walk Around Vila do Corvo
Vila Nova do Corvo or Vila do Corvo, as it is known nowadays, was the first settlement of Corvo. It was also the first established parish of the island ever since 1674. Nowadays, Vila do Corvo population is 384, which makes it one of the smallest villages in Portugal.
This picturesque village on the island of Corvo is well-known for its beautiful colourful houses and stunning vistas. It’s narrow streets often end fast, but get you to some beautiful places. Wherever you look, there is always going to be some stunning views. However, what really sets aside this village is its distinct culture and its friendly locals that are one of the most hospitable people you will ever meet!
While roaming around the village you will have the chance to see some of its highlights. One of the most famous landmarks is the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Milagres. This Baroque styled church was built in the 18th century. Then, you can check the Império of the Divino Espirito Santo, which is another church built in 1871. If you don’t know it yet – churches in Portugal are definitely one of the things you should visit. They have some stunning exteriors as well as interiors.
Last but not least, go check the Moinhos do Vento or the Windmills of Corvo. These 3 windmills are set in the Caminhos dos Moinhos, and are built over volcanic rocks near the coastline of Corvo island.
Birdwatching at Corvo Island
It is good to point out that the Corvo island became part of the world biosphere reserve back in 2007 due to its biodiversity and good preservation. Ever since, it has been considered as a great area for bird watching and is home to many endemic flora species.
Corvo is also home to more than 400 bird species that can be spotted all around the Azores islands. Although, October does not seem to be the best time to visit the Azores islands, it is indeed the best time to visit Corvo island. That is the perfect time to explore the migrating and nesting birds on the island of Corvo. The most common bird species you can spot during that time are the Killdeer, Cormorant, Hermit Thrush and Northern Parula.
What to Eat in Corvo Island?
Despite being the smallest island, as well as the most remote, Corvo is known for its unique cuisine. Thus, you can’t miss the great meals you can try there.
One of the best things you can eat there is the Alcatra. This hearty beef stew is one of the most famous dishes on the island and is often served during festivals. Another local island food is the Pão de Milho, which is a very tasty cornmeal, which is served usually with a side dish. If you are a cheese lover, it is good to try the Queijo do São Jorge, which is the typical cheese of the Azores islands.
Last but not least, you can try out the Bolo de Ananás, which is the traditional pineapple cake of Corvo island. It is in fact a must once you are there, as it is quite delicious!
What to Drink in Corvo Island?
Like the rest of the Azores islands, Corvo island is as well-known for its rich history of winemaking. Thus, you should definitely try the typical Corvo wines. Verdelho wine, is a local wine, which is a dry white wine with a very crisp and refreshing taste.
Then, you can try the Licor de Ginja, which is a cherry liqueur typical for whole Portugal. You can even try the drink in Porto and Lisbon, as it is pretty easy to find it. The Kima is a local soda, that is absolutely amazing in taste and is offered in different variations. You can get Kima with passion fruit or pineapple, and it is guaranteed that you won’t be disappointed. Last but not least, you should try the Espreita, which is a made out a local brandy and honey. It is sweet and warms you heart in the chill Azorean nights…
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I hope that you have enjoyed reading this article about visiting Corvo, Azores! Let me know if you found it useful or would like to add something below 😉