Santa Maria

This third smallest island of the Azores is the southernmost and therefore slightly dryer and sunnier than the other islands.

The rugged east side contrasts with the flat plains of the west where the capital, Vila do Porto and the airport are situated.

Note the peculiar white chimneys on the houses which are reminiscent of the Algarvean origin of the first settlers.

Santa Maria has the benefit of the bulk of the golden sandy beaches in the Azores; most of the other islandsí beaches are of black sand.