The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Azores

The Azores are home to 2 beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

a dazzling city and a protected landscape 

 

 

When most people think of the Azores, their minds are instantly filled with images of breathtaking landscapes, heavenly hot springs, and happy cows grazing among lush pastures. While all of this is definitely a beautiful part of what makes the islands special, there is so much more to explore. Beyond the awe-inspiring aesthetic beauty that adorns this unique archipelago, the Azores’ culture is equally as beautiful, and rich. A portrait of a simple way of life quietly existing between land and sea, Azorean culture is marked by an abundance of old world customs and traditions. Highlighting the rich culture are the awe-inspiring UNESCO Heritage Sites scattered throughout the islands, each of which await your discovery.

 

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Introducing the only UNESCO city of the Azores: welcome to Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira Island's capital

 

Angra do Heroísmo in Terceira Island, Azores

Angra do Heroísmo’s main cultural heritage highlights are Angra’s historical center and the Angra do Heroísmo Bay Underwater Archeological Park.

 

Angra do Heroísmo Historical Center, Terceira Island, Azores

While walking among this historical hub, its picturesque and joyful vibe will instantly steal your heart. Surrounded by such beauty and vibrance, you’d never imagine that just 40 years ago, on January 1, 1980, a huge earthquake destroyed a large part of this idyllic enclave, leaving more than 70 locals dead. But true to the Azorean spirit, the Terceirenses did not let this natural disaster destroy them. Instead, they rose from the rubble and immediately started rebuilding, soon creating their own unique island legacy.

 

Angra do Heroismo in Terceira Island is the only Azorean city to be recognized as UNESCO site.
Historical astonishing buildings and cute sights are everywhere in the main town of Terceira Island

As they rebuilt, the islanders paid extra attention to Angra do Heroísmo’s historical center, carefully preserving the majority of its original architectural features. Thanks to their diligence in this important matter, Angra remains a place where history and culture still thrive, impeccably preserved and co-existing in harmony amid the island’s humble residents. 

 

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Azores Getaways city walking tour of Angra do Heroísmo enables you to discover the rich history of this Azorean city with the help of a local guide who knows it better than anyone

 

Angra do Heroísmo Underwater Archeological Park, Terceira Island, Azores

Hidden in Angra do Heroísmo Bay’s calm, clear waters are mysteries and treasures tracing all the way back to the Islands’ original discovery. Unbeknown to many, this mystic bay was quite an unlucky place for seafaring ships. In fact, since 1552, 74 ships are reported to have wrecked there, with neither the sailing vessels nor their lored treasures ever to be found. 

 

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Can you believe this crystal waters hide some treasures? 

More recently, an underwater circuit was created for tourists to enjoy. Its main attractions include the wrecked vapor ship ‘’Lidador’’ and the Anchor cemetery. ‘’Lidador’’ came from Brazil, and on February 7, 1787, a strong storm caused it to sink into the Atlantic Ocean, where its remnants still lay today, 7 meters deep. The Anchor Cemetery, where more than 40 anchors lay, creating a huge amusement park for marine life, is found much deeper below the surface. In fact, diving to that depth is only recommended for experienced divers.

 

 

Pico vineyards in Pico Island, Azores are a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The other UNESCO Site of the Azores is located in Pico Island

 

Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture

 

Pico's Vineyards in Pico Island, Azores

Pico Island produces one of Europe’s finest wines, and its vineyards have enjoyed being among the official UNESCO Heritage Site family since 2004. The island’s total area encompasses 2438ac of awe-inspiring beauty. Lajido da Criação Velha and Lajido de Santa Luzia are the ex libris of Pico’s vineyards as they’re excellent representations of the vineyards traditional architecture. 

 

Aerial view of the vineyards of Pico Island, Azores, Portugal.
An incredible landscape 

A testament to the excellence of Pico’s wine, it was the chosen drink of the European nobility, as well as the Russian Czars. The wine’s mere existence and impeccable quality are also proof of the people of Pico’s determination and diligence, as even when faced with the island’s stony soil, they were still able to cultivate thriving vineyards. They did this by getting creative, creating currais (stone-walled vineyards) to produce what is now a beloved Portugeuese beverage. The currais are particularly fascinating to behold, appearing much like a picturesque patchwork quilt of sorts, with little volcanic stones walls running parallel to the coastline as they stretch towards the center of the island. 

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