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Unique, Untouched, Ancient: Discover the Azores & Their Stunning Geography

Last updated: Jan 12th, 2024


Jump into a world where multiple strands of fascinating geography come together to create a tapestry of interlinking aspects: welcome to the Azores!

Standing alone in what it has to offer from a geographical perspective, you only have to look at the themes to understand how much of a treasure trove of natural forces are waiting to be discovered.

Niche weather patterns, volcanism in abundance, geothermal powers, the intersection of 3 tectonic plates, an Eden like landscape, endless cows, intriguing farming, and the EPIC timescales geography can run on, it’s easy to see that the Azores should be on your geographic wish list.

Let’s whet your appetite!


‘The Azores are a land of huge potential.’

Guy Leaf, Field Study Tutor

 


Vibrant blue Atlantic waters and lush green coastal landscapes of the Azores.

 

But First, Where are the Azores?

They’re west out of Portugal and are Europe’s best kept secret. But if you haven’t heard of these paradise isles 930 miles off the Portuguese coast in the pristine blue waters of the Atlantic, don’t fear.

So untouched, their allure and mystery stems from a prehistoric timeline and beautiful, almost Eden like landscape. And it all tells a fantastic geographic tale, with the chapters of that story strewn across a breathtaking terrain of calderas, valleys, lakes and hills all decorated with the lushest green you can imagine.

 

The Azores? Let Me See!

What’s the Weather like?

The weather alone is another interesting feature of this gorgeous country. Due to the islands’ individual position on the Gulf Stream, they keep to a moderate sub-tropical climate, giving mild air all year long.

 


‘It’s never too hot or cold. It’s the Goldilocks country of weather’

Guy Leaf, Field Study Tutor

 


Winter temperatures sit around 13 degrees whereas summer welcomes up to 24 Celsius days. Due to their humidity, weather patterns in the Azores can shift, but not to worry, as this is the reason for the strikingly green landscape.

Microclimates also exist on the isles! You’ll see different weather systems depending where you are, like the rim of a caldera, in the geothermally active Furnas Valley, or on the stunning coastline.

Teachers, Geographers, Storytellers: The Field Study Tutors

Field Study Tutor educates a class of students.

Step forward your geographer maestros, the Field Study Tutors!

With decades of teaching and geography experience, they understand and appreciate in abundance the challenges and rewards a school geography trip brings. Giving an expertise and passion on The Azores and many more destinations, Field Study Tutors like Guy bring heaps of value to your tour by studiously knowing the landscape you’re visiting.

They’ve also seen and done it, from a teacher perspective at least, so understand intimately what it takes to engage and educate a group of young people, telling the story of the land so compellingly your students bring nuggets of real geographic knowledge back with them!

 

Get Me a FST!

The Landmakers – Volcanoes!

Speaking calderas, let’s go full throttle and chat about the archipelago’s volcanic activity – now and in the distant past – which is a reason for the unique land formation and attractive visuals to this day!

Whilst on the Azores, you can literally stand on the summits of volcanoes. For example, Sao Miguel, the main island stuffed with emerald vistas and insta worthy snaps, is a result of historical titanic eruptions in the ancient past from submarine volcanoes.

Those underwater eruptions spewed lava over tens of thousands of years, with the orange liquid piling up and turning into solid rock – quicker than the Atlantic Ocean could erode – to form a gigantic stratovolcano peering high above the sea.

A side shot of Lagoa Azul & Lagoa Verde of Sete Cidades in the Azores.

 

Sete Cidades – a Standout Caldera…

Sete Cidades is a caldera formed when a massive stratovolcano, like the one described, exploded and collapsed in on itself.

A true story of creation and destruction, the final picture shows how monumental geographic forces play out. That’s to say, they span eons. Today there are gorgeous twin lakes, activities in and around the caldera as well as a mesmeric sight which is the full stop to an incredible natural story.


‘This is the caldera that’s the classic tourist image of the Azores and it’s really impressive.’

Guy Leaf, Field Study Tutor

 


 

The Engine Room – a Geothermal Hotbed Igniting Wonder!

Steaming geothermal activity of the Furnas das Fumaroles in the Azores.

Sitting on the boundary of 3 overlapping tectonic plates (more on those giants soon) means the Azores are brilliantly geothermal. Think fumaroles and bubbling mud puddles, toasty thermal ponds and inviting natural springs.

The centrepiece to that steaming, bubbling, exciting, educational geothermal crown, is Lagoa das Furnas Fumaroles. And as a great insight into how inhabitants work with the land and Mother Nature, it’s top draw!

Abundant with secondary volcanicity resulting in hot temperatures, restauranteurs create a hole in the ground, bury their pots of stew, then come back at lunch and feed hungry diners with the cooked food from the geothermic ground. Yummy!

Classic example of something geographical happening right under your feet…

The Tectonic Plates Triology: Eurasia, African & North America

Welcome to the Azores Triple Junction, where 3 giants of the subterranean world grumble away, ever so slowly.

The major tectonic plates of Eurasia, Africa & North America come together under the crust of the archipelago’s foundations, with all 9 islands spread out and on top of those trio of titans. Epic timescales are at play here, with millions of years unfolding and tectonic and volcanic activity the reason for the archipelago’s very existence.

Tantalisingly, the exact details of the nature of the boundaries between two of these plates: the Eurasian and African, aren’t known. Even more mystery. Even more to unpack.


‘No-one is quite sure where the divide is.’

Guy Leaf, Field Study Tutor

 


 

Tiered green fields of the Gorreana Tea Plantation in the Azores.

 

Oranges, Milk, Tea, Cheese and a High-end Pineapple – Humans Making their Mark!

An unusual climate and fertile soil combine to create a robust cauldron for farming. And the Azores boasts a rich history and modern portrait of being able to grow produce in abundance. In fact, a large portion of dairy produce for the Portuguese mainland comes from the vast amount of bovine production on the island – you can’t move for cows!


‘Dairy is a massive industry and everywhere you go in the Portugal mainland, you’re eating Azores butter, Azores cheese.’

Guy Leaf, Field Study Tutor

 


Oranges saw their moment and tea’s starring role is exemplified in the Gorreana Tea Plantation, but the standout is surely the artisanal, bespoke pineapple. Grown and matured in a greenhouse, unprecedented fertility in the soil and laser like precision in maturation methods create a fantastic bit of high-end fruit.

One more fascinating and tangible example of the archipelago’s natural curiosities.

Paradise Jungle Vibes – Step into an Eden!

Small waterfall comes out of a small, green crevice into a natural pool in the Azores.

And the Azores gives EVEN more. A mild climate, volcanoes, geothermal activity, tectonic plates, intriguing farming and probably the most apparent part: the lush landscapes stretching for as far as your eyes can see.

Enchanting, mysterious, aesthetically primordial, it’s got the ultimate picture-perfect bang for your geographical buck! The sights are obviously stunning, but they tell an ancient story of cataclysm and creation.

From gigantic stratovolcanoes to shifting tectonic giants to fertile soil to a weather system gifted in captivating microclimates, the gem like land and seascapes tell their own tales.

And all you have to do is look!

Azores – There’s Even More?

You’d think Mother Nature might have run out of things to say and show on these mesmeric islands in the sapphire waters of the Atlantic, but you’ll be glad to know the Azores has so much more.

The best part? The archipelago is prime for discovery, exploration, memory creation, and is the ultimate geographic educational fix for your students. With years of tailor-making expert tours to the isles, we absolutely love chatting about how we can craft your tour and help create a truly unforgettable experience.

Let’s chat!

 

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