Welcome to the island of Corvo, one of the most remote places in the world!
CORVO ISLAND – AZORES
It is the smallest island of the Azores. It has a surface area of 17.12 km2 (6 kilometres in length and 4 kilometres in width. The village of Corvo is the only inhabited place of the island (430 inhabitants).
In the late 90s, I remember reading, in a magazine, an article about the island of Corvo. Among other interesting things, the article told a curious story about the island. In the 90’s there were only two cars in this part of the country (and 7 kilometres of asphalt road)! And, even more amazing, the cars had had an accident with each other!
More than 20 years later I finally went to visit this remote place. It was worth the wait!
WHERE IS CORVO ISLAND?
It is the smallest of all the Azores Islands. It is located in the western group, on the North American plate.
HOW TO GET TO CORVO ISLAND?
To go to Corvo you have two choices: either you go by plane or by boat!
GOING TO CORVO ISLAND BY PLANE
If you choose to fly, then bear in mind that flights are sometimes (often) delayed or postponed. The air connection to Corvo always goes through the island of Flores. For the flight to take place, it is necessary that the weather conditions are good.
Under normal circumstances flights have the following regularity:
In Summer: Monday to Friday; In Winter: Monday, Wednesday and Friday
If you’re on São Miguel or Faial, it’s also possible to fly to Corvo. But the plane will inevitably make a stopover on the island of flowers.
GO TO CORVO ISLAND BY BOAT
There are 26 kilometres that separate the two islands (Flores and Corvo). There are two (small) companies that make the boat transport (semi-rigid boat) between the islands (the boat has a capacity for 12 passengers). We paid 35 euros per person (round trip). I remember that we left around 9am on a windy day in the port of poças.
The first part of the trip was spent visiting the beautiful Galo grotto, still on flower island.
When we reached the middle of the trip (in open sea), the trip became a bit difficult. The waves were 2 meters and the boat did all the crossing trying to avoid the biggest waves. The truth is that it was a bit scary and I’m not sure if it was 100% safe… The crossing takes about 45 minutes.
If you do not like this type of adventure, we suggest you check the sea and wind conditions on the day of your crossing. If, on that day, the wind is strong, it may be better to postpone your trip for a day or two.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN CORVO ISLAND?
Once you arrive to the island, you will have 4 hours to get to know it. Wander on foot through the small centre of Corvo village (the only inhabited area). To go up to Caldeirão (not to be missed) you will have to use a transport van which costs 5 euros (round trip). The driver of our trip (Mr Carlos), was extremely friendly and during the trip he gave us information about the life and evolution of Corvo. If someone from Corvo is reading this text, please send him a hug from us! Maybe because of their geographical condition, I would say that people from Corvo are special.
WHEN TO VISIT THE CORVO ISLAND?
The island of Corvo and the island of flowers are 27 kilometres apart and form the western group. The distance to the other islands of the Azores archipelago is considerable. For this reason, when you visit the island of Flores, take the opportunity to visit Corvo.
July and August are the best months to make this trip. If you want to know why read our article about the island of Flores”! There we explain everything about the fog, the rain and the temperatures throughout the year.
WHAT TO VISIT ON CORVO ISLAND?
As you know, volcanoes (and consequent calderas) abound in the Azores archipelago. Corvo’s volcano is extinct and its caldera is probably the most beautiful of all the Azorean islands. It occupies almost half (!) of the island’s surface and inside you will find lakes and agricultural fields. A close visit to the caldera takes about 30 minutes (it’s enough time to descend, take photos and return to the top).
The village of Corvo is the only settlement on the island. Narrow streets, old houses and the feeling of being in a place where time stood still and wealth did not come. The village resisted the passage of time, poverty and isolation. It has resisted and has been recovering a little of its population density.
The town can be visited on foot. Two hours are enough to visit all the places of interest.
The windmills are very close to the aerodrome (about 100 metres) and have recently been restored. Their interior can be visited during the summer. They were very important in the past for feeding the Corvine population. It was here that the flour used to make the maize bread was produced. They are an emblematic image of the island of Corvo. Don’t forget to visit them!
OUR LADY OF MIRACLES CHURCH
The island was often besieged by pirates! The most feared were the Barbary pirates (from Algeria). In the XVII century, twice the pirates landed in Corvo and were received by a rain of pebbles coming from the cliffs. In one of these confrontations (won by 200 locals), the priest carried the image of Our Lady of the Rosary. From then on, the image became famous as “our lady of the miracles”. To get to know her you have to visit the church. Every year, on the 15th of August, a party is held to honour the patron saint of Corvo.
CORVO MULTIPURPOSE CENTER
The space where culture happens on the island of Corvo! It is located in one of the highest points of the island and hosts cinema, exhibitions, theatre and other cultural events. The building is covered by a wooden structure which gives it an innovative and unusual image!
SAND BEACH, CORVO ISLAND
It is close to a small camping site and is the only beach on the island of Corvo. A dark sandy beach bathed by the waters of the Atlantic.
INDIAN FACE TRACK
A trail that connects Caldeirão to Vila do Corvo following the coast and crossing several agricultural fields. The “Cara do Índio” is a rock formation that resembles precisely the face of an Indian. If the day is clear (no fog), you can see this attraction of the island. The trail is about 4 kilometres long and takes about 90 minutes. It is worth the effort because along the way you will have the opportunity to see idyllic scenery.
CASA DO BOTE – TOURISM OFFICE
Casa do Bote is also very close to the island’s aerodrome. As you know, whaling was once a common practice in the Azores. Inside this house you can find an example of a boat that was once used for hunting. This practice ended at the beginning of the 20th century as a consequence of the bad weather that often plagued the island and that robbed whalers of their livelihood.
CORVO WILD BIRD INTERPRETATION CENTRE
The island of Corvo is a great place for bird watching. Every year, in October, Corvo receives people that come here to observe migratory birds (and stay on the island for two or three weeks). If you have a particular interest in this centre you can visit its website HERE.
PORTÃO VIEWPOINT – CORVO ISLAND
The highest place in Corvo is called Monte Grosso and it’s at 770 meters high. 2 kilometres away you will find the Miradouro do Portão viewpoint. If you are lucky (a fog-free day), from this viewpoint you can see the immensity of the Atlantic and the island of flowers (26 kilometres away).
PORTO DA CASA
It is the bathing area of the island during the summer months. There are still some small fishing boats that use this port (but they are less and less). This is where the boats that make the connection between the island of Flores and Corvo arrive.
VIRTUAL TOUR TO CORVO ISLAND
WHAT TO VISIT NEAR CORVO ISLAND?
The Azores archipelago is composed of 9 islands. Taking into account that the islands are far away from continental Portugal, we suggest that you visit more than one island whenever you go to the Azores. Here are 4 suggestions:
The island of Flores is the most obvious choice given its proximity to Corvo. It is probably the most beautiful island of the whole archipelago but it hides a little talked about tragedy. Click on the picture to find out everything before visiting the island of Flores!
The first time I visited São Miguel I was 40 years old. When I arrived and saw such beauty I wondered how it was possible that I had waited so long to visit this part of my country. It should be mandatory for all Portuguese to visit the Azores and in particular the island of Sao Miguel!
It is one of the islands of the central group and the second most populous of the archipelago (with almost 57,000 inhabitants). A place with friendly and welcoming people. An island full of beauty, legends and traditions. It has an extremely diverse fauna and flora and countless attractions to visit. Besides its immense natural beauty, Terceira island also has monuments and constructions (palaces, convents, churches) that are worth a visit. If you are adventurous, you will also find your space here. On ilha terceira you can go whale watching, diving, walking, cycling, hot air ballooning and much, much more!
The island of Pico is home to Portugal’s highest peak, a mountain that rises to 2351 metres in altitude. It is the second largest island in the Azores archipelago. Those who like belvederes and breathtaking scenery will feel in paradise on Pico Island! But Pico’s attractions are not limited to nature, the gastronomy is to die for and the friendliness of its people is another tourist attraction. This is another one of those experiences that will stay in your memory and heart forever.
CORVO ISLAND – TOP TIPS FOR YOUR VISIT!
- The island of Corvo is often windy. Take a jacket!
- If possible, visit Corvo during the months of July, August and September (these are the months when the fog is more frequent)
- Wear comfortable shoes. Don’t forget that the island must be seen on foot. The ascent and descent to the heart of the caldera also requires good footwear.
- If you are thinking of staying overnight in Corvo, book your stay in advance (there are few accommodation options in Corvo).
- One day is enough to get to know the island’s tourist attractions but not enough to get to know the soul of Corvo, its people. As always, the recipe is to stay and give time to time! Stay overnight at least one or two nights. Go into cafés and restaurants and talk to people. Ask how life is over there and feel for a few days how it is to live in one of the most remote places on earth. Relax, soak up the tranquillity, feel the passage of time and take the time to think. Take your time. How many times in your life will you have the opportunity to visit a place as special as this?
CORVO ISLAND HISTORY
It was Diogo Teive who discovered the island of Corvo in 1452. Life wasn’t easy for those who lived there after the island’s discovery. Attacked time and again by pirates and corsairs (corsairs were vessels that plundered at the behest of their governments), the Corvinos did what they could to resist. When Portugal was annexed by Spain (16th century), the people of Corvo allied themselves with pirates and privateers who were enemies of the Spanish.
CORVO ISLAND RESIDENTS
The evolution of the island’s population varied over time as a consequence of different factors. Emigration to the United States was one of these factors: Corvo went from 900 inhabitants in 1850 to 661 in 1920. The great American depression of the 30’s stopped the emigration of Corvinos to Uncle Sam’s land. In the 50s and 60s of the last century, poverty, isolation and the colonial war led to a new increase in emigration to America. This migratory wave reached its peak in 1981, when the island registered only 370 inhabitants.
From 1986, the population started to grow again (against the trend of many other Azorean islands). This growth was related to the creation of (some) “artificial” public jobs that have fixed its people to the land. An example of this policy is the Mouzinho da Silveira school, which has 40 students and 14 professionals (among teachers and non-teaching staff).
The endurance and resilience of the Corvinos is in the mass of their blood! For many centuries they were self-sufficient (today they depend on a boat that supplies the island with all sorts of products on a weekly basis). In emergency situations (when they needed a doctor or a priest), communication with the island of Flores was made by smoke signals. Life for the Corvinos was not and is not easy. But just talking to some people from the island is enough to understand that these people know how to take care of themselves.
CORVO ISLAND GASTRONOMY
Cheese factory where the matured cheese is produced (it takes 60 days to mature). It has a slightly piquant taste and a semi-hard consistency. It has a yellowish colour.
RESTAURANTS IN CORVO ISLAND
In such a remote and sparsely populated place it’s normal that there aren’t many restaurants and many options where to eat. When we visited the island, we only ate a hamburger in a kind of central café (collectivity) of the island inside the Humanitarian Association of Firefighters. We were not particularly well (or badly) impressed with the (rudimentary) dining experience.
After doing some research online to write this article, we found that the establishment where we ate is the option most praised by the customers (with the best rating on Google) and, therefore, we will now mention it.
BBC CAFÉ & LOUNGE
Over 85 reviews on Google and an overall rating of 4.3 stars (out of a maximum of 5). It’s a good option for eating steaks, burgers or Francesinhas. The atmosphere is family friendly and the staff are friendly. I remember it has a good TV with SPORTV (fact that immediately adds quality to the place!!!)
CORVO ISLAND – HOTEL AND ACCOMMODATION
Almost all those who visit the island of Corvo stay only one day. If you decide to stay overnight, there aren’t many accommodation options but there are holiday homes and a family-run guesthouse with 14 rooms.
GUEST HOUSE COMODORO
It is a 2 star hotel (and is also the only hotel on the island). It has over 80 reviews on GOOGLE and an overall rating of 4.7 (out of 5). The comments highlight the family atmosphere, the friendliness of the hosts and the stories they tell. Breakfast is based on local produce and the hotel has a nice view of the village. The rooms are large, clean and with internet connection.
IF YOU LIKED THIS ARTICLE YOU WILL ALSO ENJOY…
The island of Flores is, in my opinion, the most beautiful island of the Azores archipelago. A magical place, of infinite beauty but which also has a dark side. I have called it the “tragedy of the island of flowers!”. If you like unbelievably beautiful places and if you like animals, read our article about the flower island and spread the word. Help us to help the animals living on flower island.
The island of Porto Santo is often called the “Golden Island”. A title that is due to its beautiful and extensive sandy beach (9 kilometres) and also to its turquoise waters that enchant all who experience them. If you like to take a dip in warmer waters (between 23 and 24 degrees between August and October), be sure to visit this place. You will also be rewarded by a dry and stable climate throughout the months of the year.