Sao Jorge Island (Azores)

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Sao Jorge Island cruise port

Western Europe - Azores - Canary Islands

Local Time
18:12 16 Jul 2018

38.68192 N, -28.20215 W

  Port Map

Sao Jorge is a Portuguese island located in Portugal's central Azorean archipelago. The island covers a total area of approx 243,65 km2 (94 ml2) and has a population of around 9,500 people.

  • Sao Jorge Island is separated from its closest neighbors (Faial island and Pico Island) by a 15 km (9,3 ml) strait (consequently, the 3 islands are referred to colloquially as "Triangulo", Triangle group or "The Triangle").
  • Sao Jorge is a relatively long and thin island featuring tall cliffs. The population is concentrated on a variety of deltas along the south and north coasts (the east to west length is 53 km/33 ml and the north to south width is 8 km/5 ml).
  • The geomorphology of Sao Jorge Island (its rough central plateaus, scattered fajas and high cliffs) resulted in the concentration of settlements along the coast. Historically the communities were connected with coastal ports since the interior trails were barely transitable. Therefore, the communities were isolated from one another.
  • Calheta, Topo and Velas developed partially because of the well developed local economies and ports, in addition to central positions and administrative necessity. The settlements developed through immigration from Flanders and Spain, principally by settlers that were brought by the Avilas and Willem van de Hagen.
  • Administratively, Sao Jorge is divided into 2 municipalities: Velas in the west with 6 parishes and Calheta in the east with 5 parishes. 
  • Whaling was a major industry on the island between the end of 19th century and middle of 20th century, and the majority of the inhabitants were tied to this economy. Small huts were built n strategic sites along the coast in order to watch-out for whales and give an alarm to local hunters, who sailed out and harpooned the mammals.
  • Later, when the hunt was prohibited, the locals began to "hunt" for Albacor and Bonito Tuna which resulted in the creation of a couple of processing plants in Calheta. Today, fishing continues to be a major part of local economy, though whale-watching turned into part of local tourism.

Highlights: Velas

Sao Jorge Island cruise terminal

Most cruise ships to Sao Jorge Island (Ilha de Sao Jorge) Azores dock (anchor) at Velas - port town on the northwestern coast. Some ships may also stop at Calheta - port town on the southwestern coast.

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