Flores is the ideal place for all nature lovers who like to explore unspoiled nature, featuring deep mystic lakes, desert-like mountains, black stone beaches, landscapes of cascades and Mediterranean vegetation. On Flores you meet hardly any larger groups of tourists.
To the neighborhood of the Casas belongs the Restaurant Casa do Rei (www.restaurantcasadorei.com). Voted Best Restaurant in Flores at least the last ten years on TripAdvisor, it offers organic kitchen using mostly local products and a selection of Azorean wines.
A restaurant at another popular location is the Restaurante Por do Sol (+351 292552075) offering local dishes in Fajãzinha about 6 km from the Casas das Flores.
More modern and a valid lunch option while in Santa Cruz das Flores is the Restaurante Amanhecer. For opening times and reservations check +351 292542111.
Massage or Massez-Vous
Relaxing from a hike or simply treating yourself to something special, Camille Farge is the lady they say with the golden hands and a physiotherapist diploma from the Paris-Assas Institute. Besides different offers on body massages, she also teaches giving massages (how to position yourself, massage techniques, how to feel a muscle etc.) Please contact her for prices and availability +351 925 926 808.
There is a number of hiking trails that are marked on the map (see photo). These trails are particularly recommended:
Casas das Flores to Lopo Vaz
Degree of difficulty: * Light
Distance: 6 km approx.
Lengths: 2 hours approx.
This tour can easily be started from the Casas das Flores. Take the tarmac road to the right in the direction of town to Lajes. After about 2 minutes there will be a large sign on your right, pointing to the first street right saying “Lopo Vaz” – one of the nicest and warmest beaches on the south west coast of the island. Follow the signs for 1.5 km until you reach a public picnic ground with bathroom facilities. From far you can see already the large stone cross that marks the beginning of the trail going to the beach, taking you about 0.5 h. At the bottom, either enjoy the volcanic sand beach or continue the hike towards western waterfalls.
Lajedo to Fajã Grande
Degree of difficulty: ** Medium
Distance: 10 km approx.
Length: 3 hours approx.
The first one departs about 4,5 km from the Casas das Flores and goes from Lajedo to Fajã Grande. The route begins at the end of the tarmac road that leads to Lajedo harbour. A short distance from the start of the trail you will come to a fork. Both routes lead to Mosteiro. Take the left hand turn down a metalled trail. Stay on this trail, which rises and falls as it crosses a number of rivulet beds. The last 20 minutes are uphill. Ignore the paths off to the right and left until you reach the tarmac board through the village, in the direction of Caldeira do Mosteiro before you get to the area, which can be seen on the top of a hill, you will come to another marker pointing the way down along a path to Fajãzinha, about half an hour’s walk away. Once in Fajãzinha, turn left by a small shop in the central square known as the Rossio. You will come to a small square where the walk down into Fajã Grande begins. In order to get there you will have to cross the Ribeira Grande rivulet. Note that this can be a difficult task, as recent storms have widened the rivulet and shifted the banks considerably. The continuation of the route on the other side is quite easily identified however. After crossing the rivulet, simply continue along the metalled trail, ignoring routes off to the right, that lead to private property or to Cuada. When you hit the tarmac road, turn left and carry on in the center of Fajã Grande, where the route ends.
Ponta do Albarnaz to Fajã Grande
Degree of difficulty: ** Medium
Distance: 12 km approx.
Length: 3.5 hours approx.
This route begins at the auction leading to Albarnaz lighthouse. Take the track on your left, start to climb up a small hill, then turn off on an access route to the right. The track itself begins with a stretch of cobblestones and rises slightly. After a quarter of an hour you will come to a track on the left. Ignore it and carry on straight ahead passing several gates and crossing several rivulet beds, until you start to descend in the direction of Ponta. Be careful here: water running along the trail can make this descent slippery. You should reach Ponta about 1 h 15 mins after setting off. Carry straight on until you reach the church and its shrine to the Holy Spirit. From here you should follow the tarmac road, though if you prefer to walk on the grass rivulet (Ribeira das Casas) you will see a pretty waterfall that tumbles into a depression known as Poço do Bacalhau. After the rivulet, either follow the tarmac road opposite until you reach the center of Fajã Grande, or take the old track on the right, which leads to the beach area, where you can enjoy a drink, have something to eat, or catch transport to your next port of call.
Special Tours to Flores Sweet Spots: hot spring, volcanic lakes…
On Flores you can easily have 3 different seasons in one day, plus the tight making e.g., the hot source of the island accessible or not and the possibility to enjoy a sunrise over the ocean on the east side as well as beautiful sunsets on the west side. Not all activities are reasonable or advisable at all days, some only make sense with water (e.g., canyoning) some become dangerous with too much rainfall. If you want to go off the beaten track and get a customised tour, get advice from someone who came to the island 40 years ago by boat, fell in love with it and stayed. Knowing the island like the back of his hand as well as everybody on the island, he is the ideal tour guide and offers customised tours starting at the Casas das Flores as he is living in its direct neighbourhood. André will take you to the sweet spots, explain to you in Portuguese, English or French and pick you up once tired or just overwhelmed from the island’s experiences.
Flores is said to be the best Azorean island for canyoning because of its high waterfalls and steep cliffs. Around 50 routes exist on the island, adventurous and wild. In 2014 and again in 2016, an international canyoning meeting with 200 participants took place in Flores. WestCanyon offers tours all year round for beginners to advanced and is providing full gear.
Flores is literally in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, you can find everything from crabs to tuna, and fish for free in the ocean. For fishing in the Lagoas, Flores’ creator lakes, specific rules apply. A fishing license can be purchased for 7 € from the Capitaneria in Santa Cruz das Flores. Please let us know, if you wish more detailed advice on trips to interesting fishing places on the island.
Flores port is only a few hundred meters from the Casas das Flores. Sailors as well as those wanting to go on sailing trips either to Europe or the Caribbean are therefore welcome to use the Casas das Flores as their half trip (is-)land base.
On Flores, you can swim in lakes as well as the ocean. As there are hardly any touristic changes to nature, you have to find you own perfect beach, jump or favorite dive. However, you will most likely be the only person there. If you wish to receive tips on particularly nice beaches or swimming spots, just get in touch with us and we are happy to help you in Portuguese, English, French or German.
Participate in our gardening project: while using the fruits and vegetables of our garden, you can also give something back for the next visitors to arrive. Learn something about farming and gardening and how to live in harmony with the earth.
Culture and Events
The island possesses the typical architecture of traditional Azorean churches. Closest to the Casas is the Igleja da Ouvidoria das Flores, with Sunday services at 11:15 am.
On special catholic holidays, everybody is invited to join a lunch after church, for example celebrating the Festa do Espritio Santo. You are invited to make a financial contribution according to what you wish to donate. In summer time, almost every Sunday another community invites everybody for such a soup lunch. There is no better chance to meet the locals and their culture.
The yearly highlight is the Festa do Emigrante with 3 days of music events, booths with food, drinks or local products, a regatta of whale fishing boats, and a procession of farm vehicles. It always takes place on the third weekend in July.
In Santa Cruz das Flores, the newly opened whale museum is giving great insights into the island history of whale hunting.