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Nature / outdoor

To know the nature and peculiarities of wild fauna and plants of Santa Maria in perfect communion with a stunning scenery, we recommend that you first visit the Interpretive Center Adalberto Pombo, in Vila do Porto, to prepare your attention to the natural treasures of this Azores Island.
Independently or guided you can walk through the five hiking trails, which are properly identified and will position you in the front row of unforgettable landscapes.

If you are a lover or curious in geology, do not miss the opportunity to meet Geosites, ie sites identified and classified by a rich and vast geodiversity and geological heritage. The Geosites beyond represent the geodiversity that characterizes the Azorean territory also reflect its geological and eruptive history.

In the western of the Island it is visible sedimentary formations, which comes from the Miocene to the Quaternary period, as well as a large quantity of marine fossils, very rare in volcanic regions, with geomorphological formations which give it a great beauty scenario.

The Azores archipelago, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between mainland Europe and America, is a place of great interest to bird watching, revealing itself as one of the most popular destinations in Europe for birdwatchers. In its entirety the archipelago has 30 breeding bird species, but due to its central position in the Atlantic Ocean, is distinguished by observation of migratory birds coming from the American and Eurasian continents. The Azores are the most important populations of Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris DIOMEDIA borealis), and sandwich terns (Sterna dougallii). Of the many species that can be seen in Santa Maria, Estrelinha, Regulus regulus azoricus, is the most popular.

And for a perfect picnic or barbeque, we recommend the Nature Reserves of Fontinhas, Valverde or Mata do Alto, which are equipped with various facilities such as picnic area, tables and grills, child playgrounds and toilets.

Beach and Sea

São Lourenço and Praia Formosa are two privileged places with sandy beach for swimming that deserve a careful visit. The bays of São Lourenço and Praia Formosa also provide unique conditions for the practice of windsurfing, sailing, water skiing and surf.

The pebble beach's of Figueiral and Baía dos Lobos and small beaches of Prainha and Sul, with access by pedestrian trail or by sea, as well as pools of São Lourenço, Maia and Anjos are also bathing areas where you can spend pleasant moments.

Take a boat trip, know the island seen from "outside" and dive in the multicolored sea on Santa Maria, which is a haven for observers of undersea flora and fauna, including the observation of manta rays and whale sharks.
Numerous fishing grounds provide good catches of varied species as salaam, the kingfish, barracuda to the see, anchovies and sea bream.


If you are a fan of adventure and adrenaline alied to nature, and have want to have an unique perspective of Santa Maria, you can do rappel canyoning or paragliding.
For the Geocachers and explorers you can discover little treasures in the Island of Bei Pirate.

Events / festivities and local experiences

Santa Maria is an island with a strong entertainment component and a festive spirit, which is due to several Santa Maria’s associations and private companies that every year strive for excellence and amaze both locals and visitors with various events and festivities.

Event / Festivitie Month Organization

Azorean tourney of trolling boat and Female tourney of trolling Boat

June and July

Clube Naval de Santa Maria

"Maia Folk" Festival


Association os Amigos da Maia

Santa Maria Blues


Association os Escravos da Candeinha

15 de Agosto Festivities


Council of Vila do Porto

Maré de Agosto Festival


Cultural Association Maré de Agosto

Rallye Além Mar Santa Maria


Clube Asas do Atlântico

Between June and September, all the parishes of the island have a party in honor of his patron saint, who joins communities around traditional music and regional cuisine.

Celebrations of the Holy Spirit – Impérios do Espírito Santo

One of the most important cultural activities of the Azores (although particularities from island to island) are the celebrations of the Holy Spirit.
In Santa Maria, it’s called "empires" in honor of the Holy Spirit, and the tradition is to distribute free of charge "soups", cooked according to ancient traditions. In this celebration there are tradition songs and rituals themselves worthy of your participation.

The Empires take place almost every Sunday between Pentecost (seventh Sunday after Easter) and the end of August, and take place in different “copeiras”, small rooms where the soup is served to all those who dare to be delighted in this tradition on Santa Maria.

Activities in Casa do Oleiro

The abundance of clay made of Santa Maria, for decades, the land of potters and a major supplier of crockery and other clay objects in Azores. However, the art of pottery was left, and today there are only memories and some objects of this time past.

But in the Casa do Oleiro – The Potter’s House – you have the possibility to experience the art of pottery in a wood lathe table.
Create your own souvenirs and offer your family and friends a bit of this this magical island, shaped by you. Dare to get your hands dirty!

© Casa do Oleiro - 2018