Azores Islands Parks and Flowers Galore!
Parks!! The same devotion to creativity, whimsey and unique character of the swimming areas is true for the Zonas de Lazer. A Zona de Lazer is a local park for recreation, games, picnics and even performances. Most, if not all, parishes have at least one.
You’ll probably find the parks with picnic tables and paths in the forest in the center of the island first, as you cross from one coast to the other. Sometimes they seem to be in the most unexpected places!
If you dare try the road to get there, Ribeirinha has an amazing picnic area, playground and soccer fields up on top of the world, in the middle of nowhere. It’s well worth trying to find it.
Some have little amphitheaters for performances. Porto Judeu has a sweet set of round concrete picnic tables set out on a cliff, found by following a sign for a cave.
Be careful looking for the Porto Judeu cave. We had a local lady adamantly warn us that someone had died trying to get to them during high water. The little seats on the cliff are wonderful place to sit and muse.
Flowers are everywhere, all year!
The islands are famous for their wild blooms. In summer the stone walls and roadways are laced with hydrangeas and nasturtiums, and wild places gain red poppies. In the spring the hills and roadsides pop with windflowers and calendula.
The island of Faial has a famous Botanical Garden that is a must see. The garden in Ponta Delgada is great for kids. Each of the Azores Islands has an amazing variety of flowers, both wild and cultivated. The city of Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira has a large and beautiful park named Jardim Duque da Terceira, with little pools full of chirruping frogs.
Careful tending of the public roadsides keeps blooms coming into November. I love to pick the little wild cannas for bouquets, but have had little luck getting them to thrive in my garden.
We bought a book in English on the fauna of the Azores at the Gruta gift shop. Not surprisingly, almost all the flowers found wild all over the island are not native, but were introduced.
Azores Islands Gardens: Wild Or Cultivated
The expansive Angra Garden is a gem, year-round. We visit to check out changes on every trip to Terceira. The new section, opened in 2019, includes interactive water features as a highlight.
The hike to the King’s monument at the top of the garden is great exercise and provides views over the city and Mont Brasil. The territorial frogs in the pools provide comic diversion with their chirp warnings.
Another popular walk is the lower path along the eastern base of Mont Brasil. Part of the beauty comes from the flowers along the carefully groomed walkway, which bloom all year.
Even in the coldest months there are still sporadic blooms of the large pink and white lilies (evidently escaped Amaryllis), some straggler azalea blooms, stunning purple potato vine blossoms and calla lilies to be found.
Calla lilies, growing as weeds in waste spaces all over Terceira, are evidently too ordinary to get much respect in the Azores. Reserved in the U.S. to almost symbolize Easter and fill churches on that special day, churches in the Azores decorate with white chrysanthemums on Easter. Mums are among the few flowers we haven’t seen growing wild there.
Terceira is a paradise, though not quite a tropical one, with some flowers hibernating through “winter”, but no frost, bright green slopes and flowers year-round is nirvana enough!