The stunning Marquesas Islands can be found in the eastern Pacific Ocean. French Polynesia is a territory in the South Pacific that includes some of the world’s most beautiful and rugged islands. Although the Marquesas are not physically part of Spain, they share a rich cultural history with a region of Spain with the same name.
A cluster of nine islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, about 1,500 kilometers west of Lisbon, Portugal, and 3,500 kilometers east of the North American continent, the Marquesas in Spain are also known as the Azores. Three large islands make up the archipelago: San Miguel, Santa Maria, and Tercera. Pico, Faial, Sao Jorge, Graciosa, Flores, and Corvo round out the group.
The Portuguese word “Açores,” which literally translates to “hawks,” is where the name “Azores” comes from. The Portuguese explorers likely gave the islands their name after seeing so many hawks and other birds of prey there.
There are around 250,000 people living on the archipelago’s total land area of 2,322 square kilometers. Both Portuguese and the Euro are recognized as legal tender. The Azores are a semi-independent region of Portugal with its own government and assembly.
History of the Marquesas in Spain
The Portuguese have played an important role in the development of the Marquesas dynasty in Spain. During the Age of Discovery in the early 15th century, Portuguese explorers came across the archipelago. Although uninhabited at the time of discovery, the Portuguese quickly recognized the islands’ potential as a trade hub for routes between Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
The Azores were first colonized by the Spanish Empire in the 16th century and remained under Spanish rule for the next several centuries. The Azores played a crucial role in the development and expansion of the Spanish Empire during this time, becoming a major hub for international trade.
The Azores were reunited with Portugal in the nineteenth century, and full independence was finally achieved in 1976. Since then, the Azores have grown into a prosperous region with a robust economy and rich cultural traditions.
The Marquesas, a Spanish archipelago, share a culture that combines elements of Portugal and the Azores. The people of the islands are famous for their welcoming nature and their appreciation of the arts. Traditional folk music plays a significant role in the culture, and the Azores are home to its own distinct musical styles like chamarita, bailhinho, and moda.
The islands’ ceramics, lace, and embroidery are just a few examples of the many locally crafted goods available to tourists. Many cultural institutions and museums documenting Azorean history and heritage can be found on the islands as well.
The Azores are home to some of the world’s most impressive religious festivals. The island of Sao Miguel hosts the largest celebration in May, the Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres. This festival is a celebration of faith, tradition, and community that draws thousands of people from all over the world.
Attractions in the Marquesas in Spain
The Spanish archipelago of the Marquesas is home to many interesting sights. The islands’ beaches, cliffs, and forests are some of the most beautiful in the world. Volcanic features dominate the islands’ topography, and several of the islands’ craters and lakes—like Sao Miguel’s Sete Cidades—serve as popular tourist attractions.
Several of the islands’ villages and towns have rich historical backgrounds and are brimming with interesting museums and picturesque buildings.
Angra do Heroismo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island of Tercera, is a top tourist attraction. The Fortaleza de Sao Joao Baptista, a 16th-century fortress, and the beautiful Se Cathedral are just a couple of the stunning buildings and monuments found in this historic town, which served as a major trade and commerce hub during the Age of Discovery.
Furnas Valley, on Sao Miguel’s eastern side, is another popular destination. The healing properties of the volcanic mud baths, geysers, and hot springs in this valley have made it famous.
Because of this abundance of marine life, the Azores are frequently visited by those interested in whale watching or scuba diving. There are many different kinds of whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life for tourists to see.
The food of the Spanish archipelago of the Marquesas is an expression of the islands’ rich cultural heritage. The dishes are typically prepared with fresh fish, meat, and vegetables found locally. Lapas, a type of shellfish, are grilled and served with garlic butter, and “cozido,” a stew made with a variety of meats and vegetables, are two of the most popular dishes.
Several local vineyards produce distinctive and flavorful wines, adding to the islands’ reputation as a wine and spirit producer. The Azores are best known for their brandy, known as “aguardente,” which is created by distilling wine or fruit juice.
There are many international restaurants and fast food chains on the islands, in addition to the local Azorean fare. There is a great variety of restaurants, from cozy cafes and pubs to elegant restaurants, in the major cities.
In sum, the Spanish archipelago of the Marquesas—better known as the Azores—is an enthralling destination for those seeking a rare fusion of history, culture, and natural beauty. Beautiful volcanic landscapes, historic towns, delectable cuisine, and exciting festivals can all be found on these islands. The Azores are perfect for any type of vacationer, whether you want to go hiking, whale watching, or just relax on the beach.
Our Top FAQ's
The best time to visit the Marquesas in Spain is between May and September, when the weather is warm and sunny. However, travelers should keep in mind that the islands can be quite crowded during this time, and prices may be higher. The shoulder season, from April to June and September to November, is a good alternative for those who want to avoid the crowds and enjoy milder weather.
The Marquesas in Spain offer a wide range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, surfing, whale watching, and scuba diving. Visitors can explore the islands’ stunning volcanic landscapes, lush forests, and pristine beaches, as well as enjoy a variety of water sports and marine adventures.
The traditional cuisine of the Marquesas in Spain is simple and hearty, and it is often made with local ingredients, such as fish, meat, and vegetables. Some of the most popular dishes include “cozido,” a stew made with various meats and vegetables, and “lapas,” a type of shellfish that is grilled and served with garlic butter. The islands are also known for their wine and spirits, with several local vineyards producing unique and flavorful wines.
Some popular tourist attractions in the Marquesas in Spain include the volcanic landscapes of Pico and Faial islands, the historic town of Angra do Heroismo on Tercera island, and the Furnas Valley on Sao Miguel island, famous for its natural hot springs and geysers. The islands are also known for their traditional festivals, such as the Holy Ghost Festival and the Carnival of Sao Miguel, which offer a glimpse into the local culture and traditions.