Located in the middle of the island, it is a two km wide and 400 metre deep volcanic cone. It is classified as a nature reserve and showcases rare endemic flora species.
The Morro Grande de Velas [Great Hill of Velas] and the Morro de Lemos [Hill of Lemos] are both Surtseyan-type tuff cones originated by submarine basaltic eruptions, but with different ages and stages of evolution. As the older one, Morro de Lemos is very eroded by coastal erosion and only a small part of the initial volcanic building remains. On the other hand, Morro Grande de Velas shows a clear circular shape of the associated cone and crater, in which a small strombolian cone is nestled, which depicts a later subarea eruptive stage. In the Baía de Entre-Morros [Entre-Morros Bay] and in the high and steep cliffs of these cones, it is possible to observe its internal structure, including a clear stratification and several load figures. The village of Velas is located in a lava fajã with a rocky and rugged front, formed by the basaltic lava flows issued from the Pico dos Loiros’ slag cone. These lavas are covered by the more recent pyro clasts of Morro de Velas. This is a prime geosite of the Azores Geopark, with national relevance and scientific, educational and geo-touristic interest. This location is also one of the best-known geographical landscapes of São Jorge.
The São Jorge island was formed by successive basaltic fissure volcanic episodes through a system of general fractures from West - Northwest - East - Southeast, creating the elongated and narrow shape of the island. Its central volcanic mountain range includes several volcanic-tectonic alignments with countless eruptive centres, mostly slag cones, lava spatter cones and eruptive fissures. Some of these cones have small ephemeral lagoons in its crater, while others display volcanic algares [pits], such as Algar do Morro Pelado (or Algar do Montoso), 140 meters deep, the deepest pit of the archipelago. Given their dimensions and characteristics, these volcanic cavities may only be explored by experienced speleologists who hold the appropriate materials. This is a prime geosite of the Azores Geopark, with regional relevance and interest and scientific, educational and geo-touristic interest, where it is possible to travel by foot, bicycle or car, enjoying beautiful panoramic views over the São Jorge island and the remaining islands of the Central Group.
The Fajã da Ribeira d’Areia is located in the North of the São Jorge island, in the parish of Norte Grande, municipality of Velas. In 1891, 451 inhabitants resided in this fajã; however, this number has dropped.
The chapel built in 1946 was later added, in 1968, a tower in honour of N.Sra de Fátima, and this fajã also became known as the Fajã de Nossa Senhora de Fátima [Our Lady of Fátima].
The patron saint’s day is on 13 October and a mass followed by a procession is carried out.
Through this fajã, it is possible to observe several lava formations, such as strung lava, and, in the seaside area, a beautiful arch known as Arco da Fajã da Ribeira d’Areia, widely enjoyed by those who visit this location.
Fajã das Almas is located in the Southern side of the São Jorge island, in the parish of Manadas, municipality of Velas, also known as Fajã do Calhau.
In 1891, the fajã had 78 inhabitants, but, throughout the years, this number has been significantly reduced, currently having about five permanent residents. However, thanks to its easy access, the number of reconstructions has increased, mainly carried out by emigrants.
This fajã contains two chapels, the Chapel of N. Sra das Almas, located in Barbós, and the Chapel of Santo Cristo, built in 1876. On 9 September 1880, the Chapel of Saint Christ burned, and its reconstruction was promoted by the Baron of Ribeiro and blessed on 14 January 1882.
Integrated in the protected area for the Management of Habits or Species of Fajã das Almas, it corresponds to a land area of about 97.1 ha, covering the Fajã das Almas’ slope. In this area, it is possible to find specimens of seabirds, such as the roseate terns (Sterna dougallii), the common terns (Sterna hirundo) and the Cory's shearwater birds (Calonectris borealis). Regarding the flora, you may find specimens of Tree Heath (Erica azorica), Azorean Candleberry Tree (Morella faya), and “pau-branco” (Picconia azorica).
This viewpoint offers a magnificent view over the Fajã de Vimes, as well as over the channel and the neighboring islands of Pico and Faial. Fajã de Vimes is one of the most emblematic fajãs of São Jorge, highlighting the coffee plantation and the famous quilts of Ponto Alto. In this fajã, we shall find the Casa de Artesanato Nunes [Nunes’ Handicraft House], where besides the Ponto Alto’s quilts, we may also find other articles made in the weaving looms therein. There are also several coffee plantations that may be visited and where you may also taste the famous coffee of Fajã de Vimes. It is through this fajã that we may reach the Fajã de Bodes by car or even the Fajã de Cavalete and Fajã de Fragueira, the place where the famous compositor of São Jorge, Francisco de Lacerda, was born.
The fajãs of Ouvidor and Ribeira da Areia are formed by basaltic lava flows issued by the central volcanic mountain range, which reaches the cliff and spread over its base. Together with the Fajã de Pontas, there are the only lava fajãs of the Northern coast of São Jorge. The Fajã do Ouvidor is associated to lava flows issued from Pico Areeiro, located at a distance of 3 km and which was formed around 2530 years ago. This is one of the greatest lavas fajãs of the island, including a good seaport (the best of the Northern coast), which supports some pleasure and fishing crafts. It is also a bathing area, with several natural ponds and pools, with Poça de Simão Dias [Simão Dias Pond] as the greatest and best known. It also exhibits prismatic disjunctions in its sloping cliffs and some coastal caves, the largest being Furna do Lobo, over 50 m long. Such as in the Fajã of Ribeira da Area, located to the East of the first one, several lava arches are common and typical. This is a prime geosite of the Azores Geopark, with regional relevance and interest and scientific, educational and geo-touristic use.
Fajã dos Cubres, which name derives from the plant called “cubres” [goldenrod], with the scientific name of “solidago sempervirens”, which produces small yellow flowers, was recently awarded the “7 Wonders of Portugal - Seaside Villages” award.
These are the main detritus fajãs of the Northern coast of São Jorge and are formed by the materials derived from movements which affected the high and steep overlooking cliffs. Among the island’s 74 fajãs, these include the only coastal lagoons of the archipelago, separated from the ocean by beach strands. In the case of Fajã da Caldeira do Sto. Cristo, a direct connection between the sea and the lagoon remains open, by human action, in order to allow the cultivation of clams. Fajã dos Cubres is located about 3 km West of the Fajã da Caldeira do Sto. Cristo and, just like the latter, saw its dimensions increased after the earthquakes, such as the ones in 1757 and 1980. The access to Fajã da Caldeira do Sto. Cristo, where an Interpretation Centre is located, is made through pedestrian paths from Fajã dos Cubres or from Topo’s Mountain, in which you may enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the island’s Northern coast. This is a prime geosite, with national relevance and scientific, pedagogical and geo-touristic interest.