Baía de São Lourenço
Shaped like an amphitheatre and surrounded by vineyards planted up the slope, it features a beach and tidal pools which are enjoyed by many visitors during the summer.
N. Sr.ª da Assunção Church
Dedicated to the patron saint of the island, this is one of the oldest churches built in the archipelago. It has been changed throughout the centuries, due to looting, fire and reconstruction, but it still keeps some elements of the original structure.
The Maia bathing site is composed of one natural swimming pool and several support infrastructures. From this area it is possible to admire the imposing Maia Lighthouse.
Fontinhas Forest Reserve
The Fontinhas Forest Reserve is located in a hill, in Pico Alto, which is the island's highest point.
Valverde Forest Reserve
The Valverde Forest Reserve serves as the urban park of Vila do Porto considering the short distance between them and the influence people have had in this reserve.
Barreiro da Faneca
A semi-desert, arid and clayish landscape, red in colour, it is usually called “red desert”. This is a unique protected landscape area of the Azores of approximately 8.35 square km, and includes the Bays of Raposo, Tagarete and Cré.
Baía dos Anjos
Located in the north part of the island, the chapel where Christopher Columbus attended Mass on his return trip from America is still standing.
N. Sr.ª dos Anjos Chapel
This is considered to be the first temple built on these islands. Christopher Columbus prayed there when he returned from America. Inside this chapel, there is a tile panel and a triptych altar which probably belonged to Gonçalo Velho Cabral, who was the first settler of Santa Maria.
A very popular beach with white sand which is unusual in the Azores.
Ribeira de Maloás
A unique geologic formation at Malbusca that resulted from the contact of the sea with the lava flow, it is part of a waterfall that stands approximately 20 metres high.
Pedreira do Campo, do Figueiral e Prainha
At a height of over 100 metres, visitors can see a wall of pillow lavas, proving that this part of the island was submerged thousands of years ago.
House of Fossils // Dalberto Pombo Environmental Interpretation Centre
The Dalberto Pombo Environmental Interpretation Centre (CIADP) resulted of the reconstruction of an old historic building in Vila do Porto.
This Centre houses the collections of the naturalist Dalberto Pombo, true pioneer in the study of the geological and biological diversity of Santa Maria and aims to promote the natural heritage in a dynamic and interactive way, with educational and scientific approach.
To know more about the marine fossils, unique in Azores and of international importance, it was created a new space in the Centre, the Fossils’ House.
At the Centre, visitors have the opportunity to establish direct contact with real stuffed animals, such as butterflies and beetles of the Azores and of the world, migratory birds with stops on the island, and learn about the journey of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta).
In the Fossils’ House there is a 3D video about the geologic formation of the island with focus on the paleontological richness importance in the international context. It also gives the opportunity to learn about some of the world prestigious investigators on the areas of geology, paleontology, biogeography and stratigraphy. This space also has an educational game where the visitors have the experience to be paleontologists.
With 16.6 km of length, 9.1 km at its maximum width and a total area of 97 km2, the island of Santa Maria has 5,552 inhabitants (2011 data). Together with the island of São Miguel, it forms the Eastern Group of the Azores Archipelago, with the two islands distancing 81 km from each other. Pico Alto, the island’s highest point, reaches an altitude of 587 m and is located at 36º58’59’’ latitude north and 25º05’26’’ longitude west.