Lighthouses in the Azores

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There are incredible lighthouses in the Azores, and though we did not get to see them all, we had the chance to come across a good selection of lighthouses. Here are some of the most beautiful lighthouses in the Azores. When planning a visit , you should be aware that many of the lighthouses are open to visits on Wednesdays (from 14h00 to 17h00). This is true to most lighthouses with lighthouse keepers, the others may be closed.

1. Ponta do Albarnaz Lighthouse, Flores Island

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Ponta do Albernaz Lighthouse has the singularity of being the westernmost lighthouse in the Azores archipelago and also in Europe. Located in the parish of Ponta Delgada, it holds a strategic position, on a high cliff on the west coast, allowing the signal to be seen from the coast of Corvo Island and all over the northwest coast of Flores. The Lighthouse is the first point of arrival of migratory birds to the island of Flores. As it is a coastal location to the north, it is where they stop first. Thus, it is an important place for the observation of seabirds.

Lighthouse brief:

  • Nacional Number: 878
  • International Number: D2708
  • Height of tower: 15 metres
  • Date of construction: 1925
  • Signal Reach: 22 nautical miles / 41 kilometres
  • Characteristic Light: Fl W 5s

2. Ponta das Lajes Lighthouse, Flores Island

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Lajes is another lovely village in Flores Island, and has also got a beautiful lighthouse. This lighthouse has a quadrangular prismatic tower painted in white, and with a glassed-in housing at the top, whose metallic structure is painted in red. This is the second most powerful lighthouse of the Azores after the Lighthouse at Ponta da Ferraria (São Miguel). It is said that before the second world war two German spies visited the lighthouse and stayed in the neighbourhood for a couple of months, where they installed telecommunication means…

With a handful of places to overnight, Lajes is an alternative base to Santa Cruz and Fajã Grande. We recommend the guesthouse A Barraka.

Lighthouse brief:

  • Nacional Number: 877
  • International Number: D2704
  • Height of tower: 16 metres
  • Date of construction: 1910
  • Reach: 26 nautical miles / 48 kilometres
  • Characteristic Light: Fl(3) W 28s

3. Ponta dos Capelinhos Lighthouse, Faial Island

What to visit in Faial Azores

The lighthouse of Capelinhos was constructed in the late 19th century. It was built in volcanic basalt and remained in activity until 1957, when the eruption of the Capelinhos volcano damaged part of the building, and covered great part of the lighthouse with ash. The building originally had two floors, but one has been totally swallowed by the ashes, and is now underground. The octagonal tower has been recovered and covered in glass and works today as a lookout for unique views over the new volcanic landscape.

In 2008 a museum was built using the underneath floor of the lighthouse and the area adjacent to it. Architect Nuno Ribeiro Lopes has created a stunning building, under the volcanic ashes and sand, in order to preserve the newly created landscape.

Lighthouse brief:

  • Height of tower: 20 metres
  • Date of construction: 1903
  • Abandoned: 1957

4. Lighthouse of Ribeirinha, Faial Island

What to visit in Faial Azores

The lighthouse of Ribeirinha was another victim of the earthquake that hit the island in 1998. With a power of 5,8 in Richter’s scale, this powerful quake left behind a sad scene of destruction, with many houses being knocked down and reduced to ruins, including the lighthouse. The quadrangular tower has the particular characteristic of having its walls covered by tiles.

Currently, in the vicinity of the original tower, there is a small lighthouse, installed on a white metallic column of five metres, with a light that reaches 12 nautical miles.

Lighthouse brief:

  • Height of tower: 14 metres
  • Date of construction: 1919
  • Abandoned: 1998

5. Topo Lighthouse, São Jorge Island

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The lighthouse at Ponta do Topo is another white cylinder tower with a red structure on top, where the lantern room is. Its lantern is located 58 metres above sea level. It is beautifully located at the Topo region, on the Southwestern tip of the island.

There are three lighthouse keepers working and living in the lighthouse with their families. They are responsible for the maintenance of the lighthouse system, being in charge of fixing any damage. Nowadays, this lighthouse is automated, which means that it automatically switches on in the evening.

Lighthouse brief:

  • Nacional Number: 772
  • International Number: D2680
  • Height of tower: 16 metres
  • Date of construction: 1927
  • Reach: 20 nautical miles
  • Characteristic Light: Fl(3) W 20s

6. Lighthouse of Ponta dos Rosais, São Jorge Island

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The lighthouse at Ponta dos Rosais was built in 1958 and at the time it was the most advanced lighthouse in Portugal. The families that inhabited the complex abandoned it temporarily after the earthquake that shook the area in 1964. The families returned after a couple of years, only to abandon it definitely after the strong earthquake of 1981, which has seriously damaged its structure.

Even though there is no lighthouse keeper living there any longer, the lighthouse works again, since it has been automated in the 1980’s. Its mechanism is operated through solar energy.

Lighthouse brief:

  • Height of tower: 27 metres
  • Date of construction: 1958
  • Reach: 8 nautical miles / 15 kilometres
  • Abandoned: 1980

7. Ponta das Contendas Lighthouse, Terceira Island

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This beautiful lighthouse is located on the southeastern coast of Terceira Island. It has got a prismatic tower, painted in white with a red cupola, where the glassed lantern room is located. The building is home to three lighthouse keepers, who make sure all works properly.

Lighthouse brief:

  • Nacional Number: 745
  • International Number: D-2664
  • Height of tower: 13 metres
  • Date of construction: 1934
  • Reach: 23 nautical miles / 43 kilometres
  • Characteristic Light: Fl(4) WR 15s

8. Ponta do Arnel Lighthouse, São Miguel Island

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This is the oldest lighthouse in the Azores, having been inaugurated in November, 1876. It has a distinct octagonal tower and building and it is located on the northeastern coast of São Miguel, and it has become an important tourist attraction precisely because of its location and access, on a very steep cliff.  The path to the lighthouse (and further on to a small fishing village) has got an inclination of 35% , and it is advised to walk instead of driving to the lighthouse.

Lighthouse brief:

  • Nacional Number: 604
  • International Number:  D2640
  • Height of tower: 15 metres
  • Date of construction: 1876
  • Reach: 25 nautical miles / 46 kilometres
  • Characteristic Light: FlI W 10s

9. Ponta da Ferraria Lighthouse, São Miguel Island

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This lighthouse s located on the westernmost coast of São Miguel, in the small locality of Ginetes. Its prismatic tower is white and has a red glass-house for the lamp on top of it. It is said that it is the largest lighthouse of the Azores, and it is the second oldest in São Miguel.

Lighthouse brief:

  • Nacional Number: 719
  • International Number: D-2655
  • Height of tower: 18 metres
  • Date of construction: 1901
  • Reach: 27 nautical miles / 50 kilometres
  • Characteristic Light: Fl(3) W 20s
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