Corvo is the smallest and northernmost island in the Portuguese Azores archipelago, and in Macaronesia, situated in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Life on ‘the island of the crow’ is slow-paced and quiet, with just the one volcanic crater and a single village with just over four hundred inhabitants, comparatively much less than the rest of the Azorean islands. Corvo is so isolated, in fact, the residents have maintained a medieval-style dialect, with electricity only introduced in 1963. However, best of all, as an island devoid of traffic, touristic resorts and virtually all crime, Corvo offers an unforgettable getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. The one and only village, Vila do Corvo, is the smallest municipality in the Azores, consisting of small, plain houses along narrow streets.
Corvo’s prominent physical feature is the two kilometre-wide crater, known as a ‘caldera’ in Portuguese, found on Monte Grosso, partly filled with shallow, glistening lakes with several islets. The island itself is circled by towering, steep cliffs, making for magnificent viewing upon arrival by ferry, and once you’re ashore you’ll spot numerous black windmills dotting the verdant landscape.
This tranquil island bursts into life during the Holy Ghost Festival in August, a celebration of the Saint Nossa Senhora dos Milagres, by the chapel of Vila do Corvo which dates back to 1871. It also involves excellent brass bands from the other islands performing for a few days. Further celebrations are held for the end of summer each September, when locals dance in a large procession.
Despite its small size, Corvo is one of the largest producers of handicrafts in the Azores. Most commonly made are woollen hats and bonnets, coloured in dark blue with a white stripe. In terms of cuisine, it centres on fresh seafood, as you would expect from a remote island, which is usually served with locally baked corn bread. Kale and fresh pork, which is salted the day before, is another favourite dish.
From the island of Flores, directly to the south, there are many sailings every week to Vila Nova do Corvo. Lasting just forty minutes, the routes are operated by Atlanticoline, one of the leading ferry operators in the Azores.