< Azores2016

Summer course
"Volcanism, Plate Tectonics, Hydrothermal Vents and Life"
Angra do Heroismo, Azores, Portugal, 23 August - 1 September 2016


Please see the Venue & Access page for details.

Please see the Accommodation page for details.

The Azores have a very rich vegetation and during the Summer School manyplants will be in bloom. Since the school takes place at the end of the dry season, the pollen count should still be low. If you suffer from allergies, please talk to a specialist and inform the course organisers (the Canary Island flora is peculiar). Also, inform us about any food allergies on the registration sheet.

There are several banks and savings banks in Angra. There is a branch of Caixa Económica da Misericórdia de Angra do Heroísmo at Rua Sé 13. Banks usually ope Mon - Fri 08:30 - 15:30. Also cash machines can be found on the Rua Sé.

The climate in the Azores is one of the most balanced in the world. In August, however, hot and damp days are possible. The high pressure area above the Azores does not always guarantee fine weather, orogenetic clouds and afternoon showers are common. The Atlantic has a cooling influence, so very hot days are rare . In August, the average temperature on Terceira reaches up to a high of 24°C (that's about 74°F) during the day and dips no lower than 19°C (about 65°F) in the evenings. During this month, the average monthly rain is only around 47 mm and there are about 7.5 hours of average daily sunshine. Bring your umbrella and a light raincoat in case of occasional showers that can be quite heavy.

Clothing and equipment
During the course we will have a walk around Lava fields and lava caves, maybe other volcanic areas. These are mostly A'a lava (or "apalhraun"). Stumbling there and scratching your hands on the (very sharp) lava is definitely no fun and leaves painful wounds. Thus, you have to have apt equipment. Furthermore, the air is usually clear on fine days and the sun is VERY intense and sun protection is a must. Please make sure that you have the following items with you:

  • Walking boots covering your ankles. Trainers with good profile are OK, but not the best choice .
  • Walking gloves are a must if you want to join the excursins. Gardening gloves are OK (but are a bit clumsy in the long run), whereas rubber washing-up gloves or lab gloves are NOT an option.
  • Sturdy trousers and shirt with sleeves.
  • Sunhat and sunglasses.
  • Strong sun screen.
  • Umbrella and/or light rain coat (Usually the weather is fine in August, but there might be the odd short, but intense, afternoon shower).
  • Tablets against motion sickness (if you get it easily). Roads at Terceira can be curvy in places.

Generally Angra is a very safe place. On the island of Corvo the prison cell was once hired out to backpackers due to lack of criminals. Nevertheless, it is not wise to leave your property unattended on the island. Fortunately, annoying time-sharing salesmen and street peddlars, which can be a nuisance on Madeira, are fairly uncommon in Terceira.

The Azores are part of the EU (no off-shore status). Different rules apply if you travel from inside the EU or from outside it. Infos about the max amounts of articles brought from and to the Azores can be found here.

Please note that the import of Azorean scrimshaw products to many other countries is illegal.

Dos and don'ts
In general, Azorean people (especially those of the older generation) tend to be a bit more formal than other Europeans. Several special things are worth while to remember:


  • Always treat older people respectfully. Relinquish your seat immediately for older persons in public transport vehicles.
  • Accept a more relaxed attitude towards time.
  • Expect red tape to take some time. This includes visa applications.
  • Accept hierarchies.
  • Carry some change with you for using the bathrooms.
  • Be modest in your conversations.
  • Tip generously for good service. Wages of personnel are not that high.
  • Wear swimwear outside beach or pool areas (especially not in high streets).
  • Wear shorts in restaurants.
  • Complain about people smoking in your presence (unless you have strong medical reasons to do so).
  • Wear light clothes in churches. Also, dirty T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops in city centres will mark you as an unsophisticated tourist.
  • Start conversations about family issues. One does not discuss those with strangers.
  • Do not address people with forenames until being asked to do so or someone presents himself with her/his forenames only. Women are addressed with "Senhora" and the surnames, men with "Senhor" and the surname. People with academic titles are addressed with them. Young people, as everywhere, are much more relaxed concerning this issue.
  • Yawn, blow your nose or stretch in public (considered rude).
  • Be impatient.

Driving in Terceira
Road hogs and Sunday drivers are luckily absent, but driving in the Azores can be is more challenging. Roads are curvy, streets in villages often narrow and road rules sometimes not adhered too well. Visitors riding or driving in Portugal must have reached the minimum ages laid down for residents of Portugal even if they are qualified to drive at a lower age in their country of residence. Driving licences issued in EU and EEA countries are accepted. International driving permits are recognised but not required. Overall, Portuguese road rules apply. Speed limits outside built-up areas are 120 km/h on dual carriageway motorways, and 90 km/h at ordinary roads. Inside built-up areas limit is 50 km/h.

DO NOT drink alcohol before and during driving. The legal limit of alcohol in the blood is 0.05 % and drink-driving is punished by heavy fines, confiscation of licence and/or imprisonment. All passengers must wear seat belts and children under 12 years of age are not allowed to sit in the front. Carry a photo ID with you when driving. If you rent a car, you usually have to have had your licence for 1 year. There can be a surcharge for people under the age of 25.

112 is the general emergency line throughout the European Union (similar to 911 in the U.S.) The number can be dialed from any phone, and the call is free.

Food and Drink
The cuisine is very special and in some ways different from the mainland Portuguese one. Not, surprisingly, fish is an important ingredient in the diet, beef is widely eaten, chicken is popular. Generally food and especially seafood is of high quality. The Azores are also the only place in Europe where tea and pineapples are grown (the latter ones in conservatories though).

Some typical Azorean are:

  • Caldo verde (Cabbage soup)
  • Alcatra (beef stew with onions, wine cabbage and ham)
  • Caldeir de Peixe (fish stew)
  • Linguiça con inhames (pork sausage with yams)
  • Lapas (limpets)

In restaurants often a small plate with cheese, olives and bread (couvert) is served (which has to be paid for). On can (apart from luxury restaurants) decline that. This is not a good idea since they usually are very tasty.

The traditional Vinho de Cheiro is forbiddden outside the Azores due to its high methanol content. Some good white and red Azorean wines exist, especially recommendable is the wine from the cellar "Brum" in Biscoitos on the Island of Terceira. There is a local brewery "Melo Abreu" producing a light "Especial" and a dark beer. Imported wines and beers from the Mainland are common.

Portugal is an associate member of the Schengen agreement which exempts travelers from regular personal border controls between 13 European Union (EU) countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden) and two European Economic Area (EEA) countries (Norway and Iceland). People living in Great Britain and Ireland are subject to personal border controls upon entry to the Schengen area. Border controls can, however be imposed on travellers from all states (especially because of the present situation). So, if you are a citizen of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein: you will just need a valid passport or ID card.

A list of countries whose citizens DO NOT need a visa to visit Portugal can be found under list II here. This includes the US, New Zealand and Australia. If you need a visa, please start the paperwork AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and contact the Portuguese embassy in your home town..

The hotel offers free wireless internet connection in the conference room. Internet connections generally can be slow.

Lecture rooms
Lectures are held in the "lecture room at the University of the Azores. Please see the Venue & Access page for details.

There are strong local dialects at the Azores that can be difficult for Portuguese mainlanders and Brazilians. The command of English varies: Some people are very fluent (former emigrants to America and an have even strong Boston or Toronto accents. You will find it easy to pick up some important basic phrases. Someties tourists slip off into Spanish, something that is not appreciated.

Laundry facilities
There are no coin-operated self service launderettes in Angra, but there is a reasonably priced laundry "Angraseco" at Rua do Rego. Also, the hotel offers a laundry service.For the people staying at Terceira Mar, there is also a laundry on the western side of Parque do Bailão (the "large" parking lot located between Terceira Mar and Alto das Covas). It opens work´days 08:30 to 18:30.

Breakfasts and dinners (if not specified otherwise in the programme) will be served in the restaurant at the Terceira Mar Hotel, both for those staying and those not staying. Lunches and coffee breaks will take place at the course venue. Pick-nick or packed lunches at excursions can happen. Participants are kindly asked to communicate any dietary requirements to the course organisers.

Medical Services
In case of emergency, call 112 (general emergency). There is a Hospital (Hospital de Santo Espírito da Ilha Terceira) in Angra.It iis situated on the ring road, Canada do Briado, 9700-049 Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal, phone +351 295 403 200.

European residents who are covered by a social security scheme in their country of residence are entitled to a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The card simplifies the procedure when receiving unforeseen medical assistance during their visit to a member state. It should be carried when travelling within the European Economic Area, (i.e. the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland. The EHIC entitles the holder to the same treatment at the same cost as a national of that country. Presentation of the EHIC guarantees reimbursement of the medical costs on the spot, or soon after returning home. The card is only valid for state provided services and not private hospitals or treatments. Please obtain your EHIC card in good time before the summer school. General infos about EHIC can be found here. In case you have to pay, keepa receipt for refund.

Attendees from non EU countries who are not EU residents are STRONGLY advised to get an adequate travel insurance. Otherwise, illnesses and injuries can get very expensive.

Portugal has the Euro since 2002. Also Euro coins from other countries are valid (there is a special set of coins for every country, but is only one kind of bills in the Eurozone). Cash machines (ATMs) are frequent in Angra. Fees for the withdrawal depend on the respective credit card and amount on average, 2%. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it is wise to carry cash with you. In small shops and restaurants still cash is king.

There are two main pharmacies in the centre of Angra: Farrmacia Central, Rua Carreira dos Cavalos 55 A and Farmácia Pinentel, Rua da Sé , 70-72. Opening times Mon -Fri 08:30 -18:30. Please note that Portuguese laws are more strict on prescriptions than e.g. U.S. ones. If you need medication, take it with you together with a doctor's statement. Take the red line at customs if you bring medication with you.

Post office
Post offices "Correios" are generally open during normal shopping hours. There is a post office in Angra at the Rua do Palàcio. It opens from 08.30 to 18:30 hours on weekdays. The Azores have their own (beautiful) stamps.

Public transport in Terceira
There is a good public transport in Terceira, but to more remote locations services operate sporadically. Information about timetables and price of tickets is found at the website of Empresa de Viação Terceirense. You can buy tickets from the driver.

Public holidays
August 15 (Ascencion) is a big thing. Local holidays and feasts of the church patron saint are celebrated enthusiastically. A special thing is the Festa de Espirito Santo, usually in August.

The 9 islands of the Azores all have their unique character, so it is well worth to spend some time there: Highligts include

  • City of Angra do Heroismo (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Museums and gardens att Ponta Delgada
  • Hot spring area at Furnas
  • Caldera of Sete Cidades
  • Furnas do Enxofre cave at Graciosa
  • Pico Volcano
  • Caprelinhos eruption site on Faial
Tourist information about the Azores can be found at the Official Azores Tourist Information. Please note that you will not have time for a lot of sightseeing during the course.

The opening hours are handled individually the Azores - in smaller places according to the mood and availability of the owner. Shops usually open Mon - Fri 09:00 - 12:00 and 14:00- 18:00, Saturday 09:00 - 12:00. Supermarkets often have longer opening times. Street markets only open in the morning

Nice souvenirs are

  • Jams, marmalade and honey
  • Sweet wines from Brum in Terceirs
  • Pineapples from S. Miguel
  • Baskets and wood productd
  • Cheese from S. Jorge
  • Tea from Cha Gorreana

There are plenty of shops in Angra, large supermarkets tend to be outside the town, as everywhere.

Taxis cost just over EUR 1,- per km plus basic fee (several Euros). In the night and on weekends they can be more expensive (around 20% surcharge). Although most taxis have meters it is wise to ask for the price in advance. A 5 % tip is usual

The country code for Portugal is 353 and the area code for Angra is 295. To telephone out from the Azores, dial 00 and the country code, so 0049 for Germany and 001 for the US.

Usually mobile phones from Europe work well on the Azores. People from outside Europe can also bring your own cell phone out to the Azores, assuming your cell phone can work properly out in the Europe. Based on expe-rience, AT&T and T-Mobile phones work out there, Verizon and Sprint not so much. There are two major cell phone companies, Vodafone and TMN, and they have stores located through out the major islands of the Azores.

There are still pay phones available throughout the major towns and cities on the Azores. They are located near town, city centers and near public transportation stops. Pay phones accept calling cards as well as euros. Calling cards are available at most cafés, corner grocery stores and magazine stands. They are available at a cost of 3, 5, and 10 euros per card. Pay phones also accept coins in 2, 1 euros and 50, 20, 10 cents, they are more expensive then the calling card option.

Azorean daylight saving time (GMT/UTC ) will be in force during the meeting. There a two hour time shift between Germany, France and the Azores and a 1 hour time shift between London and the Azores. If it is 2 o' clock in London and 3 o'clock in Frankfurt it is 1 o'clock in Terceira.

Tipping is common in the Azores. It's usual to tip around 5% in restaurants, for good service. This is in addition to any service charge that may appear on the bill. Tip in cash. In cafés, you do not need to tip but can leave the small change behind. Leave the tip on the table in the tray your bill came in, or give it directly to the waiter. In case of bad service it is OK to give nothing.

The gentlemen's room is marked with "H" or "Homens", while the ladies' room is marked with "S" or "Senhoras".

Tourist information
For tourist information check the site of the A href="http://www.visitazores.com">Azores Tourist Office Website>/a>. The Angra Tourist Office is located at Rua Direita 74, phone ++351-29504800.

Please see the Venue & Access page for details.

The electricity supply in Portugal is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz. European-style 2-pin plugs are in use.

Weights and measures
Portugal uses the metric system.

All the information given above is to the best of our knowledge. However, we cannot accept any liability for inadvertently false or incomplete information on this site.

Bem-vindos à Terceira !

Lava cave Algar do Carvão Extinct volcano craters Hot springs at Furnas