The archipelago of the Azores is an autonomous region of Portugal which lies some 1,500 km to the west of the mainland in the Atlantic Ocean between approximately 25° and 30° west and 37° and 40° north of the equator.
The Azores comprise nine islands clustered in three groups, the names of which are as follows:
Flores and Corvo (western group);
Graciosa, São Jorge, Faial, Pico and Terceira (central group);
Santa Maria and São Miguel (eastern group).
The total land area is 2,387 km2 and the highest point on the Azores which is also the highest point of Portugal is Ponta do Pico on Ilha do Pico at 2,351 m.
The Azores occupy a strategic location in the Atlantic Ocean along sea routes between the United States and the western approaches to the Straits of Gibraltar.
The islands are in a volcanic zone and are subject to severe earthquakes and volcano activity.
The total population of these islands is approximately 242,000 with the following distribution by island: São Miguel (131,000); Santa Maria (5,500); Graciosa (4,800); Terceira (55,000); Faial (15,000); São Jorge (9,500); Pico (15,000); Flores (4,000) and Corvo (450).
The capital and main city is Ponta Delgada on São Miguel and the other towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants are Ribeira Grande, also on São Miguel and Angra do Heroismo and Vila da Praia da Vitória, both on Terceira island. All islands have airports but most international connections arrive on São Miguel, Terceira and Santa Maria.