During your trip you’ll witness secluded lagoons as you stroll from fajã to fajã (coastal plain), view magnificent panoramas from the slopes of the highest mountain in Portugal, sense the tranquility that surrounds the great crater lakes and see the fascinating results of the most recent Azorean eruption.
You’ll also have enough free time to enjoy the towns and villages at your own pace, sampling the local delicacies and watching the calm pace of local life go by.
We’ll be staying in comfortable hotels throughout the holiday and using taxis to transfer us to and from the walks. Walks are gently paced (we won’t be racing to the finish!) and are aimed at the moderately fit. No walk is longer than 18km and most will be around 10km.
Self guided option
If you like this itinerary and the walks it offers, but can’t make any of the dates or prefer a more independent holiday, then why not book our self guided option. Same walks, same accommodation but instead of a walking guide, you get route notes and maps and taxi transfers to and from the walks.
We include more...
When comparing our guided walking holiday with other companies, bear in mind that we include all walks, picnics on full day walks, any restaurant transfers necessary and accommodation in good quality comfortable hotels. You will also have a professional local guide who is fluent in English and who will accompany you throughout.
|Day 1||Fly London to São Miguel. Transfer to Ponta Delgada (10mins). Overnight in Ponta Delgada|
|Day 2||SETE CIDADES CRATER WALK: Length : 10km. Average height : 700m. Grading : ∆∆. Approximate walking time : 3.5 - 4 hours. Sete Cidades (Seven Cities) is the village that lies inside this now extinct crater. The crater itself is the largest in the Azores measuring 5km across and 15 km in circumference. The rim lies at 700m and is covered in lush vegetation; Himalayan ginger, blue hydrangea hedges and green dairy meadows. Our path contours the crater giving wonderful views down towards the mystical blue and green lakes inside and over the deep blue Atlantic on the other side. The walk ends in the village of Sete Cidades on the shores of the two lakes.Overnight in Ponta Delgada|
|Day 3||COASTAL WALK AND VISIT TO FURNAS.Walk length : 6kmAverage height : N/A. Grading : ∆ - ∆∆. Approximate walking time : 2.5 hours. This walk starts just outside Furnas and descends through Japanese Ceder forrest to the pretty fishing village of Ribeira Quente with its sandy beach and pretty port. After lunch, we drive up to the beautiful volcanic basin of Furnas. Furnas lies at the geological borderline between the island’s two mountain ranges and has, as a result, numerous volcanic phenomena - hot springs, small geysers and mud cauldrons. We spend the afternoon in the famous 200 year old Terra Nostra botanical gardens which are also home to an inviting thermal swimming pool. Overnight in Ponta Delgada|
|Day 4||FIRE LAKE WALK. Walk length : 7km. Average height : 947m – sea level. Grading : ∆∆. Approximate walking time : 4-5 hours. The Fire Lake is in the centre of the island and is probably the most spectacular of all the crater lakes due to its remoteness. This circular walk starts near the coast and follows forestry trails and lavadas to the Fire Lake (Lagoa do Fogo). We are collected at the end of the day from one of the few sandy beaches on the island. Overnight in Ponta Delgada|
|Day 5||Fly to Terceira. Today, we take a 30 minute flight to Terceira. In the afternoon we walk from our hotel through the old city of Angra to Monte Brazil (the extinct volcano opposite the harbour). Overnight in Angra|
|Day 6||GRUA DA NATAL. Walk length : 5km. Average height : 750m – sea level. Grading : ∆∆. Approximate walking time : 3 hours. This circular walk begins at the grotto known as Gruta do Natal near Lagoa do Negro. The area is rich in endemic plant species and has the feel of remote wildness. Part of the walk take us through an area know as the ‘Dark Mysteries’, these are three volcanic domes formed from recent eruptions. The ground here is rough under foot. Overnight in Angra|
|Day 7||Fly to Sao Jorge, free afternoon. Today, we take a 30 minute flight to Sao Jorge. This friendly island is a genuine walker’s paradise and is essentially a single snaking spine of peaks with an average height of 700m. After settling into our hotel in the pretty capital of Velas, we can either go swimming in the rock pools nearby or walk up the impressive crater outside the town to get great views of Velas. Overnight in Velas|
|Day 8||THREE FAJA WALK. Walk length : 11km. Average height : sea level. Grading : ∆∆. Approximate walking time : 4-5 hours. Most of Sao Jorge’s population is concentrated along the numerous island ‘fajas’ - the small coastal plains created by the erosion of the steep cliff sides. Our walk begins at the top of the island and descends down 700m to sea level through some of the archipelago’s most beautiful scenery. Our hydrangea lined path takes us through ‘forests’ of tree heather and pasture down to the Faja do Santo Cristo where ‘clams’ are farmed in its sweetwater lagoon. The undulating path continues through two more fajas ending at Faja dos Cubres. Overnight in Velas|
|Day 9||SPINE WALK. Walk length : 14km.Average height : 600m.Grading : ∆∆.Approximate walking time : 5-6 hours. This high level walk follows the spine of the island circling between the green crater peaks (including the islands highest, Pico da Esperanca) descending down to a small village on a faja on the north coast where it’s possible to take a refreshing dip in the sea! On a clear day, there are spectacular views down to both sides of the island from your vantage point. Overnight in Velas|
|Day 10||Ferry to Faial, coastal walk. Walk length : 4km. Average height : sea level. Grading : ∆
Approximate walking time : 1hour. today we take the inter island ferry (approx. 1hr 30mins) over to Faial island and transfer to our hotel in Horta. If we have time in the afternoon, we can walk along the coast to see the caldeira of Monte da Guia. Overnight in Horta
|Day 11||CAPELO WALK/ VISIT CAPELINHOS.Walk length : 10km
Approximate walking time : 3-4 hours. A pretty walk around half of the crater rim in the centre of the island and then along a levada (water channel) shaded by hydrangea hedgerows. We then go on to Capelinhos to see the 40 year old moonscape and the museum which houses a photo history of the eruption. Overnight in Horta
|Day 12||MT PICO ASCENT OR EASIER OPTION.
Option one. Walk length : 10km. Average height : 1800m (1150m ascent). Grading : ∆∆∆. Approximate walking time : 5/7 hours. Option two Walk length : 10km. Approximate walking time : 4 hours. Probably the most obviously volcanic of all the nine islands, Pico is dominated by its volcanic cone of Pico Alto (2351m), the highest point in Portugal. Pico Alto from the top of which, on a clear day, you can see all five islands of the central group. The climb is recommended to those used to hill walking and with good quality equipment (waterproofs and boots) as the height gain and the lava scree slopes make it a tricky ascent. Alternatively, there is the option of a 2/3 hour taxi tour of the island followed by a very pretty walk downhill from one of the crater caves on the slopes of Pico Alto along farm tracks and through a delightful forest garden back to the ferry.. Overnight in Horta
|Day 13||Free day on Faial. We suggest either exploring Horta or going whale watching (Cost £48pp). Overnight in Horta|
|Day 14||Fly to São Miguel. Overnight in Ponta Delgada|
|Day 15||Transfer to the airport. Fly to London|
Prices & Dates
|2013 TOUR DATES|
|01-15 June||£1690||Based on direct flights from Gatwick - SPECIAL OFFER - £150pp OFF!|
|20 July - 03 August||£1750||Based on direct flights from Gatwick - Spaces available|
|17 - 31 August||£1750||Based on direct flights from Gatwick - Spaces available|
Price is per person on B&B sharing basis and includes picnics on full walking days, all walk and airport transfers, experienced guided services, flights and airport taxes, pre-departure information booklet.
Price does not include meals (other than breakfast and walk picnics), excursions on free days, travel insurance.
Single supplement : if you prefer to have your own room the supplement is £350 for June and £390 for July and August
What to take:
Waterproof, water bottle, day pack, camera (and polarising filter recommended), walking boots (leather or fabric), lightweight fleece, sunglasses, sunblock, swim wear, small first aid kit, hat, binoculars.
Hotel do Colegio, Hotel Beira Mar, Hotel São Jorge, Hotel Fayal
June to August - See tour dates in Dates & Prices
Evening meal arrangements:
Evenings are free, however your Walking Guide will make a reservation each night at a local restaurant for those wishing to come along. The evenings are relaxed and informal, with an average 3 course meal with wine costing around £15-£25pp.