One of the Azores’ most enjoyable walking challenges is the Grande Rota – the Great Route of Santa Maria.
The Grande Rota began as an idea amongst five friends; five young Santa Marians who wanted to circumnavigate their island on foot. The project took wings as the local community got whole-heartedly behind the scheme – as a way for both visitors and residents to enjoy the varied landscapes of this beautiful island. The trail is traditionally broken up into four full-day walks:
Day 1 – Vila do Porto to Cardal – 16.5km
Day 2 – Cardal to Norte – 21.5km
Day 3 – Norte to Bananeiras- 16.5km
Day 4 – Bananieras to Vila do Porto – 23.5km
With our Great Route of Santa Maria holiday, you’ll be based at the Charming Blue Hotel in the main town of Vila do Porto or, if you prefer to self-cater, in one of our charming rural cottages. Our resident guide will collect you from the hotel each morning – he’ll bring along your picnic lunches and you’ll chat through the day’s walk before driving to the trail head. You could self-guide, but you get so much more out of spending time with our guide: more of an insight into the history, wildlife and landscapes of Santa Maria (and it’s also a big help to the local economy of this small island).
You’ll also have some time on the main island of Sao Miguel – it’s well-connected to the outside world with direct flights from the UK, Boston and Toronto, and we’ll include the (short) internal flights you’ll need between the islands. We’ve suggested a ten-night Great Route of Santa Maria holiday but it’s easy to extend your trip to a full two weeks if you’d also like more time to explore Sao Miguel.
From £1800 per person
We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.
INCLUDED: international and inter-island flights, accommodation in twin/double en-suite rooms on a B&B basis, airport transfers, a whale and dolphin watching trip, four guided walks on Santa Maria including return transfers and a picnnic lunch, and a full-day guided tour of Furnas on Sao Miguel.