Overview

Walking is one of the best ways to get to know the islands, and our guided walking holiday takes you to five of the Azores’ most spectacular islands – São Miguel, Terceira, São Jorge, Faial and Pico.

As you’d expect, this is one of our popular groups trip as it takes in some of the most iconic locations in the Azores: the great crater at Sete Cidades, the famous geothermal swimming pools at Furnas, the historic city of Angra de Heroismo, the secluded lagoons and fajãs of Sao Jorge, the barren volcanic landscapes of Capelinhos, and (if you still have the legs!) to the summit of Portugal’s highest peak.

Our 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.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.

Dates for the guided walking holiday on São Miguel & Central Islands:

Saturday 26th May to Saturday 9th June 2018

Saturday 14th July to Saturday 28th July 2018

We include more: all our walks are fully guided; you’ll be accompanied throughout your trip by our resident, English-speaking guide. We also include picnics on walk days, any restaurant transfers that might be needed in the evenings and accommodation in good quality, comfortable hotels.

Evening meal arrangements: Evenings are free, and our guide will normally make a reservation each evening at a local restaurant. An average three course meal with wine costs around £15-£25 per person.

Self guided option: If you like this itinerary and the walks included, 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, maps and taxi transfers to and from the walks.

Itinerary

Fly to São Miguel. You'll be collected by our driver, for your transfer into Ponta Delgada and your four night stay at the Hotel do Colegio.
Your first guided walk: SETE CIDADES CRATER WALK. Length: 10km, grading: moderate, 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. Your walk 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.
Today’s guided walk: COASTAL WALK AND VISIT TO FURNAS. Length: 6km, grading: easy, approximate walking time: 2.5 hours. This walk starts just outside Furnas and descends through Japanese Cedar forests to the pretty fishing village of Ribeira Quente, with its sandy beach and pretty port. After lunch, you’ll drive 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. You’ll spend the afternoon in the famous 200 year old Terra Nostra botanical gardens, home to an inviting geothermal swimming pool.
Today’s guided walk: FIRE LAKE WALK. Length: 7km, grading: moderate, approximate walking time: 4-5 hours. Lagoa do Fogo is probably the most impressive and ‘wild’ crater lake of all the islands. The walk climbs up from the south coast of the island to the lake at 600m, following a levada through a lovely wooded valley (look-out for the trout in the levada). The caldera is the youngest of Sao Miguel’s volcanoes, formed around fifteen million years ago. It last erupted in 1563 – a simultaneous eruption occurred 6km to the west at Pico Sapateiro, (now known at Pico Queimado). Contemporary accounts describe an extremely fluid basaltic lava flow which passed through present-day Santa Barbara, Ribeira Seca and on to the sea.
Today, you’ll transfer to the airport for your morning flight to the island of Terceira. You’ll transfer on arrival into the main town of Angra de Herosimo, for a two night stay at the Hotel Beira Mar. Once you’ve settled in, our guide will suggest spending the day exploring Angra - the first settlement on the islands to be granted city status. In modern times, the city suffered considerable damage during a major earthquake on New Year’s Day 1980. The quake struck at 3:42 pm, with a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter scale. Building repairs were completed by the end of 1983, and the centre of the city was awarded its historic UNESCO protected status.
Today’s guided walk: GRUA DA NATAL. Length: 5km, grading: moderate, 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 known as Misterio dos Negros or Dark Mysteries; three volcanic domes formed during a period of volcanic eruptions in 1761.
Today you’ll take a thirty minute flight to the island of Sao Jorge. This friendly island is a genuine walker’s paradise; essentially a single snaking spine of peaks with an average height of 700m. After settling into your hotel in the pretty capital of Velas, you can either go swimming in the rock pools nearby, or walk up the impressive crater outside the town to get great views of the town, harbour, and the neighbouring island of Pico. Your accommodation will be the Hotel Sao Jorge (for 3 nights).
Today’s guided walk: THREE FAJA WALK. Length: 11km, grading; moderate, 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. Your walk begins at the top of the island and descends down 700m to sea level through some of the archipelago’s most beautiful scenery. Hydrangea lined paths will take you 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.
Today’s guided walk: SPINE WALK. Length: 14km, grading: moderate, 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). On a clear day, there are spectacular views down to both sides of the island – with Terceira & Graciosa to the north, and Pico and Horta to the south and west. Eventually, you’ll descend down to a small village on a faja on the north coast where it’s possible to take a refreshing dip in the sea.
Today you’ll take the morning ferry from Sao Jorge over to the island of Faial. After checking into your accommodation at the Hotel Faial (and after lunch), our guide will suggest a walk along the coast to see the caldeira of Monte da Guia. Length: 4km, grading:easy, approximate walking time: 1 hour.
Today’s guided walk: CAPELO WALK/ VISIT CAPELINHOS. Length: 10km, approximate walking time: 3-4 hours. Today’s walk is around half of the pretty crater rim in the centre of the island. The walk then follows a levada (water channel) shaded by hydrangea hedgerows, down the side of the caldeira. Although the caldera hasn’t been active for over 200 years, a number of small fumaroles became active during the eruption at Capelinhos. The small lake in the bottom of the crater also dried up due to excessive heat. In the afternoon, you’ll visit Capelinhos, the site of the last major volcanic eruption which lasted 13 months from September 1957 to October 1958. Over 2km² of land were created during the eruption – however, more than 300 homes were also destroyed and the eruption led to the emigration of 4000 residents (mainly to North America).
Today you’ll catch the morning ferry over the island of Pico (a thirty minute crossing). There’s a choice of walks: MT PICO ASCENT length: 10km with a 1150m ascent, grading: hard, approximate walking time: 7/8 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, you might prefer our FREI MATIAS WALK: length: 10km, grading: moderate, approximate walking time: 4 hours. This alternative day begins with a 2/3 hour taxi tour of the Pico, followed by a very pretty walk downhill from one of the crater caves on the slopes of Pico Alto; following farm tracks and through a delightful forest garden back to the ferry. Whichever option you choose, you’ll end your day back at the ferry terminal in Madalena – to catch the ferry back over to Faial.
Today is a free day. In the afternoon, you might like to add a three hour Whale and Dolphin Watching from the local marina.
Today, you’ll catch the lunchtime flight back to the main island of Sao Miguel, before transferring to your accommodation in Ponta Delgada (at the Hotel do Colegio once again). You’ll have your final afternoon and evening free, to allow you to relax in Ponta Delgada.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Price Per Person

We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.

Jan

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Feb

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Mar

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Apr

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May

£2035

Jun

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Jul

£2131

Aug

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Sep

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Oct

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Nov

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Dec

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INCLUDED: accommodation on shared B&B basis, guided walks with our resident English-speaking guide, picnics on full walking days, all walk and airport transfers, and your flights between the islands. EXCLUDED: the prices here on the website don't include international flights, as there are a number of different routes you can take to the islands. Please feel free to call for a chat through the possibilities, and once we know your preference we'll provide you with an exact figure that does include international flights. As mentioned above, the cost of evening meals isn't included. If you'd prefer to have your own room, the supplement is £448.

Accommodation

You will be staying in comfortable hotels and guesthouses throughout the holiday.

Activities

We have included some of the best guided walks in the Azores.

Location

This guided walking holiday covers five of the Azores’ most stunning islands – São Miguel, Terceira, São Jorge, Faial and Pico.

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