Walking in the Azores

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8 days
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$2,325 USD
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Traveller ratings
4.1 / 5 from 7 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
TSZ
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group Adventure Holidays, Premium Adventures
Activity:
Natural Wonders
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Trek on Europe's undiscovered vocanic archipelago 

It is hard to believe that the Azores are part of Europe. Born from the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean, this lush green archipelago of volcanic islands is a far cry from its mainland government of Portugal. Be it pocked with steep craters, a haven for wildlife or a place of historic interest, each of the nine islands is quite unique and ideally explored on foot. We visit the very best that these islands have to offer, walking through UNESCO vineyards, lava plateaux (or 'fajas') and sunken volcanoes.

Highlights

  • Visit and explore four unique islands
  • Enjoy vineyards, volcanoes and hot springs
  • Walk around the tranquil waters of Lagoa do Fogo
  • Optional whale watching on the free day

Key information

  • 7 nights 4-star hotels, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days guided walking; 1 free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 2351m (on optional ascent of Mt. Pico), average 500m
  • Travel by internal flights, private minivan and boats

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 5 lunches
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport (incl. internal flights) and listed activities
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Pace:

Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; good paths with some uneven terrain and steep ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 29.0km/5.0miles
Day 310.0km/6.0miles
Day 57.0km/4.0miles
Day 612.0km/7.0miles
Day 711.0km/6.0miles

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Ponta Delgada
to
Ponta Delgada
  • Day 1

    Start Ponta Delgada.

    Start Ponta Delgada.

  • Day 2

    Morning flight to Pico; walk through UNESCO heritage site of the Santa Luzia Vineyards; afternoon wine tasting.

    After breakfast we transfer to the airport for a short flight to Pico island. As you come in to land the imposing figure of Mount Pico, Portugal's largest peak, dominates the landscape. Pico is also known as the 'black island' due to the black volcanic earth which is used to construct the walls of many of the UNESCO vinyards that this island is famed for. After landing we then head out on our first walking tour of the Santa Luzia Vineyards.

    Azorian vineyards are a sight to behold. Built as a means to protect the precious vines from a battering of the harsh sea winds, the result is row after row of black horseshoe shapes that score the lush green coastline. What is more impressive is how the vine grows on the ground and through volcanic rock, rather than supported by a trellis though soil. There will be time to try the wine in the Lagido de Santa Luzia where you will be explained the typical ways of how wines and brandies are produced on the island. We will then take a ferry across to the neighbouring island of Faial where we check into our hotel in Horta, our base for the next 3 days (approx. 3 hours walking, distance 9km).

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Ferry to Sao Jorge; trek to explore the Faja dos Cubres; evening return to Faial.

    From Horta’s harbour we take a ferry to Sao Jorge Island or the 'Brown Island' (please note the ferry sailing times can take from approx 1h40 minutes to approx 2h20 depending on the time of year and can result in last minute schedule changes). This is by far the longest day in the itinerary but is well worth it to visit the forth island of the trip. Sao Jorge is a fascinating spearlike island that cuts through the ocean with steepsided cliffs, however it is the Fajas (low-lying areas of lava that were formed from the subsidence of the cliffs) that it is most famed for. Sao Jorge is also well known throughout the Azores for producing some delicious cheese, which is one of it's main exports. Shortly after arrival in Velas we transfer to the start of the walking tour from Caldeira do Santo Cristo to Faja dos Cubres. After arriving at Faja dos Cubres we then take a transfer back to Velas and across the channel back to Faial. (approx. 2.5 hours walking, distance 10km).

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Free day to climb Mt.Pico, half day whale watching excursion or swim with dolphins, sharks and manta rays.

    As today is a free day you have the chance to try out many of the other activities that the Azores have to offer. Apart from offering some unique walking opportunities, the Azores is perhaps one of the best places on the planet to spot whales and dolphins. There are 80 species of whales and dolphins and 25 of them have been sighted off the coast of the Azores, with the most common being Sperm Whale. There is also the chance to spot Bottlenose dolphin, Short-finned pilot whale, Sei whales, Atlantic spotted dolphin and the grail - the Blue whale. If you choose to go on an excursion, you will have the chance to observe the behaviour of these cetaceans and learn more about their habitat with the help of the knowledgeable local experts on board. We should always respect their environment and therefore during times of feeding or resting times, we avoid any interference and maintain our distance. If you feel that you would like to continue walking and have wondered what the view would look like from the top of Portugal's largest mountain then today is the perfect opportunity to attempt this.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Trek from Trupes do Capelo to the Capelinhos volcano; visit to Scrimshaw Museum; evening flight to Sao Miguel.

    Today we explore the island we have been staying on for the last two days. Faial is known as the 'blue island' because of the large quantity of hydrangeas that bloom during the summer months. The trail begins at the forest park or 'Trupes do Capelo' and finishes at the Capelinhos Volcano. Rising forcefully from the sea this volcano shows off just how dramatic nature can be. It's unique formation has even earnt it the construction of a modern interpretative centre which helps us understand not only this volcano but the formation of the entire island. We then return to Horta for a late lunch at Peter's Café Sport, a traditional resting point for many sailors braving the Atlantic crossing. After lunch you will be guided round one of the largest scrimshaw collections in the world that shows the variations of designs with an art form that was prolific during the whaling period. In the late afternoon we transfer to the airport for our flight back to Ponta Delgada. (approx. 2.5 hours walking, distance 7km).

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Morning transfer to Praia; trek to Lagoa do Fogo; afternoon visit to Sete Cidades to the Vista do Rei.

    After breakfast we head into the lush centre of Sao Miguel to Barrosa's mountain where we get a sense of why this island has earned its nickname the 'green island'. Today's walk begins with a short but steep uphill section and continues following a 'levada' (small water channel) close to which you will find some well preserved species of endemic Azorian flora. The highlight of this walk is arriving at the viewpoint over the Lagoa do Fogo, one of the most beautiful volcanic lakes in the entire Azores network. We stop at Caldeira Velha waterfall for a well earned dip in its warm waters, in the afternoon we drive to Sete Cidades, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal. From Vista do Rei we are rewarded with breathtaking views of tranquil lakes, blue hydrangeas bordering the crater rim that contrast with the steep sides of the crater. (approx. 4 hours walking, distance 12km).

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Walk around Lake Furnas; afternoon visit to Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens and tea plantations.

    On the final day we head to Furnas where we walk around the crater lake to volcanic vents, where food is cooked by the heat of vents after it has been buried in sealed pots in the baking earth. This traditional Azorian way of cooking is known as 'Cozido das Caldeiras' and will be served for lunch. In the afternoon we head into the Terra Nostra botanical gardens where we have time to wander through and admire exotic flowers and trees from all over the globe. Amongst the trees and bushes a series of aquaducts leads thermal spring water to a pool in the centre of the gardens, where for centries people have been bathing in its medicinal waters. On the return to Ponta Delgada we stop off at the tea plantations of Gorreana where we observe the plantation, the factory and taste some of the local teas. (approx. 2 hours walking, distance 11km).

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    End Ponta Delgada.

    End Ponta Delgada

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Portugal

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Portugal

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 5 lunches are included.

Breakfasts are buffet style with a variety on offer including bread, jams, cereals, and tea and coffee. Some of the lunches provided are pic-nic style, whilst others are taken at traditional restaurants where we can sample some traditional dishes such as the Cozido das Coldeiras. In the evening, the leader will recommend local restaurants that serve traditional Azores food, which can be a selection of meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes or rice. Vegetarians are well catered for in Azores as long as the hotels are advised in advance.

Weather

Azores enjoys a privileged climate with its temperate softened by gentle influence of the Gulf Stream. Temperatures do not vary by much and the average is 13 ºC in winter and 23ºC in summer. Water temperatures varies a little oscillating between 17ºC and 24ºC. Whilst light clothing is recommended for summertime, it is better to dress for cooler and damper weather for Spring and Autumn. Winters are mild yet it often rains meaning waterproofs and warm jackets are essential if travelling between November to February.

Is this trip for you?

This is a moderate walking trip (activity level 3). 

These moderately graded walks are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks. Walking hours stated are given as approximates only. Timings stated exclude lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of our group.
The paths we use are generally flat and well maintained but some of the routes cross rougher terrain with longer ascents and descents. Some of the paths are quite narrow with stony underfoot and require walking in single file. On some occasions you will be walking on more coarse volcanic rock, so it is advidsed to be used to walking in more durable walking boots, especially over these sections.
The area is also subject to rain and high winds at any time so it is best to be prepared for this before you travel. On departures in May and September, it is best to bring warm clothes in case of colder weather.

Please note that the internal flights are included in the trip and booked by Exodus. As inter-island flighs are operated by small planes with limited capacity, we can't guarantee that the whole group will be allocated on the same flight. If alternative travel arrangements are necessary, these will be notified and discussed upon booking.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Premium Hotels

During the week our nights are split between two fantastic 4-star hotels. In the heart of Ponta Delgada is the Hotel Marina Atlantico. Right on the sea front, this new hotel is ideally located to explore the capital of the Azores and offers a modern twist in a traditional part of town. On Faial we use the excellent Hotel do Canal. Affording spectacular views towards the neighbouring island of Pico, this modern hotel sits just 100 metres from the harbour and is the perfect place to relax after a day's walking in and around the surrounding islands.

Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed August 2016
    Christine Lewis

    Walking n the Azores

    Walking in the Azores was as good as expected - the islands are quite stunning and to see so many islands in one week and to do so much made it very special. It is a busy trip but we managed to see quite a lot. The walking was varied but not difficult, I used a walking stick on most days when going downhill. The views are amazing when the weather is clear, it was mostly hot and sunny and when it rains lightly (which it probably will even in August) it is never for long.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best for me were the trip to Sao Jorge were we started in quite heavy rain with limited visibility and ended up in hot sunny weather swimming in natural pools in the sea and the walks on Sao Miguel. The Azores: lush, green, easy walking and stunning views.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruno was an excellent group leader with an impressive knowledge of the islands and its history and a pleasure to be with. He took great care to know our interests and highlighted specific details to suit, we were very well looked after. Bruno has great passion for the Azores.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was quite warm and humid so dress lightly, it will rain at some point. I used lighter walking boots which were fine but didn't intend going up Mt Pico. If needed go walking in hills to strengthen legs before you come as there are some easy but steep paths. One of the ferry journeys was nearly 2 hours so take travel sickness pills if you are not good on boats.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a full week visiting four islands but I would have loved an option to extend for another few days to see another island especially Flores island in the western archipelago.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Suzanne Rawlings

    Suzanne Rawlings - Walking in the Azores June 2016

    An excellent trip which incorporated 4 different islands. Would highly recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing all of the walks and climbs. Great sense of achievement when reaching the fabulous viewpoints.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant! Bruno's knowledge was excellent and he ensured the group got the best out of the holiday at all times. He always went the extra mile assisting with restaurant bookings for the group and helping us to book a whale watching trip. Best guide experienced in my travels.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Would highly recommend.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Can you add a holiday covering walking on the other islands :-)
  • Reviewed September 2015
    Paul Sullivan

    Mid-Atlantic Adventure

    A memorable trip providing a series of spectacular walks on volcanic islands, each with its own distinct topography and character. Though still part of Portugal, this archipelago offers its own unique combination of a relaxed, scenic destination, with plentiful attractions for those liking their food and wine, and a distinctive mix of hikes among the flora, forests and classical cones. Our ferry trips and flights between the islands added further perspectives to an already appealing itinerary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The early morning ferry trip from Horta to Sao Jorge stands out most in my mind, for the perfect conditions and the impressive views across to Pico and its dominant volcano. Seeing four islands in a relatively short time was also rewarding and whets the appetite for a return visit before very long.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Deeply knowledgeable and eager to share information on his native islands, he was a great source on all manner of topics from flora, to geology, through food and wine to local history and its dominant themes and characters.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Anyone liking good hiking country, on varying island landscapes, with that extra something special yet only a couple of hours from mainland Europe should certainly consider the Azores - a most intriguing destination, European for sure but with a certain something from its mid-ocean position.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nothing I can think of!
  • Reviewed June 2015
    David Wilson

    Azores Walking

    The organisation and accommodation of the holiday were excellent. The group gelled from the start and were excellent company. The islands themselves were spectacular.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the site of the Capelinhos volcano.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pedro was very knowledgeable of the islands and was in tune with the group. He was friendly and attentive throughout and was good company. He was not afraid to offer good advice on restaurants and other things to do. The local guides on Faial and Sao Jorge were particularly good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The level of difficulty of the terrain was fine for us but we would have liked longer walks and less time spent in the minibus on a couple of the days. The first walk on Pico may have been through a UNESCO world heritage site but was not very inspiring especially as the introduction.
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Bernard Kelly

    Walking in the Azores

    Beautiful volcanic islands with well marked walking trails. The walks were shorter than the trip notes stated but were interesting and scenic. Each island is quite different which makes the walking more fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The beauty of the islands. The walk on San Miguel to Lago de Fogo (fire Lake) and the hot springs

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Seraphina is very enthusiastic about the beautiful islands and all the elements of the trip. She didn't always explain when we could leave things on the coach so people ended up carrying swimwear shoes etc for hours unnecessarily. She treated us like naughty school children if we walked to far in front as the group had people of mixed ability. This may have been a result of a guest ending up in hospital halfway through the first walk.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Whale watching was an option on this trip, the weather stopped the trip on the option day but some people went on the following morning. The captain of the whale watching boat said spring was the best time to go as the migrating whales pass through at that time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The weather is warm but very humid and one guest was taken ill with dehydration. You need to be of a reasonable level of fitness to do the walks and make sure you keep hydrated.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Exodus are aware that a member of Bernard’s group suffered from heat exhaustion during the trip, but we are really sorry if Bernard felt that as a result of this his tour leader, Seraphina, was too cautious about the group’s walking abilities. Seraphina is a very experienced leader and we are confident that she has the skills to adapt to each group she leads, but we do hope that this didn't affect Bernard’s enjoyment of the trip overall.

  • Reviewed June 2014
    Christopher Adams

    Walking In The Azores

    A great trekking trip. The Azores are an unknown quantity to most people, but I fell in love with the islands natural and unspoilt beauty. The hotels that we stayed at were apparently new to this year and were excellent. Friendly staff and very pleasant food (and wine!)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Going from the stark and rugged coastline one minute, to the lush green and tranquil Sete Cidades another. Climbing Mount Pico was also another highlight with spectacular views from the top. Make sure your camera is charged!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both leaders were great. Very Knowledgeable about pretty much everything to do with the Azores. Nothing was too much trouble for them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for wet weather – the islands have their own climate and it can change very quickly, although the weather we had was mostly dry and sunny.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Make sure you try the local liquor! It’s a local speciality and apparently has very good medicinal qualities!
  • Reviewed June 2013
    Anonymous

    WALKING IN THE AZORES

    I liked the Azores. The scenery is really good so is the food and wine. However although the the Hotel in Ilha Do Pico is good and the staff are friendly I would rate the facilities as 2 star not 4 star as claimed in the Exodus brochure. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the summit of Pico on the only fine day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both leaders were efficient and friendly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for changeable weather!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is a case for reorganising the itinerary on the last 2 days on Sao Miguel. Perhaps the meal cooked in hot vents could be on the evening of Day 6 and the evening meal on Day 7 could be at Restaurante San Pedro. We had to get up at 0600 on Day 8 to catch the 0840 flight back to Gatwick only to find when we reached the Airport that it had been rescheduled to 1150.  I sat next to someone on the plane who knew the previous evening. I think in future the Exodus leader should check with the Airport in advance.

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